What was the very first financial choice you ever made?
Think about it: it likely took place with the money you earned from your lemonade stand. The very first financial decision you ever made is also one of the most important choices — it’s where to keep your money.
When you first made that decision, piggy banks and sock drawers seemed like perfectly acceptable options. As it turns out, they aren’t nearly as super-secret as you might have hoped. Opening a bank account is the best solution, but in order to do that, you first need to choose a financial institution. So, your choice is between a bank and a credit union.
Banks and credit unions offer essentially the same products and services, but there are huge differences in the way they operate. Despite this, many people put more thought into building their Netflix queue than they do choosing their financial institution. Whether you’re just starting out or rethinking your current financial setup, here is what you need to know.
The main difference between banks and credit unions is in their structure. Banks are for profit, while credit unions are member-owned and operated. Banks are set up in a way that allows shareholders to make money off of your banking activity.
Credit unions, on the other hand, are set up in a way that allows all of their members to benefit from their profits. Profits are distributed back to members in the form of free banking products, lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on savings accounts.
Credit unions sound pretty great, right? You might be wondering why some people choose banks over credit unions, even though credit unions consistently outperform banks when it comes to deposit and loan rates and member service.
The simple answer is that banks are bigger, and some people believe bigger is better. A more effective approach would be to figure out your banking priorities. Here are some factors to consider:
Am I eligible for an account? Banks are open to anyone. Credit unions have membership requirements, but don’t let that intimidate you! Find your local credit union and check out their website; chances are you are eligible to join one.
How much does it cost to get set up? Joining a credit union involves purchasing a share (they’re usually $5), but this is different from a fee — it means you’re a member-owner of the credit union.
Will I have good access to my funds? Are there ample ATMs? You might feel as though you see larger bank ATMs everywhere, but credit union ATMs are just as accessible. In fact, the local credit unions participate in the largest credit union ATM network, which is actually larger than the largest bank ATM network and that’s more access than a bank can offer.
What can I do online? What can’t you do online now? Local credit unions offer great features such as mobile check deposit, ATM location finder, bill pay, etc.
What else can the institution do for me? Interested in perks? Credit unions often discounts to amusement parks and free financial advice because they want what’s best for all their members, not just the shareholders.
Now that you understand how a credit union makes banking make sense, consider joining Noble Credit Union. In April, you can get your chance to win a Fresno Grizzlies VIP experience for 14 people that includes a behind-the-scenes tour and a luxury suite for the ever popular Star Wars night.
With all benefits of a credit union, you’ll be worth more at Noble Credit Union. Joining is always a breeze, and moving your money is easier than ever. Take a look! Visit Noble Credit Union at NobleCU.com.