Credit Union vs. Bank: Which is Best for You?

Published June 17, 2022

From the outside, banks look sophisticated and glamorous. They have flashy logos and glossy advertising – but those things don’t matter as much as safeguarding your finances. What is important is how the institution will look after your money and what kind of service you can expect from them.

In fact, many Americans are dissatisfied with their banks. A 2021 Gallup poll found that as many as 66% of Americans had “some or very little confidence” in banks, while only 12% said they had a “great deal” of confidence.

Credit unions, on the other hand, make you a member of a community in which you have a voice – offered exclusive privileges and individualized service. You can expect to have a much more rewarding and meaningful experience. 

The primary credit union difference lies at its core:

  1. Banks generate profit for their owners;

  2. Credit unions provide members with a place to manage their finances at the best possible terms.

How could this impact your daily life? Continue reading to see the seven main differences you’ll notice while using your checking account at a credit union:

Fewer fees
Banks are happy to hold onto your money, but expect to get hit with fees. According to a MoneyRates survey, the average monthly maintenance fee for a bank checking account is $12.

On the flip side, many large credit unions offer free checking or make it very easy to qualify to have the fee waived. This gives you the ability to set up your account and keep it running without it costing you a dime. At Maps Credit Union, we’re proud to offer our members Free Community Checking, a free account that also gives back to our community.  

Better value
As a not-for-profit cooperative, we have modest overhead and expenses, and are proud to pass these savings on to you in the form of low- or no-account fees, better loan terms and higher dividend payments on your savings.
According to a report by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), credit unions provided average financial benefits that were equivalent to $85 per member and $178 per household.

Fewer strings attached
Many big banks won’t allow you to open a checking account unless you have a minimum balance. In contrast, 76% of credit unions surveyed by Bankrate Credit Union Checking reported that they have no minimum balance requirements at all.

Better protection
Banks and credit unions are both regulated by a governing authority, which offers federally insured accounts up to $250,000. This means your money is protected no matter which kind of institution you choose for your checking account. 

For credit union members, though, it gets better. Credit unions face more restrictions on their investments and loans than banks do. This means your credit union must be careful with your money — they can’t make any rash decisions or investments that might hurt you as a member.

Superior service
When you’re banking with family, you’ll be greeted by friendly, familiar faces and representatives who care about you. It’s part of what makes credit unions preferred.  

Our core value of integrity and commitment to member service means we’re personally invested in your financial well-being and only want to see your success.

You have a voice
As a credit union, we don’t answer to stockholders. Instead, we operate with your best interests in mind. 

As a member of Maps Credit Union, you have a voice in how your credit union runs. You are invited to cast your ballot in our annual elections, in which we vote on a volunteer board of directors. Our board comprises members of the credit union, just like you, which means the decisions they make will always be advantageous to our membership and to the general community — not trying to appease outside stockholders.

Give back to the community
We’re strong believers in giving back to the community. We support many community initiatives and organizations and are committed to making decisions that benefit the entire community. When you choose Maps Credit Union, you’re choosing to give back to the local community, too. 

We’re proud to be a part of the collective institutions dedicated to the credit union mission. At the core of our values is an unwavering commitment to creating mutual benefits for members and the larger community.

Our innovative banking solutions, low fees, and high dividend rates, along with personalized service, help our members achieve and maintain financial wellness no matter the financial goals they have. As a member-owned institution, our only objective is your satisfaction and your success.

What are you waiting for? Try the credit union difference today.