GCS Credit Union Insurance Options

Policy Folder

If you are shopping for insurance and you are a member at GCS Credit Union , you may find the most affordable options with our TruStage insurance programs. We provide our members with exclusive opportunities for auto and home insurance as well as life insurance policies that can help secure your financial future.

TruStage is partnered with select insurance carriers to provide discounted rates and 24/7 claims service for our members. You may be surprised to see how much you can save by shopping for a new policy with us. Life insurance offered through TruStage is exclusively for members, and it is designed to provide the most affordable options for any budget.

To explore more of the benefits of being a GCS Credit Union member in O’Fallon, visit our website or call us at (618) 797-7993. We have been providing sound financial advice and unbeatable lending services in Illinois since 1941 with a consistent focus on our members’ needs. 

Your Guide to Life Insurance

If you are worried about the financial security of your family , life insurance can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with a stable source of income for your spouse or loved ones after your death. There are several different types of life insurance policies, and they can be relatively affordable or come with high premiums and tax-deferred savings. To better understand which policy will be right for you and your family, read more about the basics of life insurance below. 

Insurance

What types of coverage are available
The most affordable type of life insurance coverage is term life insurance, which pays out a lump sum intended for use over a set period of time. This type of policy is best for the replacement of income during working years, and it may be fit to cover college expenses or mortgage payments. Pure term policies like whole-life insurance and universal life insurance are designed to provide lifetime coverage to beneficiaries, but this type of coverage does come with a higher price tag. Unlike more affordable policies, however, whole-life insurance does have cash value with tax-deferred savings that can accumulate over time.

How to purchase a policy
You might begin your policy shopping online, because it is easy to gather several quotes and compare rates across different companies. A great place to start your search is with your local credit union, which is more dedicated to your financial security than other insurance providers.

When to consider life insurance
Ideally, you should purchase life insurance when you are healthy and relatively young. While you may not need a policy until you have dependents, you should consider buying while your dependents are very young. This will help you avoid higher premiums and steep monthly payments on your policy.

To explore your life insurance options with free quotes and exclusive offers for members, connect with GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. We provide coverage with TruStage Life Insurance Plans underwritten by CMFG Life Insurance Company. You can learn more about these plans and our other unique services by visiting our website or calling (618) 797-7993.

Does Your Child Need a Credit Card?

Many parents are wary to suggest credit cards for their children, but credit cards can help young adults build a solid credit history in college. However, it is important to take the right steps when selecting and using a credit card while in college .

As this video explains, you should work with your child as he or she applies for a first credit card. This way, you can find a card with a more reasonable interest rate and spending limit. You should teach your child to only make smaller purchases on credit, avoiding bigger ticket items that can stack up when it comes to interest.

You can find helpful financial solutions for your college student at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. Visit us online or call (618) 797-7993 to connect with your local branch. 

How to Build a Budget as a College Student

For most young adults, college offers the first taste of financial freedom, which can get some students into trouble with debt after graduation. To manage your money effectively in college and prevent a mountain of post-graduation debt, follow these budget-building tips from GCS Credit Union :  

Word of budget written on a blackboard

Create a Semester-Long Budget 
It may be most beneficial to view your spending from a semester-long perspective rather than month-to-month. Because you may have extra expenses when the semester starts and a cash boost when you sell back your books, it is best to account for all of the semester’s income and spending all at once. You will want to calculate how much money you have from financial aid, work, and student loans, and then divide this among your major expenses. What’s left is there for spending, but you should monitor it carefully with online and mobile banking.

Prioritize Your Expenses
You might have to make sacrifices in your social life to afford the things you really need. For example, you might cut down on going out for drinks and taking high-cost vacations over school breaks to make more spending room for personal items and transportation. You can still have fun while you save, however. You just need to get a little creative by hosting social events at home or planning a lower-cost road trip over spring break rather than an expensive flight to a bigger vacation destination.

Avoid Unnecessary Credit Card Spending
One of the biggest budget pitfalls for college students is credit cards. While you are in school, it may seem easy to take out a credit card and let extra spending overflow into that account, but when the bill arrives, you may be in hot water. If you do have a credit card, only use it to make purchases you know you can afford. This way, you can pay them off and build credit in college instead of building up more debt.

GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon can help you get a good financial start with a free checking account , online banking, and great member discounts. To connect with us, give us a call at (618) 797-7993 or visit our website today. 

Why Savings Bonds Are a Good Investment

Bond

Savings bonds may no longer seem like the most exciting investment in the world, but does that mean they have lost their importance in terms of value? In fact, though savings bonds often get overlooked, they remain a stable place to put money for safe, steady growth.

Savings bonds are often given as gifts to kids, and for good reason. Bonds take many years to reach maturity, and when they do, they become a good source of money for big purchases young adults need to make, like college tuition or a first car. However, savings bonds aren’t just for kids. Good investment portfolios mix high-yield, high-risk investments with lower-earning, low-risk offerings like savings bonds. Savings bonds can play a helpful role in your retirement portfolio by offering a safe, reliable return you can count on.

Do you have savings bonds? Cash them in at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. We can also help you purchase the new, electronic bonds. Get answers to your questions about all of our credit union services by calling (618) 797-7993.  

Beat Financial Woes by Avoiding These Money Missteps

Managing money is a process. There is no one formula that works for everyone, and it can take some time to settle into a plan that works for you. The way you manage your money is also likely to change several times over the course of your lifetime as your goals and needs shift. At GCS Credit Union , we’re invested in the financial wellbeing of our members and are here to help you make smart decisions about your spending and savings habits that suit your personal goals. However, there are a few missteps that can hurt anyone, no matter what their goals are. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to financial freedom. 

Financial planning consultation

Spending Without Looking Ahead
Mindless purchases are the bane of financial health. Making impulse purchases and buying things you don’t really need, like your second coffee drink of the day, will stand in your way of achieving the bigger goals you have, like getting a new car or your first mortgage. Only spend money on things that are important to you and ban spending on a whim.

Not Staying on Top of Financial Information
Life is hectic, and it is easy to let bills, account statements, and other financial paperwork take a backseat to everything else. However, if you don’t stay on top of your paperwork, you won’t know where you stand. You may also accidentally miss payments, which can hurt your credit. Set aside a short time each week to review your financial info, from your bills to your credit union statements, so you don’t fall behind.

Putting Your Savings Account Last
Depositing money into your savings account may not feel like fun, but in reality, your savings is how you pay yourself. Set up an automatic deposit from your checking account to your savings account each month to make the process easier, or transfer a set percentage of each check to savings when you get paid.

GCS Credit Union makes managing your money easier with our checking and money market accounts , savings accounts, and great rates on loans. Join today and take control of your financial health. Learn more by calling our O’Fallon credit union at (618) 797-7993. 

Shop Online Without Getting Burned

Shopping online is the ultimate in convenience. Of course, online scammers know that too, and they try to leverage your online buying habits to gain access to your accounts. A few easy steps will keep your money safe while you get your online shopping fix. This video explains.

If you want to shop online, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure your home network security is strong. Update your anti-virus software or download a free program to protect yourself. Avoid shopping on public networks, and beware emails that ask you for account numbers, passwords, or your social security number, even if they appear legitimate. 

GCS Credit Union can offer more tips on protecting yourself while you bank and shop online. Our O’Fallon credit union can also help if you do find yourself the victim of fraud. Find out more about our services by calling (618) 797-7993. 

What Your Credit Score Really Means

Your credit score may only consist of three little numbers, but its impact is difficult to overstate. A poor credit score can stop you from getting services you need, from an auto loan to a new apartment. If your credit could use some work, your credit union can help you devise a plan to increase your score through smart budgeting and paying down debt. However, the first step is understanding your score. Here are the facts you need know: 

Credit report

What Is a Credit Score?
Your credit score is essentially a grade for your past financial behavior. It is used as an indicator of the risk of loaning money or extending credit to you. The most commonly used credit score is your FICO score. This score ranges from 300 to 850. Higher scores suggest that, in the past, you have paid credit cards, loans, and other payments on time. A lower score usually indicates that you have fallen behind on payments or defaulted on a debt.

What Goes Into My Credit Score?
Several different factors are considered when your credit score is calculated. Two of the most important are your bill-paying habits and your credit-to-debt ratio. When a lender reports that your account is past due, your credit score will take a hit. Your credit-to-debt ratio compares how much of your available credit you are using. If your credit cards are all charged to their limits, you are using all of your available credit; this will lower your credit score, since such behavior suggests you could be having financial problems.

Why Does My Credit Score Matter?
Credit scores have many applications, and lenders rely upon them heavily. Your credit score will determine if you get a loan and what the interest rate on that loan will be. If your credit is poor, expect to pay higher interest on loans.

One of the benefits of being a GCS Credit Union member is that we see you, not your credit score, when you apply for an auto loan , checking account, and more. Let our O’Fallon credit union help you build and maintain a good credit score. Stop by or call us today at (618) 797-7993. 

Ways You Can Keep Your Financial Information Safe Online

internet lock

Shopping online is convenient, but it also comes with some inherent risk. If you’re not careful about how you do business on the internet, your financial information could be in jeopardy . The good news is that protecting yourself only takes a few simple steps.

Start by making sure your wireless network at home is secure and password-protected. Never conduct any financial transactions on an unsecured, public wireless network. When you shop, make sure the website has adequate payment security, or use a third-party processor like PayPal. Never respond to emails requesting financial or personal information from you, even if they appear to be from your credit union. These are likely phishing scams. Avoid storing sensitive information, like account numbers and passwords, in your online organizing system or calendar.

Do you have questions about how to keep your GCS Credit Union account information safe? Talk to a representative at our O’Fallon credit union about using our online banking system safely. You can also find out more about our checking accounts , debit cards, and other financial products by calling (618) 797-7993.