Are you interested in a smaller, customer-owned financial institution with more personalized service and ties to the local community? If so, then it might be time to consider becoming a member of a credit union. Of course, you’ll want to be sure you join the best one you can. This means making a well-informed, thought-out decision. And, as you likely already know, the options you have to choose from will vary depending on where you live. Confused about how to start looking? Don’t be. If you’re wondering, “How do I find the best credit union near me?” read on to find our expert helpful tips.
1. Ask for Referrals
Start by asking friends, family, and other people you know and trust for recommendations. Reach out to these people and ask if they use a credit union near you. If they do, ask follow-up questions about how satisfied they are with the credit union.
For instance, be sure to ask about the customer service. The superior level of customer service is a major reason many choose to switch to a credit union from another type of financial institution. However, it’s important to remember that the quality of service at individual credit unions will vary. Ask questions about whether they’ve had any unpleasant encounters, how helpful the customer service is, and how long it takes to get a response to inquiries, and if they’ve used any of the services you’re interested in, ask how it went.
Also, look into what products and services the credit union offers. Some credit unions may be limited in terms of what services they’re equipped to offer members. So make sure the services you need are offered by the credit unions you’re considering.
This might include online features, which are becoming more and more important for customers. Nowadays, many credit unions may have a website, smartphone app, mobile check deposit, and more. If this is something important to you, you might want to ask your reference how easy the credit union’s website and/or app is to use.
2. Confirm Eligibility to Join
If one or more of the recommendations sounds like the right credit union for you, see what the eligibility requirements are for joining and whether or not you fit them. It could be based on where you live, what organization or industry you work for, if you belong to a particular house of worship, or if you hold membership in another group. If you don’t meet these requirements, don’t give up yet. You may still be able to join if your parent or spouse is a member.
3. Pay Attention to Security
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to something as important as your money. This is why a credit union that offers security for your funds will be your best bet. Some people are hesitant to join credit unions because they’re worried there won’t be as much security as larger financial institutions. But that’s not the case.
Look for credit unions near you that are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This is how you know your money will be protected in case something happens to the credit union. You’ll be paid back your money up to $250,000, even if the credit union fails. And don’t worry, this is true no matter how small the credit union is.
If the credit union is insured, check to see if the insurance is federal or state. State insurance is better than none, of course. But federally insured credit unions are generally the safer option. Thankfully, about 98 percent of credit unions are federally insured, so there’s a good chance the one that you’re interested in is as well.
4. Convenience Is Important
Make sure there are branches and ATMs conveniently located in your area. By searching for credit unions near you, you can make sure your money and financial services are accessible at a location you can easily reach. Some hold off from joining credit unions in the first place because they’re worried this will be an issue. But there are smart solutions available that more and more credit unions are taking advantage of.
Ask if the credit union belongs to an ATM network. This will allow you to withdraw money from ATMs that aren’t specific to your credit union, which makes things easier and more convenient. Many credit unions offer access to a network of shared branches and ATMs for little or even no extra fees.
5. Check the Rates and Fees
Look into the rates and fees of each credit union near you. In general, credit unions have better rates and fees than other financial institutions. This is because they’re not-for-profit, which is one of the major features that set them apart. But the exact rates and fees can still vary depending on the individual credit union.
Most credit unions will have their interest rates listed on their websites so you can easily compare them to other credit unions or financial institutions. Also, see if the credit union offers higher savings rates and better loan terms than other financial institutions. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a credit union nearby that pays high interest for your deposits and charges low interest on loans.
Some credit unions will even reimburse ATM fees up to a certain amount. Or they’ll have ATMs that you can withdraw from without paying fees. You’ll want to look for this advantage when choosing a credit union. Also, check that there are no unnecessary fees, which can be the case with some financial institutions.
Now that you know what to look for, deciding on the ideal credit union for you will be much easier. If it appears that Rivermark Community Credit Union is the best credit union near you, contact us about joining today. On our website, you can find more information about why we’re a great credit union. There you can find out about our rates, fees, services, and more. You can conveniently apply to join on our website as well.