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Bank or Credit Union: Which Is Better for You?

Bank

If you are trying to choose between a bank and a credit union, you should closely look at the basic details of each. What works for one person may not work for another, which is why both types of financial institutions abound. Learn here how to tell which of these may be best for you.

Rates

In most cases, you can get the best interest rates at a credit union you belong to. This is one of the advantages members have compared to people who use a bank. You can compare rates at local banks and credit unions just to make sure this is the case, and you will likely find it’s true. This means that if you plan to take out a loan or get a credit card anytime soon, a credit union may be best for your situation.

Services

Of course, not all credit unions even offer credit cards, home loans and other lines of credit. This is in contrast to most banks, which tend to offer all these services and more. You will find, however, that larger credit unions are on par with larger banks when it comes to their offerings, so you should find out exactly what a particular credit union offers before you make a decision. But in general, if you have any particular financial needs that are not commonly offered everywhere, you may be better off using a bank, or at least a major credit union.

Convenience

You have probably noticed that most major banks have many locations in every city, with plenty of ATMs. On the other hand, your city may only have a few credit unions, and there might only be a handful of branches of the credit union you choose. This means if you move in the future, you may very well need to switch credit unions. Even if you plan to stay in your home for years, it may be frustrating to not be able to visit your credit union when you travel. This is why you might consider using either a major bank with locations everywhere, or a large credit union that has plenty of branches and ATMs.

Customer Service

Credit unions are often known for their good customer service. In fact, you are not technically known as a customer at a credit union. Instead, you are a member who owns part of it, so you can expect to be treated well. Of course, some individual bank locations may have good customer service, too, but it may be harder to find than in a credit union. Therefore, if you want to feel valued as a customer when conducting financial transactions, you might consider a credit union.

In the end, the choice is yours. But in general, if you want a wide variety of services and plenty of convenience, you may be happiest with a bank. If you prefer good customer service and low rates, a credit union may be for you. If you cannot decide, you can always have an account at each type of financial institution.