What Is the Best Credit Union to Join

What Is the Best Credit Union to Join

April 9, 2022

A credit union refers to a member-owned financial institution that aims to uplift the members financially. Unlike banks, the union is formed by people of common interest or bond. That means people working in a commonplace, living in a particular area, worshiping at the same place, and so on. The main aim of forming a credit union is usually to uplift the members financially. But what is the best credit union to join? We shall look at the best credit unions that you can join later.

Usually, people join credit unions to grow financially. The institutions usually give loans at low-interest rates. That means you can get a loan and pay it with little extra money on top. Again, the institutions typically give borrowers a long repayment period depending on the amount of loan they have taken. That makes things more interesting as you do not have the pressure to complete the debt.

Once people form a credit union, they give their immediate members the go-ahead to apply for accounts. If a parent opens an account, their children can join the unions and start banking to achieve various goals. The same applies to spouses. If your husband or wife has an account, you can also apply for an account and enjoy various services. As we shall see later, credit unions have a few advantages compared to banks.

How to open a credit union account?

Opening a credit union is not that difficult as you need to do your homework on the available institutions in your locality and what they offer. If you are not joining as a close relative of an exciting member, you must see the unions that you share a common bond. If you are a farmer, you will need to join the one that serves farmers. The same applies when you are a teacher, police, army officer, civil servant, etc.

When looking at the best credit union, you also need to check various factors such as monthly maintenance fees, interest rates on loans, minimum account opening balance, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, etc. One of the most vital factors one should check is a credit union’s savings account interest rates. It is good to keep your money where you see it multiply.

After finding the best institution that meets your needs, you can open an account. You also need to ensure that you have everything necessary to proceed. The federal government requires everyone opening an account with any financial institution to have the following things.

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • An identification document such as a National/State ID, driver’s license, or a valid passport
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Physical address

The concerned institution may also demand other things you should provide for smooth operations. You can open your account online or at a physical location. When you open an account online, you have to fill in the various details online. You only need to visit the concerned union’s website to open your account. Then You navigate to the account opening section and follow the given steps.

You will need to upload docs such as an ID document and a utility bill. The utility bill helps to prove your physical address. Therefore, it should show a recent payment of your internet, electricity, water, or other bills. After finishing, you will get a notification telling you about the account status you requested. 

You can also visit a mortar and brick branch to open your account. You will also need to carry the various documents that I mentioned earlier.

How does a credit union work?

What Is the Best Credit Union to Join

The operation of the institution is simple. Once you open an account, you must contribute the minimum required account. Remember that you can open either a savings or a checking account. A savings account allows one to keep funds for future use.

In most cases, you can get a no-credit-check credit union account from various credit unions. After all, you are opening an account and not applying for a loan. However, when a time comes for you to get a loan, they have to run a credit check to ascertain whether you are eligible to get a loan. You usually get a debit card for your various transactions when you open a checking account. A debit card allows one to use their checking account balance.

If you apply for a checking account, you will be able to use your balance any time of the day. However, if you get a savings account, you will keep your money for future use. The more you save, the more you increase your chances of getting a loan.

Savings accounts earn interest per given time, quarterly or yearly, depending on the credit union terms and conditions. A checking account allows one to pay bills, send money to others, and withdraw funds.

What is the difference between credit unions and banks?

Banks and credit unions are all financial companies that allow you to deposit and use money. They allow you to open bank accounts online and at physical stores. But what is the difference between banks and credit unions? Some differences arise between the two institutions. They include the following.

  • Banks allow anyone with the proper documentation to open an account, while credit unions allow people with a common bond to open accounts.
  • Banks are profit-oriented and charge various fees on accounts. You can pay monthly fees, foreign transaction fees, annual fees, and so much more. Credit unions aim to uplift members financially as they do not charge many fees.
  • Credit unions charge low-interest rates on their members when they take loans, while banks charge high rates on loans borrowed.

What is the best credit union to join?

There are various credit unions that you can join as we speak. You might be looking for the best credit unions for personal loans to advance yourself or for a checking account to use for your day-to-day transactions. The following are some of the credit unions that you can apply for.

1) Alliant Credit Union

If you want a credit union for savings and checking accounts, then Alliant Credit union to join is suitable for that. The checking account earns you a 0.25% annual percentage yield if you opt for e-statements and contact at least one electronic deposit every month.

The union does not charge monthly fees, nor will you require any minimum balances. Alliant Credit Union’s savings account earns you an interest rate of up to 0.55% APY on $100 or more balances. The account does not charge you monthly fees if you opt for e-statements.

2) Connexus Credit Union

The institution is also suitable for checking and savings accounts. It gives you a checking account that earns you 1.75% APY on balances up to $25,000 upon meeting various requirements such as subscribing to e-statements and making 15 purchases per month using your debit card or spending $400 with the debit card each month.

The union does not charge any monthly fee. Both checking and savings accounts earn interest and the requirement to earn interest is a minimum daily balance of $100.

3) Consumers Credit Union

The union offers both checking and savings accounts. The rewards checking account earns you a 4.09% APY on account balances of up to $10,000 if you meet the requirements, such as spending at least $1,000 every month on an affiliated credit card.

The basic savings account does not charge fees but pays less interest. Anyone can become a member if they join a Consumers-affiliated nonprofit for $5.

4) First Tech Federal Credit Union

The institution has a reward checking account that earns you a 0.50% APY on balances of $15,000 after meeting requirements such as receiving e-statements and making 20 monthly debit or credit card purchases totaling at least $500. Also, upon meeting the qualifications, First Tech will refund up to $15 per month for non-network ATM withdrawals within the country.

5) Golden 1 Credit Union

The credit union offer a free checking account for college students and teens in general. The New Generation Checking account requires an adult co-owner. Interestingly, the Student Checking account gives college students full account privileges.

Additionally, the Youth Savings account requires a co-owner but allows the young account holders to make transactions without their presence. The account earns 0.05% APY, just like the regular savings account.

6) Credit Union of Southern California

The Credit Union of Southern California is among the best credit unions in California that you can open today and start enjoying financial services. If you live, work, school, or have religious services in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, or San Bernardino counties, you can become a member. You can open your account online or at a branch. You can also enroll in mobile banking and manage your account on the go.

Bottom line

A credit union refers to a member-owned financial institution that aims to uplift the members financially. You can join a credit union if you share a common bond with the current account holders. It offers services similar to banks such as checking and savings accounts, personal loans, credit cards, and debit cards. Unlike banks, credit unions charge low fees for various transactions, and the accounts earn high APYs. You can open your account online or at a branch.

Posted by Spencer Tierney
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Spencer Tierney is a writer and expert on certificates of deposits at transfermone.com. His work has been featured by USA Today, MSN, SF Gate, the Los Angeles Times, NerdWallet and more. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English at UC Berkeley.