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User Topic: Credit union vs. bank?
Amazonia
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Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 11:32 AM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What is the difference between a credit union and a bank? I've always used national level banks and am considering joining a credit union.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a credit union in your personal experience? (yes, I'd like to hear both good and bad experiences if they're out there!)

Thanks!


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13801 | Registered: Jul 2011
Crescita
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Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 12:00 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'd be leery of credit unions since you are going to be travelling abroad. They are generally too small for large networks and you may get hit with a lot of fees using foreign ATMs. Maybe wait until you know where you will be stationed, or find something traveler friendly like Charles Schwab.


“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Posts: 3454 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
Amazonia
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Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 12:05 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

That's actually why I'm looking at it - there's one here in DC that says they have no foreign transaction fees. It's government run, but apparently anyone can join? I saw an ad for it this morning on metro.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13801 | Registered: Jul 2011
KeepCalm_CarryOn
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Member # 33374
Default  Posted: 12:14 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I just ditched my national bank for a credit union and I too travel internationally. Because their debt card is linked with Visa I'm pretty sure I'm ok! I don't really have personal experience yet since I literally just switched but I know there are a ton less fees at the union and I get all my ATM fees back!


You are not dealing with rational people or situations. Normal thought processes won't work...story of my life.

Me- BW, 28
Him- fWh, 34
Mostly R'd, minus a few scars...bought a house and got a puppy...And baby makes 3! She arrived August


Posts: 2030 | Registered: Sep 2011
jennie160
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Member # 29949
Default  Posted: 1:09 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I love my credit union and haven't had any problems. All of the national banks I have used in the past had shady practices and screw over their customers just to make a dollar.

Posts: 921 | Registered: Oct 2010
lieshurt
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Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 1:20 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

There are typically lower fees/better rates at Credit Unions. Credit unions are non-profit while Banks are for profit.


All of the national banks I have used in the past had shady practices and screw over their customers just to make a dollar.

Well yeah....banks have to make money for their shareholders. All fees are documented and a fee schedule is provided to every customer. Rules and regulations affecting customer accounts are also documented.


Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.

Posts: 13810 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
MissesJai
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Default  Posted: 1:22 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've been with both traditional banks and credit unions. I much prefer CU's. Less fees and much better customer service. I like the fact that the staff at my local branch know me by name and refer to me as such when I come in. With the traditional banks, I was just a number.


FWW - 41
"Don't think first about the risks of speaking up. Think first about the risks of not speaking up." ~ Kerry Patterson

Posts: 5977 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
woundedwidow
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Member # 36869
Default  Posted: 2:32 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've banked exclusively with the local credit union since 1983 when I stared working for the Navy. I've had 2 mortgages with them, several IRAs, and all my savings and checking. I am so used to having no fees and no forms to fill out for - I just ask the tellers for whatever I need. On the other hand, when I was handling my Mom's money, I had to fill out slips to deposit or withdraw money at Wachovia; they questioned me if I wanted to "do" something "better" with the money if I deposited a large amount, and closing my joint account with her was a nightmare. I don't ever plan to use a bank again.


Be careful what you wish for the most - you may get it.

Posts: 396 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: VA
Amazonia
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Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 2:35 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The responses are interesting to me. I don't pay any fees at my current bank. I also never go inside, just use the ATM about once a month and do everything else online.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13801 | Registered: Jul 2011
lieshurt
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Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 2:41 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The responses are interesting to me. I don't pay any fees at my current bank. I also never go inside, just use the ATM about once a month and do everything else online.

It just depends on the bank. Many banks offere a "free" account where service charges are waived and so are the ATM fees. Plus, I think the age of the customer has a lot to do with whether they do most of their banking online. Older people tend to like to go to the bank, write checks, cash checks, etc....

You also have to take into account the type of fee people are complaining about. When I hear people complain, it's usually about NSF fees. I've known people to shop for banks solely based on who had the lesser NSF fee.


Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.

Posts: 13810 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
Amazonia
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Default  Posted: 2:43 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What is NSF?


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13801 | Registered: Jul 2011
lieshurt
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Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 3:10 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

NSF - Non-sufficient funds charge.

Basically, it's a check coming through on your account and you don't have enough money to cover it. The bank will charge you a fee per item that comes through. We used to charge $25.00 per check. So, if you had 4 come through, you would be charged $100.00 in NSF fees.

[This message edited by lieshurt at 3:11 PM, August 7th (Wednesday)]


Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.

Posts: 13810 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
hexed
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Default  Posted: 3:18 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have a credit union and a bank. I primarily use the credit union. I've never had a problem travelling but I use my visa not my debit card overseas. Its a credit union visa.

Capital one has no foreign transaction fees. I have their card just because of that.

I love my credit union. Softer lending criteria for credit scores; better interest rates and very personal service. They know who I am and its saved my tush a couple of times while I was travelling.


But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned
And there's no use in backtracking
Around corners I have turned

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler


Posts: 8460 | Registered: Apr 2008
aesir
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Member # 17210
Default  Posted: 3:21 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

All of the national banks I have used in the past had shady practices and screw over their customers just to make a dollar.

Well yeah....banks have to make money for their shareholders. All fees are documented and a fee schedule is provided to every customer. Rules and regulations affecting customer accounts are also documented.

Yeah, along with the disclaimer that they reserve the right to change the terms at any time. That changing the terms without warning is where a lot of the shady practices come into play.


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
lieshurt
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Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 3:32 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yeah, along with the disclaimer that they reserve the right to change the terms at any time. That changing the terms without warning is where a lot of the shady practices come into play.

They have to give at least a 30 day notice before making changes which is usually done by putting notification in the monthly bank statement, actually including it in the printed text of the bank statement and/or email.


Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.

Posts: 13810 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
sisoon
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Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 3:56 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've done the vast majority of my stuff at credit unions for 40+ years, including direct deposit of paychecks and social security. The differences I've found include:

Lower interest on loans - and the life insurance premium on the loan is included in the base rate

Higher interest on savings

Can't get a mortgage (not enough capital in my CUs), but that differs from CU to CU

Fewer and lower fees

If you pay off a loan early, the payoff is computed using simple interest, not the 'rule of 78ths', which means you pay back more principal earlier than with a bank loan - a benefit in addition to the lower interest rate

Low priced group life insurance is usually available up to the age of 70

You're an owner of the CU, not of the bank.

My CU, which is located 450 miles away from my home, is a member of the STAR network - plenty of ATMs, but the ATM owner likes to charge people for using it. (I have a small local bank account. When I want cash, I write a check on my CU acc't, deposit it to my bank acc't, and pull cash out immediately. I can't tell you how contemptuous I am of businesses that want to charge me for accessing my own money....)

CUs all the way, for me.

Note, however, a CU can be effed up like a bank. I believe RI taxpayers are still paying for a bailout from some years ago, IIRC.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10378 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
heartbroken_kk
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Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 4:35 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I like my CU, but if you never go inside Amazonia, I think you won't realize most of the benefits.

I have a personal relationship with the credit union. They know me. They know I'm unemployed. They called me when STBXWHNPDPAFTG used Amazon, linked via paypal to our joint checking, to buy a $4 trinket online. The account had a $0 balance. so, the $4 withdrawal caused a $30 NSF charge.

THEY CALLED ME. Yoohoo! Guess what! your acct got overdrawn!

I made a transfer over the phone to cover the charge and asked if they would be so kind as to reverse the NSF fee - and they did.

And then, I closed the account (I have several others that I use and he can't so I didn't even need to keep that one open).

Anyway, shit like that happens sometimes. We also had business accounts, lines of credit, etc with the CU and they were very good to work with when, in 2008, the economy tanked and we couldn't make the payments on the LOC.

YMMV, especially if you like doing everything online.


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
scaredyKat
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Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 5:02 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My cu has many of the advantages mentioned. But it is only now beginning to get a viable online presence. My mega bank also has many good features, but the interest rates aren't as good as the CU. For CD rates, I haven't been able to find one better than Ally, online only bank.
I'll have to check about the foreign transaction fees before I go abroad this fall...


Me-BS-60
HIM-SAFWH-63
Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3667 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
lieshurt
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Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 5:10 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'd be leery of credit unions since you are going to be travelling abroad.

Another thing to remember when you are about to travel abroad, is to notify your bank or cu of where you are going so they can add notes to your card and possibly unblock the country. Visa has fraud detection and most banks do too. If you suddenly use your card in a foreign country, it will most likely get flagged until they can verify you are the one using the card.


Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.

Posts: 13810 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
kernel
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Member # 27035
Default  Posted: 8:49 PM, August 7th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Credit unions have always been my choice, for all of the reasons listed here by others. Customer service is stellar. Most of all, they are non-profit.

I have a lot of issues with banks but we're not allowed to get into politics. Nuff said.


"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good."

Posts: 5260 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Midwest
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