Credit unions often limit their membership to people who live, work, go to school or worship in certain communities, states or regions. A credit union may also be open to people who work in a specific industry or have a certain employer.
While some credit unions have extensive restrictions, others are credit unions anyone can join. In most cases, you can join one of these credit unions by making a donation or paying a membership fee to an affiliated organization or association. The fees are often nominal and often much less than monthly maintenance fees at banks. Some are one-time donations, which means you don’t need to pay an annual fee to remain a member.
What Are the Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join?
Whether you’re searching for a “credit union near me” to enjoy the benefits of in-person banking and brick-and-mortar branches, or you’re researching credit unions miles away with extensive member benefits, you have plenty of options. Here are some of the best credit unions anyone can join:
- Alliant Credit Union
- Bethpage Federal Credit Union
- PenFed Credit Union
- Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
- Connexus Credit Union
- Teachers Federal Credit Union
- Consumers Credit Union
- Lake Michigan Credit Union
- NASA Federal Credit Union
- Hope Credit Union
- AgFed Credit Union
- Kinecta Federal Credit Union
- CommunityWide Federal Credit Union
- Service Credit Union
There are dozens of credit unions across the U.S. that are open to virtually anyone willing to join the related organization by paying a one-time membership fee or making a one-time donation. Other credit unions require only a minimum deposit to open an account online.
1. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant offers high-yield checking and savings, along with no overdraft fees. Earn an annual percentage yield of on savings and on checking accounts. Alliant also offers share certificates (CDs) with APYs of up to .
How To Join
Become a member of the charitable organization Foster Care to Success with a one-time donation of $5, which Alliant Credit Union covers for you. You can also join if you live in a qualifying community near Chicago, or if you are a current or retired employee of one of the businesses or organizations Alliant has partnered with.
2. Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union offers high yields on savings, money markets and certificates, along with low interest rates for home equity and auto loans, delivering the best of both worlds to consumers. The credit union also offers a free checking account with no minimum balance requirements.
How To Join
BFCU has no membership requirements. You only need a one-time $5 deposit into a BFCU savings account to join the 440,000 members nationwide.
3. PenFed Credit Union
PenFed, or Pentagon Federal Credit Union, was established in 1935 and has grown to be the second-largest federal credit union in the U.S. With a high interest rate of APY for online savings and money market certificates offering up to APY, plus free checking and a network of 85,000 fee-free ATMs across the U.S., PenFed offers many of the same benefits as online banks, with personalized service and branch locations.
How To Join
Anyone can join PenFed with just a $5 minimum deposit in a high-yield PenFed savings account.
4. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, based in Minnesota, offers free checking with no minimum balance requirements and an Interest Rewards Checking account that needs a $200 minimum balance to earn dividends and rewards and avoid the $6 monthly fee. In addition to earning rewards on debit card purchases, members gain access to 60,000-plus fee-free ATMs, a Stash Your Cash program to round your purchases up and deposit the balance in savings, and one free credit report per year.
How To Join
If you live, work, worship or go to school in one of many Minnesota communities, work for the state of Minnesota or one of Affinity’s Preferred Partners, graduated from a university in Minnesota or have a relative who fits any of the above criteria, you can join Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
Alternatively, anyone can join by paying one-time dues of $25 to the Affinity Plus Foundation.
5. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus offers three free checking account products, including one that delivers a APY to qualifying customers. It also has a teen account that offers up to APY for checking. The credit union is currently offering a high-yield 17-month certificate delivering a APY on balances of at least $5,000 and less than $100,000.
How To Join
With branches in Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Connexus serves many people who are residents of various communities in these states. It also serves employees, retirees, students and alumni of many partner organizations.
Anyone can join Connexus, however, by making a one-time $5 donation to the Connexus Association and a $5 minimum opening deposit into your Connexus savings account.
6. Teachers Federal Credit Union
Teachers Federal Credit Union offers a Smart Checking account with APY on balances up to $15,000. To earn this rate, you must maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000 or have $20,000 in combined end-of-month deposit balances, or have monthly direct deposits of $500 plus 10 debit card purchases per month. Alternatively, the Share Draft Checking account is free with no minimum balance or minimum opening deposit.
How To Join
Unlike many credit unions, Teachers Federal Credit Union has no qualifications to join. Anyone can become a member. You must deposit at least $1 in a Teachers savings account to use any of the credit union’s other products or services.
7. Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union offers a rewards checking account with a yield as high as APY, with no minimum balance requirements (beyond a $5 opening deposit) and no monthly fees. There are some requirements you must meet to earn , which include spending $1,000 or more per month on a CCU Visa Credit Card. Right now, the card offers a 0% intro APR for the first 12 months.
How To Join
Anyone can join Consumers Credit Union by making a one-time, nonrefundable payment of $5 to the Consumers Cooperative Association and then depositing $5 into your Membership Share/Savings account. You must maintain that $5 deposit for the life of your account at CCU.
8. Lake Michigan Credit Union
Lake Michigan Credit Union has a choice of five checking accounts, including a no-fee checking account and a dividend-earning checking account that pays APY on balances up to $15,000, with no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. The Max Savings account offers up to APY with tiered interest rates, while a 12-month CD delivers a APY with a minimum balance of $500 required.
How To Join
Lake Michigan Credit Union is open to anyone with a valid photo ID and a $5 minimum opening deposit. You can join the credit union if you live, work or worship in the lower peninsula of Michigan or in Florida. If you live outside of these areas, you can still join if you’re a U.S. citizen and you have an immediate family member who is a member of the credit union. Otherwise, if you are a U.S. citizen and live outside of Michigan or Florida, you can join the credit union by donating $5 to the ALS Association.
9. NASA Federal Credit Union
NASA Federal Credit Union offers four tiers of rewards membership depending on your account balance. A Bronze checking account delivers surcharge-free access to 36,000 ATMs and 5,600 shared branches nationwide and a cash-back debit card. Silver, Gold, and Platinum members enjoy free checking and a host of other benefits.
How To Join
NASA Federal Credit Union has membership open to anyone. The credit union provides you with a complimentary one-year affiliated membership to the National Space Society, which gives you eligibility to join NASA Federal Credit Union. NASA employees (current or retired) and anyone who works for one of the partner companies or associations, along with their family members, can also join.
10. Hope Credit Union
Hope Credit Union offers multiple options for checking accounts, including a rewards checking account with no fees and no minimum balance that pays up to APY back. You’ll need to meet some monthly requirements to earn that APY; otherwise, the account pays on all balances. Hope also offers high-yield savings accounts, share certificates and individual retirement accounts.
How To Join
Anyone can join this credit union devoted to strengthening communities in underbanked areas of the U.S.
11. AgFed Credit Union
AgFed Credit Union offers share savings and share checking accounts that require just a $5 minimum deposit to open. You can further divide your savings accounts into a Vacation Club or Holiday Club, all earning 0.02% interest on balances between $100 and $2,499.99, 0.05% interest on balances between $2,500 and $9,999.99, and 0.07% interest on balances of $10,000 and over.
How To Join
Like many credit unions, AgFed lets employees, retirees and family members of select partner organizations join. Anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in Washington, D.C., is also eligible to join. But you can also join AgFed by becoming a member of the nonprofit group Friends of the National Arboretum. To do so, you’ll need to pay nonrefundable, one-time membership dues of $15.
12. Kinecta Federal Credit Union
Kinecta offers a host of advantages to its members, including a nine-month share certificate with an APY of and a 12-month certificate with a APY on balances under $100,00. The credit union’s money market account delivers an APY of on balances of $100,000 or more. Kinecta also offers a choice of two checking accounts with fees that are easily waived. The Checking Plus account offers between APY and APY depending on your account balance.
How To Join
Kinecta Federal Credit Union is open to members who live, work or attend school in certain communities within California, Texas, Florida, Illinois or New York. You can also join as an employee, retiree or student at one of Kinecta’s Select Employer Group organizations. Anyone can become a member of Kinecta by joining the Innovision Society for a one-time fee of $10. Kinecta covers this fee. You must make a minimum opening deposit of $5.
13. CommunityWide Federal Credit Union
CommunityWide has 11 branch locations in Northern Indiana, but it also works with a network of 5,500 shared branches nationwide. A CW savings account offers an APY of . A free CW checking account delivers an APY of with no monthly fees and just a $5 minimum balance to open an account. You’ll need to maintain a balance of at least $1 to earn dividends.
How To Join
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union has membership requirements that encompass employees, retirees and donor members of many companies and organizations. Anyone can join the credit union by making a one-time donation to either Habitat for Humanity Helpers, Goodwill Industries of Michiana, or St. Joseph Valley Marine Corps League.
14. Service Credit Union
Service Credit Union offers a wide range of products to help you manage your money. The credit union offers share certificates with APYs as high as , savings with a yield of APY on balances up to $500, and a free checking account along with a dividend checking account that pays APY.
How To Join
Service Credit Union is open to active-duty military, veterans and their family members, as well as Department of Defense employees and contractors and their family members, and people who work for one of the Select Employer Groups partnered with Service CU. However, the credit union makes it easy for anyone else to join, as well. You can join by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council for free or by becoming a member of the Financial Fitness Association.
Credit unions offer many benefits over traditional banks, including no-fee checking, high APYs, and low rates on loans. Credit union customers are treated as members or owners of the financial institution. Many credit unions are known for delivering higher levels of personalized service.
The credit unions on the list above are easy for anyone to join, often with just a nominal donation to a specific organization or a minimum deposit into your new account.
- What is the easiest credit union to join?
- There are many credit unions that are easy to join. Teachers Federal Credit Union is among the easiest credit unions to join, requiring just a $1 minimum deposit into a TFCU savings account.
- Likewise, Alliant Credit Union is also easy to join with a one-time $5 donation to the Foster Care to Success organization. Best of all, Alliant pays this fee.
- What is the best credit union to join?
- When you're comparing credit unions so you can choose the best one to join, you want to evaluate their membership requirements, minimum deposits, interest rates, ATM availability and the products they offer. The credit unions on the list above are easy for anybody to join, often with a small donation, membership fee or minimum opening deposit.
- Can anyone join Alliant Credit Union?
- Yes, if you are willing to let Alliant make a $5 donation in your name to Foster Care to Success, you can join Alliant Credit Union.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Oct. 25, 2023.
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