Your Guide to the Best Online Credit Unions
If you haven’t visited your local bank lately you may be questioning why you need to? You have online services with your current bank relationship, but they charge you a bunch of fees and require hefty minimum balances. Considering a change? Well consider no more by easily moving to one of the best online credit unions.
From online bill pay to online credit card applications, more and more people are looking for ways to manage their money online these days. If you’re in this same boat, you may want to consider joining an online credit union.
Before you join the first option that shows up in your search engine results, take a moment to do your research and make sure you’re joining the best institution.
Wondering which credit union is best for me? Read on to learn all about the best online credit unions that you can join today.
Banks Vs. Credit Unions
Before we discuss the best online credit unions, let’s clarify the difference between a bank and a credit union and make sure we’re all on the same page.
First, banks and credit unions vary when it comes to their business structure.
Banks are for-profit companies. They’re usually public companies, meaning they’re led by paid board members who may not deposit their money at the bank they’re operating.
Credit unions, on the other hand, are not-for-profit cooperatives. This means that they’re run by member-owners. Credit union directors are also unpaid volunteers, rather than paid board members.
Credit unions also distribute profits to members through interest on their deposit accounts or in the form of dividend checks.
Banks are free to conduct business with any customer who wants to work with them.
Credit unions can only serve certain groups of people. As a result, membership is usually determined by a person’s location or their place of work, school, or worship.
You can also qualify for some credit unions if you make a small donation to a specific charity. This is usually the case for online credit unions, which make it easy for potential members to join no matter where they’re located.
Fees, Rates, and Incentives
Credit unions and banks also differ when it comes to fees and membership incentives.
Banks usually have more fees than credit unions. These fees, especially overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees, also tend to be more expensive.
Banks also tend to pay lower interest earnings on customers’ deposit accounts, and they may also charge higher loan interest rates than credit unions.
At the same time, banks do tend to have better rewards on credit cards.
The Best Online Credit Unions
If you’re interested in becoming a member of an online credit union, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. When it comes to rates, membership fees, and perks, they’re some of the best online credit unions out there.
Alliant Credit Union
Some of the benefits that come with being a member of Alliant Credit Union include:
- 24/7 top-notch customer service over the phone, online, and through their app
- Competitive annual savings
- No monthly maintenance fees for those who opt-in to electronic statements
- Easy-to-use mobile app for account inquiries, transfers, mobile deposits, and bill paying
Alliant Credit Union one of the best federal credit unions is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. But, you don’t have to live in Illinois to work with them.
Anyone who donates ten or more dollars to Foster Care to Success can apply to be a member at Alliant. Foster Care to Success is a charity that helps people find work and transition successfully out of the foster care system.
GTE Financial Credit Union
Anyone who joints the CU Savers Club can join GTE Financial. The CU Savers club fees are incredibly low — a one-time, refundable Member Owner Share fee of $5.
When you become a member of GTE Financial, you get all kinds of benefits, including:
- A free checking account
- Unlimited check writing
- Easy online banking and bill pay
- Mobile banking
- Access to more than 30,000 no-fee ATMs
- High savings rates
- 1.99% APY
- Live-chat customer service
Members also get exclusive discounts on Legoland tickets, DirectTV packages, and Sprint mobile packages.
NASA Federal Credit Union
It’s easy to become a member of the NASA Federal Credit Union, one of the best credit union websites. Even if you’re not a NASA employee or related to one. You simply have to be a member of the National Space Society. Membership with the NSS is free if you join while you’re opening an account as NASA FCU.
Other perks you get when you join NASA FCU include:
- Free FICO online credit scores
- Easy personal payments via PayPal
- All-encompassing mobile app for mobile deposits, bill pay, and transfers
The NASA FCU app also offers totally secure messaging for customer service issues, so you can ask any questions you want while you’re on the go.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Membership at Affinity Plus is available to anyone who makes a one-time donation of at list $25 to the Affinity Plus Foundation.
When you become a member, you’ll receive the following online benefits:
- Free online checking
- Kids’ savings accounts
- Variety of business services
- Easy mobile and online
- Easy integration with QuickBooks and Quicken
- Live-chat customer support
- 1.00% APY
- Free credit advice
- Rewards for charitable donations
- Rebates on selling or buying a home
- Car-buying assistance
- Insurance discounts for homes and cars
As if those perks weren’t enough, you can also receive discounts on Sprint wireless plans and discount tickets to the Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe and Orpheum, Pantages, and State theaters.
Lake Michigan Credit Union
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lake Michigan Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, worships, works, or attends school in the state of Michigan. Those who donate at least $5 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association can also become members.
When you join Lake Michigan Credit Union, you become eligible for the following benefits:
- Reward checking
- Text banking and alerts
- Easy mobile app for online bill pay, check deposits, transfers, and more
- No minimum balance requirement
- Refunds of up to $15 per month in ATM charges
All these services will make life easier for you and also help you stay on top of your funds no matter where you are.
Want to Learn More?
Now that you know about the best online credit unions, it’s time to decide which one you want to join.
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