Financial Fundamentals Blog

Why You Should Open A Checking Account with a Credit Union

Happy couple reviewing their checking account statements


Opening a checking account is a pretty easy process, right? You walk into a bank or credit union and simply apply for the checking account you want.


But which financial institution should you choose? Are they the same? Are there benefits to one over the other?


Let’s take a look at what you should consider when opening a new bank or credit union checking account and settle the differences between credit unions and banks once and for all.


Banks vs. Credit Union Checking Accounts: What to Consider

There are several things to consider when deciding on a financial institution for your checking account. Let’s take a look at the important things you need to know so you can make an informed decision.


Benefits of Opening a Credit Union Checking Account

If you haven’t been a member of a credit union before, you may be wondering what the advantages of opening a credit union checking account are compared to opening a checking account at a bank.


One of the largest differences between banks and credit unions is ownership. With traditional banks, an organization is the owner and looks to make a profit off of operations. Ultimately, the bank is focused on protecting the bottom line.


Credit unions, however, are non-profit and members are the owners. When you open a credit union checking account, you become a member, which means you have voting rights and input on the leadership of the credit union. Rather than profits being funneled up to owners and executives, profits are actually reinvested into the credit union.


This type of ownership makeup means that the focus is more on the local community. The local economy impacts the credit union, which makes it a better financial partner. Additionally, due to the strong local presence, experts in the credit union may be better able to support you throughout local market changes and connect you with the right loan.


In addition to differences in ownership, there are also differences in interest rates and fees. Credit unions generally offer better rates and lower fees on loans because the focus is on providing resources that support members.


Why Should You Open a Checking Account?

Money management is an essential skill — and having a checking account is part of it. A checking account gives you more control over your money and a better ability to track your spending, withdraw funds and transfer money.


Whether at a bank or credit union, your money is insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures up to $250,000 per depositor and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures up to $250,000 per share owner.


With a bank or credit union checking account, you can pay bills online, track spending through the mobile app, and transfer money to friends and family with ease. You can also quickly and easily transfer money between your checking and savings accounts to build your emergency savings fund.


What To Look For in a Checking Account

Just like credit unions and banks are different, not all checking accounts are the same. In addition to deciding on a financial institution, it’s also important to consider key features of your checking account before opening one. Some features you’ll want to consider include:

  • Low monthly fees: Compare the desirable features of your account with the fees associated with the account. If you find a desirable account that has a fee, talk with the financial institution to see if the fee can be reduced or eliminated.
  • No minimum balance: You’re going to be frequently depositing and taking out money to pay for bills and necessities such as groceries. Because of this constant fluctuation, you may want to consider an account that you don’t have to maintain a minimum balance on.
  • Overdraft protection: Everyone can make an honest mistake that leads to an overdrawn account. You may want to consider how your checking account and financial institution provide a financial safety net in case of this type of mistake.
  • Ability to access money on the go: Make sure you have a mobile app tied to your checking account so you can manage your money easily while on the go so you can manage your money easily while on the go, and that includes traveling.
  • Early pay: This is a handy feature offered by 7 17 Credit Union and by certain financial institutions allowing you to receive your direct deposit check to your account two days earlier than it was scheduled.


The Power To Manage Your Money

Ready to manage your money how you want? Find out the ins and outs of checking accounts and how to choose the account that’s right for you with our comprehensive guide.