Credit Union vs. Bank : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Credit Union or Bank? Is there an advantage to keeping money in one rather than the other? Is one more safe? Anyone know the basic difference between the two?

-- HV (, February 22, 2002


Don't credit unions usually pay higher interest rates?

But credit union deposits are not insured by the FDIC, and bank deposits are (up to a certain limit, I think)

-- Cat (, February 22, 2002.

Cat, Your wrong, credit unions are FDIC insured. For the average joe off the street the credit union is often the better bet. Higher interest. They sometimes offer less frills and features that a bank might. Number of ATM machines, web access, 24x7 customer support. Note that you have to join a credit union. They usually have some approval process for new memebers.

-- Gary in Ohio (, February 22, 2002.

Membership qualifications can be as simple as simply living/working within a certain county--and there are always those that are job specific, like teachers', telephone workers, etc.

As to convenience, it depends upon how you get your money--most are not open weekends, and some have only their own ATMs, but in some states, credit unions have organized so that any Credit Union ATM may be utilized without extra fees (in effect the same as if you belonged to a bank with ATMs throughout the state). If I travel, I usually get travelers' checks (no cost through AAA), so I don't use ATMs.

As to other services, CUs did not, as a rule, do mortgages or offer credit cards. They do now. Also, some even provide one free money order per day (handy for those odd mail orders), and also free notary service, which no banks offer anymore. Some things are not advertised-- I asked where the nearest notary was, and the manager said, "Oh, we can do that". Little things like that. CUs do not do currency exchanging, but again, most use travelers' checks or charge everything.

I would never go back to a bank.

-- GT (, February 22, 2002.

C U"S are fine,,if they serve your purpose,, for me,, they dont,,I qualify for a few differant ones,, but wont use them,, for the simple fact,, they arent where I need them to be. I work all over the stae,,so I need a chain,,which has advantages,, muiltiply accounts, means,, no questions asked about small loans and such. I called them up,, and was loaned 3,000,, no questions asked,, which was paid off in 15 days. No hassles about refinanceing an such.

-- Stan (, February 22, 2002.

We have banked with a credit union for over 15 years now----would not go back to a bank----too many bonuses that banks don't offer--or else they charge for--we also have our IRAs & other saveings with the credit union----the credit union is always----sending us bonus offers- ---never got any thing like that from a bank---better interest rates-- make more on our investments-than we did at any bank--also small town banks they always seem to know your business & it is spread around-- never happen at the credit union!!!! Small town bankers & their employees have been know to talk---if I own a business in rural America----I don't want a banker or his employees telling anyone how well I'm doing---or how much I paid for my property!!!!! And it has happened to us!!

-- Sonda in Ks. (, February 22, 2002.


It wouldn't have worked to just up your credit card limit, charged it, then paid it off in 20 days with no interest (and getting a rebate or other credit card bennies)? I know people who have charged all or a portion of their new or used cars that way, by the way. Just a thought.

-- GT (, February 22, 2002.

GT,, wasnt a credit card loan,, was an over the phone signature loan,, needed the money for a quick short term investment,, which was paid back in a few weeks

-- Stan (, February 22, 2002.

I have used a CU for over twenty years and would never go back to a bank. I pay $3.50/month for my share draft account (checking), with no limit as to the number of transactions. I get a free Visa card every year with a pretty low interest rate, though I cannot say what it is because I never pay any interest on it. The CU pays off my balance every month by doing a transfer from my savings account (no fee for this). Oh, and they also have it set up so that all of my money gets deposited into my savings account which is an interest bearing account. When a check is presented against my share draft account the CU transfers the amount needed to cover the check, so all of my money earns interest as long as possible. The other thing I like is that I keep a fairly low limit on my Visa card, and sometimes when I am on the road for awhile I hit the limit. All I have to do is call the CU and ask them to transfer more money from savings to free up some credit (which I need for hotels, rental cars, etc) and they will do this (no fee) as many times as I ask them to. I also get free cashier's checks, etc. They do make loans, mortgages, etc. but I have never used those services. My CU has only one branch which is nowhere near where I live, but they have a reciprocal agreement with other CU's who do have branches near me, so I use the ATM's at the other CU's for deposits/withdrawals, etc and there is no fee for that, either. Another great thing for me, since I sometimes only get paid once a month, is that they will release a hold on deposits upon request. They have also done this a number of times with deposits from my brokerage firm when I am transferring large(ish) sums. Best banking value I have come across.

-- Elizabeth (, February 22, 2002.

Stan, thanks for explaining. I wasn't thinking of a credit card loan per se, I probably would have borrowed from family or a friend (obviously with signed papers) for an amount like that, since it wasn't something I could charge.

Elizabeth, we aren't charged any account fees, but part of membership is keeping a minimum of $5 in one account (usually savings) at all times. As far as credit limits, we're just careful to only charge what we can pay off each month, regardless of what the "limit" is. Like with you, interest rates on the card don't matter when you pay if off each month.

-- GT (, February 22, 2002.

As far as keeping money, writing checks, etc, I see little difference. I've kept a credit union account for a long time mostly because their loan and credit card rates are better than banks. No charges for the checking account. ATM card can be used anywhere. Accounts accessible online or automated telephone 24 hours a day. I've only been in their local office back east 1 time and that was about 10 years ago. My main bank account with a large regional bank, I've never stepped foot in a branch, not even to open the account or make deposits. I handle all that stuff online, phone and through ATM.

-- Dave (, February 23, 2002.

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