The perks of being a credit union member are many. Consumers are catching on to the friendlier services offered by credit unions, like the no monthly fee checking account and low interest rates. It’s no wonder that membership has jumped from less than 84 million in 2004 to over 93 million in 2012. Still, some consumers are hesitant to join when they consider the convenience factor and technological services lacking in credit unions. It’s time for an update on credit unions. Check out the following common myths and decide if a credit union is right for you.
Credit Unions need more ATMs. While most credit unions only have one or two ATMs available per location, they now offer a more convenient option for members. The CO-OP ATM Network offers access to a broad network of ATMS. Credit Unions in this network share a combined 30,000 ATMs nationwide. Of those, 9,000 can accept deposits and are joined with retailers like Walgreens, 7-Eleven and Coscto.
Credit Unions are lacking advanced technological services. Credit Unions don’t always have the funds available to focus on technological innovations. That doesn’t mean they don’t have services comparable to larger financial institutions. Most credit unions view technology as a tool to tip the odds in their favor even more. According to a survey by Boston research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, 85percent of credit union members are satisfied with their access to online mobile banking services, compared to 66 percent of larger banks.
Credit Unions don’t have many convenient branch locations. In 2009, a survey found that 59 percent of Americans considered branch convenience as one of their primary reasons for choosing a financial institution. In the past, location was a limitation for credit unions. Just like credit unions have banded together to form a network of ATMs, they have also formed a network of shared branches. Members can use other participating credit unions to make deposits and withdrawals as they would in their regular branch.
Credit Unions don’t charge penalties. Credit union members who constantly make out-of-network ATM withdrawals, overdraw their accounts or other fee inducing actions will suffer penalties just like any other large financial institution. Over-drafting will cost consumers regardless of the type of bank or credit union. While fees are typically low in credit unions, the escalating costs and incredibly low interest rates are forcing them to be less lenient on such charges.
If you would like more information about how credit unions work and how they can benefit you, please contact our Valley Federal Credit Union main branch at 956.456.3108. If you are interested in joining us, visit any of our locations, and we can get you started on a brighter financial future.