10 Benefits of Choosing a Credit Union

A cheerful female banker explains the different types of banking accounts to a new customer.
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Credit unions offer a unique approach to banking, emphasizing member benefits, community involvement and personalized service. Understanding the credit union advantages can help you make an informed decision if you’re considering joining one. Keep reading to learn the benefits of choosing a credit union.

What Are the Benefits of a Credit Union?

When it comes to managing your finances, the choice of where to bank is crucial. Credit unions offer a unique alternative to traditional banks, with a member-focused approach that brings a multitude of benefits. Here’s a look at 10 key credit union advantages:

  1. Member-owned structure
  2. Lower interest rates on loans
  3. Higher interest rates on savings
  4. Lower fees
  5. Personalized customer service
  6. Community focus
  7. Financial education resources
  8. Inclusive membership
  9. Innovative products and services
  10. Nationwide ATM access

1. Member-Owned Structure

Credit unions are member-owned and operated, meaning they are focused on serving the needs of their members rather than maximizing profits for shareholders. This structure ensures that the interests of members are always at the forefront, leading to more customer-centric services and policies.

As a member, you have a say in the credit union’s operations, including voting for the board of directors. This approach ensures that the services and products are tailored to meet the members’ needs.

2. Lower Interest Rates on Loans

One of the most significant credit union advantages is the ability to offer lower interest rates on loans compared to traditional banks. This can include auto loans, mortgages and personal loans, making borrowing more affordable for members.

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3. Higher Interest Rates on Savings

Credit unions often provide higher interest rates on savings accounts and certificates of deposits. With competitive rates on savings products, credit unions offer an effective way to grow your funds, whether you’re building an emergency fund or saving for a specific goal.

4. Lower Fees

Generally, credit unions have lower fees compared to traditional banks. This includes lower or no monthly maintenance fees, lower overdraft fees and minimal charges for account services.

The reduced fee structure at credit unions can significantly decrease the overall cost of maintaining various banking accounts, making everyday financial management more affordable.

5. Personalized Customer Service

Credit unions are known for their strong focus on customer service. With a more personal approach, they often provide a higher level of service and attention to individual member needs.

6. Community Focus

Credit unions typically have a strong commitment to their local communities. They often support local causes, participate in community events and offer financial education, contributing to the overall well-being of the area they serve.

As a member, you become part of an institution that values and actively contributes to the community, aligning your banking with your values.

7. Financial Education Resources

Many credit unions provide valuable financial education resources to their members. This can include workshops, one-on-one counseling and online resources. Access to these educational resources can empower you to better manage your finances, understand investment options and plan for your future.

8. Inclusive Membership

Credit unions often have more inclusive membership criteria compared to traditional banks. This inclusive approach means that more individuals can benefit from the services of a credit union, regardless of their financial background or status.

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9. Innovative Products and Services

Despite their community focus, many credit unions offer a range of innovative financial products and services. This can include modern online banking platforms, mobile apps and competitive financial products. With these offerings, credit union members can enjoy the conveniences of modern banking along with the benefits of a member-focused institution.

10. Nationwide ATM Access

Many credit unions participate in nationwide ATM networks, offering free or low-cost access to ATMs across the country. This benefit ensures that, despite their often local focus, credit union members can easily access their funds when traveling or away from home.

Final Take

Credit unions offer a distinctive blend of financial benefits and personalized services that set them apart from traditional banking institutions. From higher savings account interest rates to community involvement, credit union advantages are clear and compelling. Whether you’re seeking better rates or a community-focused institution, a credit union could be an excellent choice for your financial journey.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding credit unions.
  • What are three pros and cons of credit unions?
    • Here are some credit union pros and cons:
      • Pros:
        • Lower interest rates: Credit unions often offer lower interest rates on loans, making borrowing more affordable for members.
        • Higher savings rates: Members typically enjoy higher interest rates on savings accounts, allowing their money to grow faster.
        • Personalized customer service: Credit unions are known for their strong focus on customer service and community involvement, offering a more personalized banking experience.
      • Cons:
        • Limited locations: Credit unions may have fewer branches, which can be inconvenient for members who travel or move frequently.
        • Technology: Some credit unions may lag behind larger banks in terms of technological advancements and digital banking services.
        • Membership restrictions: Joining a credit union often requires meeting specific membership criteria, which can limit accessibility for some individuals.
  • Why is it good to have a credit union card?
    • Having a credit union card, such as a debit or credit card, can be beneficial due to lower fees and better interest rates compared to traditional banks. Additionally, credit union cards often come with the personalized customer service and community focus that credit unions are known for. This can include better terms for card usage, lower penalty fees and access to financial education and advice.
  • What are some benefits of a credit union?
    • Credit unions offer a variety of benefits. Here are a few to consider:
      • Lower loan rates: Members can access loans at more favorable rates than those typically offered by banks.
      • Higher interest on deposits: Savings and checking accounts at credit unions often yield higher interest rates.
      • Member-centric services: Credit unions focus on serving their members' needs, leading to a more tailored banking experience.
      • Community involvement: Credit unions are invested in the local community, often supporting local causes and initiatives.
  • What is the biggest advantage of a credit union?
    • The biggest advantage of a credit union is its member-owned structure. This fundamental difference from traditional banks means that credit unions operate with their members' best interests in mind, leading to more favorable rates, lower fees and a focus on customer service and community involvement.
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Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.


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