Millennial Money: Credit unions add flex to your finances

An underused money tool that could help a new generation of adults on their path to prosperity isn’t a smartphone app, a virtual currency or a digital payment system.

It’s an old-timey credit union.

Credit unions , if you’re unfamiliar, are like nonprofit banks. They may not satisfy all your money-management needs, but you’re missing out if you’re ignoring credit unions, which have great interest rates on auto loans, consumer-friendly checking and savings accounts, and low ongoing credit card rates.

One example: Fully financing a $30,000 new car over five years would cost about $1,250 less in interest with a credit union auto loan compared with a bank auto loan, based on national average rates.

Competitors — megabanks, small community banks and online banks — have their strengths and weaknesses. But this isn’t a binary choice: You can use a credit union for the things it excels in and use other financial institutions, too.

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