Despite having been part of the U.S. financial system for more than a century, credit unions still have an uphill battle getting the majority of the public to understand the advantages of being a member. So, we’re taking a look at some of the most common myths about credit unions and debunking them to reveal the truth.
According to Patty Briotta, spokeswoman for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, “A lot of people know about credit unions, but their advantages aren’t always top of mind. Oftentimes, people don’t look into credit unions until they’re shopping for a particular product like a mortgage or a car loan, or when they move and need a new financial institution.”
Membership has strict eligibility requirements.
Traditionally, yes, credit unions were created to offer banking needs to certain groups (like religious institutions, college groups or specific professions), and credit unions do still exist to serve a specific group or community. However, many credit unions these days have lifted their strict eligibility requirements and are more encompassing of the general public, including Energy Capital Credit Union. Membership eligibility can be as easy as living, working or attending school in a certain city or zip code. Or, you may be eligible if you have a family member that meets the requirements. You can see ECCU’s full membership eligibility here.
Switching to a credit union is difficult.
There’s no doubt that switching financial institutions can be a process but switching to a credit union is no more difficult than switching to any other financial institution. Many credit unions even offer free “switch kits” to help with the process.
Credit unions have limited locations.
While you may not see a credit union on every corner like some of the big banks, credit unions have found ways to make up for the fact that they have fewer locations. Many, including ECCU, are part of a shared banking and ATM network that allow members to access their cash and perform transactions around the country and world. The ATM network consists of 30,000+ surcharge-free ATMs at other credit unions, gas stations and retail establishments. You may also perform additional banking services at more than 5,000 shared branches so you’re never far from your money.
They don’t offer all products/services a bank offers.
This is a big one and it’s entirely false. Credit unions offer all types of financial services including checking and savings account options, IRAs, credit cards and loans of all types like auto, personal, home mortgages, home equity lines of credit and more. Many also offer businesses checking, savings and loan products. Plus, because credit unions are not-for-profit institutions, they can offer higher rates and dividends on savings accounts and lower rates on loans! They can be your one-stop financial institution, just like a big bank.
Credit unions lack modern technology and conveniences.
A common misconception is that credit unions are “old school” in their technology capabilities. In actuality, many credit unions offer their members a plethora of modern technology including online banking, a mobile app with advanced security features such as fingerprint identification, mobile check deposit, automatic bill pay, fraud alerts, online loan payment, automatic transfers, ACH and more. Many also offer online loan applications and account opening. So, as with big banks, visiting a branch and conducting transactions in person oftentimes only occurs because members want to come by, not because they must.
Hopefully you learned something new in this post. Spread the word about why credit unions are an ideal choice for all your banking needs.