Credit unions, like banks, are institutions that offer financial services to members. Both have similar features. You can deposit, take out loans, and even share the same address. But there are significant differences between the two institutions, which can significantly impact your finances and how you bank.
Click here for tips to help you select a credit union that suits your needs;
Fees and rates: Compare credit unions’ fees and interest rates. Look at account maintenance fees, transaction fees, and loan interest rates. A credit union with lower fees and competitive rates can save you money.
Financial stability: Investigate the credit union’s financial health. Look at their capitalization and financial ratings, usually available on the NCUA’s website in the United States. A financially stable credit union is more likely to offer reliable services.
Member benefits: Some credit unions offer extra perks to their members, such as lower loan rates, higher savings account interest rates, or financial education resources. Explore these benefits to see if they align with your financial goals.
Community involvement: Some people prefer credit unions that are active in their local communities and support charitable initiatives. If community involvement is important to you, inquire about the credit union’s outreach efforts.
Accessibility: Ensure the credit union’s operating hours and availability of customer support align with your schedule. Extended hours and good customer support can be valuable.
Location and convenience: Consider the credit union’s branch and ATM network. Choose a credit union with convenient branch locations if you prefer in-person banking. If online and mobile banking is more your style, make sure they offer robust digital services.
Membership eligibility: Credit unions have membership requirements. Make sure you qualify for membership based on criteria such as your employer, location, or community ties. Some credit unions have broad eligibility criteria, while others are more specific.
Mobile banking: In today’s digital age, mobile banking online services are crucial. Check if the credit union offers user-friendly online and mobile banking platforms with features like bill pay, mobile check deposit, and account alerts.
Review disclosure documents: Before opening up an account at a credit union, read through its disclosure documents. Credit unions are required by law to provide this information to potential members, but they might not be as thorough as they could be in explaining what they offer.
Credit union philosophy: Credit unions are member-owned and often emphasize community involvement and customer-centric values. Consider whether the credit union’s philosophy aligns with your values and goals.
Technology and digital services: If you prefer online or mobile banking, make sure the credit union offers modern and secure digital banking services. This includes online bill pay, mobile check deposit, and the ability to manage your accounts online.
Personal preferences: Consider personal preferences, such as the credit union’s hours of operation, the availability of safe deposit boxes, and any other specific services or features that are important to you.
It would be best to consider several factors when choosing a credit union, but either way, choosing a credit union is still a better choice when compared to other forms of lending.