Currently, the best credit union is Alliant Credit Union. Find out what the other top credit unions are nationwide.
1. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative based in Chicago, Illinois. There are more than 550,000 members, and Alliant holds more than $13 billion in assets.
It tops the list as the best credit union in the nation because Alliant pays great interest rates on deposit accounts, offers low loan rates, a great digital experience, and top-notch security.
The accounts that you’ll find at a bank can also be found at Alliant Credit Union. They offer checking, savings, certificate of deposits, custodial accounts, credit cards, vehicle loans, home loans, personal loans, commercial real estate, retirement accounts, and insurance.
While there aren’t branches across the nation, accessing your account online and through the app is easy. The online and mobile banking platform is robust.
If you need to use an ATM, you’ll have access to more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs. If you can’t find a surcharge-free ATM, Alliant will rebate up to $20 of ATM fees per month.
The following are the eligibility requirements to become a member of Alliant Credit Union:
- Current or retired employee from a business or organization that Alliant partners with.
- An immediate family member or domestic partner of a current member.
- Live or work in a community in Chicago.
- Member of a qualifying organization.
- Make a $5 donation to Foster Care to Success (FC2S) to become a member.
Become a member of Alliant Credit Union.
Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the nation by asset size, as it has $138.6 billion. It’s headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, and has more than 10 million members.
What makes Navy Federal stand out is that it’s a global credit union. Around the world, there are 343 branches. 26 of them are international, and 184 are on or near military installations.
It offers the same products and services that you would expect from a big bank, such as checking, savings, retirement, investments, loans, business accounts, and different ways to access your accounts.
Online and mobile banking makes it easy to manage your account on the go. You can manage your money, cards, profile, make mobile check deposits, pay bills, and send money to other people via Zelle.
Navy Federal Credit Union is open to Servicemembers in all branches of the armed forces, including active duty, retired, or veterans. It’s also open to the families of Servicemembers and the Department of Defense civilians.
If you’re eligible, Navy Federal is an excellent credit union to be a member of.
Become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union.
3. First Tech Federal Credit Union
First Tech Federal Credit Union offers a great digital experience and is headquartered in San Jose, California.
Through online and mobile banking, you can transfer money between your accounts, to others via Zelle, deposit checks using mobile deposit, apply for products, manage your cards, and send wire transfers.
First Tech offers high rates for deposit accounts, as checking accounts can earn up to 1.00% APY, and kids 17 and under can earn 5.00% APY on balances $0.01 to $999.99.
You can also get credit cards with low-interest rates, as the lowest rate starts at 6.99%. Home loans, auto loans, student loans, personal loans, and commercial lending are also offered at low rates.
The following is how you can become a member of First Tech:
- Work for the State of Oregon or a partner company.
- Work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
- Be a member of the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association.
With more than 40 branches, access to more than 5,600 CO-OP branches nationwide, and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, First Tech is a great place to bank.
Become a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union.
4. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union is a smaller credit union that’s headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin. It has more than $3.31 billion in assets and 382,000 members.
If you’re looking for a checking account that pays a better interest rate than other financial institutions, Connexus is one of the best choices. You’ll earn 1.75% APY on balances up to $25,000.
If you have more than $25,000 in your checking account, the amount above it will earn 0.25% APY, which is still a great rate for a checking account.
Connexus also offers savings, share certificates, money market accounts, credit cards, and loans.
The following are the requirements to become a Connexus Credit Union member:
- Be a resident in select communities or counties.
- Be an employee, retiree, family member, member, student, or student alumni of select organizations.
- Make a $5 donation to the Connexus Association.
Become a member of Connexus Credit Union.
5. Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)
PenFed is one of the largest credit unions, as it serves more than 2 million members and has more than $25 billion in assets.
Through PenFed, you can get deposit accounts, loans, and discounts exclusively for members.
The interest rates on deposit accounts are higher than in many financial institutions.
Checking accounts will earn 0.15% APY on daily balances less than $20,000, and 0.35% APY on daily balances between $20,000 to $50,000. The Online High Yield Savings account earns 0.45% APY.
PenFed also offers great rewards credit card options. From cashback to points, PenFed credit cards earn excellent rewards without an annual fee.
There are many ways to join PenFed, such as association memberships, employment, and military affiliation. Since PenFed acquired Progressive Credit Union, its membership requirements have broadened.
Become a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed).
Other great credit unions
The following are other great credit unions that are worth looking into:
- Blue Federal Credit Union
- State Employees Credit Union
- Golden 1 Credit Union
- SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
- Suncoast Credit Union
- Consumers Credit Union
- America First Credit Union
Frequently asked questions
How does a credit union work?
Credit unions work similarly to banks. Members of the credit union save their money in deposit accounts, which creates available money to lend. The interest from loans is a way for credit unions to make money. They pay interest in your deposit account, and it goes towards operating expenses.
Are credit unions better than banks?
Generally, credit unions offer better rates on deposit accounts, loans and have better customer service. However, they’re smaller than bigger banks and may be slower to adopt new technology.
Is it hard to join a credit union?
Most credit unions are easy to join. You’ll have to meet a requirement or make a donation. There are also credit unions that have more specific membership eligibility requirements, which can make it harder.
Credit unions are not-for-profit and pass their income onto their members by offering higher deposit account rates and lower loan rates. Joining a credit union is worth it because they put their members first and offer great perks.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of More Money More Choices, which he launched to help you take control of your finances and build your dream life. Before More Money More Choices, David worked in leadership positions in the finance industry.