• A Brief Guide to Credit Card Fees and Penalties

    Paying on Time Banks and credit unions in O’Fallon can be incredibly helpful when it comes to storing money and accessing online banking systems. Credit cards can also be convenient, but it is important that you know how to use them responsibly in order to avoid unnecessary fees. Here is a brief guide to credit card feeds and penalties.

    Going Over the Limit
    It is important to pay close attention to your credit card activity because you may be hit with fees if you exceed your credit limit. Your credit card will typically allow you to spend up to a certain amount of money, or a credit limit. You may not necessarily be penalized on the first time, but exceeding your credit limit two or three times is not a good idea if you want to avoid fees and maintain your good credit score.

    Bouncing Checks
    Your checkbook is kind of like an alternate credit card, and bouncing checks comes with its own penalties. Fees that are imposed due to bounced checks may be relatively substantial when you consider the ability of both your credit card issuer and your bank to issue them.

    Paying Late
    Missing payments is bad for your credit score and bad for your wallet. Late payments trigger penalty rates, meaning that your outstanding payment will begin to incur interest. Be sure to make your payments on time in order to keep up your credit score and avoid the extra hassle – and burden – of paying interest.

    For more information about credit card fees and penalties, call GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993. We serve the O’Fallon area with online banking and bill paying, auto loans, and credit cards. For more information about our credit union and membership, visit our website or stop in and see us today.

  • Choosing the Best Credit Cards

    Credit cards are popular and convenient, and for good reasons. Many types of credit cards, like Visa rewards credit cards, offer a variety of exciting benefits and incentives. Watch this video clip for help in choosing the best credit cards.

    Before looking into the rewards a credit card can offer, investigate the annual fees that come along with it. Once you do start looking at the rewards, make sure you pick a credit card that offers rewards that make sense for your life. For example, if you spend a lot of time driving, gas rewards may be appealing to you.

    Based in O’Fallon, the GCS Credit Union offers auto and home mortgage loans as well as online bill paying and checking accounts. If you would like to learn about opening up a credit card, please visit our website or call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

  • Making a Wise Auto Loan Decision

    Auto Loans The ideal way to go about purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle is by paying cash up front. Unfortunately, many individuals do not have the financial means to take this route. Auto loans can help you leave with your vehicle and pay it back over time. Keep reading if you would like to learn how to make a wise auto loan decision.

    Perks of Preapproval
    Although many car dealerships offer in-house financing, other car dealerships are not responsible for arranging for your loan. This is one of the reasons why it helps to be preapproved for a loan from your credit union in O’Fallon. If you have already qualified for financing, it is one less detail that you and your car salesperson will have to deal with when purchasing a new vehicle. In the eyes of the car company, you are essentially a cash buyer.

    Budget in Advance
    Cars are not cheap, especially if you want a decent ride that you can expect to get you through each season without too much trouble. Take a look at your monthly expenses and income and get an idea of what kind of price range you are working with. Then look at cars that fall within that price range and find a few that you like. This early preparation can help you stay within your budget and still end up with a reliable vehicle.

    Break It Down
    Your auto loan may be comprised of several different components, which can sometimes make things confusing for the buyer. Have your dealer discuss the trade-in value of your car and the price of the car you are looking at separately. Also ask your auto loan provider to explain repayment options and interest.

    GCS Credit Union is happy to serve the O’Fallon area with auto loans. If you would like to become a member of GCS Credit Union and apply for an auto loan, please feel free to visit our website or give us a call at (618) 797-7993.

  • Merging Your Finances as Newlyweds

    When you decide to get married, you are not just marrying a person; you are also marrying his or her life, including any baggage and debt they may have accrued. This is important to keep in mind when you consider how this change can affect your checking account in O’Fallon. Read on to learn about merging your finances as newlyweds.

    When it comes to merging finances it is imperative that you and your significant other practice excellent communication. It is a good idea to set financial goals that you can both strive for to make sure that you stay on the same page. Decide on a spending limit for your purchases and try to stick to making practical, responsible purchases. Talk to your partner and determine how much money to set aside as an emergency fund for the future.

    Contact GCS Credit Union or visit our website to learn more about the process of merging your finances as newlyweds. Our credit union offers online banking in O’Fallon, which includes online checking accounts and bill paying. You can find out more about our home mortgage and auto loans by calling us at (618) 797-7993.

  • Comparing Different Types of Savings Accounts

    While a checking account in O’Fallon is useful when it comes to keeping your funds safe yet maximally accessible, a savings account is geared towards helping you build up your money. There are a number of different types of savings accounts you may choose from, and each has unique perks. Keep reading as we compare different types of savings accounts.

    If you like the idea of online banking and online bill paying, an online savings account may be the best choice for you. This kind of savings account tends to offer higher interest rates than the others , although your interest rate may be influenced by the amount of money you have in your account. The drawback to the online savings account is the time it may take to access your money; whereas you may be able to make instant transfers with other types of savings accounts, moving money between online accounts could take days.

    The purpose of a savings account is to allow you to save up your money, and an automatic savings account can help you commit to this plan. When you go to your credit union to set up your automatic savings account, you will choose a certain amount of money that will be moved from your checking to your savings each month. People who have a budget plan that they would like to keep to may prefer this type of savings account.

    A standard savings account is typically like a checking account but without the ability to write checks. It may additionally warrant a greater opening deposit, and its interest rates are minimal compared to other kinds of savings accounts. These “regular” savings accounts may go by a variety of names.

    Would you like to learn more about the different types of savings accounts? Call GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993. We are proud to serve the O’Fallon area with online checking accounts as well as auto and home mortgage loans. Please feel free to visit our website or stop in and meet with us to learn more about our credit union.

  • Comparing Banks and Credit Unions

    When it comes to keeping your money safe and secure, your two main options are banks and credit unions in O’Fallon. Watch this video to compare banks and credit unions.

    While banks and credit unions may both be viable choices when it comes to saving and storing your money, credit unions tend to be viewed as more inviting towards consumers. While banks work with shareholders, credit unions are not for profit. Credit unions have been blossoming because members can expect to pay fewer taxes and receive safe investment opportunities.

    Would you like to know more about the difference between banks and credit unions? Contact GCS Credit Union or visit our website. Our O’Fallon credit union offers online banking and bill paying in addition to physical checking accounts and auto loans. Feel free to stop by and see us or call (618) 797-7993 to learn more about our services today.

  • Why so Many Americans Are Switching to Credit Unions

    While you can store your money however you like, most people tend to keep their money in either a bank or a credit union in O’Fallon. Due to their many advantages, credit unions have been steadily gaining popularity. Continue on to find out why so many Americans are switching to credit unions.

    In the past, credit union membership has been reserved for employees of specific companies; while this is still the case in some places today, many credit unions have begun to loosen their eligibility requirements. Now that more people are becoming able to join credit unions, they are gaining more attention; in turn, this is causing them to see a greater quantity of members. According to the Washington Post , about one third of American citizens choose credit unions.

    Many choose to switch from banks to credit unions in hopes of acquiring lower interest rates on auto and home mortgage loans. Credit unions are known for not only keeping interest rates low, but also offering high rates on savings accounts compared to the rates offered by most banks. The reason that credit unions are able to offer these rates is that, unlike many big banks, they do not have to pay federal taxes or shareholders. Thus, they are left with the ability to return more money to the members of the credit union.

    Credit unions typically offer free checking accounts as well as online banking and bill paying. Individuals who are unhappy being charged for their checking accounts at banks are thus inspired to make the switch to credit unions. Fees in general are typically less substantial from a credit union as compared to a bank, although it is worth noting that banks are more likely to waive them.

    If you are interested in learning more about switching to credit unions, please feel free to contact GCS Credit Union or visit our website. We are an O’Fallon based credit union that offers online checking accounts and bill paying. Give us a call at (618) 797-7993 to learn about our auto and home mortgage loans.

  • GCS Board of Directors Election Held at Annual Meeting

    March 09, 2015

    Granite City, IL – GCS Credit Union announces the positions of Directors at the annual meeting held Saturday, March 7.

    Re-elected to serve two-year terms as Director were Charles (Bob) Marcus, Cecil Williams, Robert Lyles, Tom Grady, Ken Newton and Nick Huniak.

    Continuing Officers for 2015 are:

    • Cecil Williams, Chairman
    • George Mitchell, Vice-Chairman
    • Jim Devine, Treasurer
    • Nick Huniak, Secretary

    Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that have a volunteer Board of Directors.

    During the meeting GCS Credit Union was awarded with the First Place state Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award and Honorable Mention in the state Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award, presented by Pat Voss, Illinois Credit Union League Regional Director. These awards are given to credit unions who exemplify the “People Helping People” philosophy. GCS Board members presented a 2014 financial review of GCS and were available to answer additional questions from members in attendance.

    Founded in 1941, GCS Credit Union currently has assets of more than $314 million. GCS serves 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.

  • Auto Loan Mistakes that Can Cost You Money

    If you are interested in purchasing a vehicle but you cannot afford to pay up front, you may be interested in auto loans in O’Fallon. Individuals who finance a car are able to begin driving the vehicle immediately while paying for it over time. Keep reading if you would like to learn about auto loan mistakes that can cost you money.

    One big mistake that tends to cost people extra over the long term is negotiating an auto loan based on monthly payments. Instead, you should be negotiating the purchase price of the vehicle. It is important to refrain from explaining to a salesperson what you can afford on a monthly basis; this gives you better leverage when it comes to negotiation. If you need to stretch the payment over the course of many months, you may want to choose a different vehicle.

    Refrain from making these auto loan mistakes and call GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993. Our O’Fallon credit union is the O’Fallon area’s home for home mortgage and auto loans as well as online banking. Please feel free to visit our website or stop in and meet with us to learn more about how we can help you today.

  • Securing the Best Mortgage Loan

    The prospect of acquiring a home mortgage loan in O’Fallon may feel overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. However, there are steps that you can take to secure a favorable loan with smaller interest rates. Keep reading to learn about the process of securing the best mortgage loan.

    Down Payment
    The more money you can put into your down payment, the better off you will be in finding a home mortgage loan. When you choose to pay as much as possible in your down payment, you open yourself up to the possibility of larger loans as well as smaller interest rates and closing fees. A down payment will typically fall between five and twenty percent , so shoot for the twenty percent range if you would like to secure an optimal mortgage loan.

    Credit Report
    If you are looking for a good mortgage loan you will need a high credit score. For this reason it is important to keep an eye on your credit report and make sure that there are no errors bringing your score down. Make sure you get a copy of your report and have enough time to review it before applying for your mortgage loan.

    Interest Rate
    When you finish your application you can either float or lock in your interest rate. If you float your rate, the rate is not solidified until closing; instead, it moves with the market. By the time your closing date arrives you may be paying more or less than anticipated, depending on how the market flows during that time period. If you lock in your interest rate, on the other hand, you can commit to the interest rate that you had discussed and avoid the risk of paying a greater percentage.

    If you are interested in securing the best mortgage loan, follow these tips and contact GCS Credit Union . Our credit union provides both home mortgage loans and auto loans in O’Fallon. Please feel free to visit our website or give us a call at (618) 797-7993 to learn more about our online bill paying and checking accounts today.