Although many credit unions are chartered to serve a local population, it is now possible to access credit unions globally through the power of the world wide web. As credit union members are able to do a variety of banking activities online, it is less and less necessary to be living in the same town in which you bank, in order to participate in the benefits of a credit union with a community charter.
Like any other banking customer, members of online credit unions are able to enjoy the benefits of online banking; including online bill payment, viewing and receiving paperless statements, and being able to easily make online transfers to accounts at other banks. Direct deposit of paychecks makes it possible to bank at a credit union without ever walking through the door, and in recent years, some credit unions have even been able to speed up the time it takes for electronic payments to clear.
Will credit unions take their business completely online? There is no reason why we shouldn’t expect this sometime in the near future. Direct banking by internet is becoming a very popular option for today’s banking consumer, and usually offers good interest rates, unique features, and convenience. Although membership in a credit union is, by law, limited to “groups having a common bond of occupation or association, or to groups within a well defined neighborhood, community or rural district,” there is no reason why an online credit union could not be chartered among people with a common purpose, if they qualify through work, family, profession, or community.