VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- We all have to bank somewhere. Some of us use a credit union and others use a traditional bank, but how do you know which is the best option for you?
Philip Maliniak with Virginia Financial Planning says that the biggest difference between the two is the owners. Banks are owned by stockholders, while credit unions are owned by the members. For this reason, you can sometimes find better interest rates at credit unions, but that’s not always the case. He urges everyone to shop around while looking for the best rates.
They both offer customers the same services such as checking or savings accounts, CDs, car loans, mortgages and so on... but you may have to pay for these services depending on where you go.
While anyone can walk into a bank and sign up, that’s not necessarily the case with credit unions. There are usually specific credit unions for different groups of people. For example, there may be a credit union for teachers, firefighters, or service members.
With this in mind, most people can usually find some connection to a credit union.
According to Maliniak, the best way to decide which option is best for you is to decide which one is more convenient. If you’re going to be doing most of your banking online, which one has the better app? If you would rather go to their physical location, which one is closer?
Also, keep in mind the size of the bank or credit union. In smaller institutions, you can form relationships with the bank and allow them to get to know you.
Maliniak says there’s nothing wrong with having an account open in both a bank and credit union, and urges everyone to be picky about who they bank with. If you don’t like the bank or credit union you’re at, it’s OK to switch until you find one that’s right for you.