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Credit unions operate much like banks but have different objectives and goals. Most credit unions can offer better rates on loans, reduced fees on banking products, and better customer service than traditional banks.
But financial credit unions aren’t as popular as traditional banking since most people are unaware of what credit unions are and why they may be a better option. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about financial credit unions and our ranking of the best financial credit union available to you today.
Financial credit unions are financial institutions that aim to serve their members instead of generating returns for shareholders. Financial credit unions are non-profits and are owned by their members. Once you use a credit union, you’re a part owner in the company and can benefit from one of many advantages of being in a credit union.
However, not everyone qualifies to join a credit union. In fact, some credit unions have strict requirements that make it very difficult to qualify, although joining a credit union typically isn’t too difficult.
Credit unions offer many of the same products that banks can offer but with better terms and lower fees. This makes credit unions an attractive option for those who want to join a credit union this year.
Financial credit unions aren’t large multinational companies. Most credit unions serve specific areas as opposed to millions of people. Below is our pick for the best financial credit union in the United States in 2023.
What we like:
Wide range of banking products and services
Great rates on loan products
Generous credit card offers
What we don’t like:
Early withdraw penalties
Reports of poor customer service
Long wait times for phone services
What we like:
Very easy to join
Highly-rated mobile app
Customer support via Twitter and 24/7 phone service
What we don’t like:
No shared branching
What we like:
Easy banking on the go
Best rates in the business
What we don’t like:
Reports of rude customer service
Credit unions wouldn’t be so popular if there weren’t plenty of benefits of joining them. Below are some of the top benefits you’ll find if you decide to join a financial credit union.
Low interest rates on loan products. While interest rates continue to climb in 2023, credit unions can often offer better interest rates on loans than banks and traditional lenders. All the profits of credit unions go back to their members which means they can offer better rates on loans and other credit-qualifying financial products.
High rates on checking and savings accounts. Traditional banks are known for offering very low interest on their checking and savings accounts. Luckily, credit unions can offer better rates for those who do their banking with the credit union.
Better customer service. Since credit unions are owned by their members, they can provide better customer service and a better banking experience. Most credit unions have limited locations and have the decision makers in the office whenever you decide to visit.
Membership requirements. Credit unions have membership requirements which mean not everyone qualifies to join the financial credit union. These requirements may involve your credit score, liquid assets, or cash reserves.
Fewer products. Financial credit unions may not have as many financial products as traditional banks or lenders. You may not be able to do a cash-out refinance, bridge loan, or other special financial products that banks offer their customers.
Fewer locations. Most financial credit unions have fewer locations than large multinational banks. You may need to travel long distances to your credit union offices if you’re traveling outside of your local area.
Less technology. Large banks and financial institutions often have technology solutions that make banking easier and more intuitive. Financial credit unions are known for lacking advanced banking technology.
Credit unions and banks are similar in many regards. They both offer financial products like mortgages, lines of credit, and home equity loans. However, banks tend to have more stringent requirements and look at things like your income, credit, and cash reserves.
Credit unions aren’t as big as most banks. Banks like PNC, Chase, and CapitalOne have offices and employees in many countries. Therefore, they have access to the best financial products and can offer competitive rates and fees. However, credit unions are able to give more individual attention to their customers since their businesses are smaller and don’t take on as many clients.
The final difference between banks and credit unions is that banks are for-profit enterprises that seek to make the most amount of money for their customers. On the flip side, credit unions are non-profit organizations owned by its customers and don’t seek to maximize profits at the expense of their customers.
If you’re wondering how to join a credit union, there are some basic facts you should know about qualifying. Some credit unions have more stringent requirements and may only take borrowers with high credit scores or income.
The best way to join a credit union is to find out the best credit unions in your area and stop in at the branch during business hours. Making an appointment with an employee at the credit union is a good way to ensure they’ll be able to talk with you when you come in.
Credit union employees will be happy to tell you more about joining their organization and may ask you some basic questions before explaining the signup process. The credit union will likely ask for basic financial documents like your income report, bank statements, and tax returns.
Joining a credit union typically isn’t too difficult for those that have a stable job and income. Credit unions are always accepting new customers and will be happy to help you join their organization.
Those that value personalized service when it comes to banking will appreciate everything that credit unions have to offer. However, if you want the best financial tools and technology, you may want to stick with traditional banks since they can offer digital banking tools that credit unions can’t keep up with.
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