• Make the Move to GCS Credit Union with Our Switch Kit!

    Are you thinking of making the leap to GCS Credit Union, but are holding back because you’re worried that moving your accounts will be a hassle? Don’t miss out on another day of our great credit union benefits. Our Switch Kit walks you through the entire process.

    Businessman Holding Box

    Start by moving your direct deposits. Alert everyone who gives you a direct deposit of GCS Credit Union’s routing number—available on our website—and your new account number. Next, change your automatic payments so that they will come out of your new GCS account. Make a list of outstanding payments still waiting to post on your old account and cross them off as they clear, so you can be confident no returned payments will occur while you’re transitioning. When everything is cleared, close your old accounts. That’s all there is to transitioning to a GCS Credit Union account.

    At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon , we’re here to answer any questions you have about your new accounts. Find out more about making the switch and about all of our credit union services by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • How to Set Age-Appropriate Savings Goals for Your Kids

    Teaching kids to save is one of the most valuable lessons a parent can pass on. No child is too young to learn about savings—the trick is presenting the lesson in an age-appropriate way. GCS Credit Union has a range of savings account options for different age groups to support your efforts to teach your kids the value of saving. Here are a few of the ways you can teach your kids to save.

    Father training son to the finance

    Use a Piggy Bank for Young Children

    Visualizing savings is a helpful tool for very young kids, so start at the piggy bank instead of the credit union. The sound of coins dropping into the bank is satisfying for kids, and they will understand that the heavier the bank gets, the more money they have. When kids are old enough to understand, you can use some of the money to play games at home in which your kids have to make a decision about what to buy with their money. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk about smart purchasing choices. As kids get older, this money can be used to open up a credit union account.

    Introduce an Allowance

    When managed properly, an allowance can be a great learning tool for kids of all ages. Put a system in place that gives your kids a chance to earn an allowance, and then teach them to budget it effectively. Open a savings account at your credit union for your kids to put a portion of their allowance money into each time you pay them. Help them set both long-term savings goals and short-term savings goals for things they want to purchase.

    Set an Example

    Your kids learn their spending habits from you. When you make purchases, talk to them about your decision-making process, like price comparing. Also share your savings goals with them and explain how you plan for big-ticket purchases.

    Bring your kids with you to GCS Credit Union so they can learn about our youth savings accounts. They can also learn about the benefits of credit union membership by seeing you handle your financial affairs. Find out about all of the services offered in our O’Fallon credit union by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • Why Choose Direct Deposit?

    GCS Credit Union members are eligible to receive direct deposits of their paychecks. Direct deposits offer many advantages to account holders. All you need to do to set up direct deposits is give your employer our routing number, which can be found on our website. 

    Direct Deposit Summary

    The biggest benefit of direct deposit is convenience. Forget going to your credit union location to deposit a paper check. You also don’t have to wait for a check to clear. You’ll have your money in your account on payday, every time. Direct deposit also lessens the risk of stolen or misplaced checks, since your money goes directly to your account.

    Find out more about direct deposits by talking to the staff at GCS Credit Union. Our representatives are always happy to answer questions about our services. You can learn more about the products we offer to help you take more control of your financial life by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • Identity Theft 101

    Identity theft is a startlingly common crime. At GCS Credit Union , we take our responsibilities to protect our members from identity theft and help them deal with the consequences when they are victimized very seriously.  Here is what you need to know about identity theft and how you can lessen your odds of becoming a victim. 

    Identity theft

    What Is Identity Theft?

    Identity theft occurs when someone fraudulently obtains personal information about you and pretends to be you. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2012 alone, victims of identity theft lost more than $24.7 billion. That is $14 billion more than what was lost during the same period to all other types of theft, including burglary and auto theft. The statistics are scary, but you don’t have to be a victim. In the vast majority of cases, identity theft involves financial fraud. Someone gets access to your credit union account numbers, Social Security number, credit card numbers, and other financial data and uses it as their own. Some cases of identity theft involve a thief emptying credit union checking and savings accounts, while others go much further. Some identity thieves run up massive amounts of debt in another person’s name and even purchase property.

    What Happens If I Am a Victim of Identity Theft?

    If you become the victim of identity theft, your accounts could be emptied and your credit destroyed. The faster you react to the theft, the quicker you can put a stop to the activity. Notify your credit union right away if you notice suspicious charges on your account or if you lose your credit or debit card.

    How Can I Prevent Identity Theft?

    Be cautious about who you give your financial information to. Your credit union will never ask for personal financial details in an email. When you buy items online, make sure the sites are secure. Don’t do banking on an unsecured public internet connection. Check all of your accounts regularly for suspicious activity.

    GCS Credit Union is here to help you protect your accounts and can react quickly if you think your financial information has been compromised. Learn more about our O’Fallon credit union’s identity theft safeguards by visiting our website or calling (618) 797-7993.

  • CANCER FUNDRAISER A SUCCESS

    GCSDonation

    GCS Credit Union was on site at the National Children’s Cancer Society’s Pack the Pool fundraiser on July 18 at Splash City Family Water Park in Collinsville.

    For the month of July, GCS employees had the option to wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month in exchange for a donation. Together, GCS employees raised $665 for NCCS and presented a check at the fundraiser.

    All proceeds collected benefit the National Children’s Cancer Society. The mission of the NCCS is, “To improve the quality of life for children with cancer and their families worldwide.” They have helped more than 30,000 children with cancer and their families.

    For more information about NCCS, visit theNCCS.org .

    Founded in 1941, GCS Credit Union currently has assets of more than $321 million. GCS serves more than 41,000 members throughout Bond, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington Counties in Illinois via 7 full-service branches, numerous ATM locations, and 24-hour account access through mobile, telephone and PCU online banking.

  • Tips for Balancing Your First Checkbook

    One of the simplest things you can do to stay on top of your finances is balance your checkbook, but for many people, this is a dying art. Although you can manage your credit union accounts online, balancing your checkbook is still important.

    This video explains the step-by-step process of balancing your checkbook. You can use your online credit union accounts to compare to your checkbook entries to verify deposits, withdrawals, and pending transactions. Doing this will help you keep a closer eye on what is going into and out of your account. 

    Help with financial management is always available to members of GCS Credit Union. Get answers to your questions about credit union membership and more by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Is a Second Mortgage Right for You?

    A second mortgage can be a smart option to raise money when you need it. However, because your house is on the line, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. One of the best ways to determine if a second mortgage is the right way to raise money for your needs is to sit down with a representative from your credit union to explore your options. If you’re considering a second mortgage, here is what you need to know. 

    Mortgage

    What Is a Second Mortgage?

    A second mortgage allows you to tap into the equity in your home when you need money. Your home equity is the difference between your initial mortgage loan and the remaining balance on that loan. There are two types of second mortgages: home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Home equity loans function much like your initial mortgage, though typically with a higher interest rate. A home equity line of credit works like a credit card with a specific portion of your equity as the credit limit. You can borrow as needed and repay as you go, never taking out more than your equity at any time.

    What Are Second Mortgages Used For?

    A second mortgage can be used for anything you want, from taking a vacation to buying a car. Many people use second mortgages to cover home renovations or college tuition. What you plan to use your second mortgage for impacts which type is right for you. Ask your credit union to help you decide whether to apply for a home equity loan or a line of credit.

    Is a Second Mortgage Better Than a Personal Loan?

    Whether you need a second mortgage or a personal loan will depend on a number of factors. Remember that a second mortgage uses your house as collateral, so you could lose your home if you default on payments. Discuss your plans for your loan with a credit union representative, who can help you make the right choice.

    Are you considering a second mortgage ? Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union to learn more about our loan products. You can reach our O’Fallon credit union by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Increase Your 401(k) with This Advice

    Falling behind on retirement savings is a national epidemic. Gen Xers are facing a particularly difficult situation. They are saving less, adding up more debt than previous generations, and expected to reach retirement age when Social Security runs out. However, retirement difficulties don’t have to happen to you. No matter what your age, you can take control of your 401(k) to boost your retirement savings. 

    401k Nest Eggs

    Start by making sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity you have to save. For instance, if your employer matches contributions, focus on putting the maximum amount in each year. From there, look at ways to diversify your investments so you can cushion additional risk from a few high-risk, high-reward stocks. You can even consider investing in EFTs and ETPs.

    Talk to a representative at GCS Credit Union about your retirement savings plan. Our full-service credit union has savings options that can help, plus we offer the best rates on auto financing, checking accounts, and more. Call us today at (618) 797-7993 to learn about membership. 

  • Learn the Truth Behind Credit Union Misconceptions

    If you’ve been thinking about making the jump from a bank to a credit union, what are you waiting for? For many people, misconceptions about credit unions and what they offer hold them back from making the switch, when in reality, becoming a credit union member has a long list of benefits. The following information may help you make up your mind about applying for membership. 

    man with question on white. Isolated 3D image

    It’s Hard to Join a Credit Union

    Long ago, credit union membership was reserved only for very specific groups. Today, almost everyone is eligible for membership in some credit union. You could qualify simply based on where you live or work. If you’re interested in a credit union, chances are that there is one out there for you.

    Your Money Isn’t Safe in a Credit Union

    Funds in credit unions aren’t FDIC-secured, like funds in banks are, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not safe. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures credit union funds in most cases. This insurance works like FDIC insurance, so you can operate with the same confidence with your money in a credit union account as you would with your money in a bank account. When a credit union doesn’t have NCUSIF insurance, it has private insurance instead.

    Credit Unions Offer Fewer Services

    Credit unions offer the same services you’ll find at any bank, from checking accounts and debit cards to auto loans and mortgages. Credit unions often offer perks to their members, like discounts at local businesses. Additionally, credit unions can offer something banks can’t—a personal touch. Credit unions don’t have customers; instead, they have member-owners. Because a credit union doesn’t have to answer to shareholders, it can take a broader view of members’ financial positions when considering things like loan applications.

    Tap into the benefits of credit union membership yourself by joining GCS Credit Union. We can help with your checking account, debit card, auto financing , and much more. Start the process of becoming a member by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • Tips for Teaching Kids About Saving by Giving Them an Allowance

    Providing an allowance can be a powerful way to teach children about the real value of money and the importance of saving. Learn more about how an allowance can be turned into a financial lesson for your child by watching this video.

    Start by tying your child’s allowance to the completion of chores, so he or she learns how hard work can bring financial rewards. Help your child find something he or she really wants to buy and encourage him or her save up for it. Be sure to also teach your child to save a portion of his or her allowance each week in a savings account that can’t be touched.

    At GCS Credit Union, we have a variety of age-appropriate savings account options to help your little one build healthy financial habits. To learn more about membership in our O’Fallon credit union and all of our account options, call (618) 797-7993.