Credit Unions vs Banks

Which Are Better For Consumers?

 
Credit Unions
Credit Unions
Credit Unions
Big Banks
Why They Win
Free Checking
Free Checking
Winner Lost 70% of the top 10 credit unions offered a truly free checking account (just 10% of the top banks did the same)
Student Checking
Student Checking
Winner Lost 88% of the time, credit unions were found to be better for student checking than the big bank near campus
Senior Checking
Senior Checking
Winner Lost 89% of the top credit unions in states with high senior populations offered either free or senior checking (compared to 62% of banks)
Business Checking
Business Checking
Winner Lost 39% of business checking accounts at credit unions were truly free compared to only 13% of those at banks
CD's & Savings
CD's & Savings
Winner Lost 90% of savings & CD accounts with a rate beating inflation were credit union products
ATM's
# of ATM's
Winner Lost 71% of credit unions belong to a surcharge-free ATM network with as many as 70,000 ATMs, far more than the biggest banks
Mobile Banking
Mobile Banking
Winner Winner Many banks and credit unions offer comparable mobile banking apps

Financial Literacy Resources and Community Initiatives

While credit unions save consumers money, many of them also give back to their communities in non-financial ways, too. Many offer financial literacy resources to their members (through online or in-person initiatives), and are very active in their local communities. Check out some of our favorite credit union financial literacy and community resources.

Where does the data cited come from?

NerdWallet has built financial tools to help consumers find the best checking accounts and savings rates. In the process, we analyzed data from over 5,000 financial institutions, including banks and credit unions of all sizes. Our data-driven and unbiased tools include:

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