5 Credit Union Myths Debunked: Credit Union and Bank Differences

  • Banking Tools
  • January 31, 2022
  • FCU Team

If you've never looked too much into credit unions, you might think they're a suboptimal choice when compared to banks. While many may have considered this the case decades ago, there aren't as many differences between the two today.

Credit unions have caught up and are excelling in areas of technology, products and services, ATM availability and more. Still, some credit union myths persist to this day! See below some common myths about credit unions and why they're not true!

Myth: Banks Offer More Products than Credit Unions

A frequent statement is that credit unions are good for saving money and that’s about it… we challenge this assertion! Credit union products and services rival that of all the major banks. From checking accounts to mortgages and lines of credit, your local credit union can likely do everything your bank does while offering competitive interest rates.

Recently, Wells Fargo ceased to offer personal lines of credit to their customers, a product that we continue to offer our members. This shut down of lines of credit came suddenly, and many Wells Fargo customer credit scores saw a negative impact as a result.

Myth: Banks Are More Convenient Than Credit Unions

Credit union detractors will often say that banks are more convenient than credit unions because you can find branches and ATMs nationwide, whereas a credit union’s service area might cover only a general area in a state.

To this, we say that technology has made banking on-the-go easier than ever, reducing the need for members to visit branches. While branches have a very important place on the consumer journey, more often than not, any issues can be resolved through online and mobile banking or through placing a call!

ATMs are also a non-issue. Many credit unions, including FCU, are part of large ATM networks, such as Presto! Read more about Florida Credit Union’s ATM locations here, including Publix's Presto! network.

Myth: Banks Are More Technologically Advanced than Credit Unions

While this may have been true decades ago, credit unions have caught up and are now at the forefront of banking technology. From online and mobile banking to mobile check deposit, the technological offerings of credit unions are on par or better than most major banks. The value technology brings to our members cannot be understated, and that’s why we’ve made it a focus at Florida Credit Union to continue refining our technological offerings.

As an example, we recently adding new financial wellness tools to our app as well as a FICO® credit score widget!

 

Myth: Credit Unions Are Just Like Banks

The primary goals of a bank and a credit union couldn’t be more far apart. A bank’s goals are to create profits for its shareholders. As not-for-profits, credit unions primarily serve members. This difference draws a stark line between what a credit union is and what a bank isn’t.

Myth: Credit Unions Have Strict Eligibility Requirements

Each credit union is different in their eligibility, but that doesn’t mean they’re strict or difficult to understand. As an example, let’s examine Florida Credit Union’s membership eligibility. 

We’re currently authorized to operate in 48 counties in Florida. If you live or work in one of these 48 counties, you’re eligible to become a member of our credit union. It’s that easy! There are a few more incidences where you’re eligible to join the credit union. To learn about those, as well as to view a full list of our counties, visit our membership eligibility page.

Lastly, joining the credit union is free! All you have to do is open a savings account with a $5 balance.

The Credit Union Difference

Credit unions continue to grow in membership and in product offerings. Due to their smaller size and scope, credit unions are also able to grow relationships within the communities that they serve. If you’re ready to experience the credit union difference, we’d love to help you get started.

 

Florida Credit Union is a full-service financial institution. Founded in 1954 as the Alachua County Teachers’ Credit Union, FCU now services over 130,000 members in 48 counties throughout North and Central Florida. For more information on the services we provide, visit FLCU.org or call us at 1-800-284-1144.