It can require some research to decide whether opening a new account at a bank or a credit union would be the better option. Loyal bank customers don’t want to make the switch to a credit union but there are a lot of benefits associated with credit unions that you can’t find anywhere else. Let’s take a look at some of the differences if you happen to be in need of a new credit union checking account.
When you sign up with a credit union you become a member. At a bank you are considered a customer and not a shareholder. Banks exist to make profit for the stockholders that are involved with the company. Credit unions function as not-for-profit entities that will distribute profits to the various members. This might not be paid out as cash but benefits can include lower interest rates and lower fees overall.
Many people believe that banks are more convenient because there is a larger network of locations to deal with. This actually is not the case. Many different credit unions will belong to a large network of locations. These locations might not be for that sole credit union but you can do business there. Your availability really depends on where you live and where you will be doing the majority of your banking.
Credit unions offer most of the same products that you will find at a bank. This includes credit cards. You might be shocked to find out that the interest rates that are part of your local credit union’s offers are much lower than what a bank would offer up. Many credit unions will offer cash back or reward programs as well.
Most credit unions offer free ATM transactions. Many banks are now providing ATM services for up to $3 per transaction. As long as you stop by a participating ATM that deals with your specific credit union then you will be safe from fees. If you are using a third party ATM you may have to pay their fee. Make sure you do your research ahead of time before making a transaction so you know what you can expect. A lot of people prefer to stop by an ATM instead of having to plan around hours that a branch is open.
If you are looking for a checking account then you will likely be able to find a product at a credit union that will provide you with optimal benefits. Some other products can have higher rates at a credit union like money market accounts and CD’s. There are a number of products that are much more beneficial than a bank. This includes mortgages, automobile loans and home equity loans.
If you are in need of a new account then you may want to stop by some of the local financial institutions that you have in your area. You can request any information that you need to make a final decision. Make sure you take your time and read all the small print before you make your choice.