• What to Know About International Travel with Your GCS Visa

    GCS Credit Union is a proud provider of competitive financial products, including Visa rewards credit cards. If you plan to travel within the U.S. with your GCS Visa credit or check card, there is no need to make special arrangements. However, we do recommend that you notify a representative at our credit union if you plan to travel internationally and use your account while abroad.

    There are a few easy ways that you can submit the notification. Visit the website for our credit union and fill out our simple travel notification form. Be sure to include the dates of your departure and return to the U.S. Alternatively, you can give us a call or drop by one of our convenient branches. In addition, please write down the numbers to call for a lost or stolen card and bring them with you during your trip.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon makes it easy for our members to stay on top of their personal finances. If you’re looking for competitive credit card offers or online banking options, call us today at (618) 797-7993.

  • Understanding the Types of Life Insurance Policies

    It’s a common misconception that only older adults need life insurance policies. However, if you’re married, have a domestic partner, or have children, it makes good financial sense to purchase life insurance regardless of your age. Life insurance doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. Consider talking to a member representative at your credit union. Some credit unions connect members to great deals on insurance.

    Whole Life

    Whole life insurance is permanent. The coverage remains in effect for the life of the person, provided the premiums are paid. A whole life policy locks in a premium rate, which is particularly advantageous for younger people because they can usually secure a very low rate that will stay the same throughout their lifetime. Additionally, whole life insurance grows in cash value over time.

    Term Life

    A term life policy only extends coverage for a specified period of time. A term life policy may last for 10, 15, 20, or more years before it expires. However, some carriers offer the option to convert term life policies into permanent plans. It’s a smart move to choose this option if it’s available, since an individual can expect to pay higher premiums after the term life policy expires due to their older age.

    Universal Life

    Universal life insurance is similar to whole life. It’s a permanent form of coverage that builds cash value over time and pays death benefits to the beneficiaries . However, policyholders can predetermine the percentage of the benefits that will go toward the cash value and the percentage for the death benefits.

    Variable Life

    A variable life plan is a whole life plan with cash value and death benefits. The difference is that a variable life policyholder can roll the funds into investment opportunities such as equities. These are sub-accounts held by the insurance carrier. This means that there is greater opportunity for growth, but also greater risk.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon offers much more than just savings and checking accounts. Our members get competitive rates on auto, home, and life insurance to protect what’s important to them. Call a credit union branch at (618) 797-7993 to ask about our member benefits.

  • Tips for Saving Money While in College

    There is no question that college is expensive, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your expenses while you’re studying. First, look for a local credit union that you’ll be eligible to join once you arrive on campus. Credit unions offer great rates and may have special offers for students. Next, watch this video to find out how a high school senior plans to reduce her costs when she heads off to school.

    She strongly recommends comparison shopping for used textbooks. College bookstores typically offer both new and used textbooks, but you may still be able to find cheaper used textbooks online. Consider splitting the rental fee for a mini-fridge with your roommate and get a minimal meal plan. Invest in a water filtration pitcher instead of buying water bottles every day.

    GCS Credit Union is committed to helping members of all ages achieve their financial goals. Call our credit union in O’Fallon at (618) 797-7993 or visit our website to learn about our Student Success Account Package .

  • Installment Loans 101: A Quick Primer for Young Adults

    Do you need a new or used car? Are you looking for ways of covering educational expenses or paying for a major vehicle repair? Or perhaps you have high-interest debts that you wish to consolidate and pay off at more reasonable rates. If so, it’s time to start shopping for an installment loan at your local credit union. If you’re approved for an installment loan, your credit union lends you a lump sum of money, which you’ll then make monthly payments on to repay the original amount plus interest.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Each credit union has different criteria for approving members for loans. In general, credit unions tend to be more flexible than banks. A member representative will not only take a look at your credit history and score, but may also consider other relevant circumstances that affect your finances. For example, young adults often have a minimal credit history, but it may still be possible to obtain a loan for a used car or educational expenses. Lenders prefer to approve borrowers who demonstrate a stable employment history.

    Borrowing Process

    When you apply for an installment loan, you’ll be asked to fill out a simple application. Provide information about your income, employment, expenses, and the reason for the loan. Expect to be asked to provide copies of your paystubs and similar documentation. You’ll receive notification of whether you’ve been approved and if you accept the repayment terms, the loan will move forward.

    Repayment Terms

    If you’re approved for an installment loan , the credit union will let you know the interest rate you’ve qualified for. The other terms of the loan include your monthly payment and the total number of months you’ll be making this payment. Be sure to ask if online bill pay is available. Paying your loan online is safe and convenient. Plus, setting up automatic payments can help improve your credit history by preventing late payments.

    For affordably low rates on installment loans and convenient online bill pay, you can turn to GCS Credit Union . Our credit union members in O’Fallon enjoy convenient online banking, great rates on all financial products we offer, and world-class member service. If you aren’t a member yet and think you may be eligible to join, call us today at (618) 797-7993.

  • Common Questions About Debt Consolidation Loans

    Bills may be an unavoidable part of life, but they don’t have to be unmanageable. If you are feeling weighed down by high-interest loans and credit cards, consider talking to your credit union about a debt consolidation loan. Debt consolidation loans can help you streamline your debt and save money as you pay it off. Could a consolidation loan be right for you? Here are the answers to some common questions about these kinds of loans.

    What is debt consolidation?

    As the name suggests, debt consolidation is the process of replacing multiple debt accounts with a single account with one loan payment. Although there are a few ways to consolidate debt, such as with a credit card balance transfer, debt consolidation loans are a common and convenient choice for many people. Note that debt consolidation is not the same thing as debt settlement, which can damage your credit score and leave you facing taxes on any debt that is forgiven as part of a settlement plan.

    Why should I consider consolidating my debt?

    There are several advantages to consolidating debt. For some people, the appeal of consolidation is the convenience of making a single payment. It is easier to remember and budget for one payment rather than trying to juggle multiple due dates. It can also help you avoid late fees associated with forgotten payments. For most people, however, the biggest benefit of debt consolidation is the saving money. Debt consolidation loans often have lower interest rates than the individual accounts people are trying to consolidate. Over time, the lower interest rate can result in significant savings.

    How do I get a debt consolidation loan?

    To determine if a debt consolidation loan is right for you, visit your credit union. The member representative can help you find the right consolidation product and walk you through the application process.

    GCS Credit Union is pleased to offer debt consolidation loans as one of the many ways we help the members of our credit union in O’Fallon achieve financial freedom. If you have any questions about loans, membership, or our savings and checking accounts, call (618) 797-7993.