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Banks vs. Credit Unions pros and cons written on a blackboard.

What to Consider: Bank vs. Credit Union Account

A mattress or refrigerator may have worked for your grandparents to store their money, but hiding your money in your mattress likely won’t offer you the same perks a bank or credit union will. Before signing up, there are many factors to consider. There is no one size fits all solution for every person, so we’ve listed below the top factors to consider when evaluating your preferences. The top seven things you should consider when choosing a banking institution are:

Top 7 List

  1. Find out if your bank requires a minimum balance. Low balances can be troublesome if you fall below the minimum and get charged additional fees.
  2. Good website user experience and customer service are essential. Talk to your friends and research your bank online to see what other customers are saying. Visit your bank’s website to ensure it doesn’t look like it was last updated in 1997.
  3. Ability to access funds. Some banks offer an early release of deposits which is an excellent feature for those living on a tight budget.
  4. Only use banks or credit unions that are insured! Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (for banks) or the National Credit Union Association (for credit unions). Insurance ensures your money is protected and will be available when you need it.
  5. Avoid banks with monthly fees, high ATM fees, transfer fees, and additional fees for account assistance. Keep in mind that some banks offer rebates for ATM fees. Online bill pay should be free, but make sure it is before signing up.
  6. Ease of deposit and branch availability. If you want to deposit cash frequently, then select a bank with many locations near you.
  7. Pay attention to Interest rates! Get an account that pays high interest on your deposits and charges low interest on your debts. Ensuring you have good rates will translate to significantly more money in your account over time!

Hopefully, you now see the benefits of opening an account and what you should avoid. Once you set up your account, be sure to read our other content for best practices on saving for your future!


This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. You should consult your own financial, legal, and tax advisors before engaging in any transaction. Information, including hypothetical projections of finances, may not take into account taxes, commissions, or other factors which may significantly affect potential outcomes. This material should not be considered an offer or recommendation to buy or sell a security. While information and sources are believed to be accurate, UNest does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information or source provided herein and is under no obligation to update this information.