Online Banking

Benefits of a Credit Union Checking Account


Checking accounts are deposit accounts held by a bank or credit union that allow you to access your money when needed. They provide you with effortless, cashless purchases online or in person.

Customers today have several options when it comes to money management, including banks and credit unions. Credit union checking accounts are similar to bank checking accounts. 

Yet, there are several significant benefits of joining a credit union that a bank cannot compete with, such as the fact that credit unions are member-owned. That means your financial well-being benefits them as well. 

Those aren’t the only things that set credit unions apart from banks. They deliver similar financial products and use comparable ATMs. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures credit union money the way the FDIC does for banks. 

So, why should you choose a credit union over a bank? Let’s examine the benefits of a credit union that make it a better financial institution for managing your money. 

Why Choose Credit Unions Over Banks?

Banks use their customers’ funds to create profits for their investors. They often charge high fees, pay very low-interest rates on deposits, and charge high-interest rates on loans. 

Instead of trusting your money with a bank that cares more about profits than their customers’ financial well-being, consider a credit union. 

When you become a member of a credit union, you become a shareholder and a co-owner of the institution itself. Reap the benefits of joining a credit union which include:

Lower Fees    

Since banks focus on making money for investors, they tend to charge higher fees than credit unions. Many require a minimum balance and charge you every time you fall below that amount. 

But at Arkansas Federal, you can enjoy $0 monthly fee and a $0 minimum monthly balance on certain accounts.

Get free digital  banking for 24/7 access to your money. Quickly and securely send money to family and friends using Zelle® with no additional transfer fees. 

Fewer Requirements    

At Arkansas Federal Credit Union, you can open a checking account with minimal requirements

  • Are you a resident of Arkansas? 
  • Do you work here? 
  • Is someone in your family a member? 

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you are eligible to join Arkansas Federal Credit Union and open an account. It’s that simple. You don’t have to have state, government, or military affiliation to join. 

Excellent Customer Service    

In 2020, one banking giant agreed to pay out a $3 billion settlement on both criminal and civil charges brought against the company more than a decade ago. 

The behavior that got them in trouble impacted not only the bank’s reputation but also how customers felt about banking with them and their experiences with the financial institution. 

Focusing on investors rather than members fosters greed that can lead to shady business practices. Choose a credit union that focuses on its members, its community, and its impact on the world. 

Better Rates 

When it comes to borrowing, you want to pay the least interest possible. Yet, when it comes to earning, you want the highest-yielding interest account available that meets your financial needs. 

When you find a credit union that serves its members and not outside investors, they often offer their members lower interest rates on credit cards and loans. They also generally offer higher rates on checking and savings accounts

When you bank with a credit union, you know that those managing your money care more about you than a group of investors. 

Requirements to Open a Credit Union Checking Account

The requirements to join a credit union are similar to those for opening a bank account, with some significant differences. For example, some credit unions have membership requirements, such as affiliations. 

Requirements could include working for a specific entity, like being a federal employee or part of a specific union. Others only require that you are part of their community. 

You may even be eligible to open a credit union account even if you have poor to fair credit.

After you have verified that you are eligible to become a member, you will need to bring the appropriate documentation with you, including:

  • Valid government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport)
  • Social security number (or tax id number such as an I-TIN)

If you are in the U.S. on a visa, you will need to bring that with you if you want to open a checking account at a credit union.. 

You should also have your Permanent Resident Card and/or Employment Authorization Card in case the credit unions require this information for temporary residence in the country. 

Along with your documentation, make sure you know how much the minimum deposit requirement is, so you know how much cash to bring in when opening a credit union checking account.

Enjoy the Benefits of Joining a Credit Union 

Banks have their advantages. Yet, they never seem to be able to match the unwavering dedication and benefits of a credit union like Arkansas Federal Credit Union. By joining Arkansas Federal Credit Union, you can enjoy the benefits of competitive rates, lower fees, and a better customer experience with a credit union checking account. That’s because you aren’t just another customer. You’re a member of the Arkansas Federal Credit Union family.

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Call us at 800.456.3000 or visit your local branch.