A credit union is a financial entity owned by its members. Unlike banks, the account holders in a credit union are the significant decision-makers. That means the members can decide who will occupy the offices to serve them. The only issue with credit unions is that joining them can be challenging due to the restrictions put by the unions. We have numerous credit unions across various towns in the US. You will learn about the best credit union in New Jersey later.
Credit unions are some of the best financial institutions you can join. The institutions allow you to perform various activities you can do in banks, such as saving money, depositing checks, withdrawing finances, and buying goods and services. You can also get payment cards, such as credit and debit cards, to help you in your daily transaction activities. Therefore, the institutions have numerous similarities to banks.
For your information, credit unions give their members financial information to help them grow financially. You can only get such services from banks if you hire a financial expert to help you with that. The only major disadvantage of credit unions is that some have few branches that create inconveniences to members willing to get in-person services. You may find one branch in a whole town, while banks can have more than one branch.
How to get started with credit unions
Getting started with credit unions is easy. You only have to follow a few steps, and you are good to go. Each credit union has its laid down steps to join them. Generally, the following are the various ways to join a credit union.
- Join as an employee of an organization/group of organizations. Suppose you belong to a particular worship group, football club, or society. In that case, you may join a credit union permitting people from your society.
- Suppose you work in a particular industry or field. We have credit unions that allow you to join if you work in a specific field. For example, there are credit unions for teachers, others for farmers, hotel owners, and so on.
- Having a unique common background. Some credit unions allow people from common backgrounds to join. For example, you can join a credit union if you are a close relative of someone who is already a credit union member.
- If you live or work in a particular community. You can join some credit unions if you live in a specific area. Others allow you to join if you work in some areas. For example, GreenState Credit Union allows you to join if you live or work in Iowa or a county in Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, or South Dakota.
Reasons to join a credit union
There are various reasons why you may want to join a credit union. Some of the common reasons include the following.
- Credit unions are nonprofit financial institutions and answer only to their members other than outside stockholders.
- Credit unions are safe as your money is insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) up to $250,000.
- Credit unions are democratic institutions that allow members to control activities.
- Credit unions charge fewer fees than banks. Also, their loans have low interest.
- Credit unions offer financial information to their members. For example, you can get programs about money management.
- Membership is forever. If you join a credit union due to your job, you can keep your membership even after leaving it.
- Members have an equal say irrespective of the amount of money they have in their accounts.
- Unlike banks, credit unions rarely make losses, and you may not hear one request for a government bailout.
The Best Credit Union in New Jersey 2023
If you live in New Jersey and are looking for the best credit union to join, you are lucky since there are many of them. They include the following.
1. Affinity Federal Credit Union
The credit union’s headquarters are in Basking Ridge, NJ. It has approximately $3.82 Billion in assets and around 17 Locations and numerous ATM branches where you can easily access your money using your debit card.
You can apply for an account online or at a branch and get various full-service personal and business banking services such as loans, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and more. You can also call their Member Service Center at 800.325.0808 to get more help.
2. Merck Employees Federal Credit Union
You can find the union’s headquarters in Rahway, NJ. The institution has assets of about $2.42 Billion. It has three locations. It offers various banking services to its customers, including individuals and businesses. Furthermore, it runs programs to promote its members in one way or the other. Currently, it is offering scholarships, with the deadline being March 3, 2023.
You can apply for an account online and get a complete banking experience through their mobile app or website.
3. Financial Resources Federal Credit Union
The institution’s headquarters are in Bridgewater, NJ. It has assets worth $586.6 Million and has 7 Locations. You can apply for numerous products, such as vehicle loans, mortgages, savings and checking accounts, etc. They offer members Visa credit cards to help them in their day-to-day transactions.
To join the union, you may apply online or at a branch. The union also has an account for teens between 14-18 years. You can access your account through a mobile app for convenience.
4. Proponent Federal Credit Union
The credit union’s headquarters is in Nutley, NJ. It has assets of approximately $537.52 Million. The institution has 2 Locations and offers various products, such as saving and checking accounts, payment cards, and loans. You can access your account 24/7 from anywhere.
Opening an account at Proponent Federal Credit Union is easy, as you can do it online as long as you have all the requirements. You can even open an account at a branch.
5. First Harvest Credit Union
You can find the credit union’s headquarters in Deptford, NJ, and you can withdraw your money at surcharge-free ATMs or visit branches in New Jersey.
You may open your account at a branch or online. You can contact them at 800-582-7640 if you get stuck in the process.
Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions whereby members have the greatest say on how the institutions are run. The institutions offer products similar to banks, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, and payment cards. However, they are not profit-oriented and thus charge lower fees than banks. Also, their loans attract lower interest rates than banks.