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First of all, what even is a credit union? A credit union is a not-for-profit financial institution, or financial co-operative, that is owned by its members. Who are the members? You! Essentially, it’s an agreement to pool money with other folks in your community, that will then lend that money out to those who need at much better terms. Now, they do employ people like regular banks, but the goal is to help people over generating profits. This means that the profits made by the credit union are returned to the members in the form of lower fees, better interest rates, and other benefits.
Credit unions offer a variety of financial products and services, just like any regular bank, including checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment accounts. They also offer financial education and counseling services to help their members make sound financial decisions. They often have online and mobile banking as well, giving a more modern digital experience.
We get this question all the time - credit bureaus, like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, collect your credit data to report back a score around your creditworthiness, or whether you are a good individual to lend to. Credit bureaus and credit unions are NOT the same.
There are many reasons why credit unions are great. Here are a few:
Credit unions typically have lower fees than banks because they’re not for-profit organizations. They often have no-fee checking as well.
They often offer much lower interest rates on loans - for example, we at Debbie were able to help a user refinance a $20k personal loan that was originally at a 20% APR with a credit union who offered them 9%! She was able to get a soft inquiry through Debbie, as opposed to going directly to the lender who would have hard pulled her credit immediately before she saw the offer.
Credit unions tend to offer more personalized service than banks because of their smaller size, allowing them to have a closer relationship with their members.
Credit unions are often involved in their communities. They may donate money to local charities or sponsor community events.
They are often much smaller, and don’t have as much technology resources as larger banks, so the digital experience won’t be perfect. Many credit unions don’t offer loan offers without during a hard credit pull, as opposed to a soft inquiry. That’s why we’ve developed the Debbie Rate Crusher Marketplace, where we get you offers from credit unions in your area with a high chance of approving you, without during a hard pull initially and hurting your credit.
The good news is, there’s tons of credit unions out there! The bad news is, there’s way too many to choose from. To join a credit union, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These may vary from credit union to credit union, but they typically include living or working in a certain area, being employed by a certain employer, or being a member of a certain organization. Once you have met the eligibility requirements, you can join a credit union by opening an account. To find one in you area, check out the links below:
Start your search here!
So, if you’re looking for a financial institution that offers low fees, great interest rates, and personalized service, then a credit union is a great option. There are many credit unions to choose from, so take some time to research and find one that is right for you.
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