• Determining What Car You Can Afford

    Once you have solidified your living situation with a home mortgage loan in O’Fallon, you can consider taking out an auto loan so you can buy a car. Take a look at your online checking account and head to your credit union for help in figuring out how much money you should spend on a vehicle. Keep reading if you are looking for some assistance in determining what car you can afford.

    Saving up for a Car

    There are various different expenses that factor into the price of your car in addition to the actual money you will hand over to drive it out of the lot. You will have to take insurance costs into consideration, which may range from under 5 percent to 12 percent of the cost of the vehicle. You will also have to have your vehicle registered, which is another factor to keep in mind. Discuss these factors with your lender when you visit your credit union for an auto loan. Remember that a car with a decent warranty can keep you out of financial distress should any of your parts fail, but regular fluids, tires, and wipers are not free.

  • 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Credit [INFOGRAPHIC]

    The New Year celebration may be over, but you still have time to make a few resolutions. While you may want to eat better and exercise more, don’t forget that you can also make resolutions to improve your credit or get your banking back on track with help from your credit union. Start by resolving not to max out any of your cards, as this can hurt your credit score. Talk to your credit union in O’Fallon to see whether you have the right credit cards for your needs, and look into using online bill pay for your checking account so you never miss another payment deadline. Check out this infographic for more resolutions you can make to improve your credit in the New Year. Please share with your friends and family!

    Resolutions for Your Credit

  • Is Joining a Credit Union Right for You?

    Just like a bank, a credit union in O’Fallon can offer you a checking account, online banking, and auto and home mortgage loans. However, credit unions also differ from banks in a number of ways, and they hold their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Read on if you are interested in finding out if joining a credit union is right for you.

    Credit Union Banking

    Credit unions are typically run by and composed of members of the local community ; whereas a bank is more like a chain fast food restaurant, a credit union more closely resembles a local pizzeria. This dynamic sets the stage for much less red tape, and much more accountability. The people who make decisions about fees and policies within the credit union are community members who will likely run into their customers throughout their daily life. This encourages owners to carefully consider their business decisions because the result will impact individuals that they see face to face on a daily basis. On the other hand, large banks follow orders and implement changes that are decided by those at the top of the company, who are typically not members of the local community.

    Credit union membership has traditionally been reserved for those who are a part of a certain group or hold a specific job. However, credit unions are increasingly opening their doors and abandoning these restrictions, which makes them much more available to the local community. In today’s age of banking you will probably not have a difficult time finding a local credit union that is more concerned with where you live rather than the union you are a part of; in this case, if you live in the area, you can be considered for membership.

    Although banks and credit unions both offer features like online checking accounts and home mortgage loans, the foundational difference is that credit unions are not indebted to shareholders. Any profit that is made by the credit union is returned to the members in the form of enhanced services or reduced fees. The fact that credit unions are nonprofit makes them fundamentally different from banks.

  • GCS Donates to Meals on Wheels

    Photo from left to right: Shawna Hock, GCS Credit Union Collinsville Branch Manager & Mary Smith, Director of Collinsville Area Meals on Wheels.

    January 23, 2015

    GCS employees had the option to wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month in exchange for a charitable donation. For the month of January, GCS employees supported the community and raised $1,140 for the Collinsville Area Meals on Wheels.

    Meals on Wheels Association of America is an organization that represents local and community based senior nutrition programs. These local programs provide over one million meals a day to seniors who are in need. Many of their programs provide services such as, delivering meals to those whose mobility is limited and serving meals to local senior centers.

    To find out more information about the Meals on Wheels Association of America or to find a location near you visit mowaa.org . To find out more about GCS, visit myGCScu.com .

    Founded in 1941, GCS Credit Union currently has assets of more than $309 million. GCS serves more than 41,000 members Bond, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington Counties in Illinois via 7 conveniently located branches, numerous ATM locations, and 24-hour account access through a telephone audio response system and PCU online banking.

  • Determining How Much Money to Save

    Spending money on fun activities, vacations, and fancy electronics and gadgets is the fun part of financing; however, saving money may be the more responsible part. If you would rather see your checking account in O’Fallon grow rather than deplete, saving is the way to do it. Watch this video for a few tips on determining just how much money you should save.

    Saving money is important when it comes to online bill paying and chipping away at your auto loans while still being able to provide for yourself and pay off immediate bills. A few key factors can help you determine how much money you should be holding onto. If you are lucky enough that you do not have any auto or home mortgage loans, think about how much you spend on a monthly basis. Then save enough for an emergency fund that can last you up to six months, just in case you need it someday.

  • Responsible Credit Card Tips for College Students

    For most people, college is a time period during which you begin to truly discover yourself and find out what you want to do with your life. Your checking account in O’Fallon is just one of the many responsibilities that may be bestowed upon you during this often overwhelming time period. However, this responsibility is also an opportunity. Here is an overview of a few responsible credit card tips for college students.

    College Student with Credit Card

    Know When Not to Use a Credit Card
    Using your credit card in the appropriate manner can bring positive things in your life; you can build up your credit score so that you can obtain home mortgage and auto loans with reasonable interest rates, and in some cases you can even earn rewards from your credit card company. However, it is important that you identify situations that do not warrant the use of your credit card. One of these situations is the repayment of student loans. Student loan debt looms over a great deal of college students, but it should never be repaid via credit card; in this situation you would be repaying a loan with another loan, increasing the interest that you will pay in the long run.

    Open Few Cards
    The responsible use of your credit card can lead to a high credit score thanks to your proven trustworthiness and positive credit history. In order to keep your score high and continue to pay off your credit cards on time, it is a good idea to limit the amount that you open. Even the fact that you have few credit cards may be a positive influence when it comes to calculating your credit score. If you are a college student, you should not have more than two credit cards open.

    Keep Your Cards Safe
    Online bill paying and banking, specifically with online checking accounts, helps to keep your credit card safe. However, if you are carrying your card around with you make sure you keep tabs on it. College students are known for the frequent use of credit cards, making them targets for potential identity thieves.