Understanding Credit

What to look for when selecting a Credit Union?

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Credit unions are a great way to save money and to increase the savings rate that you might be receiving on your interest-bearing account. Unlike their commercial counterparts, credit unions typically offer free accounts with no minimum balance requirements. The benefits of a credit union go far beyond just maintaining an interest-bearing checking account. Customers of these financial institutions notice one major difference between these consumer-owned institutions and the banks with which most people conduct their financial business: better customer service. Because credit union customers are partial owners, credit unions tend to produce a higher level of customer satisfaction. People who choose a credit union need to know what to expect, and they need to know what the limitations of a particular credit union are.

Many credit unions require their customers to live in a certain area or work at a certain company. Some of these institutions have expanded their customer base by allowing people who live in the community but are not necessarily attached to a particular business open an account. Customers just need to walk into the local office and ask how to open an account. The staff of the credit union will be more than happy to go over the details of how to open a checking or savings account and all the added benefits.

As long as the perspective new customer meets all of the requirements of that particular credit union, he or she can open an account. You can receive a debit card, credit cards, and checks just like at a regular bank. If you have the necessary credit, you can get mortgage loans and car loans at a lower interest rate than you may have been able to get at a commercial bank. Credit unions are exempt from paying most state and federal taxes. For that reason, they are usually able to offer higher savings account rates and lower interest rates on their loans.

Perspective customers need to pay particular attention to the fees when choosing a credit union. Many of them will reimburse ATM fees up to a certain amount. Most of them also have an ATM machine on the premises that does not require members of that institution to pay withdrawal fees. Extra charges that banks love to charge their customers, like over-the-limit fees, typically will not appear on a credit union statement of fees.

The differences in how each credit union is formed will account for the differences in policy, fees, limits, products, etc. Credit unions have many benefits that banks just don’t offer like Christmas Clubs, lower interest rates, great rates on certificate of deposits, and many more. If you are looking for a more personal experience then a credit union is probably right for you.  You can find a local credit union by using the Find a Credit Union website. Before you make any financial decision, make sure you’ve done your research first.

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Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for Advantage CCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.