Shred Day

It is long over due for cleaning out your paperwork! We will be holding a shred day on June 1, 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, June 1, 2023
9:00am – 12:00pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505



Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design a Christmas Card FinalSandy Saver members, now is your chance to win big! Enter your drawing to win GCEFCU’s Design A Christmas Card Contest. The grand prize winner will receive $50!

You may submit your artwork by dropping it off at any GCEFCU location, or by mailing it to the address listed below. Please include the child’s name, parent’s name, child’s member number, and a good phone number. You can download and print the form here.

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union
ATTN: Marketing Department
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

Credit union members age 12 and under are eligible. Must have a Sandy Savers account to enter. Please turn in by November 19, 2022.

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.

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.

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:


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.


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


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.

Youth Financial Literacy Resources

Financial Literacy Resources for Educators

April is financial literacy month! We understand educating children on finance is crucial so Children with Piggy Bankthey can learn how to manage their money properly. We put together a few resources that you can use in the classroom or at home, for your students or children. These resources will allow them to practice their money management skills and much more, no matter what grade level they are in.


Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans:

Pre-K – Grade 2: These activities for the very young include simple but important lessons like recognizing different coins and understanding what they’re worth

Grades 3 – 6: As children get older, they can start to learn about more complex financial topics like saving money, comparison shopping and managing their allowance.

Grades 7-8: Junior high school students can prepare for the real world with these activities. Lessons include making financial decisions and credit card basics.

Grades 9-12: High schoolers learn about relevant financial skills like managing salary, buying a car and avoiding debt.

College: After learning financial basics, college students build on their skills with lessons like managing credit cards, living on their own and budgeting for school.

Special Needs: These important financial lessons are for special needs students. Educators can customize lesson plans to best fit their students’ needs and learning styles

Free Worksheets

Free Worksheets:

Spending Tracker: This printable sheet will help your child keep track of their spending.

Savings Tracker: This printable sheet will help your child start their savings goals.

Coins for Money – Download this free worksheet for your students to learn how to recognize and count money $1 and under.

Money Booklets – Download these free printout booklets to introduce and review coins with your students.

The Piggy Bank Primer: Saving and Budgeting – For grades 3-5, through a story and activities, the student book introduces students to economic concepts such as saving, spending, budgeting, wants, goods, services, and opportunity cost. A Teacher Guide is also available.

Writing Checks – Use these check print outs to teach your students how to write a check.

Balancing a Checkbook – Many high school students will soon start working their first jobs, so it is important for them to learn the difference between gross and net pay. They are learning to drive and preparing for college as they move closer to independence. It is a good time for them to practice budgeting successfully with take-home pay through classroom activities that can be reinforced at home.

Making a Budget – Information provided on topics such as: What is a budget? Why do I want a budget? How do I start a budget? How do I make a budget? How do I use a budget?

How to Read a Credit Report – Teach your students what a credit score is and how they can make sure that theirs is a good one.



Bank It! – Use this game to teach your students how to add and how probability works.

Peter Pig’s Money Counter – In this interactive game, kids practice identifying, counting and saving money while learning fun facts about U.S. currency.

World of Cents – Match coins to earn money, then decide how to spend it building a magical world

Hit the Road – A financial adventure game

Financial Football – Give your brain a Financial Football workout — play the NFL-themed video game developed by Visa.

Financial Soccer – Put your financial skills to the test with Visa’s World Cup-themed Financial Soccer, a multiple choice question video game. Are you ready to play?

Understanding Your Mortgage Credit Score

Understanding Your Mortgage Credit Score

It’s always good to have an idea of where your credit score is before making any large purchase that requires a loan. You may notice that the score you see on credit monitoring platforms, such as Credit Karma or SavvyMoney, do not match up with the score your lender pulled during your pre-approval process. The most common questions we get during the credit section of your mortgage application is, “Why is my score lower than what I see?” and “What credit scores do you use for a mortgage?” To answer this, you first have to understand the differences between your mortgage credit score and your consumer credit score.

“Why is my score lower than what I see?”

Consumer Credit Score
When you, as an individual, go to check your credit score you will usually start with a free online service. Most of these services will only pull from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). This score is known as a VantageScore, or what we call an educational score. With this, you are getting more generalized information because it is free and typically only one bureau at a time. Since it is only one bureau, your results may be distorted as not every creditor reports to all 3 bureaus. These are great sources to monitor your credit activity and accounts.

Mortgage Credit Score
A mortgage lender will pull a FICO score, also known as a Mortgage Credit Score. This type of report is very detailed and includes credit history from all three bureaus together.
Your FICO credit score comes from a paid monitoring source and includes all three bureaus. Fannie Mae requires the following verions of the classic FICO score:

  • Equifax Beacon® 5.0
  • Experian®/Fair Isaac Risk Model V2SM
  • TransUnion FICO® Risk Score, Classic 04


“What credit scores do you use for a mortgage?”

Credit Scores When a mortgage lender pulls your mortgage credit score, we are pulling multiple variations of your score. At GCEFCU we pull what is called a “Tri-Merge.” This report pulls your credit history from all three major bureaus and merges them into a single report. This will allow us to make sure we get a full and accurate view of your credit history.
Mortgage lenders use a tougher credit scoring model to ensure our borrowers can pay back a large debt, such as a mortgage, comfortably. This type of report will give us a score from each bureau. How do we know which of those three score we use? We follow the standards set by Fannie Mae to make this determination.

  • If all three scores are different, we will use the middle score.
  • If two of the scores are the same, we will use that score even if the third score is higher or lower.
  • If there are two borrowers who are applying for a mortgage, we will follow the same two rules above for each borrower and then use the lower of those two middle scores.


Improving Your Mortgage Credit Score

Your credit score can affect more than the interest rate on your loan. It can also determine what type of loan program you may qualify for and the amount you will need for a down payment. If your mortgage score is not where you need it to be we can work with you and help you determine the best way to improve your score. Here are a few steps you can start taking now to improve your score, just remember credit repair can take some time. Once you begin the process, you may see a hit to your score before you begin to see the positive effects.

  • Pay down your debt. There are a few strategies out there that will help you pay off debt in the most efficient ways. Some of those methods include the Debt Avalanche or the Debt Snowball Methods. Paying off high interest cards while leaving them open can increase your score.
  • Make your payments on time. Your payment history plays a huge role in your credit score and in your eligibility for a loan. Keep current on your payments. Previous late payments will have less of an impact on your score as time passes.
  • Do not take on any new debt. Every time you open a new line of credit or take out a new loan, your score is going to take a hit. If buying a home is a priority, try to hold off on buying a new car, opening credit cards, or taking out any personal loans.
  • Pay your charge offs. Paying off charged off accounts can make a big impact on your credit. Even if you are mad at AT&T and don’t want to give them the satisfaction, you are only hurting yourself.


We are here to help!

Your credit report is an important part of your financial life. It determines your ability to obtain credit, the rate you’ll pay, and how much you will pay over the term of your obligation/loan. In addition to the free credit monitoring services, once per year you can also obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus at Understanding your credit profile can help you better plan out your next steps to meet your financial goals. If you have questions, your loan officer will be happy to review your credit with you.
Bre RifePost Author:
Bre Rife
Real Estate Loan Officer
NMLS# 1149285

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.

Your Money Is Insured


Learn How Your Money Is Protected

Top 100 credit unions imageWith the recent headlines of several bank failures, you may be wondering how safe your own money is. Luckily you are in good hands at GCEFCU, so there is no need to start hiding cash under your mattress.

You’re in Good Hands
Gulf Coast Educators FCU is ranked in the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions by and in the Top 100 Best Performing Credit Unions by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Here, we take extra caution when it comes to ensuring your finances are safe and secure. We value your trust in us and don’t take this responsibility lightly.


Your Money is Insured, Just in Case

The “FCU” in Gulf Coast Educators FCU stands for “Federal Credit Union.” All federal credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Deposits are insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor, per ownership account type, per NCUA insured credit union.

If you and your family have $250,000 or less in all of your share deposit accounts at the credit union, your money is fully insured. A member can still have more than $250,000 and be fully insured, provided the accounts meet certain requirements and are properly structured.


If I have more than $250,000 at GCEFCU, how can I make sure all my money is insured?

You may qualify for more than $250,000 in coverage if you own share accounts in different ownership categories. The four categories are:

  • Single Accounts (owned by one person with no beneficiaries): $250,000 per member-owner
  • Joint Accounts (two or more persons with no beneficiaries): $250,000 per owner
  • Revocable Trust Accounts (owned by one or more person(s) with beneficiaries): Each member-owner is insured up to $250,000 for each eligible beneficiary named.
  • Retirement Accounts (IRAs): $250,000 per member-owner


Calculate Your Insurance

If you are unsure if all your funds are fully insured, you can use NCUA’s Share Insurance Estimator. This estimator can be used for personal, business, or government accounts. If you have trouble navigating the Share Insurance Estimator, a video guide is available here.


How can I get more information?

NCUA created a special site called that provides information about everything credit union and share insurance related. You can also view a list of frequently asked questions by clicking here, and view the video below illustrating NCUA’s share insurance coverage.

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.

Credit Scores: The Basics

Credit Scores: The Basics

Who has a credit score?

  • Everyone who has at least one line of credit open under their name.
  • One month after the first line of credit in your name is opened you will get a credit score.

What is a credit score?

Laptop with credit score

A number from 350-800. The number determines how likely you are to pay back the money you might borrow from the bank.

Factors that go into your score:

  • Paying bills on time.
  • Credit usage (10-30% is ideal- if your card has a $10,000 maximum, don’t spend more than $3,000)
  • Amount of credit lines.
  • Age of credit lines and your credit history.

Where can you check your score?

  • Through your bank or credit union.
  • Through the credit bureau directly (
  • Through a credit score or your credit card website.

When is your credit score used?

When you want to borrow money from the bank for a personal loan, student loan, or a mortgage on your house.

The higher the score, the better.

You are more likely to get approved for a loan if your credit score is high.

Excellent: 750-850
Very Good: 700-749

Why is your credit score important?

Your credit score is an indicator of your financial responsibility. It can tell anyone who is going to lend you money how likely you are to pay back that loan.

One more thing-Soft pulls versus hard pull

Soft: Usually when you personally check your credit score. Will not show up on a credit report.

Hard: Usually when you are opening a new line of credit. will show up on your credit report and may affect score.

Information published by SavvyMoney.

If you would like to learn more about credit and how to keep a healthy score, click here to read more.

Katy Branch Anniversary Celebration!

You are invited to come celebrate our one-year anniversary of our Katy Branch! From March 13th-17th we will have treats, a drawing and a chance to spin our prize wheel for new accounts and a chance to win a $250 Gift Card.

Cookies All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Cookies All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Cupcakes All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Caricature Artist 10am – 1pm
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Gourmet Popcorn All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Various Snacks All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card 8am-4pm
$250 Visa Gift Card Drawing Held at 4:00PM

Potential Prize Wheel Prizes:
Nice notebook
Swag bag
Pick one
$5 gift card

*If a non-member opens an account during the week, they get to spin prize wheel.