Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Credit Unions are the BEST!

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am a huge credit union advocate. In fact, when I am not being a wife and mother or blogging, two days per week I work for a credit union. One of the projects I worked on recently was to compare savings and checking account rates between our credit union, two local credit unions our size, and several banks. What an eye opener! Our credit union was paying over 10 times what some of the largest banks were paying!

With lower savings rates and higher fees, it made me wonder...why would anyone want to be a customer of a bank??? Below I will list some of the reasons that I think people choose banks and how being a member of a credit union just makes more sense.

  1. Convenience - many people like to "see" their bank. For what? If you sign up for direct deposit, use an ATM/debit card, is there ever any reason to go to your bank? (What about all those rebate checks you get in the mail? Take a once a month trip to deposit all of them or mail them in!) Yes, credit unions probably have fewer locations, but do you really need to "see" your financial institution?
  2. ATM access - people want to have access to their money. It's true. For me, ATM's are the least important way for me to access my money. My credit union is part of a large ATM network, so I can get cash for FREE just about around every corner. Not every credit union has this feature. Use your ATM/debit card to get cash back at the store - you are going to Walgreen's anyway, right? Something else, stores like Walgreen's and Albertson's make a deposit each day for all the cash and checks they have received throughout the day. Banks actually charge merchants to deposit cash - so the less they have to deposit, the less they have to pay. Getting your cash back at the point of sale saves you time and the merchant money!
  3. My parents always banked here - to that I say, so what? You have to take control of your finances, and if you are paying anything to have an account, you are paying too much. Read the fine print and find out exactly what you are paying and compare it with a credit union - you will almost always pay less or not at all!
  4. I can't join a credit union. - Yes you can! Nowadays, credit union membership is open to everyone. If you cannot join a credit union through work or family, check your yellow pages for a community credit union.
  5. It is such a hassle to switch. - It will take some time, especially if you have automatic payments set up, but a few minutes or hours of time will save you hundreds of future dollars, isn't it worth the hassle? Many credit unions also offer "switch kits" to help you with the process of contacting your other bank and people you pay. When you go to open your account, find out how the credit union can help!

As you can see, there really is nothing stopping your from joining a credit union but yourself! It's time to ditch the bank and get hooked up with a credit union. You won't regret it!

See my other posts about credit unions here.

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