GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

Shopping Smart When You're Online

Young couple internet shopping

Every day, consumers receive emails containing online coupons, beckoning you to visit the company’s website for an electronic shopping spree. To protect your financial identity, keep in mind the following tips when shopping with a web retailer.

  • Use a Credit Card

One of the best ways to protect your identity while shopping online is to use a credit card. Debit card numbers allow potential criminals, third parties, and disreputable websites to access your checking and savings accounts directly. Also, fraudulent charges made on a debit card can rarely be recovered or reimbursed. Using your GCS Federal Credit Union credit card for online purchases also protects your financial accounts from overdraft fees in the event of fraudulent charges.

  • Patronize Secure Websites

Research the online venders you’re buying from. While you may find a product for a bargain price on a lesser-known website, it’s not worth putting your financial information at risk. Buy from websites that you have previously done business with or talk to your friends for online shopping recommendations. Paying a little more for products from a reputable website protects you from the potential financial burdens of compromised account information. All transactions should also be encrypted; your web browser may notify you of an unsecured website.

  • Review Security Policies

Once you’ve selected your vendor and filled your online shopping cart with products, carefully review the website’s policies. Look over the security, shipping, information sharing, encryption, and charging policies. If you notice something questionable, email the company and inquire about their security policies. Protect your credit card from additional charges by reviewing policies about out-of-stock items and shipping charges.

  • Check Your Accounts

After you complete a transaction, take time to review the balances of your checking and savings accounts and keep an eye on them over the following days and weeks. Write down the exact amounts of your online purchases so you can compare them to the charges on your statements. By immediately reporting suspicious charges to your credit union, they can begin measures to protect your accounts.

Shopping online is convenient and safe when you do this research. To find out more about protecting your credit card and checking accounts while shopping online, contact GCS Federal Credit Union today by calling (618) 797-7993.

The O'Fallon Branch is Now Collecting New and Used Books for Children

Group of Children

GCS O’Fallon Branch

1119 S. Lincoln

O’Fallon, IL 62269

Collection: New & used books for local children ages 2-12 years

Dates: March 17-April 7, 2012  

Project: Readers 2 Leaders

More info: http://www.r2l.org/-Book-Drive.html

Know Your Mortgage Options

Are you planning for your first major investment? Once you have your financial accounts and credit score in order, it’s time to begin considering your loan options. If you’re searching for a new home, watch this video to learn more about your mortgage options.

One type of mortgage commonly offered by banks and credit unions is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Adjustable-rate mortgages have flexible payment terms, which is sometimes beneficial to the buyer. Interest-only mortgages are a new type of mortgage option. Traditionally, homebuyers will choose a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for its consistency and predictability over the following years.

To thoroughly assess your mortgage options, call GCS Federal Credit Union at (618) 797-7993. If you live in the O’Fallon, Illinois area, schedule an appointment with one of our expert financial advisers today.

Understanding How to Read Your Credit Report

Approved Credit Score.

If you recently requested a credit report, you may be confused about the multiple scores and financial criteria. Learn more about the sections contained within your credit report and how to effectively review the report with the following information.

  • Identifying Information

The first category on your credit report includes the details of your personal information. Upon receiving your credit report, carefully review the identifying information section. If any information looks suspicious or out of place, you may not have the correct credit report or score. It’s also important to keep this information updated if you get married and change your name so that the stated owner of your accounts and credit history matches your legal name.

  • Credit History

The most important aspect of your credit report explains your credit history. The history section of your report details your previous credit card, loan, and payment information for approximately the past seven years. Your payment history reflects any late payments and the timeliness of payments for bills and credit card statements. The credit history portion of this document includes how long your credit accounts have been active and your current balances and debts, if any. Also included in your credit history is the diversity of your credit. It’s important to apply for small auto or personal loans in addition to basic credit cards.

  • Public Records

If you notice that the public records area of your credit report is blank, this is a good sign. The public records section doesn’t include arrests or jail time, but it does state any financially related activity. If you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy or judgments, these will be listed here.

  • Inquiries

The inquiries section of your credit report reflects any previous lenders or institutions that have requested a copy of your credit history. If you’ve requested a copy of your credit report before, that will also be listed. While too many inquiries can lower your credit score, this area is not the major basis for calculating your credit risk.

Understanding your credit report is essential for identifying false information or mistakes. Carefully review your credit report with a trusted financial adviser at GCS Federal Credit Union. Visit our O’Fallon office or schedule an appointment by calling (618) 797-7993.

Congratulations to Althoff Catholic High School for Being Our East Side Pride Spotlight This Month!

This month, Amber Gaither of Belleville wrote in to tell us about a great fundraiser her school is doing in Illinois. Althoff Catholic High School is raising money for two of their teachers currently receiving treatment for cancer.Janet Smith and Katie Vogel are currently battling cancer, and the school recently held a trivia night with proceeds going towards their two teachers. Althoff has raised more than $20,000 in support of Janet and Katie, and you can help too.

The school invites anyone interested in supporting this worthy cause to send donations to the following address:

The school invites anyone interested in supporting this worthy cause to send donations to the following address:
Althoff Catholic High School
Attn: Trivia Benefit
5401 West Main Street
Belleville, IL 62226.

Follow the link to check out photos from their trivia night fundraiser. For more information, visit althoff.net, or call at 618-235-1100.


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