Credit Union Savings Accounts 2016
Credit union savings accounts (also sometimes called share certificates or money market accounts) are savings vehicles that are offered by credit unions. Many Americans enjoy performing their banking transactions with credit unions as they are technically member-owned and may have branches close by. You will find a map with all credit unions that are close to you here. It is important to note that some credit unions do have limited fields of membership – you must be a resident of a certain area or have a family member who was employed by a certain company. Other credit unions will have fields of membership that are virtually open ended (eg. must love life, etc.). If you find a credit union that interests you because of a rate or a service or a location, but are unsure if you qualify for membership, it is often worth reaching out to the credit union to discuss the parameters of the field of membership and whether there may be other ways in which you may qualify for membership.
Unlike online banks and even many local banks, all but the largest credit unions often lack robust online banking features. If you are interested in online banking, be sure to ask your credit unions about the online and mobile services they offer.
To understand all of the income generating options available to a saver, please view the Income Generating Investments Comparison Chart.
Most, but not all, credit unions listed on BestCashCow are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). You should confirm that the credit union that you are working with is NCUA insured by visiting that institution’s BestCashCow page (NCUA coverage is detailed on the overview tab). The NCUA insures each named individual's deposits to $250,000 for all accounts at the credit union within ownership class. The rules are very similar, but not identical, to those for FDIC insurance. You should always stay within NCUA insurance limits.
BestCashCow strongly recommends that you deposit money only in NCUA insured credit unions and that you stay within insured limits. If you are considering depositing over $250,000 at a single NCUA-insured credit union across products (share certificates, time deposits, etc.) or across types of ownership (individual, joint, etc.) you should use the NCUA’s Share Insurance Toolkit in order to be sure that you are not exceeding coverage limits.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CREDIT UNIONS
Why are credit union rates sometimes better than those from local and online banks?
The core difference between banks and credit unions is true regardless of size: Credit unions are nonprofits owned by the members, while banks are for-profit organizations. Credit unions can therefore sometimes pass along their profits in the form of lower rates (or better loan terms). Banks have some flexibility when competition forces it, but have to deliver an expected return on capital to their owners.
Is customer service better at credit unions that local banks or online banks?
Credit unions have long surpassed commercial banks for customer satisfaction. But as membership grows, their lead is shrinking, at least when compared with smaller banks. It’s also worth noting that in recent years, several online-only banks have earned high marks for their customer-friendly service options and their transparent discussions of fees and rates. You may enjoy the local interaction with a credit union, but unless you are also getting a competitive rate, you may find that you best bet is to also have an online bank where you keep most of you money.
Is there any difference between a share certificate offered by a credit union and a savings or money market account offered by a bank?
The difference is mainly one of terminology, as increasingly is the difference between savings and money market accounts. Be sure to understand how to access you account. Look for no fees so long as certain balances are maintained, easy liquidity and ability to transfer your money to your accounts at other institutions, including ACH transfers to online banks.
Do Credit Unions lack technology that banks have?
As technology becomes a larger part of our everyday lives, customers rely on the ability to bank online or through a mobile device, such as an iPhone. Although credit unions are making the effort to keep pace with new financial technologies, they are still trailing banks (especially the leading online banks) on this front. Several third party platforms for online banking and mobile banking are increasingly being adopted throughout the banking industry, and credit unions will likely begin to adopt these as well, which should narrow or remove the gap between them and banks.
Is my money any less safe?
As long as your credit union is NCUA insured and you stay within the NCUA limits, As long as your credit union is NCUA insured and you stay within the NCUA limits, your money is no less safe than it would be in an FDIC-insured bank.
Should I consider time deposits?
Time deposits are the credit union’s term for certificates of deposit, but, aside from slightly different terminology, are virtually the same product. Time deposits have less liquidity, but if you are unlikely to require access to your cash for some time, you may be able to significantly augment your rate of return and the growth of your capital. Since unforeseen circumstances do arise, it is important to understand the early withdrawal fees that may even eat into your principal, and early withdrawal is often entirely at the credit union’s discretion. BestCashCow compiles all rates of all credit unions near you. Access this information here. You should also familiarize yourself with our Savings Booster Calculator in order to understand the importance of compounding interest at higher rates on your savings over time.
5 POINT CHECKLIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE CREDIT UNIONS GREAT
- Rates are often better than savings and CD rates at local banks. Borrowing rates are sometimes lower too.
- Members are Owners of a nonprofit. When you open an account at a credit union, your account is actually a share and provides you voting rights. Since credit unions are run as non-profits, you aren’t going to get appreciation or dividends from your ownership. Instead, these institutions have the ultimate goal of providing their members better rates on loans and financial products. When a credit union makes a profit, it is used to provide better opportunities to the community that it serves.
- Clerks work with you. Since credit unions are small and serve their owners, they try hard to keep them happy. Many credit unions have fans for life after a clerk stays late to complete loan documents, and giving pointers about avoiding fees.
- Credit unions provide low-income and financially distressed individuals the chance to qualify for financing.
- Credit unions often run special programs that enable people to save for the holidays (such as Christmas Clubs) or to help finance the cost of higher education and university.