The 20 Best Credit Unions of August 2022

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Credit unions typically serve a specific community or employer, and may offer a more personal approach to banking than some of the major bank chains. They also often have good rates and special offers on banking products for those who qualify.

If you’re considering joining a credit union, make it one of the best. GOBankingRates has identified the Best Credit Unions of 2022 by examining the following factors:

  • Total assets
  • Number of branch locations
  • Minimum deposit to open a checking account
  • Checking account fee
  • Minimum balance needed in checking account to avoid fee
  • Minimum deposit to open a savings account
  • Minimum balance needed to earn savings APY
  • Savings APY
  • Minimum to open a 12-month CD account
  • 12-month CD APY
  • 60-month CD APY
  • Customer service products offered
  • Bauer rating
  • Products/services offered
  • Average mobile app rating

Check out GOBankingRates’ picks for the Best Credit Unions of 2022.

Our Best Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union

Why it stands out: Navy Federal Credit Union specializes in serving members of the military, including those deployed overseas. Membership is open to those with ties to the U.S. armed forces, the National Guard and U.S. Department of Defense. It offers a good selection of banking, credit card and loan products, all with competitive rates.

Pros:

  • Expertise in serving the unique needs of the military and DoD
  • Highly competitive rates
  • Free checking options
Cons:
  • $1,000 minimum to open one-year Standard CD
What to look for: Navy Federal Credit Union offers a variety of financial products. It also has solid rates for those products: 0.25% APY for its share savings account, which you must open to join, and up to 0.45% APY for its money market -- 0.50% APY for a jumbo money market. CDs include a Special EasyStart certificate with a minimum deposit of just $50 and a maximum rate of 3.00% APY. READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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More of the Best Credit Unions 2022

Eastman Credit Union

Why it stands out: Membership in the Eastman Credit Union is open to those who live, work, worship, attend school or operate a business in one of its service areas. Those areas include all or part of eight different counties in Tennessee and Virginia and two counties in Texas.  The credit union offers above-average rates on deposit accounts and competitive rates on credit cards and loans.

Pros:

  • Excellent selection of savings accounts, including IRA savings
  • Highly competitive rates
  • No checking fee

Cons:

  • $1,000-$2,500 minimum to open most CDs

What to look for: Eastman has a lot to offer with its CD. One-year CDs earn 0.75% APY 0.80% APY for jumbo and the maximum CD rate is 1.45%. Free checking comes with free stock checks with each check order, free certified checks and wire transfers and free access to over 56,000 ATMs. Savings options include Christmas Club accounts, health savings accounts and money market accounts, plus a Stash Your Cash account to help you meet specific savings goals. The savings rate is 0.30% APY, and money market rates range from 0.25% APY to 0.55% APY based on balance.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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Police and Fire

Why it stands out: Active and retired Philadelphia police officers and firefighters and their families are eligible for membership in the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. In addition to free checking and several savings options, the credit union offers real estate, auto and personal loans as well as investing and insurance. Rates are competitive on deposit accounts -- especially free checking, which also has an overdraft fee that's about half the amount charged by competing banks.

Pros:

  • Excellent free checking APY
  • Comparatively low overdraft fee

Cons:

  • $1,000 minimum to open a one-year CD

What to look for: Police and Fire Federal Credit Union offers a checking account with no fee and a competitive APY of 0.50% on balances up to $5,000. At 0.50% APY, its share savings rate is the lowest among PFFCU's savings accounts other than the Club account, which is non-interest-bearing. IRA money market accounts earn 1.00% APY and Premium Yield Account balances of $2,500 or more earn 0.85% APY.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW

State Employees' Credit Union

Why it stands out: State Employees' Credit Union membership is reserved for North Carolina state employees, federal employees assigned to North Carolina state agencies and those with certain civil and social service positions within the state. SECU offers an extensive range of products and services, including estate and trust planning, insurance and investing. SECU's Zard and FAT CAT programs provide kids and teens with products and services specially designed to help them develop money management skills. SECU also has a special savings account with a special rate for education-system employees who only receive paychecks during part of the year.

Pros:

  • Programs for kids and teens
  • Tax-advantaged accounts available
  • Interest-bearing checking with two free overdraft transfer days per year
  • Low minimum deposit for CDs

Cons:

  • Need $25 to open share account compared to $5 at many other credit unions
  • Checking and Zard Checking for teens both have a $1 monthly service fee

What to look for: SECU share savings rates are some of the lowest the credit union offers, but the Summer Cash account for education-system employees earns a very competitive 0.35% APY. CDs require just $250 to open and offer 0.50% APY to 0.75% APY. Tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and health savings accounts offer 0.65% APYs.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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    Wings Financial

    Why it stands out: Wings Financial, which serves members in eligible Minnesota and Wisconsin counties as well as in the Seattle-Tacoma, Detroit, Orlando and Atlanta metro areas, offers home, auto, personal and student loans as well as credit cards. While not as full-featured as other credit units in this roundup, it offers benefits you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere -- no monthly fees on any of its checking or savings accounts, and an outstanding 2.02% APY on the first $25,000 in the high-yield checking account when requirements are met.

    Pros:

    • Outstanding high-yield checking account APY
    • No monthly checking or savings account fees
    • 12-month add-on CD

    Cons:

    • No interest on money market balances below $5,000

    What to look for: Wings Financial savings accounts other than the high-yield account have competitive rates of at least 0.15% APY. The high-yield account is only high-yielding for balances over $10,000. Until then, the rate is just 0.15% APY. However, the credit union has a good five-year CD with tiered rates starting at 2.63% APY for balances of $500 to $9,999.99.

    READ OUR FULL REVIEW

    Alliant

    Why it stands out: Whereas membership in most credit unions is highly restricted, anyone can join Alliant to take advantage of its competitive rates on checking and savings accounts, credit cards and auto loans. Alliant has a smaller selection of products than some credit unions, but it offers a savings account and a checking account that both have higher-than-average APYs and custodial accounts and accounts for kids. In addition, you won't have to deal with a checking account fee or overdraft fees here.

    Pros:

    • Competitive checking and savings rates
    • No overdraft fees
    • Excellent CD rates
    • No checking fee
    • Anyone can join

    Cons:

    • $1,000 minimum required to open a 1-year CD

    What to look for: Alliant has a lot to offer with its basic accounts. Its savings accounts have strong APYs at 0.00%. At 0.00% APY, its checking account offers a good rate as well compared to other checking accounts. CD terms range from 12 to 60 months and offer 0.00% to 0.00% APYs.

    READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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    American Airlines

    Why it stands out: You don't have to be an American Airlines employee or retiree to join the American Airlines Credit Union. Membership is open to all airline transportation employees and their families. This credit union offers a wider variety of accounts than many other credit unions, and its rates are highly competitive, which makes it a good option for growing your emergency fund or other items you're saving up for.

    Pros:

    • Excellent rates on most interest-earning deposit accounts
    • Teen checking account
    • Membership open to the entire airline transportation industry
    • Good selection of products and services

    Cons:

    • Most checking accounts have fees, including non-interest-bearing teen account
    • $1,000 minimum required for 1-year CD

    What to look for: American Airlines Credit Union has a strong APY on its savings accounts at 0.50%. Its CDs aren't as competitive as some of the other credit unions. Its 1-year CD has an APY of 0.50% and its five-year CD has an APY of 1.76%. However, AACU offers CD ladders with rates as high as 2.84% for renewals into 60-month certificates, and there's also a Dream Plan Share certificate that allows deposits during the term of the CD. The minimum is $25 per month.

    READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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      Patelco

      Why it stands out: Patelco is a San Francisco Bay-area credit union with 38 branches, including a virtual branch that lets customers meet face-to-face with bank reps online by appointment. It's a full-service financial institution offering deposit accounts, credit cards, loans, investments and insurance. This credit union offers a variety of account options, including free checking fee and a lower minimum than most credit unions require to open a CD.

      Pros:

      • Free checking options
      • Lower minimum required for opening a CD

      Cons:

      • Lower rates on checking and savings accounts

      What to look for: Some of Patelco's checking accounts have no monthly fee, including its Youth Checking account. Rates aren't quite as competitive as other credit unions offer, though. Its savings account has an APY of 0.05%, and the maximum APY of 1.00% for money market accounts only applies to the first $2,000.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Ent

      Why it stands out: Ent is a Colorado-based credit union serving the residents and employees of member businesses in 14 counties as well as those affiliated with the Colorado Air National Guard, Army National Guard and Buckley Air Force Base. ENT's deposit accounts include not just a kids' checking account, which many credit unions have, but a kids' CD as well.

      Pros:

      • Free checking
      • Unique CD options, including one for kids and one you can add to whenever you want

      Cons:

      • Less competitive rates

      What to look for: Ent Credit Union offers services that won't cost you a lot. Its checking account has no monthly fee. Its savings account only requires a $5 minimum deposit. However, its one-year CD requires a $500 minimum deposit, and its rates aren't as strong as some of the other credit unions on this list. Its one-year and five-year CDs have APYs of 0.35% and 1.65%, respectively. Its savings account APY is also lower at 0.05%, and the IRA savings APY is 0.10% on balances below $10,000.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW
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      PSECU

      Pennsylvania State Employees

      Why it stands out: Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union is the largest credit union in the commonwealth, and anyone can join. PSECU calls itself a full-service, digital-first credit union, and it provides perks like free checking and free checks, debit card rewards and surcharge-free ATMs. One standout account is the Youth Savings account, which pays 1.00% APY on balances of up to $500.

      Pros:

      • Free checking
      • High-yield Youth Savings account
      • Lower required minimum to open a one-year certificate

      Cons:

      • Certificate interest compounded and credited daily

      What to look for: At Pennsylvania State Employees, you'll only need $500 to open a one-year certificate, which is lower than some of the others on this list. The checking account comes with no monthly fee, which is a solid perk for your basic banking needs. The checking has an APY of 0.10%, and the savings account also has an APY of 0.00%, which is not the strongest. Its certificate rates are also weaker at 2.75% APY for one-year and 3.35% for the five-year option.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Hudson Valley

      Why it stands out: Hudson Valley Credit Union membership is available to those who live, work, attend school or worship in any of a dozen New York counties. Among the perks offered by this full-service financial institution is a rewards program that lets members earn points whenever they use their HVCU credit or debit card. Points can be redeemed for cash back in the form of statement credits. HVCU's standout account is a mortgage savings account that helps you save up for a home purchase.

      Pros:

      • Rewards program
      • Mortgage Savings account to help customers save for a home purchase

      Cons:

      • Less competitive rates

      What to look for: Hudson Valley's CDs have a reasonable $500 minimum deposit, but rates are on the low side, as are checking and savings rates. The Mortgage Savings account offers $1 for every $5 deposited, up to $1,000, toward closing costs on a home purchase.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Desert Financial

      Why it stands out: If you live anywhere in Arizona besides Apache, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties, you qualify for membership with Desert Financial Credit Union. As a full-service credit union, Desert Financial has the products and services most customers will need to manage their money at every stage of their lives. The checking account at Desert Financial comes with no fee, which can make it a good option for your basic banking needs.

      Pros:

      • No checking fee
      • Full-service banking

      Cons:

      • Less competitive rates
      • High minimum opening deposit required for money market account

      What to look for: The membership savings account has a $25 minimum deposit, which is higher than many credit unions require. The money market account requires a $2,000 opening deposit, but rates are lower than those offered by many of the other credit unions on this list. Its APY for its savings account is 0.10%, and for its CDs, the rates top out at 1.06%.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Delta Community

      Why it stands out: Delta Community Credit Union serves those who live or work in one of sixteen eligible Georgia counties or are affiliated with any of the scores of companies and organizations that partner with DCCU. The credit union is unique in that non-U.S. citizens who live in any of nearly two dozen foreign countries can join provided they're active full-time Delta Airlines employees. DCCU offers a full range of deposit accounts, credit cards, loans investments, financial planning and insurance.

      Pros:

      • Free checking with up to $500 Courtesy Pay Plus account protection for overdrafts
      • Higher-than-average five-year CD APY

      Cons:

      • $1,000 minimum to open a CD or money market account
      • No interest on checking account balances under $5,000

      What to look for: Delta Community's checking account has no fees up to $500 protection for overdrafts. The share savings rate is fairly competitive at 0.18%, and the account has no monthly fee. CD rates range from 0.60% APY for a six-month certificate to 1.50% APY for a 60-month certificate. Interest compounds monthly, and you can have it transferred to a checking, savings or money market account. 

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      VyStar

      Why it stands out: VyStar Credit Union covers all your financial needs, from checking and savings accounts to credit cards and loans, investments and insurance. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in the 49 contiguous counties of central to north Florida or select counties in southern Georgia. Past and present military members and their families are also eligible. This credit union offers checking accounts specifically for youth and individuals age 50 and up and has competitive rates on CDs.

      Pros:

      • No checking fee
      • Competitive CD rates

      Cons:

      • Low rates on checking and savings accounts

      What to look for: VyStar's checking account offers 0.10% APY, and its share savings account also offers 0.10% APY. CD rates are more competitive, ranging from 0.85% APY for a three-month CD to 2.65% APY for a 60-month CD with a balance of $50,000 or more. The minimum opening balance for CDs is reasonable at $500.

      READ OUR FULL REVIEW

      Security Service

      Why it stands out: Security Service Federal Credit Union has more ways to join than most credit unions in that membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school, worships or owns a business in Texas, Colorado or Utah -- or serves in the military or works at the Department of Defense at a base in the service area. SSFCU has the same range of products as other full-service credit unions, but an outstanding rate on 30-month CDs sets it apart from the rest.

      Pros:

      • No checking fee
      • Exceptional rates on CDs
      Cons:
      • Basic savings account has fee
      What to look for: Security Service's checking accounts are free, but you'll have to maintain a $100 balance to waive the savings account fee. CD rates are excellent. A 15-month CD requires a modest $500 deposit and offers a 2.40% APY. The top rate is 2.65% APY, for 30-month CDs with at least a $50,000 balance. READ OUR FULL REVIEW

        Bethpage

        Why it stands out: Bethpage Federal Credit Union is unique in that its only requirement for membership is opening an account with a $5 deposit. This credit union offers a very competitive APY on its Free and Young Adult checking accounts and an outstanding rate on Youth/Young Adult Saving accounts.

        Pros:

        • No checking fee
        • Excellent checking and savings rates
        • Very low minimum to open a CD

        Cons:

        • Less competitive rates on CDs
        • Only three checks per month allowed for money market account

        What to look for: The Free and Young Adult checking APYs stand out at 0.00% APY. Its share savings account is not as strong at 0.10% APY, but Youth Savings/Young Adult Savings APYs are outstanding at 3.00% for balances up to $1,000 and 0.61% for balances above that, up to $10,000. CD rates are competitive for terms of 12 months or longer.

        READ OUR FULL REVIEW

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        Members 1st Federal Credit Union

        Why it stands out: Based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Members 1st offers a well-rounded selection of financial products, including some unique ones like pet insurance and secured personal loans. Other benefits include a rewards program and MyConcierge, which connects you with live a Members 1st representative via the credit union's mobile app.

        Pros:

        • No monthly fees on checking or savings accounts
        • Live assistance via mobile app with MyConcierge
        • Robust selection of non-banking products

        Cons:

        • No interest for checking balances under $2,500

        What to look for: Rates are competitive on checking and savings accounts. Even holiday and vacation club accounts, which are non-interest-bearing at some other credit unions, earn 0.15% APY. Most CDs have a $500 minimum to open. Specialty CDs, like a 9-month no-penalty certificate, have higher minimums. The lowest CD rate is 0.35% APY for a 3-month certificate with a balance below $10,000.

        READ OUR FULL REVIEW

          Suncoast

          Why it stands out: Suncoast is Florida's largest credit union, and as such, offers a solid choice of deposit accounts, including student savings, IRAs and health and education savings. The Smart Start CD is of particular note because you can open one with a small deposit and add to it each month.

          Pros:

          • Free checking
          • Lots of savings accounts to choose from
          • Low $50 minimum opening deposit for Smart Start CD

          Cons:

          • Overdraft fee almost as high as banks charge

          What to look for: Suncoast's five-year CD has a pretty good APY at 2.00%, and you need just $500 to open one. The rates on its other products are about average compared to other credit unions on this list. The Smart Start CD requires a $40 monthly deposit via direct deposit or automatic transfer from another account. After 12 months, you can roll the balance over into a traditional CD. 

          READ OUR FULL REVIEW

          Lake Michigan Credit Union

          Lake Michigan

          Why it stands out: Everyone is eligible to join Lake Michigan Credit Union. What's more, membership is free. LMCU has fewer non-banking products than other credit unions in this roundup, but there's a good chance you won't find better rates on the accounts you rely on most.

          Pros:

          • Outstanding checking rate
          • 3-month CDs available

          Cons:

          • Low rates on CD balances for members who don't qualify for bonus rates
          • Need $2,500 balance to earn interest on money market account

          What to look for: Lake Michigan Credit Union's free checking account earns a staggering 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000, with no minimum balance required. To qualify, make one direct deposit per month, make and post at least 10 debit or credit card purchases per month, log into online banking four times per month and opt into e-statements and e-notices.

          READ OUR FULL REVIEW

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            United Nations

            Why it stands out: Membership in the United Nations Federal Credit Union is open to employees, consultants and retirees of the U.N. and affiliated agencies, including those affiliated with permanent missions to the U.N. in New York. UNFCU's account offerings cater to an international membership, with standard personal accounts, as well as special accounts for U.N. consultants and expats living in the U.S. Rates are extremely competitive and socially responsible accounts are available.

            Pros:

            • Expertise in meeting the needs of international membership
            • Excellent rates on checking and savings accounts

            Cons:

            • Low rates on CDs with terms less than 60 months

            What to look for: United Nations' checking account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, yet it offers a premium 1.00% APY on balances up to $15,000 when you make 10 debit purchases per month and receive e-statements. Otherwise, the standard 0.05% APY rate applies. The other notable product is the 60-month CD, which earns 2.50% APY.

            READ OUR FULL REVIEW

            How To Choose a Credit Union

            Credit unions have advantages and disadvantages compared with traditional banks, but the methods you should use to evaluate them are similar. Here are some of the factors you should consider when trying to pick a credit union.

            Know What Kind of Fees the Credit Union Charges

            High fees can counteract any benefits you get from banking with a particular credit union. Even accounts with no monthly fee can prove costly if they carry high overdraft, transfer or other fees.

            Read the Fine Print

            Some accounts that may seem attractive on the surface may be less appealing in the fine print. A credit union may offer an enticing savings rate on an initial deposit but a less-satisfying rate on subsequent deposits. Make sure you read over the details and requirements for every account you sign up for.

            Check the APY

            In the competitive world of financial services, many credit unions now offer no-fee and no-minimum checking and savings accounts. In this environment, APY becomes king. Check to see if the high APY you see is variable or promotional.

            Browse the Website and Mobile App

            Most credit unions now offer mobile and web access to accounts. If you’re a customer who values the ability to check your accounts or move money on the go — rather than having to visit a branch — electronic access is an important feature to check.

            Look for National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Insurance

            Most legitimate credit unions have NCUA insurance, which is somewhat akin to the FDIC insurance carried by major banks. If a credit union doesn’t prominently display its NCUA insurance, look for one that does.

            FAQs About Credit Unions

            If you've always used traditional banks, you may have some questions about credit unions. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.
            • Can I use both a credit union and a bank?
              • As a consumer, you're free to use whichever type of financial institution you like, assuming you qualify for membership into a credit union. Sometimes using both institutions makes sense, as you can leverage the strengths of each type. For example, you may want to take out a loan with your local credit union, which may have easier qualification requirements and lower rates, while keeping some money at an international bank that may have more branches nationwide, and be better equipped for global ATM access or mobile account management.
            • Are credit unions safe to use?
              • Most credit unions are federally insured via NCUA insurance, which from the perspective of a customer is similar to the FDIC insurance at member banks. Credit unions with this federal insurance will prominently display the NCUA logo. Some credit unions may have private insurance, but to be extra safe, you may want to stick to NCUA-backed institutions.
            • How do you join a credit union?
              • Most credit unions allow online applications for accounts, but not all. In some cases, you may have to visit a branch. Joining a credit union requires an application for membership at the time you open an account.
            • Do all credit unions have membership requirements?
              • All credit unions have membership requirements, but some are more lax than others.
            • Do credit unions pay more interest than banks?
              • Credit unions often pay higher interest rates than larger banks because they are nonprofit institutions. However, this is not always the case. Some large banks offer promotional rates on products that may top credit union rates, while others are moving into the high-yield savings battleground in an effort to keep customer assets.

            Daria Uhlig, Dawn Alcott and John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

            Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of August 9, 2022.

            Methodology: To discover the Best Credit Unions, GOBankingRates looked at the top credit unions in terms of total assets size based on available published data. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) total assets as sourced from the NCUA; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the NCUA; (3) minimum deposit to open a checking account; (4) checking account fee; (5) minimum balance needed in checking account to avoid fee; (6) minimum deposit to open a savings account; (7) minimum balance needed to achieve savings APY; (8) savings APY; (9) minimum to open a 12-month CD account; (10) 12-month CD APY; (11) 60-month CD APY; (12) customer service products offered (24/7 customer service and live chat with a human); (13) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (14) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (15) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factor (1) was weighted 1.5 times, factors (2) and (14) were weighted 2 times, and factor (12) was weighted 0.5 times. For all savings and checking account data, only the basic accounts/products offered at each institution were analyzed. Rates and fees are subject to change.

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            About the Author

            Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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