How to Select a Credit Union

Author:     Monday, September 08, 2014 12:00 AM

Where to place your hard-earned money is never an easy decision, despite whether you’ve got a few thousand dollars or a small fortune. Not all credit unions offer the same services, making it important to do your research before selecting an institution. Look to the following steps when making your decision.


Evaluate Accessibility & Membership Requirements


Not all credit unions are accessible, given their size, location and membership requirements. Many small credit unions have few physical offices to visit, if you need to speak to someone in person about your finances. If you do not live in close proximity to a specific credit union, it may not be the right choice for you. Also, some credit unions are only available to individuals or their family members if they’re employees of a specific company. This step will help you narrow down the list of credit unions you’re considering.


Compare Fees & Interest Rates


Credit unions may charge fees for any number of financial products, even for checking accounts if you keep a balance below a certain threshold. For this reason, you need to compare fees and service charges between credit unions, to make the most cost-effective decision possible. If you plan on keeping your savings and checking accounts at credit unions, you may be eligible for some discounts and free services. This depends on the credit union, though. Interest rates and lending qualification criteria also vary between credit unions, making it important to evaluate these criteria if you may need financing in the future.


Verify Existence of Business Services


Not all credit unions offer business loans and other related services. So, if you have a small business or need financing for a new venture, you need to be sure that the credit union you select can provide you with the financial products you need. More and more credit unions are offering services to small businesses, but you cannot assume all credit unions will have the financial products available at major banks. Verifying the existence of business services is a simple process that can save you time and energy in your search for the right service provider.


Credit unions are a viable option for storing your savings and obtaining financial products, but not all institutions are the same. Look to these three steps when deciding on a service provider, to help you find the best credit union to match your needs.

Source: BFI