I’m not sure about you all, but when I opened my very first savings account at the ripe old age of fourteen, I had my account at the same credit union my parents had accounts in. It made sense at the time since as a fourteen-year-old, I just wanted to spend the twenty bucks I made babysitting my coach’s children. My parents, however, wanted to get me into the habit of saving. So a good decade later and I’m still at the same credit union.
I haven’t really thought about switching to another credit union or a bank, but recently we’ve had some clients talk about switching to another bank or credit union for reasons like having online banking, interface with QuickBooks, or they aren’t satisfied with the customer service at their current location.
Recently we posted an article about what to look for in a bank and or credit union when trying to find what will best suit you and your needs. One of the questions we posted was about knowing the difference between banks and credit unions. Can’t be too complicated right?
First things first, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates. Sounds pretty great right?! They are also member owned, tend to be smaller, local and people oriented, have secure deposits, and don’t abide by strict qualifications mandated by a large corporate office not anywhere close by. However, since credit unions tend to not be on larger scales like national banks, they tend to run slower on becoming mobile and online banking friendly.
On the other hand, banks are for profit corporations with declared earnings paid to stockholders only; think of those big, fat banks you see depicted in newspaper cartoons since they tend to be owned by wealthy board members! Especially with the fallout that happened with the housing market crash, banks haven’t been too popular, but they do have their perks! For instance, larger scaled banks have ATMs seemingly everywhere, therefore, you rarely have to worry about not having access to your funds. They also have secure deposits and best of all, they have very up-to-date online banking systems in place. With their massive IT departments always working on quick and easy online banking, larger banks have more success with mobile apps and the like.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that no matter which option you choose, there is no right or wrong, it’s all about what your personal preference is and which suits your needs best. If you’re the type who likes to do face-to-face banking and keep it local, then maybe you’d like a credit union or a small local bank. Or, maybe you like having access to your account at all times of the day and night and really benefit from a larger bank with an amazing online banking system. If neither work and you like hoarding your money in the walls of your house, that’s okay too! As we’ve stated, it’s all about what suits your needs best.
Lastly, if you’re shopping around for the right bank or credit union for yourself, look into some of the other features mention preciously in the ‘Banking vs Dating’ article such as interest rates on loans, maintenance fees, drive thru hours, and the like. There won’t be a bank or credit union that’ll match every one of your needs and preferences, so cast a wide net!