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How do I Choose the Best Educational Credit Union?

Article Details
  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If you want to join an educational credit union, there are several things you should look for. Look at the credit union's interest rates, which are usually lower than those of a bank, as well as the fees. While some credit unions provide free checking and don't require minimum balances, a few may charge for checks or require you to have a certain amount of money in your account. Also look at the extras offered, such as credit cards or financial education workshops.

Usually, you will earn more interest on money you've deposited into an educational credit union than at a traditional bank. Before signing up, compare the interest you'll earn in a basic savings account, on certificate of deposits, and in any other accounts to the interest rates offered at other credit unions or banks. Keep in mind that interest rates change regularly. You'll also most likely pay less interest on personal loans or mortgages through your credit union. If getting a loan is one of your goals, compare the interest rates before choosing.

Typically, you'll need to meet certain requirements before joining an educational credit union. You may need to be a student or work in a school. Some educational credit unions allow people who work in non-profits or community services to join as well.

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If you are just getting started financially, you may want to join a credit union that offers financial workshops. Look for one that offers workshops that fit your needs. You may find workshops on saving for college, getting a retirement account started, or buying a house.

Convenience may be another concern for you when choosing an educational credit union. Look for one that has plenty of ATMs in your area. Check to make sure the credit union is part of a cooperative of ATMs so that you always have easy access to cash, even if you are away from your hometown, without having to pay extra fees.

Compare the fees the credit union charges before signing up. Some may charge an overdraft fee, while others offer free overdraft protection. Look for other fees, such as a fee for using the ATM or making a debit withdrawal more than a certain number of times each month, as well as fees for stop payments on checks or for receiving paper statements.

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