If you are trying to choose between the best banks or credit unions, you have to examine what you want. Do you want a checking account, savings account, or both? Wondering what a credit union is? Look no further.
A credit union is a nonprofit financial institution that’s owned by its members. They provide the same kind of products as regular banks such as checking accounts, high-yield savings accounts, and credit cards. They differ in that they reinvest the profits they make from interest and account fees into the products they are offering. For this reason, credit unions will often offer you better rates and fees than a regular bank that gives its profits to shareholders. In order to join a credit union, you have to meet certain criteria. This may include where you work, where you live, your affiliation with certain groups, etc. Most will let you join if you pay a small fee.
Here are some various credit union and bank options with the best deposit accounts:
1. Alliant Credit Union
They are an online-only credit union based in Chicago, Illinois offering clients access to more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs. To join, you can support Alliant’s partner charity, Foster Care to Success. You can also wait as Alliant will pay $5 to them on your account when you first apply to join. You can also join by members of certain organizations, relatives of current Alliant members, if you work or live in a specific community in Illinois, or if you are an employee or retiree of a specific organization. Alliant also has a strong online presence so clients can deposit checks, make payments, manage accounts, and budget through their app. They also offer an Alliant Cashback Signature Credit Card with a 2.5% cashback on all purchases option. Lastly, they have a no-fee checking account, personal, auto, and home loans savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, and more.
2. Connexus Credit Union
They offer great rates on checking and wide ATM access. Their website, online banking, and mobile banking platforms are also very user-friendly. They are part of a shared ATM and branch networks across credit unions across the country and there are no monthly fees on checking or savings accounts. One con is that their savings accounts have a relatively low rate.
3. Pentagon Federal Credit union (PenFed)
PenFed, located in McLean, Virginia, has 48 branches in 15 states. You no longer have to be affiliated with the military in order to join. You only have to put down and maintain a $5 deposit into a savings/share account to be an active member. They also offer a mobile app and online banking system so you can easily deposit checks, pay bills, and schedule transfers. They offer financial products such as the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card that has no annual fee, but the highest rewards rate at gas stations with five times the points for every dollar you spend. Lastly, they offer various other credit cards, checking and savings accounts, mortgages, auto, and personal and student loans.
4. Consumers Credit Union (CCU)
Based in Gurnee, Illinois, CCU has 11 branches across the state. They are also part of the CU Service Centers Network which gives access to more than 5,000 shared branches and 30,000 co-op ATMs. You can apply to be a member by paying a $5 fee to the Consumers Cooperative Association and then depositing/maintaining a $5 balance in one’s savings/share account. You can also pay bills, deposit checks, and transfer funds online/through their app. Regarding financial products, the Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking Account offers up to 4.09% APY on balances up to $10,000–more than 100 times the average of 0.04%. There are also no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirement, and unlimited reimbursement for all ATM fees. Lastly, CCU offers various mortgages, checking/savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, and auto loans.
5. Members 1st Federal Credit Union
Founded in 1950 and based in Mechanicsburg, PA with branches throughout seven counties, people can become members if their employer or some other organization is affiliated with Members 1st. They offer checking accounts, savings accounts, health savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts with a minimum balance of $50 and an APY of 0.15%. They also offer share certificates, auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans, business accounts, student loans, and investment/insurance services.
6. America First Federal Credit Union
Based in Utah, this credit union has 138 branches across Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. People are eligible to join if they are working or living in these states or are employees of specific organizations. The credit union has more than one million members and offers savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, individual retirement accounts, share certificates, credit cards, health savings accounts, auto loans, mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans, insurance products, lines of credit, and business accounts.
7. First Tech Federal Credit Union (FTFCU)
Based in San Jose, California, First Tech has 39 branches in eight states. They are also part of the CU Service Centers Network which gives access to over 30,000 co-op ATMs and 5,000 shared branches. In order to join this credit union, the easiest way is to join the Financial Fitness Association or the Community History Museum. The first year’s membership to either of these places will be paid by First Tech. After you have a membership with First Tech, you can cancel your membership at other places. Some other routes to becoming a member include working or living in Lane County, Oregon if you are a student at Cogswell Poly-Technical College if you have a family member that is a current member, if you are a member of a partner club/association, or if you are an employee/retiree of a partner company or the State of Oregon.
This bank only offers online services in the United States. They don’t offer a checking account, but they do have strong interest rates on savings and CD accounts. Based in London, they provide service to more than 48 million people. They offer great annual percentage yields on savings accounts and certificates of deposit to the United States. Thus, it is best suited for clients who don’t need in-person assistance. Some other pros are that they offer 0.40% APY on savings, no minimum opening deposits for savings of CDs, and $5 nonsufficient funds fees.
9. Ally Bank
Ally is a popular online banking option because they offer strong rates and great customer service. They also offer higher rates and lower fees than many other competitors. Their high-interest rates, no monthly maintenance fees, minimum balances on checking, savings, of CDs, above-average 0.50% APY, and access to more than 43,000 free ATMs via checking or money market accounts make Ally a highly sought after online banking service.
10. Discover Bank
Discover offers great accounts and an extensive ATM network while not charging a monthly fee or overdraft fee. You can earn cashback when you make your debit card purchases every month and this online bank also offers a strong high-yield savings account. They also have 1% cash-back rewards on checking accounts.
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