• What Couples Need to Know About Joint Checking Accounts

    If you are married or in a long-term relationship, traditional wisdom dictates that you put your money in a joint checking account . However, times are changing, and some married couples prefer to keep their money separate. Which option is right for you? Here is what every couple needs to know about sharing a joint checking account.

    Benefits of Joint Accounts

    When you share expenses, there are benefits of having a joint account. You can easily see where your money is going each month, and you don’t have to debate who will pay which bill. It’s easier to track household expenses with a joint account, and it minimizes the chances that a financial surprise will arise in the future with either partner. It also makes it easier to save for shared financial goals if you are managing the same pot of money together.

    Disadvantages of Joint Accounts

    As more people settle into long-term relationships later in life, they become less willing to give up their financial independence with a joint checking account. Having a joint account can often make it challenging to balance personal discretionary spending, and it can lead to resentment when one person has a different approach to spending than the other. When couples come into relationships with different amounts of debt, sharing all of your money can also become a difficult subject. Joint accounts can also be problematic if a couple separates, especially when there is a large discrepancy in income or contributions to the relationship.

    Finding a Third Way

    Couples don’t have to choose between having a single joint account and maintaining their money separately. A third option some couples choose is having a joint account for household expenses as well as individual accounts for personal discretionary spending and debt repayments. This approach allows couples to balance their shared financial goals and their financial independence.

    At GCS Credit Union, our multiple account options make it easy for couples to make the right choices for them about savings accounts and checking accounts in O’Fallon . Find out how we can make managing your money easier by calling us at (618) 797-7993.

  • How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

    Overdraft fees occur when you write a check or use your debit card for an amount of money you don’t have in your checking account. Even a small overdraft can lead to costly fees, so learning to avoid them is an important part of managing your account.

    When you have a checking account, keep track of your balance, and subtract all of your purchases, so you always know how much money you have. Online banking makes it easier than ever to keep track of your account. Don’t forget to subtract automatic drafts from your balance, so they don’t surprise you when they come out. For added protection, you can set up automatic overdraft transfers, so that money from another account, such as a savings account, is automatically transferred to your checking account to prevent an overdraft from occurring.

    GCS Credit Union gives you the tools you need to carefully manage your checking account in O’Fallon , including online banking and online bill pay services. To get more information about credit union membership, call (618) 797-7993.

  • A Look at the New FICO Score Rules

    Your credit score—also called your FICO score—influences everything from whether you can qualify for home mortgage loans to what kind of rate you can get on auto loans. Recently, it was announced that scoring rules are changing, and the new guidelines could help your credit score go up.

    Watch this video to learn more about the new FICO score rules. Public records, such as civil judgments, will no longer appear on credit reports unless the identity of the owner can be definitively proven. This is being done to mitigate the impact of incorrect information on credit reports.

    At GCS Credit Union , we can help you understand your credit score and learn how to improve it, while offering competitive rates on loans, savings accounts, and our Visa Rewards credit card. Find out more about our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • FAQs About Credit Union Membershipv

    Credit unions offer the same services for managing your money as banks, but, thanks to their structure, they can also often provide benefits that traditional banks can’t match. If you’re considering moving your money to a credit union, you are likely to have some questions about what to expect. Here are the answers to questions prospective members have most frequently about credit unions.

    How are credit unions different from banks?

    Banks are for-profit institutions, so they act on behalf of their shareholders to earn profits from the services they provide to their customers. Credit unions are nonprofits, so they are owned by their members. Any profits generated from business activities are invested back into the credit union to provide services to their members. Since credit unions don’t have to deliver a profit to shareholders, they are typically able to offer better interest rates on their products, from savings accounts to auto and home mortgage loans.

    Is it difficult to become a member?

    There is a credit union for virtually everyone. The trick is finding the one that is right for you. Some credit unions offer membership to people based on their employment, while others base membership criteria on where you live. There is almost certain to be a credit union for which you qualify for membership. Once you meet the membership criteria, joining is as simple as filling out paperwork to open your accounts.

    What services do credit unions provide?

    Credit unions offer checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, and credit cards just as banks do. You will have access to ATMs, online banking and bill pay, mobile banking, and all of the other financial services you would expect to find at a financial institution. The difference is that credit unions can consider their members’ financial position as a whole when making decisions about things like loans, unlike banks, which must stick to a prescribed formula.

    To find out if credit union membership is right for you, contact GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. We offer membership to residents of a number of counties in Illinois, with a comprehensive list of financial services . Contact us today at (618) 797-7993 for more information about joining our credit union.