Credit Unions That Everyone Should Join


With the recent announcement that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) may start imposing tighter regulations about open membership in credit unions [WSJ link], I thought it may be a good time to list some credit unions that everyone should be a member of before it becomes too late. Some credit unions offer products that the major banks just can’t compete with. I will only list credit unions that have open membership, usually with a small donation to a charity.

Alliant Credit Union’s biggest strength is their fast ACH processing times which makes it a good hub account to transfer funds between your other accounts. Their ACH system allows free inbound and outbound transfers between banks, even those that don’t offer ACH themselves. Alliant always seems to offer competitive interest rates on their savings and checking accounts. Check out my full review of Alliant Credit Union here.

Consumers credit union offers a reward checking account with 3.09% APY interest up to $10,000 balance. There are 4 requirements that are not too difficult to achieve. The easiest is to elect to receive online statements and login to their online banking system once a month. The direct deposit requirement can be met by using Alliant to initiate the ACH or you can do one bill pay through their system. The 12 debit card transactions can be done by buying 12 Amazon gift cards for $1 each. In order to qualify for the 4.09% APY, you must sign up for a Consumers credit card and make 12 purchases a month. Again, you can just buy 12 Amazon gift cards. To qualify for the maximum 5.09% APY up to $20,000 balance, you must spend at least $1,000 on the credit card each month.

Consumers Credit Union is part of the CO-OP network of credit unions which means you can do regular branch transactions, including cash deposits, at any credit union in the network. This effectively removes one of the biggest advantage of big banks, which is their many brick and mortar locations.

Digital Credit Union is worth a mention because their auto loan products are usually one of the lowest available anywhere. Recently they had a new auto loan at 1.49% interest (although it has risen to 1.74% in recent weeks). DCU is also part of the CO-OP network so you can usually find a branch in your local area that participates.

Penfed Credit Union gets a mention here because they typically have some of the lowest rates for mortgage and auto loans in the country. They also have some unique mortgage products like their 15/15 ARM which only adjust once for the life of the 30 year loan. The PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa gets 5% back on gas purchases and 3% back on supermarkets along with no foreign transaction fees.

Is there any credit unions that you feel should be on this list? Let me know in the comments.