Shred Day

SHRED DAY IMAGEWe have scheduled our Winter shred day! We will be holding a shred day on December 27th, 2024 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 (see example image). We will have employees there ready to assist you with shredding your sensitive documents.

pasadenaFriday, December 27, 2024
9:00am – 12:00pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505



Credit Pulls: Hard vs. Soft Inquiries

Credit Pulls: Hard vs. Soft Inquiries

We’re giving you the 411 on credit inquiries, because knowing how they affect you is a big part of being financially healthy. When you apply for a credit or a loan a creditor will “pull” your credit. This check is called a hard inquiry – but there are also soft inquiries, too. A soft pull, or soft inquiry, happens when someone checks your credit report, like in the case of a pre-approved credit card offer. Unlike a hard pull, a soft pull does not impact your credit score.

Soft Inquiries

Credit Inquiries ImageA soft inquiry occurs when someone, or a company, checks your credit report. These pulls aren’t anything to worry about. Here are some of the most common examples of soft inquiries:

  • A credit card company pre-approves you for a card.
  • You check your own credit score.
  • Employment verification
  • Insurance quotes

You can see soft inquiries on your credit report, even though they don’t affect your score. To check what inquiries have been made, you’ll need to check your reports from all three credit bureaus.

Hard Inquiries

Hard pulls are the inquiries you should keep an eye on. They can stay on your credit report for up to two years and can lower your credit score. Typically, hard inquiries don’t impact your score by much, often just a few points. However, as long as you don’t apply for multiple loans and credit for months straight, the impact of hard pulls is usually not that bad.

Here are a few things to remember about hard inquiries:

  • They are commonly used for applications for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and personal loans.
  • Your consent is required in order for companies to pull your report.
  • Hard inquiries can lower your credit score, especially if you have several pulls in a short time period.

Do One Thing…

Check your credit reports at all three bureaus regularly. Checking your credit reports should be a habit. It’s free and will help ensure accuracy and prevent identity theft. You can also keep your credit score high by catching and reporting incorrect information to the credit bureaus. You can check your credit report for free within online banking.

Post Author: Jean Chatzky & Chris O’Shea
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.

Information published by SavvyMoney.

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season
Preparation for any natural event is key in reducing the amount of damage done. If you have lived along the Gulf Coast, you know how important it is to prepare for hurricane season. We want to share some tips on the essentials needed to be ready for hurricane season. Our hope is that this will help you and your families if/when the time comes.

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union has a history of being prepared for natural events and providing our members with essential updates. Members can access all the updates online. Additionally, the credit union provides emergency updates on our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, Instagram Page, and online banking or mobile app.

Prepare at Home
If ordered to evacuate or shelter, you should always prepare the necessary goods and items for at least a week without needing to access a grocery or convenience store. These five items are an essential part of the packing list: bottled water, nonperishable foods, batteries, bags of ice, and a first aid kit. I also suggest looking at The National Hurricane Center website to be aware of future events.

Prepare to Leave
When hurricane season arrives, you should always be ready to leave your current home or area. At any moment, there could be mandatory emergency orders to evacuate the premises as soon as possible. And in this case, it is important to be ready. Know where you will go, how you will get there, and what you should bring beforehand.

Prepare for the Aftermath
With hurricanes, it is difficult to predict what exactly may happen as a result. You may lose power for an extended period, or you may experience severe flooding. In any case, it is important to keep all your insurance contracts and documents safe and readily available. Be ready to handle anything that may come your way, especially when it comes to your assets.

The key is to be prepared and ready for anything.

Additional Resources:
Developing a Family Plan
Creating a Disaster Supply Kit
Having a Place to Go
Having a Pet Plan

The Ultimate Tax Preparation Guide

The Ultimate Tax Preparation Guide

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, here is an easy tax preparation guide to help you get started.

1.Gather Important Documents and Information

Tax forms
Some documents like W2s or 1099s are mailed, but you may be able to expedite the process by accessing them online.
Here is a checklist of documents and information required to file:

  • Social Security numbers or individual tax identification numbers for you and others listed on your tax return.
  • W-2 and 1099 forms for all sources of income, including investments.
  • Previous year’s tax return paperwork
  • Paperwork supporting tax credits and deductions (dependent care, homeownership, healthcare, education, etc.)
  • Your checking account and routing number to receive your refund through direct deposit.

2. Determine Your Filing Status

Your filing status affects whether you are required to file a tax return, your potential refund, your standard deduction amount, tax credits available, and/or the amount of tax you’re required to pay.

5 Tax Filing Statuses:

  • Single
  • Married Filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

How Tax Credits and Deductions Work

The IRS allows you to claim certain tax credits and deductions when you file your tax return.

  • Tax Deductions: Can reduce your taxable income.
  • Tax Credits: Can reduce the amount of tax you owe.

Should I Itemize Deductions or Take the Standard Deduction?

Itemize: The IRS states, “you should itemize if your allowable itemized deductions are greater than your standard deduction, or if you must itemize deductions because you can’t use the standard deduction.”
Standard Deduction: According to the IRS, “The standard deduction is a specific dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you’re taxed. In general, the standard deduction is adjusted each year for your filing status, whether you’re 65 or older and/or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent.”

3. Filing Your Taxes

Thankfully, filing your taxes is easier than you might think.

Ways to File Your Tax Return:

  • Electronic Return (e-file or IRS Free File): Submitted online, e-file refunds are processed more quickly than mailed returns.
  • Paper Return: if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable with electronic filing, you can mail your paperwork to the IRS.

Those with income below $12,950 for single filers and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly, may not be required to file a return, notes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

April 2023 Calendar
April 15,2024
Tax Day
Unless you file an extension, most federal and state income taxes are due by April 18,202



Gulf Coast Educators FCU works with TurboTax and H&R Block to provide special savings for our valued members. As a result, you can get up to $15 off TurboTax federal products. Click here to get started. For H&R Block, you can get up to $25 off filing by going to an H&R Block office. H&R Block Coupon

This information is for illustrative and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be tax, legal, or financial advice. For tax advice consult an advisor or tax professional.

Information published by SavvyMoney.

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.


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.

Sweeny Branch Grand Re-Opening


Sweeny Branch Grand Re-Opening

Please join us for the grand re-opening of our Sweeny branch! Stop by to celebrate with us on June 12 between 11:00am – 1:00pm. A special ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 11:30am.

Sweeny branch imageWhen: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm (Ribbon cutting at 11:30am)
Location: 400 Elm St, Sweeny, TX 77480


RSVP To Attend

Please let us know if you plan to attend by filling out the form below.



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


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.

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.


Your GCEFCU fraud team.

Joshua JohnsonPost Author:
Joshua Johnson
Card Specialist


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.