• How to Build Credit Using a Credit Card

    Credit cards are usually associated with credit history nightmares, but when used correctly, they can actually be beneficial to your financial wellbeing. This video explains how to use a credit card to your advantage in building a strong credit history. 

    To have a good credit history, you have to obtain credit and use it responsibly. A credit card is a great way to do just that. To boost your credit history, make small purchases on your card each month and pay your balance off in full. You should also limit the number of cards you have, and of course, pay your bills on time.

    Let the team at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon help you manage your credit card . For information about our credit union services, please call (618) 797-7993.

  • How Young People Can Build Their Savings Accounts

    One of the most important lessons parents can teach their kids is the value of saving money. If your kids get into the habit of saving when they are young, it will be easier for them to exercise control over their spending as adults. GCS Credit Union offers three savings accounts for young people with special benefits designed to reward them for responsible financial decisions. If you’ve opened one of these accounts for your children, or if you’re a young saver yourself, here are some ways to boost the account balance.

    Mother and daughter putting coins into piggy bank

    Create a Routine

    One of the easiest ways of getting into the habit of saving is to automatically deduct a certain portion of all money earned or received and put it directly into a savings account. If you’re a teen, consider how much money you really need to pay for your expenses. Parents can help younger children make these decisions when they get money for things like allowance or a birthday. Whatever percentage of money you decide to save, stick to that routine each time you get money and watch the account grow.

    Weigh Saving Versus Spending

    Parents can help kids learn how to balance spending and saving by teaching them about the trade-offs. Use savings account statements to show how money grows with interest and talk about the value of buying something now versus the value of letting that money grow. Let your kids know that they do not need to save every penny and never buy anything they want—they should simply be sure to consider each purchase carefully.

    Look for New Ways to Make Money

    The more money young people earn, the more money they can save. For young kids, parents can help by setting them up with chores to do in exchange for an allowance. Teens can consider hitting the job market to boost their incomes.

    Show your kids how you manage money by bringing them with you to GCS Credit Union. Don’t forget to explore our savings accounts for kids. Teens can also open checking accounts at our credit union . Learn more by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • How Much Money Do You Really Need for Retirement?

    Planning for your retirement is one of the most important financial steps you will ever take. The big mystery that may be looming over you is how much money you will really need. The answer is different for everyone, but there is a straightforward way of calculating what your savings should look like.

    Watch this video to find out how you can set a retirement savings target for yourself. Start by figuring out your likely expenses during retirement. Then, find out how much money you will be getting from Social Security and any pensions you have. You will need to make up the difference between your expenditures and income with your savings. 

    At GCS Credit Union, we offer a range of products to help you maximize your savings. Learn more by calling our O’Fallon credit union today at (618) 797-7993.

  • GCS Donates to Big Brothers Big Sisters!


    GCS Credit Union recently donated 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois.

    GCS and Radio Disney St. Louis teamed up to donate the backpacks for the fifth year in a row. All backpacks will be distributed by Big Brothers Big Sisters to the local children they serve.

    In addition, GCS employees raised $610 through jean days to help BBBS purchase additional supplies for the children.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters creates meaningful, supervised matches between adult volunteers and children in communities across the country. The mission of BBBS is “to help children reach their potential through one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth.”

    For more information, log on to bbbsil.org . To find out more about GCS, visit myGCScu.com .

    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.

  • What Does the Information on Your Credit Report Really Mean?

    Your credit report is a vital tool used by lenders to qualify you for a loan, apartment, and more. However, despite how crucial credit reports are, most people don’t know how to read theirs. Understanding your credit report can help you plan to do things like apply for a mortgage at your credit union and get a better rate on your credit card. There are four basic parts of a credit report. Here is what you need to know. 

    Poor Credit Score

    Identifying Information

    The first part of your credit report simply contains basic information about you, like your name and address. Look closely for any errors. A simple typo in your name or Social Security number could have major repercussions on your report. Alert the credit bureau that issued the report if you find any misinformation.

    Credit History

    Your credit history lists all of your credit accounts, such as credit cards and loans, as well as the total amount of each loan or maximum limit on each card, what your balance is, and what your payment history is. It also says if any of your accounts have been charged off by the creditor, meaning that you didn’t pay the account in full but the creditor has stopped collection efforts. Old accounts stay on your credit history for seven years.

    Public Records

    The public records section lists any financial issues you’ve had that were settled in court, such as a judgment against you, a tax lien, or a bankruptcy. Entries in this section are the most detrimental to your overall credit score.


    The inquiry section lists everyone who has checked your credit score. These include hard inquiries—credit checks that were initiated by you when you filled out an application for something—and soft inquiries, which are made by companies trying to pre-qualify you for credit offers.

    At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, we take our commitment to educating our members about good financial decisions seriously. Our credit union staff is always here to help you understand credit reports, savings strategies, loans, and more. Visit one of our credit union locations or call us at (618) 797-7993 for more information.