Best Credit Unions of November 2023 – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Best Credit Unions of November 2023

Our experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

Credit unions are not-for-profit businesses that require you to become a member to keep your money with the institution. We reviewed several credit unions throughout the US to find credit unions that are easy to join.

Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit businesses, which means they can offer lower fees. They generally offer higher interest rates for savings accounts and lower rates on loans.

Best Credit Unions

Alliant Credit Union – Product Name OnlyBethpage Federal Credit Union – Product Name OnlyQuorum Federal Credit Union – Product Name OnlyConnexus Credit Union – Product Name OnlyWings Financial Credit Union – Product Name OnlyConsumers Credit Union – Product Name OnlyPentagon Federal Credit Union – Product Name Only

All of the credit unions on our list are protected by NCUA insurance. Although three banks have failed in 2023, bear in mind your money is safe at a federally insured financial institution. When a financial institution is federally insured, up to $250,000 per depositor is secure in a bank account.

These institutions have remained our top picks for the last few months because they continue to stand out for their minimal fees and top-notch features. Here are our top picks for the best credit unions.

Compare the Best Credit Unions

Best Credit Unions FAQs

How do you become a credit union member?

You become a credit union member by meeting the criteria of a specific credit union. This may be working in certain industry, living in a certain place, or simply opening a savings account. Each credit union has its own rules about who can join. Almost anyone can use a traditional bank, as long as you have the necessary minimum opening deposits.

What are the pros and cons of credit unions?

A credit union may be a better choice than a traditional bank if you’re looking for higher rates on bank accounts, more personalized customer service, or often lower fees. However, one con of choosing a credit union instead of a traditional bank is that many banks compound interest daily, but credit unions often compound monthly. Furthermore, credit unions often don’t have as many physical branches as most national banks and can be slower to adapt to new technology than banks.

Are credit unions better than banks?

Credit unions are better than banks if you value personalized customer service. But if you value advanced technology, a bank is probably better. The most important thing is that it’s federally insured. A bank should be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. A credit union should be insured by the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA.

Best Credit Union Reviews

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant is an online-only credit union, and it’s ranked as one of Insider’s best online banks. There are over 80,000 free ATMs, and if you use an out-of-network ATM, Alliant will reimburse up to $20 per month in any fees charged by providers. 

 You can find a higher savings interest rate at other financial institutions, though.

How to join: Join Foster Care to Success, and Alliant will cover your $5 joining fee. Or be an employee, retiree, or member of certain organizations; live in specific parts of Illinois; be a relative of an Alliant member.

Alliant Credit Union Review

Bethpage Federal Credit Union 

Bethpage pays competitive rates on checking and savings accounts. It’s rare that institutions make it easy to access your savings, but Bethpage sends you an ATM card when you open a savings account. Bethpage has over 5,000 shared branch locations in New York you can visit if you want to speak with a banker face-to-face.

Bethpage’s savings interest rate is higher than what you’ll find at brick-and-mortar banks, but you can find higher savings rates at some of our other top picks.

How to join: Open a savings account with Bethpage Federal Credit Union Savings Account.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union Review

Quorum Federal Credit Union 

Quorum Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge monthly service fees if you get the High Q Savings Account or Quorum QClassic Checking Account.

Keep in mind Quorum has an interest-earning checking account, but it pays lower interest rates than our other rewards checking account mentioned in our top picks. The Quorum QChoice Checking Account only pays 0.01% APY on account balances under $20,000 and  0.05% APY on account balances over $20,000.

How to join: At Quorum, you or a family member have to work for a Select Employee Group on this list, or you must join the American Consumer Council or Select Savers Club.

Quorum Federal Credit Union Review

Connexus Credit Union

Connexus pays competitive rates, and its Connexus Xtraordinary Checking Account could earn you a very high rate if you use your debit card frequently and/or spend at least $400 per month with your debit card.

You can find a higher savings interest rate at other credit unions, though.

How to join: Become a member of the Connexus Association with a one-time $5 donation; be an employee, retiree, member, student, student graduate, or relative of a member of certain organizations; residents of areas in Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin; be a relative, spouse, or housemate of a Connexus member. 

Connexus Credit Union Review

Wings Financial Credit Union

Wings Financial has several checking and savings accounts. You can earn high rates if you follow a few guidelines with your checking account, and if you maintain a high balance in your savings account. You have free access to ATMs nationwide, and to branches in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington.

Wings Financial’s ATM fee policy is still more lenient than many banks’ rules, but not as impressive as what you’ll see with many of our top credit union picks. You can withdraw from out-of-network ATMs 10 times per month; after that, you’ll pay a $2.50 fee each time. Wings Financial doesn’t reimburse any fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers, like some credit unions do.

How to join: Donate $5 to join the Wings Financial Foundation; or live, work, worship, or volunteer in certain parts of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, or Washington; be an employee or retiree of the aviation industry; have a family member who is a member of Wings Financial.

Wings Financial Credit Union Review

Consumers Credit Union

Consumers has  the Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking Account, which is one of our top picks for the best rewards checking accounts. You’ll earn a high rate if you use your debit card frequently, and an even higher rate if you use your Consumers Credit Union credit card.

The checking account works on a tiered system, and you’ll need to use a Consumers Credit Union credit card to qualify for the top two interest rate tiers. This might not be a great fit if you don’t want to open a credit card. But it’s worth noting that the third tier, which just requires debit card purchases, still has a pretty good rate.

How to join: Pay a $5 membership fee to the Consumers Cooperative Association, then deposit and keep $5 in a Consumers savings account.

Consumers Credit Union Review

Pentagon Federal Credit Union

PenFed has branches in 13 states, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Japan, but you can also bank digitally if you don’t live near a branch. It pays good savings rates overall, and its minimum deposits are low. 

That said, the best high-yield savings accounts pay even higher savings account rates right now.

How to join: You can be a member of the military, employee of an eligible association or business, employee of certain US government agencies, worker or volunteer at the American Red Cross, resident of certain areas, or family member of anyone who falls into one of these groups.

Otherwise, you can become a PenFed member by opening a savings account with $5.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union Review

Other Credit Unions That Didn’t Make the Cut and Why

Blue Federal Credit Union – Product Name Only: This is a good credit union overall, but its interest rates aren’t as competitive as what you’ll earn with our top picks.Star One Credit Union Free Checking Account: This credit union pays competitive rates, but you can only join if you live, work, or attend school in certain parts of California, or work for an affiliated company.Boeing Employees Credit Union Member Savings Account: There are a few ways to become a member of BECU, but for the most part, you need to live in Washington state or select counties in Oregon or Idaho.VyStar Primary Savings Account: You must live in certain parts of Florida or Georgia to join VyStar, and its checking and savings rates aren’t as good as what you’ll find with our top picks.Navy Federal Credit Union Standard Certificate: You can only join if you’re affiliated with the military, and you can find higher checking and savings rates elsewhere.Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union Really Free Checking Account: RBFCU is for people who live in Texas, and it doesn’t pay the highest rates.First Tech Federal Credit Union Instant Access Savings Account This credit union pays good rates, but you must live or work in Lane County, Oregon, or work for a partner organization, or join the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association. If you don’t meet any of these criteria, a First Tech customer service rep can talk to you about more options.Golden 1 Credit Union Regular Savings Account: You may like Golden 1 if you live near a branch in California.America First Credit Union Certificate: You might be able to join America First if you live in Western states.SchoolsFirst Credit Union IRA Certificate: This credit union is for education employees in California, and its rates are just so-so.Suncoast Credit Union Share Certificate: You can join Suncoast if you live in certain parts of Florida, but the rates are pretty low.GTE Financial Full Access Checking Account: This credit union could be a good fit if you live in the Tampa, Florida, area.

Credit Unions Trustworthiness and BBB Ratings

The Better Business Bureau grades companies, from F to A+. The BBB looks at responses to customer complaints, advertising, and transparency about business practices when assigning grades. All our top picks have an A+ from the BBB:

Credit unionBBB gradeAlliantA+BethpageA+ConnexusA+ConsumersA+PenFedA+Quorum Federal Credit UnionA+Wings FinancialF

Wings Financial has an F Rating because it has failed to respond to five customer complaints and has 2 unresolved customer complaints.

Still, a great BBB grade and clear history don’t guarantee you’ll have a smooth relationship with a company. You may want to ask friends and family about their experiences or read reviews online.

Why You Should Trust Us: Expert’s Advice on the Best Credit Unions 

We consulted banking and financial planning experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best credit union for your needs.

Insider

Tania Brown, certified financial planner at SaverLifeRoger Ma, certified financial planner with lifelaidout® and author of “Work Your Money, Not Your Life”Sophia Acevedo, Certified Educator in Personal Finance, banking reporter at Personal Finance InsiderMykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor, BoujieBudgets.com

In choosing a credit union, ask yourself the following questions, informed by our experts’ advice:

Do I meet the membership eligibility requirements to open an account at the credit union? What am I looking for in my banking experience (an extensive branch network, high interest rates on savings accounts, a variety of bank products and services, or strong online banking features)?Do the bank accounts have any monthly service fees? Can the fee be waived?Is the interest rate on the savings account higher than the national average? Are there any requirements to earn interest? How is interest paid (quarterly, monthly, daily)?When is customer support available? Does the credit union have high mobile app ratings? 

Methodology: How We Chose the Best Credit Unions

Personal Finance Insider’s mission is to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. We understand that “best” is often subjective, so in addition to highlighting the clear benefits of a financial product or account — a high APY, for example — we outline the limitations, too. We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and fine print of various products so you don’t have to.

We chose credit unions that are easy to join, rather than ones that are limited to residents of certain states or employees for specific organizations. We also selected credit unions that shine in areas where credit unions are supposed to shine, such as high rates and strong customer support. All of our picks are federally insured by the NCUA, which means your money is protected (up to $250,000 for an individual account) should the institution fail.

See our full ratings methodology for checking, business checking, savings, and money market accounts »

Read the original article on Business Insider
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