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Credit unions are nonprofits that are owned by their members. Generally, the benefits of joining a credit union — instead of a traditional bank — include fewer fees, higher rates on deposit accounts and more personalized customer service. The drawback is that they typically limit membership based on location or other criteria. Still, there are many credit unions that are easy for anyone to join regardless of where they live or work — we’ve compiled them below.
A credit union is a nonprofit institution that offers its members financial products, ranging from checking accounts to mortgages. Credit unions are formed by entities such as corporations and community groups, and are controlled and owned by their members.
The main difference between credit unions and banks is that credit unions are nonprofit organizations owned by their members, while banks are for-profit businesses owned by shareholders. Nearly anyone can open a bank account, but you must meet certain criteria to open an account at a credit union.
A key benefit of credit unions is that any revenue made by the financial institution is returned to its members through perks such as dividends, discounted loan rates and higher interest rates on savings products.
In many cases, credit unions may not be hard to join — many have membership requirements that allow you to qualify by making a nominal donation to a nonprofit.
Most credit unions membership requirements include that you live, work, study, volunteer or worship within a limited geographical area. You can often circumvent this by donating to a nonprofit that the credit union supports.
Yes, many credit unions allow members to join online by filling out a form and uploading a photo of an ID, such as your driver’s license.