The 14 Best Credit Unions of 2024
When you think of credit unions, you may envision strict membership restrictions that keep you on the outside looking in. While this may be true for some, many of the top credit unions have flexible rules that welcome everybody.
Credit unions are noted for providing benefits such as free checking accounts and more customized customer service than traditional banks. Furthermore, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, therefore their profits are frequently given to members in the form of increased bank account rates.
Bankrate examined and ranked credit unions across the US based on a range of criteria such as product choices, APY offerings, account fees, mobile features, and more. If you want to join a credit union, start your search here.
All credit unions on this list are members of the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), therefore deposits are protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which offers up to $250,000 in coverage for each single ownership account.
Best Credit Unions
- Alliant Credit Union
- America First Credit Union
- American Airlines Federal Credit Union
- Bethpage Federal Credit Union
- Boeing Employees’ Credit Union
- Connexus Credit Union
- Patelco Credit Union
- Quorum Federal Credit Union
- Randolph-Brooks Credit Union
- Security Service Federal Credit Union
- Suncoast Credit Union
- federal credit union
- Consumers Credit Union
- Connexus Credit Union
1. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union, headquartered in Chicago, is well-known for its consistently high-interest rates, wide fee-free ATM network, and simple membership criteria. This online-only credit union provides 24-hour customer support via a toll-free phone number.
Alliant was been selected as the top credit union in the 2024 Bankrate Awards, which honor the finest financial products available to customers.
Why we chose it
- High-yield accounts: Alliant’s savings account provides an APY that is significantly higher than the national average, while its share certificates and High-Rate Checking offer competitive rates.
- Large ATM network and generous fee rebates: Customers have access to over 80,000 charge-free ATMs and can get up to $20 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements.
- Free checking and savings accounts: Alliant’s accounts do not require monthly servicing fees. Its checking account has no minimum amount, while its savings account requires a $5 minimum balance to remain open and at least $100 to generate interest.
- Easy to join: If you join Foster Care to Success (FC2S), you will be eligible for an Alliant membership. Alliant will cover the $5 membership fee to FC2S on your behalf.
2. America First Credit Union
Membership in America First Credit Union is offered to people who live or work in certain parts of the western United States. To join, you must open a share savings account, which takes only a $1 value to open and maintain.
The credit union has 120 branches, and accounts can be opened online. By combining accounts from various financial institutions, the mobile app provides you with a comprehensive view of your finances.
Why we chose it
- Free checking that earns interest: The interest-bearing Classic Checking account has no monthly fee. It has no minimum balance, but you’ll need at least $500 to earn interest.
- Competitive CD yields: Share certificates are available in monthly terms ranging from three months to five years, with yields that are either extremely competitive or significantly higher than national norms.
- Highly rated mobile app: America First’s app has received great ratings on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. One important feature, Card Guard, allows you to easily lock and unlock your debit card.
3. American Airlines Federal Credit Union
If you or a family member is an active or retired airline employee, American Airlines Federal Credit Union (AAFCU) may be a suitable fit for you.
The credit union provides a variety of CD terms, checking and savings accounts. Where AAFCU shines is with its attractive APYs on some accounts, fee-free products, and a handy branch presence that includes 46 locations in numerous major airports, as well as a network of over 5,000 shared branches with other credit unions.
Why we chose it
- Above-average APYs: Members can earn APYs that are significantly higher than national averages on the credit union’s deposit products. Its flagship and priority checking accounts offer competitive rates.
- Fee-free products: The Primary Savings Account and various checking accounts do not have monthly fees, and the minimum deposit requirements are reasonable.
- Convenient banking: AAFCU has branches in the majority of major airports in the United States, as well as membership in the Co-op and All point ATM and shared branch networks.
4. Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union serves Long Island, New York, with 16 locations, and members have access to over 5,000 shared branches across the country. Bethpage is also accessible to individuals outside of the Long Island region, thanks to its wide network of more than 30,000 free ATMs.
Bethpage provides a free checking account with the option to earn interest. Another area where the credit union excels is its highly-rated mobile app, which allows you to do everything from building a budget to look up transactions.
Why we chose it
- Rewards checking: When specific criteria are met, the free checking account yields a competitive rate.
- No membership restrictions: Membership is open to all US citizens, with no particular requirements. Membership requires a deposit of $5 into a savings account.
- Highly rated mobile app: Bethpage’s app has received good ratings from iOS and Android users.
5. Boeing Employees’ Credit Union
Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU) is one of the largest credit unions in the United States, offering a wide range of deposit products as well as a well-regarded mobile app with budgeting capabilities.
BECU membership is open to Boeing workers and members of one of two alumni associations. You can also enroll if you live, study, work, own a business, or attend church in Washington or certain counties in Idaho and Oregon. Finally, you can become a member by joining the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.
Why we chose it
- Low minimum deposit requirements: Member Share Savings and Free Checking have no minimum balance requirements, while CDs only demand a $500 deposit.
- Large ATM network: Members get free access to BECU ATMs as well as over 30,000 Co-op ATMs countrywide.
- Highly rated mobile app: The BECU mobile app helps you manage your accounts and create budgets based on your income, debt, and spending history.
6. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union is headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin, and primarily serves customers in the Midwest; however, its goods and services are available nationwide. Members in other parts of the United States can conduct transactions at over 5,000 shared branches operated by other credit unions.
Connexus does not impose monthly maintenance fees, and the minimum deposit required to start an account is either minimal or nonexistent.
Why we chose it
- No-fee banking: Connexus does not impose monthly service fees for its deposit products.
- Large ATM network and generous fee rebates: Customers receive free access to over 67,000 ATMs via the Money Pass and Co-op networks, and they may be eligible for monthly reimbursements for fees charged at out-of-network ATMs.
- Easy to join: A one-time $5 gift to the Connexus Association is all that is required to be eligible for membership.
7. Patelco Credit Union
Patelco Credit Union has over 450,000 members nationwide, including individuals who live in northern California and work for over 1,100 businesses across the country.
Members can access 37 local locations, over 6,000 shared branches countrywide, and over 30,000 fee-free ATMs.
Why we chose it
- Free checking and savings accounts: Regular Savings and Free Checking accounts have no minimum balances and no monthly service fees.
- Large ATM network: Members have access to Patelco-owned ATMs as well as over 30,000 Co-op ATMs nationally.
- Competitive CD yields: Many of Patelco’s CDs provide greater rates than the national average, and a minimum deposit of $250 is required.
8. Quorum Federal Credit Union
Quorum is a Purchase, New York-based credit union with over 75,000 members nationally. Anyone can join Quorum, and members get access to over 90,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States.
Why we chose it
- Easy to join: To join Quorum, simply become a member of the American Consumer Council or the Select Savers Club.
- Fee-free products: Service fees are either nonexistent or easily avoided for all QClassic checking and savings accounts.
- Extensive ATM network: Customers have free access to over 90,000 ATMs countrywide.
9. Randolph-Brooks Credit Union
Randolph-Brooks Credit Union (RBFCU) serves more than a million members. Joining and opening accounts is simple, and you can do so online or in any of RBFCU’s Texas branches.
RBFCU offers a broad range of bank accounts, and membership requires the opening of a savings account, which costs only $1 to open and maintain.
Why we chose it
- Free checking that earns interest: True to its name, the Free Checking Account has no minimum balance and no monthly fee. It earns interest on all balances and provides fee-free access to over 30,000 ATMs.
- Wide range of CD terms: RBFCU offers share certificates for any monthly duration ranging from six to 84 months. Yields for some terms are either competitive or significantly above average.
- Easy to join: RBFCU was formerly exclusively available to military members and their families, but it is now open to the general public. You can apply online, at a branch, or over the phone.
10. Security Service Credit Union
Membership in the Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) is available to persons who live or have specific associations in Colorado, Texas, or Utah. Those with connections to certain military bases are also eligible to enlist. A share savings account with a balance of at least $5 is necessary.
Why we chose it
- Checking account with benefits: SSFCU’s Power Protected Checking account offers benefits such as protection for broken or stolen mobile phones, no-cost telemedicine access, and identity theft expense reimbursement. The account also yields interest, with rates rising for higher balance tiers.
- Wide range of share certificate terms: Many share certificates come with periods ranging from three months to seven years. better balances provide better yields.
- Savings account with unlimited ATM transactions: The Basic Savings account allows members to make unlimited withdrawals.
11. Suncoast Credit Union
The community-focused Suncoast Credit Union serves persons who live, work, or worship in chosen Florida counties, and the organization participates in a variety of local outreach projects and fundraisers. The credit union has 75 branches, and accounts can be opened online.
Why we chose it
- Free interest-bearing checking: Suncoast’s Smart Checking account has no monthly maintenance fee and earns interest. More than 30,000 ATMs offer fee-free access.
- High certificate rates: Suncoast has seven types of share certificates, all of which produce yields that are significantly higher than the national average. Balances over $100,000 gain higher returns.
- Highly rated mobile app: Suncoast’s mobile app received positive feedback. It enables you to create budgets and savings plans, find branches and ATMs, view copies of cleared checks, open accounts, and apply for credit cards or loans.
12. PenFed Credit Union
Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is the second-largest federal credit union, with about 3 million members. PenFed, which began by servicing military troops and their families, has since expanded its membership.
Today, anyone can join PenFed. Open a savings account, deposit at least $5, and you’re done.
Here’s a breakdown of various PenFed accounts.
13. Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union is a tiny credit union with numerous banking alternatives. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, health savings accounts, CDs, and others.
Interest rates are competitive. A Consumers’ Rewards Checking account, for example, offers interest rates of up to 5.00%. Account holders also have access to over 30,000 cost-free ATMs and unlimited out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement.
13. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union operates primarily in Wisconsin but serves more than 460,000 members across the U.S. with its digital banking platform. You can access many different services to meet your financial needs, from bank accounts to credit cards to auto loans.
Here’s a look at some of Connexus’ featured accounts.
There are physical branches available, however they are primarily in Wisconsin. There are also over.
5,000 shared branches in the United States provide in-person banking assistance. You can join the Connexus Association for a one-time charge of $5.
14. Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union is the world’s largest credit union, with more than 12 million members. It provides financial products and services to members of the military, veterans, and their families.
Many bank and savings accounts waive the monthly maintenance costs. Furthermore, interest rates on credit cards, vehicle loans, and mortgages are among the lowest in the industry.
Navy Federal offers over 300 physical branches and 30,000 in-network ATMs. There are various checking and other bank accounts to choose from, but here are some highlighted alternatives.
Credit unions vs. banks
Savings, checking, and money market accounts are common deposit accounts offered by both banks and credit unions. The fundamental distinction between the two is that banks are for-profit companies, whereas credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that transfer earnings to their members, generally in the form of higher interest rates on deposits.
Another distinction is that banks normally allow anybody to apply for an account, but credit unions may restrict membership based on geographical area or industry.
Pros and cons of credit unions
Credit unions provide the following benefits:
- They often provide deposit account rates that are higher than national averages, with some even providing highly competitive yields.
- Credit unions frequently provide more personalized service because they have strong relationships with the areas they serve.
Potential disadvantages of credit unions include:
- Some organizations limit membership based on where you live or work, as well as the industry in which you operate.
- Smaller credit unions could lack the resources to provide a mobile app.
What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank?
The primary distinction between a credit union and a bank is their ownership structure.
“Banks are owned by shareholders, whereas credit unions are owned by members who appoint heads to run the union,” explains Mark Stewart, a certified public accountant at Step by Step Business. “Banks have a variety of users who are usually not connected, while credit unions comprise members who share a common characteristic of location or employment.”
Another notable contrast is the emphasis on customer service. Credit unions take a community-oriented strategy, supporting local projects and making investments in the communities they serve.
While still offering client service, banks are more profit-driven and may prioritize shareholder value. They may provide a bigger range of services and have larger branch networks, but they may not always offer low-interest rates like credit unions.
Choosing between the two isn’t always that simple. Having accounts at both can be beneficial at times.
“There’s no rule against having accounts at both a bank and a credit union, and doing so can allow you to take advantage of the benefits each has to offer,” explains Sherman Standberry, a certified public accountant at My CPA Coach. “You might choose to have a checking account with a bank for convenience and a savings account with a credit union to benefit from higher interest rates.”
What to consider when choosing a credit union
Before applying for a new account with a credit union, consider these factors:
- Membership requirements: Credit unions have various qualifying requirements based on your geography, employer, or association with certain groups.
- Services: Look for a credit union that offers a variety of financial goods. This ensures that your present and future financial demands are covered.
- Access: An extensive branch and ATM network allows you quicker access to in-person services and fee-free transactions.
- Online and mobile banking: Look for credit unions that offer safe digital banking, which allows you to access your account from anywhere.
- Customer service: Read reviews to obtain a sense of the credit union’s level of customer service. Make sure the customer assistance hours are convenient for you.
What is the richest credit union?
Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the US with more than $166 billion in total assets, is a perfect example of the impact these institutions may have.
Is Chime Bank a credit union?
Our verdict. Chime® is a financial technology firm, not a bank, and provides online banking services through Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A., both of which are FDIC members. Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, it serves 14.5 million users with 24/7 online banking and a network of more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide.
What is the largest credit union in the world?
Being CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union is a little different from leading any other financial institution—and not simply because it’s the largest credit union in the world.
Credit unions frequently stand out for their competitive account yields and individual service. Those on our list of the finest credit unions frequently provide bonuses such as high APYs, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance restrictions. When looking for the correct credit union, look for those that satisfy your membership eligibility standards, and make sure to choose one that offers deposit insurance through the NCUA.
Find a credit union that suits your specific needs, such as branch accessibility, ATM availability, or a mobile app offering. All of these will assist you in determining the finest credit union for your needs.