Best Credit Unions

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Credit unions have a reputation for excellent rates and customer service. They offer essential services like checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, and more, but they’re different from banks. Their customer-owned structure and not-for-profit status often make credit unions a solid choice for your money.

There are great credit unions in every community, so you certainly should check out what’s available in your area. If you’re not finding what you need or want some ideas for comparison, the credit unions below are some of the best available.

The 6 Best Credit Unions of 2022

Best Overall : Alliant Credit Union


Alliant Credit Union
Courtesy of Alliant Credit Union
  • Savings APY: Up to 0.60%
  • Checking APY: Up to 0.25%
Why We Chose It

Offering an array of products and several perks for members, including 24/7 customer support, Alliant is our best overall credit union.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Higher-than-average APYs

  • Large network of free ATMs

Cons
  • No brick and mortar branches

  • CD rates are relatively low

Overview

With more than $14 billion in assets, Alliant Credit Union is one of the biggest credit unions in the U.S. The institution’s size allows for a solid lineup of products and competitive rates on your deposits. You’ll need to be comfortable banking online to work with Alliant CU, as the credit union is not part of any nationwide shared branching network. In fact, there are no brick-and-mortar locations for in-person service. However, you have access to more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs, and you can handle most service needs online.

Here are some perks you'll get as a member:

  • Savings account pays 0.60% APY.
  • Interest-bearing checking accounts with no monthly fees
  • ATM fee rebates up to $20 per month.
  • Live phone representatives available 24/7.
  • Mobile app for managing accounts, customer service, and check deposits.
  • Broad range of accounts, loans, and services available.

If you’re not already eligible for Alliant CU membership, you can meet the requirement by joining Foster Care to Success. Alliant CU pays a $5 membership fee for you, and you’ll also need to keep $5 in a shared savings account.

Runner Up : Blue Federal Credit Union


Blue FCU Logo
  • Savings APY: Up to 5.00%
  • Checking APY: Up to 2.00%
Why We Chose It

With its very generous APYs, minimal fees, and convenient mobile app, Blue Federal Credit Union is our runner-up pick.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No monthly fees

  • 24/7 customer support available

Cons
  • Incoming wire transfers cost $5

  • Low APYs for high balances

Overview

Blue Federal Credit Union pays a competitive rate on its Sky High Savings Account and offers checking accounts with no monthly fees. You also can open a checking account that pays a high dividend on your balance and offers ATM rebates if you meet certain criteria. With competitive rates, low fees, and access to nationwide shared branching, it’s hard to go wrong with Blue Federal CU. Here are some perks you can expect as a member:

  • Accelerated Savings Account pays 5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000.
  • Checking accounts with no monthly fees.
  • Checking account pays up to 2.00% APY.
  • Live phone support available 24/7.
  • Mobile app for managing accounts and depositing checks.

If you don’t meet Blue FCU’s family, employer, or military membership requirements, you can join by donating $5 to the Blue Foundation, an advocate for local nonprofits. If you choose this route, you’ll deposit $10 to open your account, and Blue FCU will automatically use $5 for your donation.

Best for APY : Consumers Credit Union


Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union

  • Savings APY: Up to 1.50%
  • Checking APY: Up to 4.09%
Why We Chose It

Consumers Credit Union offers several savings and checking products with higher-than-average APYs, allowing account holders to earn valuable interest on their balances.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large network of free ATMs

  • MInimal fees

Cons
  • Several requirements to earn highest APY on checking account

Overview

If your goal is to earn as much as possible on your checking and savings balances, you might try the Smart Saver savings account, which pays up to 1.50% APY, or Consumers Credit Union’s Rewards Checking Account. Its rewards checking account pays up to 4.09% APY on a maximum of $10,000 if you meet certain criteria. To qualify for that rate, you need to:

  • Enroll in electronic documents.
  • Make at least 12 debit card purchases monthly.
  • Make direct deposits, mobile check deposits, or incoming ACH transfers of at least $500 each month.
  • Spend at least $1,000 per month on a CCU credit card.
  • Open your account with at least $5.

CCU is part of the CO-OP shared branching network with free access to nearly 30,000 ATMs. You can become eligible for CCU membership by joining the Consumers Cooperative Association with a $5 membership fee. Savings accounts also have a required minimum balance of $5.

Best for No Fees : Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union


PSECU Logo

PSECU Logo

  • Savings APY: Up to 0.05%
  • Checking APY: N/A
Why We Chose It

Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union is our top pick for no fees because it has monthly maintenance fees or hefty ATM fees. It also offers overdraft protection, helping you avoid overdraft fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous ATM rebate

  • Ability to earn cash back on debit card spending

Cons
  • Relatively low APY on its savings account

  • Checking account does not earn interest

Overview

Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union makes it easy to manage your money without worrying about fees. The checking account does everything you need with no monthly fees, and you can get rebates on fees you pay to other banks for using their ATMs. If you overdraw your account, there’s no charge to transfer funds from a linked savings account. Membership perks include:

  • No monthly maintenance charge for checking or savings accounts.
  • Free basic checks.
  • ATM rebates up to $20 per month.
  • Free Overdraft Protection Transfer Service for certain transactions.
  • Mobile app with remote check deposit and other features.
  • Potential cash-back rewards for debit card spending.
  • Savings account pays 0.05% APY.

To meet the eligibility requirement at PSECU, you can join the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society with a $20 donation—and PSECU will cover $10 of that for you. You’ll also need to keep $5 in your savings account.

Best for Customer Service : Wings Financial Credit Union


Wings Financial Credit Union

 Wings Financial Credit Union

  • Savings APY: Up to 0.55%
  • Checking APY: Up to 1.76%
Why We Chose It

Wings Financial Credit Union offers convenient, 24/7 text support and phone support six days a week, making it our pick for best customer service.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large network of free ATMs

  • Minimal fees

Cons
  • Only has branches in five states

Overview

Minnesota-based Wings Financial Credit Union makes it easy for customers to bank with them at more than 31 branches total in five states—Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Washington. Those without access to a physical branch can still visit one of 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide since Wings is part of the CO-OP and Allpoint networks. Some perks you'll get as a member include:

  • 24/7 text support.
  • Phone support Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST.
  • No-fee checking account.
  • Ability to earn cash back on debit card purchases.

Residents of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Seattle-Tacoma, Detroit, Orlando, and Atlanta, or those who have worked in aviation, are eligible to join. You also can join the Wings Financial Foundation for $5 to become eligible to join this highly rated credit union.

Like most credit unions, Wings Financial offers a range of banking products such as loans and credit cards. Unlike some, it also offers investment and insurance products that allow you to keep your entire financial life with one institution, which is another benefit for those who want to keep things simple.

Best for Military : Navy Federal Credit Union


Navy Federal Credit Union

 Navy Federal Credit Union

  • Savings APY: Up to 0.25%
  • Checking APY: Up to 0.45%
Why We Chose It

Navy Federal Credit Union offers several valuable benefits for service members and their families, including generous APYs, ATM rebates, and no-fee checking accounts.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent customer service ratings

  • 24/7 customer support

Cons
  • Strict membership requirements

Overview

Navy Federal Credit Union focuses on servicemembers and their families in all branches of the armed forces. The credit union’s banking and credit card customer service earns high marks in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, signaling that your experience with Navy Federal should be a satisfying one. Navy Federal offers several benefits for members:

  • Savings account pays 0.25% APY.
  • Checking accounts with no monthly fees.
  • Potential ATM fee rebates (maximum $240 per year while on active duty).
  • Free basic checks.
  • Mobile app allows you to deposit checks and manage your accounts.
  • Live phone support available 24/7.

However, Navy Federal Credit Union limits membership to active duty or retired service members; members of the Delayed Entry Program; Department of Defense civilians, contractors, and retirees; and qualifying family or household members. In addition to meeting membership criteria, you’ll need to keep $5 in a savings account.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Open a Credit Union Account?

To open an account, you’ll need to complete an application and provide personal information, like your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address. In many cases, you can do this entirely online. Credit unions also require you to meet membership qualifications.

How Do You Become a Credit Union Member?

To qualify for membership, you need to meet certain criteria, such as living in a particular area, working for specific employers, or joining an organization that opens the door to membership. In many cases, the easiest way to qualify for a credit union that you’re not eligible for is to join a nonprofit organization with a modest donation.

Credit unions generally require that you formalize your membership requirement with a “share account,” which many credit unions call a savings account. To do so, you often open a savings account and keep at least $5 or so in that account.

What Are the Pros & Cons of a Credit Union Account?

Pros:

  • Not-for-profit organizations with no outside investors.
  • Potential access to fee-free ATMs and branches nationwide with shared branching.
  • Rates may be better at credit unions than at banks.


Cons:

  • Eligibility requirements may prevent you from joining some credit unions.
  • Small institutions may lack product offerings.
  • Branch and ATM locations may be limited.

Is Your Money Safe in a Credit Union?

Federally insured credit unions are equally as safe as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured banks. Those credit unions use National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund insurance, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. That said, you need to verify what type of insurance your credit union uses and keep account balances below maximum limits.

How We Chose the Best Credit Unions

We evaluated more than 50 credit unions, considering several factors critical to consumers. Our team looked at fees for checking and savings accounts, ATM access, rates on deposits, product offerings, and more when selecting the best options. The credit unions we chose are available to consumers nationwide, and many of them allow you to qualify for membership with relative ease. Every credit union on our list offers deposit insurance to keep your money safe, up to applicable limits.