credit unions http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13356/all en-US What to Do After Losing Your Social Security Card http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/identity_theft.jpg" alt="Identity Theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You lost your Social Security card. Any time personal information goes missing, it can be unnerving. How big of a problem is this, exactly?</p> <p>The card itself is not much of one. Replacing a lost Social Security card is free and relatively simple. The bigger worry is what happens if your Social Security <em>number</em> falls into the wrong hands, and criminals use it to steal your identity. Then, you have a problem.</p> <p>You can reduce the odds of trouble by acting quickly. Follow this fast plan if you've lost your Social Security card.</p> <h2>Protecting your identity</h2> <p>To understand whether someone has stolen your Social Security number, keep a close watch on your credit reports. Thieves could use your Social Security number to apply for new credit cards in your name, racking up debt without you even realizing. This could send your credit score tumbling. You might also start receiving calls from angry creditors wondering why you haven't paid your bills.</p> <p>The best way to determine if someone is illegally using your Social Security number is to order copies of your credit reports from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action" target="_blank">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; each year. Once you have your reports, study them carefully. Look for new lines of credit taken out in your name that you know you never applied for.</p> <p>If you do suspect someone is using your Social Security number illegally, visit <a href="http://www.identitytheft.gov" target="_blank">IdentityTheft.gov</a>, a website run by the Federal Trade Commission, to report the theft. You can also file an online complaint with the <a href="https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx" target="_blank">Internet Crime Complaint Center</a>.</p> <p>It's important to also report the theft to either <a href="https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp?_ga=1.38645931.963795184.1492791088" target="_blank">Equifax</a>, <a href="https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html" target="_blank">Experian</a>, or&nbsp;<a href="https://fraud.transunion.com/fa/fraudAlert/landingPage.jsp" target="_blank">TransUnion</a>. The credit bureau will place a fraud alert on your credit report, and will also notify the other two bureaus so that they will do the same.</p> <p>Next, <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection" target="_blank">contact the IRS</a>. This will keep identity thieves from filing a tax return in your name and then collecting a refund that is owed to you.</p> <h2>A simple fix if there's no evidence of identity theft</h2> <p>If you want a new Social Security card, you may be able to apply for a replacement on the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/" target="_blank">Social Security Administration's website</a>. Replacements are free. First, you'll need to create a mySocialSecurity account. You must be a U.S. citizen who is 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. You must also have a driver's license or state-issued ID from one of the following 18 places: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin.</p> <p>If you don't meet the criteria for an online application, you can submit an <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf" target="_blank">application for a replacement card</a> in person or by mail to your local Social Security office. You'll need to provide your U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card, or U.S. passport.</p> <p>You can apply for a maximum of three new Social Security cards a year, and a maximum of 10 during your lifetime.</p> <h2>What if you're a victim of identity theft?</h2> <p>If you have evidence that someone else is using your Social Security number, you can request a new Social Security number from the Social Security Administration. Just be sure you can actually prove that someone is using your number and that this use is harming you. If you can't provide evidence of this, you won't be given a new Social Security number.</p> <p>For example, your evidence could be a credit report listing several credit cards that you've never applied for. Or, evidence could be a letter from the IRS informing you that your income tax filings were rejected because someone else already filed them.</p> <p>If you suspect someone is using your number, call the Social Security Administration fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.</p> <p>To prevent your Social Security number from falling into the wrong hands, don't carry your card with you. There is absolutely no reason to keep your Social Security card in your wallet. Instead, keep it in a safe-deposit box, at home, or in another secure location. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-never-keep-in-your-wallet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-after-losing-your-social-security-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-it-okay-to-share-your-social-security-number">When Is It Okay to Share Your Social Security Number?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-old-debt-from-your-credit-report">How to Clear Old Debt From Your Credit Report</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit reports credit unions identity theft IRS lost missing replacements social security card social security number ssa ssn Wed, 31 May 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1955703 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Credit Union Is Changing — for the Better http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_bank_teller_636202058.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways her credit union is changing for the better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us understand the advantages offered by banking with credit unions, including better interest rates and customer service compared to their major bank peers. But even the savviest among us can learn new tricks, and to that end, CO-OP&rsquo;s 2017 THINK Conference highlighted some of the critical ways in which the credit union industry is changing &mdash; for the better. We also caught up with financial experts like Jean Chatzky and Bobbi Rebell at the conference, where they shared some key insights into the types of transformations you might be seeing soon at your local credit union.</p> <h2>It's instituting mobile apps</h2> <p>You might&rsquo;ve already noticed your local credit union instituting new technologies, such as mobile apps enabling remote deposits and mobile payments. This is part of an industrywide push to provide more customer-centric solutions utilizing the latest in mobile technologies. Expect more additions to mobile offerings in a bid to make your experience more efficient.</p> <h2>It's going digital to be more agile</h2> <p>Financial expert, author, and TV host Bobbi Rebell noted that, in addition to instituting mobile apps, credit unions are taking additional steps to create a digital-first platform for customers. But unlike big banks, which have a history of older, legacy customer platforms, credit unions are smaller and more agile, enabling them to build customer-focused digital experiences from the ground up.</p> <p>&ldquo;Digital transformation isn&rsquo;t just about implementing digital experiences here and there,&rdquo; says Rebell, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really about rethinking the entire customer experience so that digital technologies improve their overall experience.&rdquo;</p> <h2>It's promoting more women</h2> <p>Samantha Paxson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Co-Op Financial Services, notes that this lean, agile mentality not only enables credit unions to provide better customer service, but it also allows more women into leadership ranks.</p> <p>&ldquo;Credit unions are one of the few areas of the financial industry where women are represented in significant percentages in leadership. That&rsquo;s because key elements of female leadership &mdash; such as empathy and strong communication skills &mdash; are essential to the success of credit unions in the community.&rdquo;</p> <h2>It's staying true to your community</h2> <p>One of the personal finance world&rsquo;s biggest luminaries, Jean Chatzky of <em>Today Show</em> fame, was on hand to help host the THINK Conference, noting the importance of credit unions to the lives of so many people in communities across the country. And perhaps that&rsquo;s one of the biggest take-aways here: mobile apps, new digital platforms, and other innovations you can expect from your credit union are all designed to get closer to your needs. Credit unions aren&rsquo;t losing their local focus, nor will their digital innovations present a less human experience for their customers. Unlike other segments of the financial industry, credit unions are trying hard to stay true to their roots: you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking bank accounts banking banks credit unions local credit union saving money Mon, 22 May 2017 22:06:53 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1952546 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482043394.jpg" alt="Woman learning sales strategies her bank is using" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people fail to realize that their banking institution is, in fact, a business. And as such, they're using a wide range of marketing and sales strategies on you, whether you realize it or not. It's up to you to be the smart customer. Let's review five of the sales strategies you should keep an eye on.</p> <h2>1. Cash or Gift Card Offer for Opening an Account</h2> <p>When a new bank branch opens in your neighborhood, you may receive a mailer informing you that you could receive a hefty cash bonus or gift card for opening a new account. Free money may sound great, until you realize that there is a catch. Very often you have to meet a minimum balance deposit for a required period of time, effectively locking you into doing business with the bank. Think about it: How often do you switch banks? Consider whether you really want to deal with having a new bank account before you jump at the offer.</p> <h2>2. Free Checking Account</h2> <p>There's no such thing as a free lunch, and some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=internal" target="_blank">free checking accounts</a> are no exception. Common requirements that banks impose on their customers include:</p> <ul> <li>Maintaining a minimum balance. Some banks require a minimum daily balance per statement cycle to have a $0 monthly maintenance fee;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Meeting a minimum number of transactions. Some banks may require you to use your debit card a minimum of 10 to 12 times per month; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Making at least one monthly deposit. Often, that monthly deposit must be a direct deposit from your employer.</li> </ul> <p>Banks may set only one of these requirements or a combination of them. If you were to fall short on any of these requirements &mdash; such as making only 11 out of 12 required monthly transactions, or having an account balance below the required minimum for even just one day &mdash; you would get charged a fee for using your &quot;free&quot; checking account. Make sure you can easily meet their requirements before signing up.</p> <h2>3. Higher Interest Rate on Savings</h2> <p>A bank may offer what sounds like a very high savings rate, but the bank will use language such as &quot;up to 2% APY.&quot; To get the promised 2%, you'd have to keep a very high balance. Depending on the amount of money you actually have to put into the savings account, you might end up with a lower rate than you already have &mdash; 0.20% or 0.25% APY, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>4. ATM Fees Refund</h2> <p>Let's face it: ATM fees are annoying, and some banks will offer to reimburse all or some of the ATM fees to make up for the inconvenience. However, the limit of the ATM fee reimbursement varies widely per banks. Some banks offer $10, $15, or $20 per statement cycle or month. With the average ATM fee at $2.90 in 2016, you could easily eat up any of those refunds in just a few trips to the ATM. Consider your ATM needs and options in your area before you sign up with a bank with limited network ATMs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Avoid ATM Fees</a>)</p> <h2>5. Mobile Check Deposit</h2> <p>You've seen the TV ads: a busy Millennial, mom, or retiree totally ecstatic about how they can save time by depositing checks on the go with their smartphone. Snap, click, deposit! It's great for the average person with a few checks for small amounts, but if you're a freelancer or small business owner who thinks this will save you trips to the bank, think again. There are all sorts of limits on the amount per check (and even amount per 30 days) that you can deposit this way. Some banks offer special equipment that allows higher limits, but still, it may not be as convenient as you think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Modern Ways to Send Money Instead of Using a Check</a>)</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Know Your Bank Fees!</h2> <p>When you're unhappy with your current financial institution, the promise of better banking through a higher savings interest rate, lack of fees, or refund of all ATM fees may sound enticing. While some of these selling points can indeed improve your financial situation, make sure to thoroughly review the requirements, if any, to gain access to the promised features. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>When facing a list of potential requirements, do a cost-benefit analysis. For example, can I leave a $5,000 deposit to get a 1.5% APY without putting any pressure on my monthly budget? If so, then take advantage of that higher savings rate. Be a smart bank user, shop around, and evaluate all of your options.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money.jpg&amp;description=5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Sales%20Strategies%20Your%20Bank%20Uses%20to%20Make%20Money.jpg" alt="5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-a-good-interest-rate-in-a-low-rate-environment">How to Earn a Good Interest Rate in a Low-Rate Environment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking atm fees atms cash incentives credit unions interest rates mobile deposits sales strategies savings accounts Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Damian Davila 1893288 at http://www.wisebread.com The 25 Best Credit Cards From Credit Unions http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smile_credit_card_588598074.jpg" alt="Woman using best credit cards from credit unions" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit unions have come a long way from their local, affinity group roots. These days credit unions offer all of the convenience and service of their much larger brethren, but usually at lower cost &mdash; and often with more personal customer service. Joining a credit union has never been easier, as most credit unions make membership available to almost anyone through affiliated nonprofits and groups. Of course, credit cards are among the banking products a credit union will offer.</p> <p>We've collected 25 of the best credit union credit cards on offer, many equal or superior to big bank cards. Have a look, and then decide if it's time to finally <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">dump your bank and join a credit union</a>.</p> <h2>Our Top 10 Credit Union Credit Cards</h2> <p>The 10 cards at the top of our list feature relatively low interest rates and familiar credit card features and perks.</p> <h3>State Department Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>The SDFCU offers a pair of Platinum Visa cards with several attractive benefits, including no balance transfer fees, and a rewards program called &quot;Flexpoint.&quot; Variable interest rates range between 7.49% and 15.24%, depending on credit score. The SDFCU is open to employees of the US State Department and their families, affiliated companies, and members of the American Consumer Council, which anyone can join.</p> <h3>GTE Financial Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>The Platinum Visa from GTE Federal Credit Union offers attractive interest rates (8.49% for the best credit scores) and no balance transfer fees. Many credit union cards are shy with the rewards points, but this card features 2x and 3x points on promotional purchases throughout the year. Visa Alerts and Travel and Baggage insurance round out the perks. Membership in the GTEFCU is through employers, family members, or by joining GTE's CU Savers club.</p> <h3>Air Force Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card<strong> </strong></h3> <p>You don't have to be a pilot to enjoy the benefits of the AFFCU Platinum Visa.There's no annual fee for this card, relatively low interest rates (starting at 8% for those with excellent credit scores), and 2,500 bonus CURewards points just for signing up. Membership is open to military service personnel and their families, government employees and their families, DOD contractors, and members of the Airman Heritage Foundation, which anyone can join for a fee.</p> <h3>Navy Federal Credit Union: cashRewards Credit Card</h3> <p>This card features no annual fee and an attractive cash back rewards program that returns 1.5% for every dollar spent. Interest rates start at 9.9%, so be sure to take advantage of the rewards while keeping balances at zero. There are no annual fees, no balance transfer fees, and no foreign transaction fees with this card. Membership is open to current and former service members, DOD civilians, and their families.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>The relatively high interest rates on this card (starting at 10.24%), make it an unwise choice for cardholders who carry a balance. For those who can keep balances low, the attractive rewards program can pay well, with 5x points for gasoline purchases and 3x for groceries. No annual fee and no foreign transactions fee keep the cost of this card down. PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, both of which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Premium Travel Rewards American Express</h3> <p>As with the other PenFed card on this list, interest rates aren't the lowest, but the rewards are attractive, especially for frequent travelers. This card features a 12 month 0% balance transfer APR and pays 20,000 bonus points if new cardholders spend $2,500 in the first three months. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, members of affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Navy Federal Credit Union: Go Rewards Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>This Visa Signature card offers a decent rewards program &mdash; 3x points for restaurants, 2x for gasoline and 1x for everything else &mdash; at the cost of relatively high interest rates (9.74% to 18%, depending on credit score). There is no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and no foreign transaction fee. Membership is open to current and former service members, DOD civilians, and their families.</p> <h3>Affinity Plus Credit Union: Visa Premier Classic</h3> <p>This no frills card from Affinity Plus Credit Union offers relatively low interest rates (8.65% to 18%, depending on creditworthiness), no annual fee, and no balance transfer fee. Other perks include a Rental vehicle damage waiver and Visa spending alerts. Membership is open to employees of the State of Minnesota, affiliate organizations, and members of the Affinity Plus Foundation, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>NASA Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Advantage Rewards</h3> <p>This basic rewards card offers a point per dollar spent, which are redeemable for travel and merchandise. There is no annual fee and no balance transfer fee. Interest rates range from 10.17% to 18%, with a balance transfer rate of 7.90% on transfers made in the first 90 days. Membership is open to NASA employees and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of the National Space Society, which is free to join.</p> <h3>McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>This Platinum Visa card features interest rates between 9.9% and 18%, which is middle of the pack for this collection of cards. There is no annual fee. The rewards program requires a separate login on the credit union's website. The card offers Visa services not every credit union card offers, such as roadside assistance and car rental insurance. Membership is open to employer groups, members of their families, and members of VOICE foundation, which anyone can join.</p> <h2>Other Credit Union Credit Cards to Consider</h2> <p>If none of the above suit your needs, consider one of these.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Gold Visa Card</h3> <p>No frills, no fees, and relatively low interest rates (8.99% to 18%).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card</h3> <p>Cash back on gas of 3% or 5%, depending on which card you qualify for (Standard or Plus).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Promise Visa Card</h3> <p>No fees, relatively low interest rates (8.99% to 18%).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Defender Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>Cash back on all purchases of 1.5% and $100 bonus credit if new cardholders spend $1500 in the first three months.</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Lake Michigan Credit Union: Prime Platinum Visa Card</h3> <p>This card offers a relatively low interest rate (Prime + 3.00%) and no annual fee.</p> <p>Membership is open residents of Michigan, family members, and members of the ALS foundation, which requires a one-time fee.</p> <h2>Lake Michigan Credit Union: Max Rewards Visa Card</h2> <p>Cash back of 3% on gas (up to $500 per month), 2% on groceries (unlimited) and 1% on everything else (unlimited), redeemable via the CURewards program. No annual fee and no balance transfer fee.</p> <p>Membership is open residents of Michigan, family members, and members of the ALS foundation, which requires a one-time fee.</p> <h3>NASA Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Cash Rewards</h3> <p>Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to NASA employees and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of the National Space Society, which is free to join.</p> <h3>Affinity Plus Credit Union: Visa Premier Select Rewards</h3> <p>No annual or balance transfer fees. Earn one CURewards point per dollar spent, Visa Signature perks such as travel accident insurance and cell phone protection.</p> <p>Membership is open to employees of the State of Minnesota, affiliate organizations, and members of the Affinity Plus Foundation, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Apple Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum</h3> <p>Low variable interest rates (5.99% to 18%) and no penalty APR. No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in several Northern Virginia counties, their families, and affiliated employee groups.</p> <h3>Apple Federal Credit Union: Signature Reward Visa</h3> <p>No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Earn 3x points on gas, 2x on groceries and 1x on everything else.</p> <p>Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in several Northern Virginia counties, their families, and affiliated employee groups.</p> <h3>Kitsap Credit Union: Visa Gold Card</h3> <p>Low variable APR (Prime +2.9%) and no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live work, or worship in the state of Washington.</p> <h3>Abri Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Low interest rates (Prime + 3.9%), no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Promotional balance transfer rate of 1.99% for six months.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live in select Chicagoland counties and their families.</p> <h3>Fort Community Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Low variable APR (Prime + 3.99%), no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Cash back of 1% on all purchases.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live and work in select counties in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and their families.</p> <h3>America First Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Cash back of 1.5% on all purchases, no annual or balance transfer fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to those who live, work, or worship in select Utah, Arizona, and Nevada counties.</p> <h3>Suncoast Credit Union: Reward Platinum Visa</h3> <p>Variable interest rates starting at 8.9%, one rewards point for every dollar spent, redeemable for travel and merchandise. No annual or balance transfer fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to those who live or work in select Florida counties and their families.</p> <h3>Alliant Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Introductory APR of 0% for 12 months; variable after (9.74% to 21.74%). No annual fee, no balance transfer fee.</p> <p>Membership is open to select employer groups, people who live or work in select Chicagoland counties, or members of a nonprofit, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase">How a Credit Card Cash Advance Costs You More Than a Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal">Is a Balance Transfer Offer a Good Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fees-hidden-and-otherwise">Credit Card Fees: Hidden and Otherwise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards APR cash back credit unions interest rates rewards cards Sat, 28 Jan 2017 01:09:38 +0000 Greg Go 1882265 at http://www.wisebread.com Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_check_78686861.jpg" alt="Woman switching to a new bank in 5 easy steps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Switching banks is a pain. You have to close accounts, research new banks, and rework all those automatic bill payments you've set up at the financial institution you'd like to leave.</p> <p>But sometimes making the switch is the right move. Maybe your bank has raised its fees. Maybe it's closed the branches that operated near your home or work. And if you're moving, you might have no choice but to make the switch.</p> <p>Yes, switching banks does take a bit of work. But it's relatively simple work.</p> <p>If you need or want to switch to a new bank, follow this simple step-by-step guide. Doing so will ease any stress from jumping to a new financial institution.</p> <h2>1. Research a New Bank</h2> <p>Before closing any accounts at your current bank, make sure that you spend some time researching a new home for your money. Choose a bank that offers online bill pay and direct deposit, of course. You also want one that offers free checking and higher interest rates on savings accounts &mdash; relatively speaking, since interest rates are still near historic lows.</p> <p>Customer service matters, too. Search for a bank that has plenty of ATMs near you and that still operates branches within a short drive of your home or office. You might also consider investigating a credit union or an online bank, both solid alternatives to traditional banks.</p> <p>The key in this search is the checking account. Make sure you know exactly how your new checking account will operate. Is there a minimum-balance requirement? Are there fees if you make too many withdrawals during a month? How large of an initial deposit do you need to set up your new account? These are all key questions that you should answer during your research.</p> <h2>2. Open Your New Checking Account</h2> <p>Once you select a new bank, start the switching process by opening a checking account there. Do this before you close the checking account at the bank you are leaving. You might still need money in your old account to cover payments that haven't yet cleared.</p> <p>To open a checking account, you'll need some basic information. You'll need to provide, of course, your name, address, and date of birth. But you'll also need to provide your Social Security number and one official piece of photo identification. Usually, this will be your driver's license. But banks will also accept an official state ID card or your passport.</p> <p>Your bank will then require you to make an initial deposit into your new account. How big this deposit must be will vary by bank.</p> <h2>3. Cancel Automatic Payments at the Bank You Are Leaving</h2> <p>Once you've established a checking account at your new bank, it's time to cancel any automatic payments that you've set up at the bank you are leaving. Do this right away, so that your creditors don't try to take money out of an account that is either empty or has been officially closed.</p> <p>Then set up the same automatic payments with your new bank. You'll need your bank's routing number and address and your checking account number to do this.</p> <p>If you had signed up to have your paycheck deposited directly into your old account, cancel that direct-deposit arrangement, too. Then contact your company's human resources department to move your direct deposits to your new checking account.</p> <h2>4. Close Your Old Account &mdash; When the Time Is Right</h2> <p>You can now close your old account, if all of the checks you've written against it have cleared. Compare your check register against your online account to make sure.</p> <p>If you don't do this? Any checks that have not yet cleared will bounce if your old account is closed. The companies that you were paying might charge you late fees if this happens. This danger is why it usually makes sense to wait at least a month after opening your new checking account before closing your old one.</p> <h2>5. Get It in Writing</h2> <p>When you're sure that all your checks and payments have cleared, you can officially close that old account. Doing this in person might be the best choice. That way you can instantly receive written verification that your account has been closed. You'll want this documentation in case your former bank reopens your account or claims that it was never shut down in the first place.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank">Think Twice Before Ditching Your Current Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-love-your-bank">6 Reasons to Love Your Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-teen-needs-or-doesn-t-need-in-a-bank-account">5 Things Your Teen Needs (or Doesn’t Need) in a Bank Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Find a New Bank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking automatic payments checking accounts credit unions customer service interest rates savings accounts switching banks Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 1826531 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons to Visit Your Credit Union on October 20 http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_103388239.jpg" alt="Woman visiting her credit union on Credit Union Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October. This October 20th, 2016, more than 217 million credit union members around the world are joining in the celebration.</p> <p>About half of all credit union members are Americans (<a href="http://www.cuna.org/Research-And-Strategy/DownLoads/mcue/">108.1 million</a>!), but if you're not one of them, this Oct. 20th is a great opportunity to visit a local credit union, shop around for financial services, and find out whether or not you can get a better deal at a credit union.</p> <h2>Key Differences Between a Bank and a Credit Union</h2> <p>Only 36% of people surveyed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) were aware that credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. This is just one of the many differences between a traditional bank and your local credit union.</p> <h3>1. Credit Unions Have Members</h3> <p>You're not a client; you're a member or owner of the credit union. You're required to make a deposit in a savings account (often from $25 to $100) that grants you a share of the credit union.</p> <h3>2. You Must Be Eligible for Membership</h3> <p>Typical fields of membership include employee groups, associations, religious or fraternal affiliations, and residential areas.</p> <h3>3. You Can Vote on Key Issues</h3> <p>Including electing unpaid officers and directors for the credit union to establish operating policies and other key issues. Each member has one equal vote, no matter how small his or her deposit.</p> <h3>4. Deposits Are Insured by the NCUA or State or Private Insurance</h3> <p>While qualifying deposits in banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), deposits in federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Each individual account, joint account, trust account, retirement account, and business account at any federal credit union is insured for up to $250,000. If you have a savings account, a trust account, and a Roth IRA at a federal credit union, you're covered for up to total of $750,000. State chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in states other than the ones listed earlier may be covered by either state or private insurance.</p> <h3>5. Credit Unions Collaborate With Each Other</h3> <p>Many credit unions offer shared branching that allows you to make deposits and withdrawals at locations other than that of your own credit union. With <a href="https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/">nearly 30,000 ATMs</a> and more than 5,000 shared branches, credit union members have more direct, surcharge-free access to their money than most traditional bank customers do.</p> <h2>Why It Pays to Take Part in Credit Union Day</h2> <p>In a nutshell: higher savings rates for your deposits and lower costs for your loans.</p> <p>Let's compare some financial products from credit unions with those from banks, as of <a href="https://www.ncua.gov/analysis/Pages/industry/credit-union-bank-interest-rates-june-2016.pdf">June 2016</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Credit unions had a national average rate of 4.40% for five-year home equity loans, while banks had a 4.97% average rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage would have only cost an average 3.06% per year at credit unions and an average 3.10% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A classic credit card would have only charged you an average 11.56% at credit unions and an average 12.66% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $10,000 five-year CD yielded a national average 1.51% at credit unions and 1.22% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 48-month new car loan charged a national average 2.61% at credit unions and 4.58% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $2,500 money market account paid a national average 0.17% at credit unions and 0.12% at banks.</li> </ul> <p>Year after year credit unions demonstrate that they are working hard to get you the best bang for your buck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?Ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <h2>What Can You Expect on International Credit Union Day</h2> <p>Several credit unions around the country will provide special offers and freebies to their current and new members.</p> <h3>1. Even Lower Fees</h3> <p>CUNA advises credit unions to offer loans or new share draft accounts for the <a href="http://www.cuna.org/Marketing-And-Member-Education/DownLoads/2016-ICU-Day-Celebration-Ideas/">same fees</a> that credit unions charged the year they opened.</p> <h3>2. Free Money or Freebies to Open a New Account</h3> <p>The Eagle Community Credit Union in California is offering a <a href="http://www.eaglecu.org/ICUDay">$25 deposit</a> and a lunch tote to new account holders from October 1 until October 31, 2016. The Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyoming is offering a <a href="https://www.mymeridiantrust.com/about/support/international_credit_union_day/international_credit_union_day_special_offers.aspx">$50 Visa gift card</a> to those opening a new checking account.</p> <h3>3. Chance to Win a Discount Off Your Qualifying Rate for a New Loan</h3> <p>The University of Hawaii Credit Union is offering on October 21 and 22, 2016 the chance to pull a rate as low as 1.49% APR or <a href="https://www.uhfcu.com/?Cabinet=Main&amp;Drawer=UHFCU+Advantages&amp;Folder=Specials&amp;SubFolder=Auto+Loan+Special&amp;page_name=Auto+Loan+Special">up to 0.75% off</a> your qualifying rate. &quot;Checking in&quot; at the event with your Yelp app will get you 0.25% off your qualifying rate.</p> <h3>4. Free Gas Cards</h3> <p>Other credit unions may offer you incentives to receive free gas cards when you bring a completed certificate to a participating car dealership. If you get a new-car loan with the credit union at a qualifying dealer, the gas card can be of higher value.</p> <h3>5. Chance to Win Free Money</h3> <p>Last but not least, some credit unions may just be handing out money. In 2014, the Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wisconsin handed out cups filled with $2 bills and fliers about the credit union to 500 students. All cups were entered into a drawing for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/likeRCU/posts/797687906961897">five real $2 bills</a>.</p> <h3>6. Opportunity to Fundraise for Your Community</h3> <p>The River Cities Community Credit Union in Atchison, Kansas hosts every year a hot dog meal fundraiser to donate to the Atchison County Food Pantry. Several credit unions host fundraisers to contribute to the local community.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Save the Date!</h2> <p>From a better saving rate for your deposits to a competitive new car loan to a freebie to boost your emergency fund, there is a lot you can gain from International Credit Union Day. As of December 2015, there 6,259 credit unions in the U.S. This Thursday October 20, 2016 is a great time to find out what you've been missing at your local credit union. Some special deals may only be available on that day or for a very limited time so plan ahead and use the <a href="http://mapping.ncua.gov">NCUA's credit union locator</a> to find the ones nearest you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank">The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking accounts community credit unions freebies international credit union day local business lower fees membership Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1815062 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-businessman-86529421-small.jpg" alt="financial planner" title="financial planner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am huge believer in credit unions.</p> <p>When I first arrived to the U.S., I only had my savings and my dreams of completing a MBA degree. As an immigrant I didn't have a credit history or a U.S. bank account. This meant that many big names in banking were hesitant to give me a chance. This made qualifying for a credit card or becoming eligible for a car loan very challenging. Thanks to a local credit union, I was not only able to achieve these milestones, but also build my credit history and become financially independent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-switch-banks?ref=seealso">How to Switch Banks</a>)</p> <p>Here are the 10 good reasons to choose a credit union instead of a bank.</p> <h2>1. Credit Unions Have Owners</h2> <p>While banks have clients, credit unions have part owners or members. When you open an account, your account is actually a share and provides you voting rights. Instead of a board of directors, decisions are made by vote from shareholders. Each member has a voice in how operations are run, no matter how small her share may be.</p> <p>On top of this, credit unions are not run for profit. Instead these institutions have the ultimate goal of providing their members better rates on loans and financial products. When a credit union makes a profit, it is used to provide better opportunities to the community that it serves.</p> <h2>2. Accounts Have Fewer and Lower Fees</h2> <p>When I was researching checking and savings accounts at banks, I was shocked at the fees they charged. Turns out that the average checking account from a bank has <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/average-checking-account-has-30-fees-2013-08-08">30 different fees</a>, such as maintenance and excess withdrawal fees. Some banks have up to 50 unique fees for checking accounts!</p> <p>Unlike big banks, credit unions aim to minimize account fees. For example, credit unions are well known for not charging monthly maintenance fees, which are about $12 to $14 at big name banks.</p> <h2>3. Clerks Talk With You</h2> <p>This is a major advantage of working with a credit union. Credit unions have a much smaller client base, and they work very hard to keep them happy.</p> <p>For example, on my first year I miscalculated an incoming paycheck and wrote a check that was $10 over my bank balance. Instead of charging me an overdraft fee, a rep from my credit union gave me a call and informed me of the situation. He asked me if I could make a deposit to cover the $10 difference by 11 a.m. Also, my credit union gave me a one-time overdraft fee waiver because they understood that it was a rookie mistake.</p> <p>Every time that I need help I know that I can count on talking over the phone with an actual person that works at my credit union &mdash; no redirects to distant call centers. Some clerks even know me by name after so many years. This gives me the confidence of handling matters over the phone and knowing that any issue can be resolved.</p> <h2>4. Lower Financing Costs and Higher Payouts</h2> <p>Data from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) consistently shows that <a href="http://www.ncua.gov/DataApps/Pages/CUBNKMain.aspx">credit unions outperform banks</a>. For example, in <a href="http://www.ncua.gov/DataApps/Documents/CUBNK201403.pdf">March 2014</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Credit unions had a national average rate of 4.75% for home equity loans, while banks had a 5.33% average rate<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $2,500 money market investment would have paid an average 0.16% at credit unions and an average 0.12% at banks<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $10,000 5-year CD yielded a national average 1.32% at credit unions and 1.14% at banks</li> </ul> <h2>5. Access to Financing for Low-Income Individuals</h2> <p>Credit unions do not only offer cheaper financing options, but also provide low-income or financially distressed individuals a chance to qualify for financing. Here are some examples:</p> <ul> <li>Virginia State employees, who are paid on a monthly or semi-monthly basis and have held employment for over 12 years, are eligible for <a href="http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/vaemploan/">loans in $100 increments</a> through the Virginia Credit Union.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Since 2001, the <a href="http://www.ncsecu.org/">North Carolina State Employee's Credit Union</a> has helped over 111,800 of its members to borrow $1.5 billion through $500 salary advance loans at a 12% rate payable within a month. The program enjoys a default rate of less than 0.1%.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>During the 2009-2010 state employee furlough, the <a href="http://www.hsfcu.com/">Hawaii State Federal Credit Union</a> provided a special rate for those members affected by the furlough to borrow up to $5,000. The credit union continues to offer this assistance to members affected by <a href="http://www.hawaiireporter.com/hawaii-state-federal-credit-union-helps-members-in-need/123">federal budget cuts and furloughs</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>6. Friendly Credit Card Terms</h2> <p>Credit unions are well-known for providing some of the most attractive credit cards. Some of the features include:</p> <ul> <li>No annual fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>No introductory rates.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rates start at 7.75%. (The national average for credit union issued credit cards is 11.56%, according to the NCUA.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>State Employee's Credit Union: <a href="https://www.ncsecu.org/Cards/Credit.html">7.75%</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union: <a href="https://www.uhfcu.com/?CABINET=Main&amp;DRAWER=Products+and+Services&amp;FOLDER=Loans+and+Lines&amp;SubFolder=Credit%20Card">8.50%</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The same APR applies to purchases, cash advances, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">balance transfers</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most credit union members enjoy the same APR, regardless of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal">credit score</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>No interest periods are often provided during the summer, December holidays, and special occasions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cash advances can be deposited directly into your checking account at no extra charge.</li> </ul> <p>My very first credit card was through my credit union and I still keep it until this day. I have not been able to find a credit card that matches the great terms that my credit union offers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-penfed-promise-visa-card-offers-a-way-to-escape-your-big-bank?ref=seealso">The PenFed Promise Visa Card Offers a Way to Escape Your Big Bank</a>)</p> <h2>7. Car Loans</h2> <p>When it comes to providing car loans, credit unions have the local advantage over large banks.</p> <ul> <li>As of March 2014, a <a href="http://www.ncua.gov/DataApps/Documents/CUBNK201403.pdf">new car 48-month loan</a> stood at a national average of 2.69% at credit unions, and of 4.94% at banks. For used cars 48-month loans, the average rate was 2.87% for credit unions was 5.48% for banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>They often run car loan pre-approval events, so that you have a pre-approval letter from your credit union before you visit a car dealership. Shop with confidence by being 100% sure about your financing.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit unions often partner with local dealerships for giveaways, such as gift cards for gas stations. For example, forms may be available at your credit union branch to take with you the next time you visit participating dealerships. You can receive free gas cards just for window shopping at a car dealership. The dealer fills out the form to confirm your visit and sends it back to the credit union. A couple days later a gas card is mailed to you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If your credit union has a gas card partnership with a local dealership, it may also provide an even bigger gas card for financing a new car purchase through your credit union.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The more, the merrier: Some car dealerships may run &quot;credit union days.&quot; At these events, you can browse financing offers from other credit unions, and, if you find a better one, inquire if you're eligible.</li> </ul> <h2>8. Private Lines of Credit for College Students</h2> <p>Most credit unions partner with <a href="http://www.studentchoice.org">Credit Union Student Choice</a> to offer a private line of credit to supplement college education costs. The main advantages from these private student loans are:</p> <ul> <li>Zero fees: no origination, application, or prepayment fees.</li> <li>Lower interest rates than comparable private lines of credit.</li> <li>Flexible repayment plans including school deferment.</li> <li>Loans start at $1,000.</li> </ul> <p>Almost 2,000 colleges across the U.S are eligible for loans from Credit Union Student Choice. To apply you must be enrolled at least part-time in a four year degree program at a participating public or private college.</p> <h2>9. Christmas Savings Accounts</h2> <p>Several people end up with a financial hangover from the Black Friday and Christmas &quot;deals&quot; because they rack up their store and credit cards. Shopping for gifts on plastic is a dangerous habit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a>)</p> <p>While almost no banks run &quot;Christmas Clubs&quot; any more, nearly 72% of credit unions do. Christmas Clubs are special savings accounts that encourage saving for the holidays. The main objective of these accounts is to stash this money away from yourself and make the funds grow until the first days of the holiday season. By saving throughout the year with a Christmas Club, you have a higher chance of actually saving and decreasing your credit card use.</p> <p>On top of that, most credit unions do something fun when they deliver your Christmas Club check. If you're having a hard time saving and love anything Christmas-related, then this may be the right savings vehicle for you!</p> <p><em>What are other good reasons to choose a credit union instead of a bank?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better">4 Ways Your Credit Union Is Changing — for the Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-checking-accounts">5 Best Online Checking Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banks credit cards credit unions Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:36:36 +0000 Damian Davila 1158334 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Like Big Banks http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-big-banks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-like-big-banks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3011221501_19cb9220a9_z.jpg" alt="wells fargo car" title="wells fargo car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the mortgage crisis, housing bubble, bailouts, and record bank profits (and losses), big banks have made people really, really angry. Lots of folks are ditching their major banking institutions for credit unions. But not me. (See also: <a title="Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference?" href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference?</a>)</p> <p>I love my big bank. Here's why.</p> <h2>Convenience</h2> <p>Big banks have branches and ATMs everywhere. When I moved cross-country I didn't have to open a new bank account because there was a branch already in that city. When I need some cash or have a check to deposit, I can find an ATM close by every time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Still Local</h2> <p>Even though there are thousands of branches, my branch still has a local feel. For instance, one banker knows me &mdash; even if I only go in once a year. Last year, I opened up a business bank account at my local branch, and when I returned this year, she remembered me. I would have never thought that this would be the case, but banks are inherently local &mdash; it's your neighbors who are working at them, and your neighbors who are visiting that branch.</p> <h2>Customer Service</h2> <p>Big banks aren't necessarily known for their <a title="How to Get What You Want On Customer Service Calls" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">customer service</a>. And truthfully I haven't always had the best of luck with my bank. But the vast majority of the time, the person on the other side of the window, phone, or email has helped me promptly, warmly, and with correct information. (And going back to convenience, it's super convenient to have all these service options available 24 hours a day.) One time, a banker from my local branch called me to tell me about some upcoming fee changes that could occur and to let me know how I could avoid those.</p> <h2>Stability</h2> <p>Big banks are stable. Sure, there's always the possibility that the bank will fail, but such an instance wouldn't go unnoticed. There would be lots of press (and government assistance). I've been a customer of my bank since I was 7, and I'm confident my bank will still be around when I'm 77.</p> <h2>Banking Options</h2> <p>Big banks have a huge number of <a title="7 Banks Still Offering Free Checking and Great Interest Rates" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">banking options</a>. From various types of checking and savings accounts to loans and mortgages, every banking option you would need is under one roof. When you log on to your account, you have a complete picture of your finances (and the ability to contact one customer service number) all in one place. Plus, the bank website and app offer all the features you could ask for, from auto bill-pay to remote deposits. Many small banks can't afford to offer this many features because there isn't enough demand.</p> <h2>Ability to Negotiate</h2> <p>Large banking institutions are often perceived as being difficult to negotiate with, but I've found my big bank to be flexible. Because the bank is bigger, they have greater ability to make adjustments that might temporarily hurt their bottom line in order to keep you as a customer. For instance, I've easily had fees reversed by my bank. And most notably, when I was moving across the country for an internship one summer, I went to my local branch to find out what my options were. The banker told me that they had no branches in that particular city, but he was happy to waive the non-bank-associated-ATM fee from my account. A fee that is still waived to this day.</p> <p>There are lots of reasons to dislike big banks, but I love mine (it happens to be Wells Fargo), and I'm not ditching it anytime soon.</p> <p><em>Do you bank with a big bank? Do you love it or hate it? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-big-banks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better">4 Ways Your Credit Union Is Changing — for the Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-still-write-paper-checks">Why I Still Write Paper Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking bank accounts bank or credit union credit unions Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:36:09 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 932734 at http://www.wisebread.com Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference? http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015742269Small2.jpg" alt="Woman with questions" title="Woman with questions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="130" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you don't belong to a credit union &mdash; or even if you do &mdash; you may not be aware of the many ways in which they differ from banks. Although banks and credit unions both provide similar services, each offers different types of benefits for account holders and borrowers. Let's take a look at the characteristics of a credit union versus a bank and learn how to determine which one is best for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a>)</p> <h2>Credit Unions 101</h2> <p>A credit union is a cooperative financial institution in which individuals pool their money to provide loans and services to other members. In the United States, credit unions are nonprofit entities, and their cooperative structure is designed to ensure fair dealing. Additionally, anyone who belongs to a credit union must first qualify to join under a particular institution's field of membership.</p> <p><strong>Why Join a CU?</strong></p> <p>Because the users and members of the cooperative are the same people, the idea behind credit unions is that they provide services that are tailored to the people who use them, rather than to driving profit for the institution. In addition, each member of a credit union, no matter how small his or her holdings, often has a voting share in the credit union's affairs. This ensures the organization's policies match up with what members really want. In practice, credit unions offer the same services as banks and are subject to federal regulations that are similar to those under which banks operate. However, because of the democratic organization of these institutions, they are often able to offer higher interest rates and lower fees than their corporate peers. Also, because credit unions are smaller &mdash; and often local &mdash; institutions, they may offer more personal customer service.</p> <p><strong>The Downsides to Credit Unions</strong></p> <p>That said, there are also drawbacks to banking with a credit union, which are largely related to these institutions' smaller size. This includes fewer branches and ATMs, as well as a lack of or lower-quality online banking options. In addition, although service at a credit union may be more personal, it will not be as robust as the 24-hour customer service many big banks provide.</p> <h2>The Big Banks</h2> <p>While it's important to compare rates and fees between banks and credit unions when you're looking to take out a loan or open a new account, what banks can provide over credit unions is more...of everything. Banks are often much larger than credit unions, which allows them to offer much more variety to account holders. Generally, a larger chain or national bank will have more loan and account options. Plus, virtually all major banks offer excellent online banking and investment options, and as mentioned previously, a very robust customer service department that can be reached at any time of the day.</p> <h2>Are Credit Unions or Banks Better?</h2> <p>If you're looking for a loan or want to buy a certificate of deposit, it definitely makes sense to shop around and include credit unions in your search. Whether you settle on a bank or a credit union depends on your needs and what you value. For those who are looking for a checking and savings account, a few money market investments and a simple <a title="CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My Loan" href="http://www.wisebread.com/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">loan</a> or two, a credit union may suit them just fine. Those with more high-powered portfolios may require the horsepower a bigger bank can provide, like these high-yield savings and money market accounts from <a onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'contenttext', 'bank_capone360']);" target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/redir/6787875">Capital One 360</a>.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcredit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCredit%2520Unions%2520vs.%2520Banks-%2520What%2527s%2520the%2520Difference-.jpg&amp;description=Credit%20Unions%20vs.%20Banks%3A%20What's%20the%20Difference%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Credit%20Unions%20vs.%20Banks-%20What%27s%20the%20Difference-.jpg" alt="Credit Unions vs. Banks: What's the Difference?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post from <a href="http://www.newyorkbankingrates.com/">NewYorkBankingRates.com</a>, a site that compares interest rates from New York banks and credit unions to provide residents with the best financial products in the city.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/user/0"></a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-credit-union-is-changing-for-the-better">4 Ways Your Credit Union Is Changing — for the Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking bank loans banks credit unions Wed, 31 Aug 2011 09:48:19 +0000 678787 at http://www.wisebread.com The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4441364482_bf04636e2d_z.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's difficult not to be annoyed by traditional banks. Many financial institutions just don't have incentives to provide better and less expensive services. Although some have begun to adapt to changing needs and desires in the industry, most brick-and-mortar banks still don't feel threatened. Because banks aren't meeting the needs of some consumers, more people are turning to credit unions as an alternative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beating-bank-fee-increases">Beating Bank Fee Increases</a>)</p> <p>A good friend of mine, a business owner, shared with me his concern about his finances. Thanks to his success, he has cash that he wants to be available for his business's leaner times, and he was unsatisfied with the savings rates he could find &mdash; even with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts">high-yield online savings accounts</a>. We were able to find a credit union that not only offered better interest rates for savings, but allowed him to qualify for a business line of credit at a low interest rate.</p> <p>These pricing benefits are just some of the advantages of working with a credit union. Any type of banking institution has benefits and drawbacks. Here are the issues that you need to consider before ditching your current national bank and joining a credit union.</p> <h2>Advantages of Credit Unions</h2> <p><strong>Customers are owners.</strong></p> <p>The executive management of any company must answer to its owners. With a publicly-traded banking institution, shareholders care about only one thing: making money. In these companies, management often makes decisions that benefit the shareholder but inconvenience the customer. Shareholders might be happy when a bank decides to charge a new fee to increase revenue (and as a result, the stock price), but those who use the bank's services do not want additional fees.</p> <p>With credit unions, the set of owners and the set of customers are one and the same. All decisions should benefit everyone.</p> <p><strong>Credit unions are non-profit.</strong></p> <p>Non-profit status means that more of the profits are shared with the owners/customers. That doesn't mean that the institutions can't earn a profit; any business needs to earn money to survive. The difference is that there isn't a pressure to find ways to make money off the customers. Additionally, credit unions benefit from exemption from federal tax, and that saved expense help more of the unions' revenue to be put to work.</p> <p><strong>There are fewer fees and higher savings rates.</strong></p> <p>As a result of the advantage listed so far, credit unions typically offer free accounts with no minimum balance requirements. Fees are generally absent from credit unions. Interest rates on savings, certificates of deposit, and some checking accounts often significantly exceed those offered by banks. In the same respect, interest charged for loans and credit are often lower. In fact, some credit unions are regulated such that the interest rate on loans and credit cards must not exceed a certain rate.</p> <h2>Disadvantages of Credit Unions</h2> <p><strong>Access to new technology is limited.</strong></p> <p>There certainly are drawbacks to being a non-profit. Credit unions often do not have the funds to invest in technology. As a result, some credit unions' websites appear as if they belong in a bygone era. I've come across a few credit unions that still do not have a website that allows online account access. The level of technology varies greatly from one credit union to another, and some credit unions do have full-featured web-based technology, but it's worth auditioning a website before committing to a new credit union if accessibility is important to you.</p> <p><strong>They have fewer ATMs.</strong></p> <p>With a national bank, I know that I could travel anywhere in the country, and perhaps internationally, and find ATMs from my bank to avoid unnecessary fees. Credit unions are often community-based groups with no capital to install ATMs in convenient locations. Credit unions often get around this limitation by allowing you to use an existing network of ATMs, and if that ATM's owner charges you a fee for its use, the union will refund that fee on your statement. Be sure to read the fine print of your agreement to determine whether you will be able to find free ATMs near you.</p> <p><strong>Membership is restricted.</strong></p> <p>Credit unions are often focused on a certain community &mdash; most often either a geographic location or a profession. This has created the impression that it can be difficult to find a union for which you qualify. You might find that you're not eligible for the credit union that looks most appealing to you, but just about everyone can find a credit union to join. For example, Pentagon Federal Credit Union is generally only available to those who are U.S. government employees and a few other select groups, but anyone else can also qualify with a $15 donation to an organization.</p> <h2>Additional Information</h2> <p>Your deposits at credit unions are insured, just like your deposits at banks. The FDIC is the government organization that ensures that your bank balances are safe, even if the institution fails, up to a certain amount. Credit union balances are protected by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), another government entity, for the same amounts. Always check to ensure your credit union is legitimate by verifying coverage through the <a href="http://ncua.gov">NCUA website</a>.</p> <p>Like banks, credit unions often offer a full suite of financial products, such as credit cards, mortgages, debit cards, business loans, and checking accounts. Their non-profit status means that most do not have the funds available for major marketing and advertising campaigns, so it's difficult for the public to get the information needed to make an informed choice between banks and credit unions. It may require some research, but it is worth the potential savings and service.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Benefits%2520and%2520Drawbacks%2520of%2520Credit%2520Unions.jpg&amp;description=The%20Benefits%20and%20Drawbacks%20of%20Credit%20Unions"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Benefits%20and%20Drawbacks%20of%20Credit%20Unions.jpg" alt="The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flexo">Flexo</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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