Credit Union

A Step-by-Step Guide to Best Credit Unions for Personal Loans

If you are looking for the best credit unions for personal loans in the country, then you have arrived at the right place. The credit unions have better terms for loans as compared to banks and other lending platforms. Most importantly, interest rates are low, and the payment schedule is usually friendly compared to banks. Shylocks are the worst lenders since they charge extremely high-interest rates. The worst is when you are late in paying as they impose extraordinary penalties.

The year 2021 began with lots of challenges with the Covid’19 pandemic still with us. Many jobs have never appropriately resumed, and people are just suffering in terms of finance. Imagine having lost your job in the pandemic or have received a pay cut in the process. In such a scenario, a personal loan is significant to push you forward.

The good thing with a credit union is that they will give you a loan as long as you contribute as per the laid down rules and guidelines. Banks will not do that as they always request employment evidence which is usually a bank statement. Furthermore, the statement should show the previous six-month payments. It means that if you do not have employment, then most banks cannot give you a loan.

What is a credit union?

A credit union is a member-owned financial institution that provides banking services. It is a cooperative where people with a similar objective come together and start a banking service. This means that you must register as a member and start banking with them for you to benefit from the credit union. Members own and run their credit unions.

Most credit unions are farmer-oriented, whereby farmers come together to help uplift each other in their farming activities. As a member, you can apply for loans to grow your business whenever you are in need. Companies and organizations can also form credit unions for their members. In most cases, members who do not belong to such companies can also join the credit unions and contribute. 

Credit unions are non-profit-oriented financial institutions with the aim of only uplifting the members financially. They also enjoy tax-exempt status. Above all, credit unions have fewer brick-and-mortar locations than banks, which affect clients who need in-person assistance.

Also you read: How to Send Money with a Checking Account Number Instantly

How do credit unions operate?

best credit unions for personal loans

The unions usually follow a basic business model where members bring their money together. As a member, you can apply for a loan after a specific duration of becoming a member and repay with friendly interest. When borrowing, your periodical contributions may determine the amount of loan, you can get. If you contribute large amounts per month, you are likely going to receive higher loan limits.

You can opt out of a credit union after a specific duration if you no longer want to bank with them. As I have mentioned above, credit unions are member-owned, and members are responsible for all institutions’ operations. The institutions also have ATM points and also give members debit cards for use in various transactions.

Which are the best credit unions for personal loans?

My research on the best credit unions you can get personal loans led me to the following institutions. I am sure you will get the most appropriate one to join.  Have a look.

1) Alliant Credit Union

Alliant credit union

If you want the best credit union for checking and saving, Alliant can be the best option. It has one of the highest checks that earn a 0.25% annual percentage yield (APY)when registering for e-statements. Moreover, you should have at least one electronic deposit every month.

Most importantly, you will not require a minimum balance in this union. You have probably heard of financial institutions that need you to maintain a certain amount of balance.

Alliant does not have monthly fees if you register for e-statements. If you save $100 or more, you can earn high rates of up to 0.55% annual percentage yields.  If you work or live near Alliant headquarters in Chicago, you are eligible to join the union.

Furthermore, if you are a supporter of Foster Care to Success, you can join the union and agree to contribute $5. As a member, you will also access over 80,000 fee-free ATMs across the nation.

At Alliant, you can get personal loans from $1,000 to $50​​​​​000​​ with terms from 1 to 5 years. There is no guarantor needed. The loans have no prepayment penalties.

2) First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union

If you become a First Tech credit union member, you will get checking and saving accounts. It is the best credit union for the member experience. You will be able to earn 1.00% APY on balances of $10,000 and below.

Your dividends will therefore be huge as you save more significant amounts. To receive the high APY, you must register for e-statements and make 12 monthly debit card purchases.

The union has around 6,000 branches and nearly 30,000 ATMs. It operates in eight states of America and Puerto Rico. Some branches are even open on Saturdays, and members can get services when needed.

You can also get extended customer care services in their social media platforms, mobile app, and via phone calls. If you withdraw at a non-network ATM, the credit union refunds the transaction fees. That is amazing! Isn’t it? 

If you are a member of the Financial Fitness Association, a non-profit organization, you are eligible to join the union. It costs $8 only to enter. You can get loans of up to $50,000 to help you with your financial issues at the union. The loans have APRs of as low as 6.70% and no need for collateral.

3) Connexus Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union

If you are looking for the best credit union for checking, then Connexus is a good option. You can earn 1.75% APY up to a balance of $25,000. You, however, need to meet various requirements such as subscribing to e-statements, making 15 debit card purchases, or even spending at least $400 with your debit card every month. As a member, you can access over 54,000 free ATMs. You will have your transaction fee refunded if you use a non-network ATM.

There are also plenty of public branches, mainly in Wisconsin, where members can get in-person assistance on their financial issues. If you belong to the Connexus Association, you are eligible to join the union. Connexus Association provides education scholarships and financial education. You only need to pay a one-time $5 fee. Above all, the union does not charge monthly fees for the accounts.

If you need a personal loan from Connexus, you can enjoy rates as low as 5.99% APR. As we speak, you can get $150 as a reward when you take a personal loan from the Connexus Credit union. Make sure that you use the code PLSPRING when applying.

4) Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 is the best credit union for college students and teens in general. It offers a platform for the young ones to start their financial journey at a higher rate. The union offers checking and savings services to the members.

Teens and college students can access free checking accounts to cater to their day-to-day transactions. However, the New Generation Checking account requires an adult co-owner for a teen to benefit from it.

The union’s Youth Savings account also requires an adult co-owner, although the teen partner can transact in the adult’s absence. The savings account earns 0.05% APY. If you work or live in California, you are eligible for an account with Golden 1. California has around 70 branches that members can utilize. Furthermore, the union has about 30,000 ATMs nationwide where members can access their funds when in need.

Personal loans from Golden 1 are quick to apply, and you can get as low as $1,000. The loans have low-interest rates, and no collateral is needed. The terms are also friendly. If you opened an account six months before the loan application, you will benefit from lower rates.

5) Consumers Credit Union

consumers credit union

One thing I like about Consumers credit union is the high APY. The Rewards checking account earns you 4.09% APY if you maintain balances of up to $10,000! You must spend at least $1,000 per month on the affiliated credit card to qualify for the high APY.

You can also opt for other checking options that do not have many requirements, and you are good to go. However, you may not earn interest on such accounts.

Consumers also have savings account. The basic savings account earns low interest since it is free. Anyone can join Consumers, although its branches are in Chicago. There are no limitations on who should apply.  Participate with only $5. As a member, you will be able to access CO-OP shared branches as well as ATMs.

The Consumers Credit union has various kinds of loans. You can get a Signature loan if you have good credit. No guarantor is needed, but just your signature. You can qualify for amounts up to $100,000. You can also get a Motorcycle loan, recreation vehicle loan, among others.

6) America First Credit Union

america first credit union

America First Credit Union headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. However, services are spread across the nation as the union members can access over 30,000 fee-free ATMs in the CO-OP ATM network.

As a union member, you can enroll for the America First regular checking account, which has no monthly fee. The account also earns a little interest if you maintain at least $500.

Becoming a union member is limited to people who live in certain areas Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. If you work, worship, go to school, or volunteer in the above states, you can also join the credit union. Other limited groups can join the union.

There are various loans you can get at the union, which includes;

  • CERTIFICATE SECURED with Certificate Rate + 3.00% Fixed          
  • LINE OF CREDIT with 15.24% Variable APR, under monthly payment of 3.5% of the balance.
  • PERSONAL with 8.49% Variable APR and a 5-year payment term.
  • PERSONAL with 9.49% Fixed and a 5-year repayment term.
  • SHARE SECURED LINE OF CREDIT with 3.05% Variable APR.
  • SHARE SECURED with 3.05% Variable APR and a ten-year repayment term.

7) SchoolsFirst Credit Union

SchoolsFirst Credit Union

SchoolsFirst Credit Union is suitable for young people who would like to join credit unions. Young people can open JV Club and Varsity Club accounts. Members can access over 28,000 fee-free ATMs across the nation for withdrawals, among other kinds of transactions.

If you are a member of California’s public educational community, you can apply to join the credit union. Furthermore, if you work in other education jobs in California, you are free to apply to become a member.

SchoolsFirst Credit Union gives personal loans with a range of interest rates.

8) Boeing Employees Credit Union

Boeing Employees Credit Union

Boeing workers can join Boeing Employees Credit Union for their financial transactions. The union headquarters are in Washington State, although members can access ATM services across various country locations since it participates in the CO-OP ATM network.

The union has 5,000 branches and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country. As a partner, you can gain from the BECU’s Member Advantage checking account that earns you 1.00% APY on balances of $500 and below.  You can also opt for the Member Advantage savings that offer 0.02% APY on balances of $500 and below.

Apart from Boeing workers, residents from Washington, Idaho, and Oregon are eligible to apply. Other select groups can also apply to be members of the union. The union can give personal loans of up to $15,000 with over 72 month repayment period and a low-interest rate of 8.24%. 

9) State Employees Credit Union

State Employees Credit Union

Once you become a member of the State Employees Credit union, you can have Credit Union’s checking and savings accounts, both of which earn interest. You can also opt for certificates that usually pay higher interest rates.

For example, a five-year certificate of deposit will make you a 0.55% APY. Most branches of the union are in North Carolina, and only state workers and their families are eligible to apply for membership.

If you need a personal loan, you can get the Open-End Signature loan with flexible repayment terms.

10) Suncoast Credit Union

Suncoast Credit Union

Suncoast Credit Union has over 30,000 fee-free ATMs of various networks where members can withdraw money at their convenience. You can get a checking and saving account and earn interest.

The accounts have no monthly fees. If you work, live, go to school, or worship in Florida, you can apply to become a member of the union.

The Technology Personal Loan from the union has an APR of8.750 % repayable for 36 months. You can as well apply for signature or Personal Line of Credit loans.

Bottom line

A credit union refers to a non-profit financial institution that assists members in their day-to-day financial quest. Members can apply for personal loans as long as they meet the requirements. Specific companies and organizations can form credit unions for their members, or members themselves can come together to form the unions for themselves. Credit unions are almost similar to banks, although they have fewer brick-and-mortar offices. They offer higher APYs as compared to banks.

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