Shred Day

It is long overdue for cleaning out your paperwork! We will be holding a shred day on December 28th, 2023 at our Pasadena branch. You can find all of the details listed below.

  • 10lb limit per member
  • No paper clips
  • No hanging files

Drop off will be located on the left side of the building near the drive thru. We will have employees there ready to assist you with shredding your sensitive documents.

 

pasadenaThursday, December 28th, 2023
9:00am – 12:00pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

 

 

Budget Your Spending & Save

Budget Your Spending & Save

Now that the magic of the holidays is over, it’s time to come back to reality… your debt. We know how easy it is to go to the store, look at something you like and say, “oh I have enough for this”. Next thing you know, you spent hundreds of dollars and now you are stuck with a large credit card bill. With a new year starting, this is the time to think about how you can reduce your debt and save for the future.

Budget

A good way to start saving is to create healthy spending habits. We know how tempting it can be to grab the newest release of the iPhone, or a new makeup product, so a good way to ensure you are spending your money properly is to track it. Within your mobile app, under the Financial Wellness tab, there is a “Spending” section where you can view recurring expenses and see where most of your spending is at. You can start budgeting and tracking your spending here.

Consolidate Your Debt

A good way to reduce your debt is by looking into debt consolidation loans. There are a few great options to choose from, depending on your needs.
Credit Card Balance Transfers
Debt Consolidation Loan
Home Equity Loan

Pay off Your Debt

If a debt consolidation loan isn’t the best option for you, then focus on paying off one loan at a time. Work on paying down a credit card or loan that has a high interest rate first, but still make your minimum payments on other loans. Once one bill is paid off, roll over that payment to the other bills and you can make additional payments to the principal.

Set Savings Goals

A great way to keep your spending low is to set a savings goal. Whether it’s for a vacation, wedding, new furniture, down payment, etc., we have a great and easy savings tool you can use. Within your online banking, under the Financial Wellness tab, you can find the “Savings Goals” section and create a savings goal you would like to achieve by a certain date.

Save a little at a time:

Dollar Up Savings: If you can’t save too much at the same time, Piggy bankconsider our Dollar Up Savings account. This account is linked to your debit card and every time you make a purchase it rounds up to the next dollar and the difference is put into that Dollar Up Savings account. A couple cents a day and you could be saving more than you think!

Christmas Club Account: If you don’t want to stress about holiday shopping for this year, then our Christmas Club Account is perfect for you! Only a $25 minimum deposit is needed to open your account, and a minimum of $20 a month is required to help you save. No withdrawals can be made, but the funds are usually released in the first week of November.

Savings Calculators: Use current savings calculators to help you calculate how much you need to save to reach your savings goals.

Direct Deposit: Another easy way to save is when you set up Direct Deposit with us, you can schedule to automatically put a portion of your paycheck into a special savings account, we make it easy for you to get started.

It’s never easy to cut back on your spending, we get it, you want the newest and trending item, but you don’t need it in every color. Set a goal, track it, and by the time you have reached your savings goal, it will be so much more rewarding when you are ready to spend it without feeling guilty.

If you still have questions about any savings accounts you can visit our Wealth Resource Center to learn more, or give us a call at 281-487-9333.

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Pictures with the Easter Bunny

Stop by our Pasadena branch on Friday, March 15th, 2024 to have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny!

When: Friday, March 15th, 2024
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Where: Pasadena branch
5953 Fairmont Pwky
Pasadena, TX 77505

Remember to bring your own camera!

Unmasking Phishing Emails: A Guide to Staying Protected Online

Unmasking Phishing Emails: A Guide to Staying Protected Online.

Attention, dear members/friends! In today’s digital world, phishing emails are the modern-day tricksters trying to pull the wool over our eyes. These deceptive messages may appear genuine, but their true aim is to get a hold of our private details. Don’t fret! Let’s explore some simple guidelines to help you identify these imitators and ensure you stay protected online.
 
cyber security infographic image

  • Unexpected Emails: If you receive an email, you weren’t expecting or looks suspicious, especially one asking for personal or financial information, be wary. Delete it and do not open it!
  • Check the Sender: Look at the sender’s email address closely. It might look official at first glance, but often phishers will use an address that’s slightly misspelled or has extra characters. Hover over links to check the URL before clicking.
  • Generic Greetings: Many phishing emails start with generic greetings like “Dear Customer” rather than using your actual name.
  • Urgent Action Required: Be cautious of urgent requests, phishers often try to scare you into action, like claiming your account will be closed unless you update your information immediately.
  • Suspicious Links: Hover over any link in the email (without clicking) to see where it leads. If the web address looks strange or doesn’t match the supposed sender’s website, don’t click!
  • Spelling and Grammar: Check for spelling and grammar errors. Phishing emails often contain spelling and grammar mistakes, so be vigilant for any such errors. Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, or awkward phrasing can be red flags.
  • Too Good to Be True: If an email promises amazing deals or alerts you that you’ve won a contest you don’t remember entering, be cautious.
  • Be wary of requests for personal information: Legitimate organizations typically do not ask for personal information, such as passwords or social security numbers, via email.
  • Attachments: Be careful with emails that include unsolicited attachments, as these can contain malware.
  • Verify website security: Before entering sensitive information on a website, ensure that it is secure by checking for a padlock icon in the address bar and that the URL starts with https://
  • Keep software up to date: Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and security software to ensure you have the latest protection against phishing attacks.
  • Check with the Source: If ever in doubt, contact the company or person directly using a phone number or website you know is legitimate. Don’t use contact details from the suspicious email.
  • Educate yourself: Stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and scams by reading articles, attending webinars, or participating in security awareness training programs.

 
 
 
In conclusion, as we navigate the digital landscape, the threat of phishing emails remains ever-present. These deceptive messages aim to exploit unsuspecting users, making awareness and precaution paramount. By arming ourselves with knowledge and adopting proactive measures, we can effectively counter these cyber threats. Always verify before you trust, and remember: in the realm of online communication, vigilance is our strongest ally. Stay informed, stay safe. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to our call center here, or you can contact our Network Security Analyst, Stanley Meyer.
 

Stanley MeyerPost Author:
Stanley Meyer
Network Security Analyst
281.436.5496
smeyer@gcefcu.org

 


The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Signs Debt Consolidation is right for you

Signs Debt Consolidation is right for you.


Debt can be hard to handle. That’s especially true if you’re saddled with a lot of it and the interest keeps piling up. One way to help yourself out is to consider debt consolidation. Here are some signs that consolidation is the right move to make.

If you have Multiple Debts

Consolidation only works if you have multiple things to combine, so this is the most obvious sign. If you are behind on several monthly bills, debt consolidation is likely a good choice for you. Combining multiple debts into one debt can make it easier to pay it off, as you now have only one thing to worry about instead of many.

Your Debt Has High-Interest Rates

Getting out of debt is hard enough, but when you add high-interest rates to the mix, things get so much more difficult. If your debts carry high-interest rates, you should consider debt consolidation. When you consolidate, there’s a good chance you’ll get a lower interest rate offer (or even zero interest rate). Reducing the interest can help you save heaps of cash as you deal with the debt.

You Have a Decent Credit Score

If you have a good credit score but are struggling with debt, you should probably consolidate. A good credit score will help you secure a lower interest-rate loan. The higher your score, the better offers you’ll receive. Use that score to your advantage and consolidate the debt.

Do One Thing:

Combine your debts if you can find a low-interest consolidation loan.

If you are interested in a debt consolidation loan, you are in luck! We offer a great debt consolidation loan options for you. Click here to learn more.

Information published by Chris O’Shea from Savvymoney.
 


The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Pictures with Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be visiting our Pasadena branch to take pictures and visit with our members on Friday, December 15, 2023. Remember to bring your own camera!

 

pasadenaFriday, December 15, 2023
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

 

 

 

Swipe Smart: Preventing Card Fraud

Swipe Smart: Preventing Card Fraud

In today’s increasingly digital world, debit and credit cards have become a necessity for managing finances. They have transformed how everyday transactions are conducted and create quick and easy experiences. However, this convenience comes with the responsibility of ensuring the security of your card information. Fraudsters are constantly trying new tactics to exploit victims and steal their hard-earned money. Understanding what to do when your card information is compromised can help safeguard your accounts and funds.

 

False Promises

As we get older, we learn if something sounds too good to be true, then 99.9% of the time it is. This wisdom holds especially true when it comes to protecting your card information from scammers. These individual’s prey on our desires for convenience, financial gain, and the promise of unimaginable rewards. Yes, the person claiming “You won a car! BUT we need your debit card info to redeem it” is lying to you. Furthermore, many scammers will use schemes that inflict fear, urgency, and emotional manipulation to get you to open your wallet. Trusted institutions will never call you promising life-changing rewards in exchange for private information, so don’t feel pressured to do so.

 

How they do it & Who they target

There are many ways fraudsters will attempt to get your information. Below are examples of the most used tactics:

  • Phishing: Fake emails, texts, or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source like Gulf Coast Educators FCU. Messages often ask for personal information or request the member to call an unverified number or follow malicious links.
  • Spoofing: Scammers manipulate their caller ID to make it appear as if they are calling from a legitimate organization, such as Gulf Coast Educators FCU. They then request sensitive information over the phone.
  • Overpayment Scams: Scammers pose as buyers that overpaid for goods or services using a card. They then request the excess payment be refunded to them, but the initial payment never occurred.
  • Lottery or Prize Scams: Victims are told they’ve won a prize or lottery, but they need to pay fees or taxes upfront using their card to claim the winnings.
  • Tech Support Scams: Fraudsters impersonate technical support agents and claim that a victim’s computer or account has been compromised. They then ask for remote access or payment for supposed fixes.

Unfortunately, card scammers target a wide range of individuals, often exploiting vulnerabilities. They commonly target the elderly, students, and those facing financial difficulties. However, anyone can fall for their tricks if the proper steps aren’t taken.

 

Preventing Fraud

To win the fight against fraud it’s important to know what tips you can use to your advantage. Below are strategies cardholders can utilize to protect themselves and loved ones:

  • Stay Informed about Scam Tactics:
  • Knowledge is power. Familiarize yourself with common scam tactics like phishing and spoofing. Understanding these methods allows you to identify potential threats.

  • Safeguard Your Personal Information:
  • Never share sensitive details like your card number, PIN, or social security number via email, phone, or text. Legitimate organizations won’t reach out to you requesting this information.

  • Use Strong, Unique Passwords:
  • Create strong passwords for all online accounts. Avoid predictable choices like birthdays. Consider using a reputable password manager for added security.

  • Monitor your accounts:
  • Regularly look over your credit union statements and transaction histories. Detecting unfamiliar activity will allow you to report it to us immediately.

  • Verify Caller Identities:
  • Don’t only rely on caller ID. Confirm the caller’s legitimacy by reaching out to us using official phone numbers or customer service channels.

  • Use Caution When Following Emails and Links:
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. Scammers often send emails to spread malware or direct you to phishing sites.

 
Here at Gulf Coast Educators FCU we prioritize your accounts security. If you believe someone is trying to get your private information or have any doubts, tell us! Never be afraid to disconnect from scammers, friendly GCEFCU representatives are here to protect and ensure your account safety. If you have additional questions or concerns click here to reach out to us.

Sincerely,

Your GCEFCU fraud team.

 
 
Joshua JohnsonPost Author:
Joshua Johnson
Card Specialist
281.487.9333
jjohnson@gcefcu.org

 


The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

How to get started with a retirement account

How to get started with a retirement account

IRA, ROTH, 401K Planning for retirement can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. There are 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, 457’s and more but where do we start. If you work for a private company, then you may have a 401(k) option or if you work for a school district then you may have a 403(b) or 457 option. Everyone with earned income can contribute to an IRA or Roth IRA, and that may be the quickest place to start if you are not sure how to begin.

 

It is easier than ever to get started with a retirement savings, here are some ways to start:

401(k):

If your company offers a retirement account then that is the best place to start because a lot of them offer a contribution match to help maximize your money. For example, your employer may offer to match the first 5% at 100 percent meaning that if you put in 5% then they will match your dollar amounts essentially doubling your contribution. There may be additional rules within these plans so be sure to check with your employer to see how everything works.

403(b)& 457:

If you work for a school district or some hospitals then you may have either a 403(b) or 457 option. Most school districts don’t offer matching contributions, but you can put money away pre-tax to save for retirement like how a 401(k) would operate.

IRA:

This would be opened outside of an employer plan and allow you to save money pre-tax like a 401(k) or 403(b). If your taxable income is below a certain level, then your contributions can grow tax deferred. These contributions would be tax deductible for the current year but there are contributions limits for this account depending on your income and age.

Roth IRA:

Like an IRA, the Roth IRA would be opened outside of an employer plan but would be made with after-tax money that would then grow tax-free for retirement. You won’t receive a tax-deduction on the money this year but there are additional benefits to the account like being able to pass the money to your heirs tax free.

The hardest part is knowing how to get started and fortunately Gulf Coast Educators is here to help. We have a financial advisor, Joshua Krakowiak, who can sit down with you and go over your current financial situation and your goals to find the best solution for you and your family. There is no cost or obligation to set up and appointment to see how we can help you make the most of your money.

Click here to get your retirement savings started!

 
Josh KPost Author:
Josh Krakowiak
Financial Advisor
281.925.4158
jkrakowiak.cfsinvest@gcefcu.org

 
 


The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Rollover Your Retirement Savings

Rollover Your Retirement Savings

Retirement Savings Jar
Start fresh with your new job, but don’t let your previous retirement savings gather dust.

When making a career move, don’t forget to take your retirement savings with you. Rollover your retirement savings from your previous employer to a GCEFCU Premium Market IRA and consolidate your savings into one powerful and easily manageable account. Check out all the advantages below.

5 Reasons to Rollover Your Retirement Savings:

1. Consolidate and Simplify

Managing multiple retirement accounts can be a hassle. By consolidating your old retirement account into a new IRA, you simplify your financial life. No more tracking various statements and managing separate accounts. Enjoy the convenience of having your retirement savings in one place, easily accessible and organized.

2. Maximize Your Potential Returns

With a Premium Market IRA, you have the opportunity to earn a higher dividend. The PMIRA monthly dividend fluctuates according to the market rate. Plus, your money is completely safe, secure, and insured – you won’t lose any money.

3. Take Control of Your Future

By transferring your retirement funds to a new PMIRA, you gain full control over your financial future. Say goodbye to limitations imposed by your previous employer’s retirement plan and embrace the freedom to make contributions as often as you’d like from the convenience of your GCEFCU mobile app.

4. Benefit from Tax Advantages

Rolling over your retirement account to a new PIRA can provide potential tax benefits. Depending on the type of IRA you choose, traditional or roth, you may enjoy tax-deferred growth or even tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Let your money work harder for you while minimizing your tax obligations.

5. No Fees, Bigger Returns

Unlike traditional 401(k) or 403(b) plans, our Premium Market IRA comes with no administrative fees. This means more of your hard-earned money stays invested, allowing you to enjoy potentially higher returns. Let your retirement savings work harder for you!

 

Get Started Today

Open your Premium Market IRA online by clicking the button below, or stop by one of our branches. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of rolling over your retirement account to a new IRA. Your future self will thank you!
 

 


Post Author: Caylee Smith

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.