The Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join in 2020

Joseph Meyer
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The Best Credit Unions This Year

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions owned by their members, a group of individuals with shared financial goals. To join a credit union, you must join a credit union sponsored by your workplace, or one to which you’re already a member.

As the economy has grown, we have seen the expansion of credit unions, both in numbers and size. It is typical for larger credit unions to generate over a billion dollars in assets. As credit unions have expanded in size, their services have grown in scope.

Credit unions are committed to providing a large variety of financial services to members. Credit unions offer low interest rates on loans and safe, secure financial products. These products are generally better than those offered by other large companies, but they’re not always the best deals around.

The following 17 credit unions are the best in the United States in terms of overall value. These credit unions excel in providing the benefits you need, and they can be especially great for those who want a local, trustworthy and personalized financial institution. To learn why these credit unions are at the top of their class, continue reading.

First Tech – Best for Members Who Travel

Many of First Tech CU’s branch locations are at airports, so you can take care of all of your money management needs while you’re on the road.

First Tech also caters to the tech-savvy crowd by offering mobile and online banking apps for smartphones and tablets. They’ve got over 38 million customers stretching across 33 states, and have won numerous awards for their financial services, including being named a Top Performing Credit Union by SNL Financial.

What to like about First Tech

Professionals: First Tech offers its members access to over 25,000 fee-only financial planners. And if you’re a professional financial planner who wants to join the credit union, you can apply for a job at First Tech online.

First Tech offers its members access to over 25,000 fee-only financial planners. And if you’re a professional financial planner who wants to join the credit union, you can apply for a job at First Tech online. Technology: First Tech gives members access to online and mobile banking services, as well as an ATM locator.

First Tech gives members access to online and mobile banking services, as well as an ATM locator. Business Services: First Tech supports small business by providing loans and offers advice through business consultation events and a business resource library.

Alliant – Best for High-Interest Rate Seekers

The chances are that most people would not immediately think of “credit unions” as a source of great cash-back rewards credit cards, especially when there are many other decent rewards options out there.

However, when you look at the Alliant Credit Union Rewards Visa Card, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s quite possibly the highest-yield cash-back rewards card on the market.

So, how does it compare to other cash-back credit cards?

This card offers competitive cash-back rates on every purchase. It offers cash-back rewards as follows:

5% cash-back on eligible gas and grocery store purchases.

1% cash-back on all other purchases.

2% cash-back on purchases made from January to June.

1% cash-back during the rest of the year.

Those rates are on the higher end of the spectrum, which is why you need to be an Alliant member to qualify for this card. What does that mean?

If you aren’t a member of Alliant, you can still apply for this card, however you won’t earn cash-back rewards. Instead you’ll earn Alliant Rewards Points. Those can still be redeemed for valuable rewards like travel and vacation packages.

Golden1 – Best for Parents of Teens and College Students

Golden1 Credit Union is a great credit union for everyone, but it has some awesome benefits for younger members. With Golden1, college students can pay busy bills, pay tuition, connect to their school campus, check their grades, and even become a resident advisor … all from their mobile or tablet. College-bound teens can get secured, low-interest loans – terms on which other loans can’t compete – to finance a vehicle, start a business, or buy a home. And parents of college students (compared with other credit unions) can sign up for Digit, a fee-free alternative to direct-deposit payroll, and then use the Digit app for payments, budgeting, borrowing, and savings.

The best part? You’re eligible for membership in Golden1 Credit Union if you’re in one of 18 eligible California counties and live, work, worship, or attend school in one of them. Some counties include: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo.

NASA Federal Credit Union

NASA Federal Credit Union has credit cards, with an interest rate from 17.65%, to its members, for any branch nationwide, and also with its ATMs and call center representatives.

Being NASA’s largest credit union, founded in 1959, and serving employees, retirees, and their families of NASA and other U.S. government agencies, it received 5 out of 5 stars with its financial rating according to Bankrate, the ultimate source for comparing different banks and credit unions.

NASA Federal Credit Union, having stable financial background, and lower minimum deposit, is an alternative bank for its members, mostly working in NASA and other senior government agencies, federal employees, and people employed in government contractor.

NASA Federal Credit Union has Overdraft Protection feature, checking account fees, and also one of the best mobile apps for an online banking experience.

The top honor for the best credit unions for you to join in 2020 goes to Navy Federal Credit Union, which is hands down the largest credit union in the country.

Many people describe it as one of the best credit unions for the military community, and if you’re in the military or are related to someone who is, then this one is definitely worth looking into.

It’s insured by the NCUA and has multiple locations across the US, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find an office close to where you live.

Navy Federal Credit Union also has the best website of all the credit unions, so you can check it out when it’s convenient for you, schedule an appointment to get help from a member, or apply online.

Navy Federal Credit Union also has competitive interest rates and services, like free checking and a VISA Signature card (which has no annual fee).

NFCU has a special program called For the Financial Needs, which is designed to help those in need. It’s a great opportunity to join if you’re in financial distress. In addition, it has a program for low income families and an initiative to help foster communities.

Finding the Best Credit Union for You

Without a doubt, credit unions are very nice places to deposit your money. They are non-profit financial companies without any stock shares, that mostly offer free checking accounts, free bill pay, free debit cards, good interest rates on savings accounts, and most importantly (to casual users), have no charge for perks like overdraft services and stop payment. They also offer a lot of advantages in that you can get car loans at very low interest rates and they are a lot easier to deal with than major banks.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even know they exist. But all the same, credit unions have certain standards you have to meet to be eligible, and they can be a little tough to qualify. These standards also change from time to time, so whether you’re a veteran credit union member or new to the game, it’s important to keep up with these changes.

The first, and probably most important way to qualify for credit union membership is to be employed by, or to have an existing relationship with a company that has a credit union. These are commonly referred to as “affiliated” companies, and they are the ones that truly set credit unions apart from other financial institutions.