After comparing a credit union vs. banks, it’s time to find the right one that fits your needs. There are thousands of banks around the world, some of which are completely online. Credit unions may be fewer in number, but are still viable ways to manage your money. Just like your choice between a bank or a credit union matters, so does your decision for choosing the right one.
If you believe a bank is the best option for you, you must ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your banking options. There are many types of banks that you can go with, from online-only institutions to those that have brick-and-mortar stores throughout the United States.
Before choosing a bank, consider the following questions:
- Is online banking your go-to? Nearly all traditional banks offer online banking options, but some institutions are completely online. That means they do not have physical locations – just a website and/or a smartphone app. An online bank account might be the best choice if you do not stop into a physical bank to conduct your transactions.
- Do you need widespread availability? Major banks like Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have locations throughout the United States. This means you can travel around the country and still find a physical location to conduct your banking activities. It also means you can typically locate a bank-owned ATM nearly anywhere you go, saving yourself a good chunk of change in ATM fees.
- Do you need low bank interest rates? Depending on the services you need, you may be interested in finding banks with low rates. Bank interest rates for auto loans, personal loans, mortgages and other types of loans fluctuate depending on the bank. If this is important to you, make sure to check interest rates of each bank you research.
- If you’re interested in using a credit union instead of a bank, you should also consider a few personal preferences before deciding on one. These include the following questions:
- Do you belong to an organization? Your local credit union might restrict membership to certain groups of people. If you belong to an organization like a labor union, fire department, school district or something similar, you may qualify for membership. If you do not belong to an organization, consider searching for credit unions that permit non-members to pay a fee in order to join.
- Do you want online banking abilities? Depending on the credit union, online banking may be available. Credit unions tend to be a bit behind major banks when it comes to new technology, but most have adapted to the mobile payment system.