• Picking the Right Credit Card

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    When it comes to choosing a credit card, one size doesn’t fit all. Understanding your options, spending habits, and credit situation can help you find a suitable card for you. Here are three steps to picking the right credit card.

    Check Your Credit Score

    Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to see your credit score for free once a year. The better your score, the higher your chance of being approved for a credit card with great perks. If your score wasn’t what you expected, look into improving it—either by changing your spending habits or disputing an error—before you apply for a credit card.

    Decide What Kind of Card You Want

    The best card for you depends on what you hope to accomplish.

    Look for a student or secured credit card to build or fix your credit.

    • Student cards may be tied to a parent or guardian, making them easier to qualify for.
    • Secured cards usually require a security deposit of $200 or more, which is returned to you when you upgrade your account or close it in good standing.

    Look for low-interest, 0% APR, or balance transfer cards to lower the interest on existing credit card debt.

    • 0% APR cards are good in case of an emergency.
    • Low-interest cards let you carry a balance from time to time without a costly penalty.
    • Balance transfer offers can help you pay off higher-interest cards faster.

    Look for cash back, travel, or rewards cards for valuable perks.

    • These higher APR cards are worthwhile if you always pay off the balance and never incur interest.
    • Sign-up bonuses, points, miles, and cash back reward you for every dollar you spend.

    Look for Tiebreakers

    Narrow down the choices in your preferred category by finding a card with all the features you want.

    Find a student or secured credit card with:

    • A low security deposit
    • No annual fee
    • The option to upgrade to a more competitive card without closing and reopening your account
    • Automatic credit limit increases with consecutive on-time payments
    • The option to earn interest on the security deposit

    Find a low-interest, 0% APR, or balance transfer card with:

    • A long introductory 0% APR period
    • A low ongoing APR
    • Reasonable balance transfer policies with high transfer limits and low APR
    • Free debt payoff planning tools
    • Waived late fees and penalty APR
    • Ongoing rewards for benefits beyond the initial 0% APR

    Find a cash back, travel, or rewards card with:

    • High rewards in the categories you spend the most on
    • Sign-on bonuses with low spending requirements
    • No annual fee OR rewards earnings that offset the annual fee
    • No expiration dates on rewards

    GCS Credit Union can help members sign up for a Visa credit card with low interest rates, no annual fee, and valuable ScoreCard reward points. To learn more about the benefits of banking with GCS Credit Union, please call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

  • How to Manage Multiple Credit Cards


    It’s generally not a good idea to have lots of credit card accounts open because this can encourage your debt to spiral out of control. If you’re having trouble getting out of debt, consider talking to a financial planner at your credit union. You can also watch this featured video to get some valuable tips on managing multiple credit cards.

    This video recommends a few apps that you can use to manage you credit cards, such as Mint. It’s always a good idea to set up notifications or email alerts so that you won’t miss a due date, as this will negatively affect your credit score. You can also commit to paying off the balance for the card with the highest interest rate first to save money in the long run.

    If you’re a GCS Credit Union member, you can easily apply for a Visa credit card with a low interest rate, no annual fee, and a valuable ScoreCard Reward Program. Visit one of our credit union branches in O’Fallon or give us a call at (618) 797-7993 if you have any questions.

  • How You Can Get Rewarded for Using Your Credit Card

    At GCS Credit Union, our Visa Rewards Credit Card offers the convenience of shopping with credit combined with the chance to earn valuable rewards. Our credit card comes with the low-interest rates you expect as a credit union member, plus a 25-day grace period on purchases and no annual fee.

    Our Visa card comes with membership in the valuable ScoreCard Reward Program. Each dollar you spent is worth one point. Points can be cashed in for travel, merchandise, and other rewards via GCS. The rewards can be easily managed online at any time, so you can see exactly where you stand and work towards building up points to cash in for your chosen reward. These rewards come in addition to all of the other great card benefits, from auto rental waiver insurance to emergency card replacement.

    If you’re a current GCS Credit Union member, contact your local branch or apply online for our Visa Rewards credit card. If you’re not yet a member, you can contact our credit union in O’Fallon for more information about membership and all of our financial products by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Factors to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card

    If you’re planning on applying for a credit card with your bank or credit union , there are a few things that you should consider first. You can quickly get in over your head with credit card debt, and the situation will be even worse if you chose the wrong credit card company. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when you’re choosing a credit card.

    The Credit Card’s Interest Rate

    Credit card companies offer varying interest rates to customers, depending upon their credit ratings. Your interest rate might be a fixed rate, meaning it is the same from month to month, or it might be a variable rate that fluctuates based upon the federal funds rate or prime rate. Credit unions often offer the most competitive interest rates for credit cards, auto loans , and home mortgage loans.

    The Credit Card’s Fees and Penalties

    Your credit card company can also charge you fees and penalties in addition to monthly interest. It’s important to have a very clear understanding of these fees and when they will be implemented before you enter into a credit card contract. Your credit card company may charge you fees for balance transfers, cash advances, late payments, going over your credit limit, paying via phone, or requesting a higher credit limit.

    Your Personal Spending Habits

    Finally, you should consider your own personal spending habits before choosing a credit card. If you plan on paying off the balance of the card every month, the interest rate won’t matter to you as much. If you plan on using the card frequently and paying the minimum amount every month, you’ll want a card with a low interest rate, a high credit limit, and a customer rewards program.

    At GCS Credit Union, we offer a Visa rewards credit card in O’Fallon with competitive interest rates and low fees. Our credit union also offers great rates on personal loans, lines of credit, auto loans, and home mortgage loans. To learn more about our banking services, call us today at (618) 797-7993.

  • Paying Down Credit Card Debt

    Outstanding credit card debit may hang over your head and weigh you down; it can also make it difficult to get favorable rates on auto and home mortgage loans. Watch this video clip for tips on paying down credit card debt.

    Debt can be overwhelming, but handling it the right way can help you come out on top. If your credit cards carry different interest rates, consider paying off the ones with higher rates first; this will allow you to save some money as you work on paying off your cards with lower rates.

    If you would like additional tips on paying down credit card debt, contact GCS Credit Union or visit our website. Our credit union in O’Fallon is happy to offer a plethora of services including home mortgage loans and online checking accounts. Give us a call at (618) 797-7993 to learn more about us today.

  • Are You Ready for Your First Credit Card?

    Just like your first car or your first night out without a curfew, a Visa rewards credit card can offer you a new sense of freedom. However, this freedom must be used responsibly. Read on if you are wondering if you are ready for your first credit card.

    When used properly, your first credit card can help you build credit and prove your trustworthiness and reliability. When used improperly, on the other hand, it may get your credit started on the wrong foot. Having a credit card means regularly paying off your debts, and you must have a steady source of income in order to make these payments. You may be ready for your first credit card if you already have experience in making regular payments; the process is similar to paying towards your cell phone bills, monthly rent, or student loans.

    Does it feel like it is time for your first credit card? Call GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993 so we can set you up with a Visa rewards credit card. We also offer checking accounts and auto loans in O’Fallon. Feel free to visit our website or stop in and meet with us for more information.

  • Is Now the Time to Teach Your Kids About Money?

    At some point your children will probably make use of checking accounts of their own, but for now it is a good idea to start by introducing them to certain financial concepts. Watch this video clip to find out if now is the time to teach your kids about money.

    The sooner your children learn about money and financial responsibility, the more time they will have to integrate these positive habits into their adult lives. Teach your children about the concept of money, currency, and value when they are as young as three years old. As your children age, offer them allowances and teach them about saving money.

    GCS Credit Union specializes in home mortgage loans and online checking accounts in O’Fallon. If you would like to learn more about our credit union, please feel free to visit our website or call us at (618) 797-7993 for more information today.

  • Are You Ready for Your First Credit Card?

    Just like your first car or your first night out without a curfew, a Visa rewards credit card can offer you a new sense of freedom. However, this freedom must be used responsibly. Read on if you are wondering if you are ready for your first credit card.

    When used properly, your first credit card can help you build credit and prove your trustworthiness and reliability. When used improperly, on the other hand, it may get your credit started on the wrong foot. Having a credit card means regularly paying off your debts, and you must have a steady source of income in order to make these payments. You may be ready for your first credit card if you already have experience in making regular payments; the process is similar to paying towards your cell phone bills, monthly rent, or student loans.

    Does it feel like it is time for your first credit card? Call GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993 so we can set you up with a Visa rewards credit card. We also offer checking accounts and auto loans in O’Fallon. Feel free to visit our website or stop in and meet with us for more information.

  • How to Choose a Credit Card

    A credit card can be a valuable financial tool, but not all cards are created equal. Choosing the right card for you will help you manage your balance, maximize your rewards, and perhaps most importantly, save money. Your credit union representative can help you select the best credit card for you. Here are some other things you should consider.

    One of the first things you should look for in a credit card is a low-interest rate. The lower the rate, the less you will pay for your purchases. A card with no annual fee will also help you save money. You should also consider a card with a rewards program, so you earn bonuses on the money you spend.

    At GSC Credit Union, we’re pleased to offer a Visa Rewards Credit Card with a low-interest rate and no annual fee to our credit union members. If you’re interested in applying for a card or want to join a credit union in O’Fallon, call us now at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

  • Getting a Credit Card

    Obtaining a credit card is a big step in establishing your long-term finances. If you don’t have a viable credit history yet, check with your credit union first. Credit cards issued by credit unions are typically more accessible to people without credit. If you have bad credit and are unable to get a traditional credit card, look into getting a secured credit card or taking out a small personal loan to build your credit and repair your credit score.

    Watch this video to learn more about getting a credit card, then come in and speak with an advisor at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon . We offer low-interest credit cards with no annual fee. You can also sign up for the GCS Visa Rewards credit card to earn points that can be redeemed for merchandise, travel, discounts, and other offers. Call us at (618) 797-7993 to learn more about applying for a credit card.