It’s always a good idea to take your personal finance seriously. One thing that some forget to think about, though, is where they keep their money. If you are trying to decide how to improve your personal finances, you need to weigh the pros and cons of working with credit unions as well as retail banks.
Better Rates – Credit Unions
Credit unions tend to have better rates for most types of loans than their retail counterparts. Credit Unions don’t typically have to worry about turning a profit, nor are they apt to issue enough loans that they put themselves in a tremendous amount of financial danger at any given time. You can often save quite a bit of money by choosing to get a mortgage from your credit union instead of through a larger bank.
Better Technology – Retail Banks
Retail banks do, however, win when it comes to technology. Retail banks tend to have much more capital to invest than credit unions, so they get all of the best toys first. This tends to mean better ATMs, more useful websites, and more new financial technology. If you are the kind of person who wants to be on the cutting edge of everything, it makes sense to have your account at a retail bank.
Better Service- Credit Unions
If you look up customer service ratings, you’ll generally find that the best credit union in your area absolutely trounces the nearest-ranked bank. Credit unions tend to put a bit more of a premium on customer service because they rely more on membership and because they aren’t quite as focused on selling banking products. If you want to be treated like a person, a credit union is probably your best bet.
Accessibility – Retail Banks
One of the few huge drawbacks of working with a credit union is that most have a fairly limited presence. While it’s fairly easy to go to a branch in the credit union’s main town, it might be impossible to get help when you’re in another part of the country. If you are a frequent traveler who has to do a great deal of business around the world, working with an international retail bank may make more sense for you.
For most, a credit union is going to beat a traditional bank. While they don’t win on the technology front, they tend to have better rates and better customer service. Unless you find yourself frequently banking from new towns, credit unions simply offer a better overall experience.