How to pick the best credit union for you

by:  Jim Gold

You may have heard that many people like credit unions better than banks.

The nonprofit, member-owned financial institutions often have lower rates on loans and credit cards, higher rates on savings and fewer fees for checking accounts. To some, they also seem friendlier.

“I enjoy the small, personal touch that they give,” says Ron Lau.

Lau is one of an estimated 100 million members of the nation’s 6,557 credit unions that hold more than $1 trillion in assets.

With so many choices, how do you pick the credit union that’s right for you?

Compare rates and fees, of course, but you should check out these criteria, too:

1. Can I join?

Anybody can join a credit union, but not necessarily any credit union. Each credit union serves its “field of membership,” a common bond among members, says, the website of the National Credit Union Administration.

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