• What Is a Money Market Account?

    If you’re looking for a way to earn a higher interest rate on the money you’re saving, a money market account may be right for you. This type of savings account functions differently from traditional accounts and gives you more flexibility when you manage your money. 

    Money Market analysis, calculator, cash

    Money market accounts are savings accounts, but unlike traditional savings accounts, they typically come with a checkbook. The number of withdrawals and checks you can use every month is limited. The interest rates on money market accounts are also higher than traditional savings accounts’. There is usually a higher minimum balance requirement for opening a money market account.

    Is a money market account right for you? Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union to find out. We offer several different savings options, including traditional savings, money market accounts , and CDs. Our O’Fallon credit union has a complete range of financial products to help you manage your finances. Find out more by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • An Action Plan for Coping with Debt-Related Stress

    Living with debt can take a tremendous toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The stress can interfere with your ability to sleep and cause depression and anxiety. If you’re concerned about the amount of debt you’re facing, it’s important to come up with a plan for dealing with it. The experts at GCS Credit Union are here to assist our members in making smart financial decisions, and we can help as you deal with you debt. Take these steps to regain control of your financial life.

    Couple having a hard time paying their bills

    Face It Head On

    When you have debt, the easiest thing to do is to simply decide not to think about it. From students juggling massive loans and their academic work to families worrying about mortgages while caring for their kids, debt is often an extra burden that seems too overwhelming to face. However, confronting your debt is an essential part of getting out of it. Failing to do so may lead you deeper into debt, because you won’t have the information you need to make wise financial decisions. Actually knowing where you stand can also be comforting.

    Get Support from Family and Friends

    Debt is isolating, but getting out of it requires support. Let your family and close friends know about your situation. They can be great sources of advice, and you may be surprised to learn that you’re not the only one who has faced financial hardships. Family and friends can also help you stick to a budget as you pay down your debt.

    Make a Repayment Plan

    Your stress will be eased greatly when you have an actionable plan for paying off your debt. Seek financial counseling if necessary. Ask your credit union to set up automatic payments so you don’t fall behind. Remember to make a repayment plan that is realistic. It’s better to pay off your debt over a longer period of time than to run the risk of defaulting.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon has a full range of financial products you need to manage your money, including checking accounts, CDs, debit cards, and more. To learn about credit union membership and all of our services, please call (618) 797-7993. 

  • Save More Money with These Easy Swaps

    Are you looking for ways to save more money? Most people associate saving with painful sacrifices, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By making a few simple swaps, you can put aside more money for the things you really want.

    Watch this video to get ideas for saving more money by eliminating things from your budget that you don’t really need. By making easy changes, like drinking tap water instead bottled water, using washable sponges instead of paper towels, and getting rid of your landline, you could have more cash in your wallet every month. 

    A savings account at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon is a great place to put your extra money to work for you. Find out more about all of our credit union services by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • Exploring How Certificates of Deposit Work

    Certificates of deposit, or CDs, offer a higher-yield alternative to traditional savings accounts. Although you can’t immediately withdraw your money from a CD as you can with a savings account, the interest will build up faster, so your money grows quickly until the date of maturity. GCS Credit Union offers competitive rates on CDs to our members. Is a CD right for your saving needs? Here is a look at how they work to help you decide. 

    protect your money concept with banknote and padlock

    CDs Explained

    CDs are essentially a type of savings account. You open the account using a deposit of your choosing, as long as it meets the minimum requirements set by your credit union. The difference is that, unlike a savings account, you can’t withdraw the money in the CD without paying a penalty until it has reached the age of maturity. The age of maturity varies depending on which CD you choose. Some CDs run for as little as seven days, while others don’t reach maturity for five years. In exchange for not having access to your money, the credit union pays a higher interest rate on the money you have in the account.

    CD Benefits

    If you have a stable income and money sitting in your savings account that you feel comfortable not having access to for a set period of time, a CD is a great opportunity to get a better return. They also offer a good way to save money for major investments, like a down payment on a home or college tuition. You’ll increase your savings faster than by simply setting aside that money in a traditional account without the risk associated with stocks. If you’re concerned about not having access to your money, start with a short-term CD and then renew it at the end of the term as desired.

    Are you interested in a CD? Visit GCS Credit Union to learn more about our flexible CD products. Our full-service credit union also provides checking accounts, auto financing, credit and debit cards, and much more. To learn about our services and for information about joining our O’Fallon credit union, please call (618) 797-7993. 

  • How to Keep Your Identity Safe [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Identity theft is on the rise in the United States and could affect you or someone you know at any time. Though this may sound alarming, there are steps you can take to help keep your identity safe. For example, you should never give out your Social Security number, checking account number, or credit card number unless you have a very good reason for doing so. Be suspicious of any callers claiming to be from your credit union asking for your personal information. Keep an eye out for unsolicited emails asking you to click through, as these could be identity theft scams. If your identity is compromised, the expert staff at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, Illinois, will help you get your finances back on track. Check out this infographic from your O’Fallon credit union to find tips on keeping your identity safe. You’ll also learn about common identity theft scams to watch out for. Please share this essential information with your friends and family.  

    How-To-Keep-Your-Identity-Safe-Infographic

  • Applying for a Loan at GCS Credit Union

    loan approved red round stamp

    With GCS Credit Union, applying for a loan has never been easier. You can get started on your application anytime with our online pre-approval process. When you begin your application from the comfort of your own home, you can take the time to carefully read over the materials and gather your financial information.

    We offer a wide range of lending options including auto loans, mortgages, refinancing, construction loans, and personal loans. To get started on your application, simply visit our website and select the type of loan you need. If you would prefer to start your application in person, you can always visit a branch in your neighborhood to speak with one of our loan officers.

    For a closer look at the services offered at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, visit us online or call (618) 797-7993. We can provide you with a more personal experience than any bank, thanks to our staff of local financial experts who are willing to spend the extra time to find the products that will benefit you most. 

  • Advice for Talking to Your College Student about Credit Cards

    Credit cards can be a valuable tool for college students, but they can also cause trouble if they come with high interest rates and spending limits. You can help your child avoid the common traps of high-limit credit cards by offering advice with the helpful tips below.

    Listening to Teen

    Understand how credit scores work
    Using a credit card is the best way to build credit , so your child should not avoid a credit card altogether. Instead, you will want to teach your child that credit cards are beneficial when they are used for purchases that money is already set aside for. You might need to run your credit score as well as your child’s so that you have a visual demonstration of how certain purchases affect this number.

    Set clear limits
    It is ideal to start out with a credit card that has a limit of $500 or lower. There are many student credit cards with this type of limit offering incentives and rewards for certain purchases. You will want to explain to your child that it is important to stick to this limit and use it only for certain types of spending. Purchasing text books with a credit card can be a great strategy for the semester, but putting monthly expenses like rent on a credit card can be problematic.

    Consult a professional
    You may be just as overwhelmed as your child when it comes to credit card choices for college, so you might need to talk to a financial expert at your credit union to determine which cards are best for your child.

    At GCS Credit Union, you can find options for student checking and savings accounts as well as financial guidance for any stage of life. Connect with our O’Fallon-area branch by calling us at (618) 797-7993 or visiting our website. 

  • How to Make Sticking to a Budget a Breeze

    It may seem easy to write out a budget, but the real challenge is actually sticking to that goal. This video offers personalized tips for different kinds of spenders who may struggle with a monthly budget .

    You might use tools like end-of-month rewards or email alerts to keep your spending in check each month. If you are still having trouble with sticking to your budget, you might ask friends and family members for help reminding you to watch your money and keep your purchases more modest.

    At GCS Credit Union , you can find the latest tools and affordable accounts to help you manage your money more effectively. You can open an account with us by visiting our website or calling our O’Fallon location at (618) 797-7993. 

  • Financial Accounts Your Child Should Have Before College

    Learning the importance of saving money and wise spending is an essential part of growing up, and it is up to parents to help their children learn these lessons with the right accounts and banking services. More credit unions and financial institutions are offering products tuned to the financial needs of kids and teens, so you should take advantage of these services to pave the way for a sound financial future for your children. 

    Piggy bank with dollars banknotes

    Savings Account
    You can open a savings account for your child when he or she is very young, and this will be an excellent way to encourage family members to contribute to your child’s future. As your child gets older, he or she can make contributions too and learn how money grows when it is put away wisely.

    Checking Account with Debit Card
    Once your child gets his or her first job in high school, it may be time to open up a checking account with a linked debit card. Using a debit card will teach your child to monitor spending and manage money without handling cash. Just remember, the checking account will also be the first account that your child can actually withdraw money from, so you should still keep a close eye on it and remind your child of the habits of a responsible spender.

    Credit Card
    In order to build credit, it is necessary to open a credit card, but many teens and young adults are not fully aware of the responsibility that comes with credit card use. To get your child off to a good start, you might cosign on a low-limit credit card for everyday use as well as a higher-limit card only used for special purchases that you might help pay off. This way, your child will be less tempted to fall into the predatory trap that bigger credit card companies set up on college campuses.

    For help getting your child off to the right start with his or her money, visit GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. Call us at (618) 797-7993 or visit our website to learn about our special services for kids and teens.