• Strategies for Managing Your Credit Score

    Your credit score can open—or close—a lot of doors for you. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what they need to do to build and maintain a good credit score, so they make easily avoidable mistakes that end up harming them financially. As a member of a credit union, you have access to financial information from qualified advisors whose only interest is seeing members thrive financially. Take advantage of this important asset of credit union membership that bank customers don’t get since their institutions are for-profit and not member-driven. In addition to seeking advice at your credit union, these tips will help you take control of your score.

    Check Your Credit Report—Often

    You can’t manage your credit score if you don’t know what is on your credit report. Your credit report lists all of your credit accounts for the past seven years and how you managed them, and often, people find incorrect information on their reports that are dragging down their scores. You should monitor your report multiple times per year and petition to have incorrect or outdated information removed. Note that, contrary to popular belief, checking your credit does not lower your score. Only hard credit pulls from lenders affect your score.

    Reduce Your Debt When You Can

    The amount of debt you have versus the amount of credit you have available plays a big part in your credit score. Reducing your debt is a great way to increase your credit score. Pay as much as you can each month towards your debt, but never pay less than the minimum payment, so you don’t have late payments reflected on your credit report. For a similar reason, don’t close old accounts, since it will reduce the amount of credit you have available and cause you to update your debt-to-credit ratio.

    If you need help managing your credit, call GCS Credit Union and set up an appointment to talk to a representative. We’re invested in your financial success, whether you’re just getting your first credit card or trying to dig your way out of debt for retirement. For more information about our checking accounts, Visa Rewards credit card or other credit union service in O’Fallon, call (618) 797-7993.

  • Never Miss Another Bill Due Date with This Advice

    Missing a due date for a bill happens to everyone at some point, but although it may seem like a simple oversight, it can have costly repercussions. If you miss multiple due dates on an ongoing basis, you could end up paying for your errors for an extended period of time, as late payments drag down your credit score and haunt you for seven years. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make sure you never miss another due date, and some of the tools may already be integrated into your credit union accounts. Try these suggestions to keep up with your due dates.

    Use Online Bill Pay

    If you prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach to paying your bills, online bill pay could be exactly what you’re looking for. With online bill pay from GCS Credit Union, simply set up the date and amount of payment for each bill you have, and your payments will be automatically sent to your creditors at the right time. Make sure you have your payments set up for at least the minimum amount so you never miss a deadline, but be aware that you can change the amounts at any time to pay more when you want to. For bills that change monthly, such as utility bills, you can still use online bill pay. Just set up your payment when your new balance is available.

    Align Your Due Dates

    Creditors will often allow you to shift your due dates, so consider making your bills all due on the same day or spacing them out on two or three specific dates each month. This will help to prevent anything from slipping through the cracks and also makes it easier to line up your payment with your paycheck dates.

    Set Up a Day Each Month for Financial Management

    If you automate your bill paying process as much as possible, you remove a lot of the room for error. However, it’s still important to check in on your finances monthly and make sure nothing needs attention. Pick a day each month to review all of your accounts and to make any necessary adjustments.

    GCS Credit Union offers easy and convenient online bill pay along with a variety of other tools for staying in control of your finances. To learn more, contact our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • A Look at the Features of Our Visa Rewards Credit Card

    There are a lot of credit cards on the market, so it’s important to choose one that offers you benefits that you can use. You’ll find just that with the Visa Rewards credit card from GCS Credit Union. You’ll get the competitive rates you expect with your credit union membership plus the valuable benefits of the GCS Visa Rewards program.

    With the program, you get one point for every dollar you spend. The points are redeemable for everything from travel to merchandise, as well as special offers from GCS Credit Union. You can manage your points online at any time. With your card, you also get no annual fee, emergency card replacement, a PIN for ATM usage, and a 25-day grace period on all of your purchases.

    Find out more about applying for a Visa Rewards credit card by contacting GCS Credit Union. We also offer a variety of banking services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, home and auto loans, and much more. Talk to a credit union representative today by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Tips for Dealing with Financial Stress

    Financial stress happens to everyone, no matter how much money they have in their checking account or on their credit card bills. The key to dealing with financial stress is to face it and find a solution. Your credit union can be a big help in this regard. The tips in this video will also help you manage financial stress.

    When you’re facing financial difficulty, it may help to write down the problem. Seeing it on paper may help you put it into perspective. Focusing on a solution that will deal with the short-term problem and prevent it from reoccurring will also help.

    GCS Credit Union is committed to the financial well-being of our members and can help you reach your goals with checking accounts, online bill pay, and competitive rates for auto loans in O’Fallon. Learn more about membership by calling (618) 797-7993.