Do you belong to a credit union or a bank? Are you thinking of switching to a credit union? As a credit union ourselves, we believe that there are numerous advantages! Because credit unions are member-owned and not-for-profit, they are more attuned to the needs of their members. Meaning you, as a member, will receive the respect and care you deserve!

While banks and credit unions offer nearly identical services and account choices, there are some differences.

Let’s take a look at how having an account at a credit union differs from a bank.

1.) Account fees

To the unsuspecting consumer, big banks may not feel like money-hungry monsters. But while they’re happy to hold onto your money, once your account is up and running, expect to get hit with steep maintenance fees. The average bank charges consumers close to $150 each year for having an open checking account.

On the flip side, many large credit unions offer free checking or make it easy to avoid the fees, so you can set up your account and keep it running without it costing a dime.

2.) Overdraft fees

Sometimes, you miscalculate the funds in your account and overspend. If you make this mistake on a checking account at a bank, get ready to cough up those overdraft fees!

These fees usually top $30, and some banks will make consumers pay the penalty for each transaction they make while their account is overdrawn.

Most credit unions will be more willing to forgive the occasional error. While some credit unions do charge an overdraft fee, on average, these fees are a lot lower than what banks demand.

3.) Fewer strings attached

Most big banks won’t allow you to open a checking account unless you have a minimum balance of several hundred dollars. In contrast, 76% of credit unions have no minimum balance requirement at all. Here at Oregonians Credit Union, we only require a $100 minimum balance.

4.) Credit unions are not-for-profit

Credit unions do not exist to make money. In fact, they’re not-for-profit. In contrast, banks are eager to turn a profit. When you have your accounts with a big bank, you are their customer. With a credit union, you are considered a member, which means that you are a part-owner of the business! All of the profits that are made get passed back on to the members in the form of lower loan rates and higher savings rates.

5.) Superior service

When you’re banking with family, you don’t have to worry about overworked tellers, curt managers, or representatives who are indifferent to your individual needs.

When you stop by your credit union, you’ll be greeted with friendly, familiar faces and representatives who actually care. They’re always ready and willing to help you because they only have your best interests in mind – always.

6.) You have a vote

When you trust a credit union with your finances, you become a member. And as a member, you get one vote, regardless of how much money you have in your accounts. You, along with every other members, have a vote when electing board members. You can even run for election to the board! At a bank, you have no votes. Instead, only stockholders get to vote, and the number of votes depends on how many shares they own.

7.) Credit unions cooperate

As businesses, banks are competing with each other. But even though credit unions are businesses to, they cooperate together! Yes, we all want to attract more members to our credit unions, but we don’t mind if you use someone else’s ATM. Thanks to the CO-OP ATM Network, you can use any credit union’s ATM to access your accounts.


Why choose a credit union for your checking account? With lower fees, fewer strings attached and better service, it’s the best place possible to park your money!


Why do you love your credit union?  Tell us all about it in the comments!



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