Opening a checking account is a big step. You have many options in front of you, and one you should seriously consider involves setting up a checking account with a credit union. In March 2018, Arizona credit unions reported approximately 1.5 million accounts, according to CUNA State Trends. Let’s get started with all of the benefits that a credit union checking account offers.
Fewer FeesIf you ever find yourself low on funds in any given month, you should not have to worry about your financial institution putting you in an even tougher spot. According to CUNA, Arizona credit unions save their members an average of $93 a year compared to other financial institutions. Many credit unions, like Deer Valley Credit Union, offer their members a maintenance fee-free checking account that does not require a minimum balance.1 You can also receive a free VISA debit card that will provide you with access to a network of ATMs and maximum buying power.
Excellent Interest RatesCredit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members. Credit unions are member-owned and provide a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. At DVCU, we offer members additional discounts when they open a Participation Checking Account with eStatements and direct deposit. Simply put, members of credit unions can end up spending a lot less money when they get a loan for a mortgage, a car or a personal loan.2
Enrichment for the Community
At credit unions, people are actually shareholders, and when you open an account, you basically buy shares of a cooperative. This typically results in much better customer service than what you will get elsewhere. You and the credit union are striving toward the same goal: making the area you live in better.
Great Cash Back OpportunitiesOne myth that persists about credit unions is that members do not acquire cash back with purchases made on their credit and debit cards. This is not true. At DVCU, you can expect to receive excellent rewards on the purchases you make all the time. For example, with the DVCU debit card, will can earn 0.25 percent cash back on most transactions.3
One of the biggest threats to businesses in the modern age is digital hacking. No business will be 100 percent immune from such hacks. However, credit unions will still implement excellent security measures to protect your money. To begin, you can sign up for text and email alerts that will notify you if there is any suspicious-looking activity on your account. This allows you to have an easier time managing your money and avoid paying late or overdraft fees.
Direct Deposit Capabilities
Many companies offer employees the option of direct deposit. This is great because the money is sent directly to your checking account, so you do not have to go to the bank physically to deposit a check. Some people worry about whether they can sign up for direct deposit with a credit union, but fortunately, you can. Credit unions make it easy to sign up for such a system. Another benefit is that you will even be able to access the funds immediately instead of waiting days for the money to clear.
Easy Bill Payments
Numerous utility companies in Arizona allow customers to pay bills digitally. With a credit union account, you can set up those plans with ease. This saves you the hassle of having to track down envelopes and stamps to mail out payments. Additionally, you can set up automatic payments where the money is taken out from your account each month, so you never have to worry about missing a payment. You can rest easy knowing the lights will be on and the water will keep flowing without you having to lift a finger.
Protection for Your Money
Some people feel more comfortable working with a bank because banks are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This organization maintains the stability of American banks in times of economic hardship. Credit unions are not protected by the FDIC, but there is another institution in place to protect them.
Credit unions have protection thanks to the National Credit Union Association. This organization allows all deposits made at credit unions to be insured up to $250,000. Therefore, in the event a financial crisis strikes your city, state or country, you can be confident your funds will be safe.
Little or No ATM Fees
When you are out and about on the town, you may need to access your cash. Some credit unions maintain a shared network for consumers to have greater access to surcharge-free ATMs. DVCU partners with other credit unions through the CO-OP Network to provide members access to more than 5,000 credit union branches and is also a part of the Allpoint ATM Network, where members have access to over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
You may not like receiving bank statements in the mail because this use of paper is bad for the environment. On the other hand, you may not like filling up your mailbox with items you throw away immediately.
With credit unions, you can access electronic statements, allowing you to view your checking account whenever you like. You can also print out your statement in the event you do need a physical copy from the convenience of your home. Credit union members also get to enjoy free online banking, so they can view their accounts, keep track of how much they have spent and transfer funds any time of day from their laptops or smartphones.
Before you sign up for a checking account with a credit union, make sure to view the institution’s website beforehand to see all the outstanding benefits you stand to gain. Some credit unions utilize the BaZing app. This app provides you with electronic coupons you can use for many local merchants. You can save big on everything from dining, travel and many other shopping options.
Credit unions give you a genuine voice. If you end up making a mistake or if a fee really hurts you, then you should not hesitate to bring it to the attention of a credit union representative. Staff members are more than happy to work with you to ensure you are happy with your account. Additionally, if you lose your card or want to change a PIN, you do not have to worry about being on the phone with a robot for hours on end. You get friendly, prompt service.
All these benefits and more can be found at DVCU. If you want to learn more about the services we offer or have a question about an existing account, feel free to email or call us at 602.375.7300.
1Membership is required.
2All loans subject to approval. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness, qualifications and collateral conditions.
3You must be a member of Deer Valley Credit Union, have a fully qualified Participation Account, maintain qualification, and your accounts must be kept in good standing. To fully qualify for the Participation Account, you are required to maintain active direct deposit ($500/month minimum) and enroll in Online Banking and eStatements.