5 Best Credit Unions in 2022 • Get Cash for Opening • Benzinga

Why should you start banking with a credit union? Every member of a credit union is a partial owner, so profits go to you, not shareholders. Today, credit unions often have online banking capabilities and large ATM networks that rival those of the big banks, so you don’t have to trade profit for function. Our list of the best credit unions will help you find the right one for you.

Current APY

Checking: 0.25% APY and Savings: 0.90% APY

1. Best Online Credit Union: Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is a digital credit union offering a solid selection of high-yielding personal bank accounts. You will earn on your balance with a high rate savings account and a high rate checking account. You can also open a high-yield savings account, Extra Savings, which helps you put money aside for something specific, like a wedding or vacation.

Becoming a member of Alliant is quite easy. If your employer is not affiliated with Alliant or you do not meet the other eligibility requirements, you can donate to one of their charity partners to be eligible.

Although Alliant is an agencyless credit union, you will benefit from all services online and mobile banking capabilities, including mobile deposit and money transfers. You can also enjoy free physical banking services at over 80,000 fee-free ATMs. Alliant reimburses monthly ATM fees up to a certain amount.

Loan amounts

$250 to $50,000

Conditions offered

12 to 60 months

2. Best Checking Accounts: Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union is a large credit union (over 9.2 million members!) offering comprehensive banking products with competitive rates and member benefits. Members see an average of an additional $289 in their bank accounts each year.

You can open a checking, savings, money market, or interest-bearing certificate account with Navy Federal. If you have a targeted savings goal, interest-bearing retirement and education savings accounts will help you achieve it while providing additional income in the meantime.

His check accounts are almost all free of service charges, with the exception of the Flagship Chequing Account, an interest-bearing tiered account. This account is free if a daily balance above $1,500 is maintained. Two accounts target a general audience: Free Daily Check is a no-frills, no-fee account, while Easy Free Check has a few extra benefits with a few additional requirements.

Active duty military and college-age individuals will find checking accounts to suit their unique needs. Most Navy Federal checking accounts offer ATM refunds and no minimum balance requirements.

Current APY

0.0% to 0.15% on the main share

Verification fees

$0 – $4.99

Community Choice Credit Union is an Iowa-based credit union with over 40,000 members. Community Choice is proud of “UNBanking” offering full-service banking capabilities to its members without the fees or commercial interest that characterizes branded banks.

Community Choice offers checking and savings accounts as well as the Kirby Kids Club, an account that teaches children the ropes of saving. You can invest — and earn on your balance — with CDs, money market accounts, IRAs, health savings accounts, and retirement investments.

The borrowing options offered by Community Choice really shine. You can get a vehicle or a home loan with credit cards and a home equity line of credit.

Several personal loans – the Happy Loan, Anything Loan, Lifestyle Loan and Homestyle Loan – are available to finance a wide variety of expenses. You can borrow up to $25,000 with terms up to 60 months and no payments for the first 90 days. The application takes less than a minute online.

Current APY

Bonus verification: 0.05% to 0.20% for balances over $1,000; Savings: 0.05% to 0.70%; varies by account type and daily balance

The minimum balance

Varies by account; most accounts have no minimum balance required

Verification fees

$8 for Premium verification; exempt – no monthly service fees for other accounts

4. Best for Students: Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union is an online credit union offering attractive personal banking options for students. There are 3 checking accounts for students of different age groups: New Generation check, Freedom check and Student check.

Next-generation checking accounts are associated with a parent between the ages of 13 and 17. The Freedom Check is for students ages 16-17 who maintain at least a B average on their report card. And student verification is for college-aged students over the age of 17. Each account has no service fees and no minimum balance requirements.

Other checking accounts include Free Checking, a basic no-fee checking account, and Premium Checking, a dividend-paying account for those who can keep at least $1,000 in their account daily.

There are also several interest-bearing savings accounts, including a tax-optimized education savings account for people saving for college expenses or those of their children, called Coverdell Education Savings.

Current APY

Access America Control: 0.20% to 0.50%; Savings: 0.05% to 1.05%; varies by account

The minimum balance

$500 to earn APY; no minimum balance otherwise

Verification fees

No fee if daily balance of $500 or monthly direct deposit totaling $500 or more

5. Best Member Benefits: PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union (short for Pentagon Federal Credit Union) has members in all 50 states and more than 2 million members nationwide.

PenFed strives to empower its members to get the most out of not only their finances, but their lives as well. It does this by offering competitive rates and the best member benefits and discounts in the industry. To date, PenFed has reimbursed $37 million to its members.

Members get discounts from automotive, residential, personal, financial and retail merchants. As a member, you can also use PenFed as a financial advisor using PenFed Wealth Management.

PenFed offers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, car loans, mortgage and home equity loans, personal loans and student loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone join a credit union?

A: Yes, but not everyone can join every credit union. Some credit unions limit their memberships to people who meet certain requirements, but others make it easy for anyone to join.

Q: Are my deposits with credit unions insured?

A: Credit union deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Q: What is the difference between a credit union and a bank?

A: Credit unions and banks are similar with one major difference: credit unions are not-for-profit and owned by their members; banks are for profit and are owned by shareholders. They generally offer similar financial products, however, the tax-exempt status of credit unions and the financial cooperative model generally means that these products have lower or better rates and more flexible terms than banks.

Should you join a credit union?

If you want a more member-focused banking experience, a credit union may be right for you. In addition to state-of-the-art digital banking and great accessibility, credit unions often offer better rates and returns on many of their financial offerings. The credit unions on our lists offer a range of banking options that meet even the most unique needs.

Becoming a member of a credit union is easier than ever – get the most out of your deposits by joining a credit union today.


To determine the best credit unions in the United States, Benzinga analyzed more than 100 credit unions and financial institutions. We gave weight to credit unions with at least 1,000 branches in at least 20 states. We also gave a higher ranking to credit unions that offered the following: checking and savings accounts, online banking, personal loans, mortgages, educational resources, and a mobile app.