What’s the difference between a bank and a credit union? Since credit unions and banks offer many of the same products, it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. Let’s go over some common questions to help you decide between banks vs. credit unions. If you’re already a member, these might be some good items to discuss with your friends who still haven’t made the switch.
Full disclosure: We’re a little biased on this topic.
Do Credit Unions And Banks Offer The Same Services?
Credit unions and banks generally offer similar services. Most banks and credit unions offer checking accounts, savings accounts, debit cards, online banking, and mobile banking. They also have loan products like auto loans, credit cards, and home equity loans.
Do Banks Or Credit Unions Have Lower Fees?
Generally, credit unions have fewer account requirements and fewer fees than banks, which have become notorious for hidden charges. The fees that credit unions do charge tend to be much lower dollar amounts than bank averages.
Who Owns Banks vs Credit Unions?
Banks are owned by private investor shareholders. Credit unions are owned by their members. Everyone who opens an account becomes a shareholder, or member-owner, and all of the money credit unions make is used to keep the credit union running and is given back to members in the form of lower/fewer fees, lower rates, and better returns.
Which One Offers More No-Surcharge ATMs?
This answer might surprise you. Credit unions are typically part of large, no-surcharge ATM networks with locations across the country and even around the world. Many heavy travelers think it’s better to join a big bank because they will always be able to find an ATM, but with a credit union ATM network, you’ll actually have more ATMs to choose from!
(Tip: You can find a no-surcharge ATM near you with Diamond’s mobile app or search online.)
Get the Diamond Mobile App at either of the links below.
Do I Need A Large Minimum Balance To Open An Account At A Bank Or A Credit Union?
That depends. Some banks require minimum balances to open savings or checking accounts. Most credit unions allow you to open a savings account with a minimal deposit (typically $5-$25) that acts as your share in the credit union—that’s your money and you get it back if you should ever close your account. And with credit unions, there is typically a checking account option that does not require a minimum balance.
(Tip: Diamond’s Checking Direct account only requires one direct deposit each month to avoid a monthly service fee!)
Am I Eligible To Join A Credit Union?
Yes! Some credit unions are only open to people who work at a specific business, but most credit unions are actually community-chartered these days. That means that anyone who lives, works, goes to school, or regularly conducts business in a specific area can join the credit union.
(Tip: Diamond is community-chartered in Berks County and the Tri-County Region!)
See our Credit Unions vs Banks video for a more detailed explanation: