• Is Mobile Banking Safe?

    Information security is a major concern these days, and unfortunately, it’s making some credit union members hesitate to take advantage of mobile banking. It’s always important to be aware of where your personal information is going, but, as you’ll learn when you watch this featured video, mobile banking is quite safe.

    When you use the mobile banking app from your credit union, it essentially serves as a secure tunnel to the institution. Since proprietary banking apps do not use Web browsers, they don’t fall prey to phishing scams. They also work with the financial institution’s personal security algorithms. Just remember to log out of the app when you’re done with your transaction.

    To learn more about mobile and online banking in O’Fallon, talk to a member representative at GCS Credit Union. Call us at (618) 797-7993.

  • IRA FAQs and Answers for Young Adults

    As a young adult, you’re probably juggling a lot. In the midst of moving into your own apartment, saving up for a house, dealing with car repairs, and paying off student debt, it can seem like retirement isn’t much of a priority. But the simple truth is that time will always pass more quickly than you think it will, especially as you grow older. The sooner you start saving up for retirement , the more comfortable and secure you’ll be later on. You have many retirement savings options, including IRAs. Talk to a credit union member representative about your plans.

    What is an IRA?

    This acronym stands for Individual Retirement Account. In other words, it’s a savings account that is intended specifically for retirement savings. IRAs are opened through financial institutions. You’ll transfer money to your IRA during the coming decades, and these funds will be used to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

    Why should I open an IRA? Can’t I just invest the money directly?

    Yes, you certainly can add stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to your portfolio without opening up an IRA. However, IRAs have their own special benefits. Up to the limits established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your contributions to your IRA are tax deductible. This means your quarterly or annual tax liability is reduced. The funds in your IRA are also tax-deferred. This means you won’t owe taxes on the gains until you withdraw the money.

    What’s the difference between Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs?

    These are the two main types of IRAs. They differ primarily in tax breaks. With a traditional IRA, the money you contribute for any given year is tax deductible for that year. With a Roth IRA, you pay income taxes on the money now, before it’s transferred to the account. This means your contributions aren’t tax deductible, but you won’t pay any taxes on the money you withdraw during your retirement.

    At GCS Credit Union , we do much more than just online checking accounts and auto loans. We also offer personalized financial guidance for our members, including retirement planning. Call (618) 797-7993 to join our credit union near O’Fallon, and ask us about our traditional and Roth IRA plans.

  • Meet MARTI: Our Automated Teller

    Here at GCS Credit Union, we’re always on the lookout for tools and resources that better serve our valued members. It’s our mission to make your financial management tasks as easy and quick as possible, so you can get back to doing what matters most to you. Call our credit union or visit a branch to ask a member service representative for your unique, four-digit PIN. You’ll be registered to use MARTI, our automated teller.

    With MARTI, you can conduct many common transactions from wherever you are, without having to drive to a branch. Using MARTI is simple. Just call the appropriate number, enter your member account number, and then enter your four-digit PIN. The voice prompts will walk you through the process of completing your transaction or inquiry.

    If you have any questions or concerns about using our automated teller, a member service representative at GCS Credit Union is always happy to assist you. Call a credit union branch in O’Fallon at (618) 797-7993, or browse our website for information on how to become a member.

  • At What Age Should a Child Have a Credit Union Account?

    Financial literacy is best taught from an early age. Kids who learn how to manage money responsibly earlier in life are more likely to enjoy financial stability in adulthood. One effective way to introduce your child to the world of personal finance is by opening a credit union savings and checking account in his or her name. Until a child reaches the age of majority, a parent or guardian must remain on the account.

    Deciding to Open an Account

    One common assumption by parents is that they should wait to open an account for their child until the child demonstrates financial responsibility. But children learn best by doing. Achieving financial literacy can take some trial and error, and kids learn from their mistakes along the way. It’s far safer for your child to learn from financial mistakes early in life than later on when he or she has moved out. Every child develops differently, but in general, most kids are ready to open a credit union account when they turn 14 years old.

    Exploring the Account Features

    Make the experience a collaborative one right from the start. Ask your child to read the account information with you, and discuss what it means. If your child has questions, it would be a good learning experience if he or she called a member representative or visited a branch to ask. Until your child turns 18, you’ll be listed on the account too. This means you’ll have complete access to view the balance and statements to make sure your child is behaving responsibly.

    Making a Financial Plan

    Now that your child has an account, it’s time to make a plan. First, sit down with your child and do some quick math to demonstrate how interest rates allow money to grow over time. Recommend to your child that he or she set aside a specific percentage of his or her allowance and extra earnings every week for savings. Together, calculate how much that would add up to by the time your child turns 18. To stay motivated, your child may need occasional reminders of the benefits of long-term saving.

    GCS Credit Union invites young consumers to practice financial responsibility by opening a Student Success Account Package. This includes a savings and checking account in O’Fallon, and it’s available for individuals ages 14 through 23. Call a friendly member representative at (618) 797-7993.