Follow the $50 Rule: Before you make an impulse purchase, take the price of your 'must-have' item, and divide it by $50. The resulting number is the number of days you should consider the purchase before making it. (So, if it’s a $100 item, wait two days before you go back and buy it. And, if you decide NOT to buy it – put the money into your savings!)
* via Bellco credit union

Every time I read about a bank closing, a new rule for banks or exorbitant fees on different items I have to remind myself that these really aren't affecting me all that much because I have a credit union (even though I call it a 'bank') and they are one of the best places to bank my money.

You would think that after 30+ years of banking at a credit union I would have some negative opinions of the places, but I don't. Any bad experiences that happened were easily fixed or were outnumbered by the good experiences.

Via the NCUA, in Colorado there are 113 different credit unions and their branches. Some are specific to the place of work, such as a credit union for the employees of Coors only. But there are enough that allow anyone to be a member. And to be a member they usually only require a minimum savings amount of 5-25.00 - quite a bit different from some banks.

I think one of the most common responses as to why people like a credit union is that they are personable. I would have to concur on that, in the small town I grew up in they knew my name. In this larger metro area, they may not know my name but the atmosphere is friendlier than what I have run into at the banks.

Here are few items that I like about my credit union:
› Low minimums for savings, no minimum for checking
› Lower interest rates for big purchases
› Higher interest rates on savings and investments
› No fee credit card
› Free financial counseling
› More control over your options (Over draft insurance, extra accounts)
› Free seminars on retirement planning, wills & trusts, investing, etc
› Have drawings for tickets or savings bonds, etc
› Faster turnaround on paychecks
› Lower overdraft fees
› No charge to transfer money between accounts

With my own credit union I find that I have a lot of control over what I want as part of my banking experience. I'm not automatically opted-in for anything, instead I choose if I want over-draft protection, a line of credit and if I want to add more savings accounts, I can without worrying about having a minimum in each account.

My paychecks are direct deposited to my account at 4am every Thursday and I have not had any troubles with bounced checks because the credit union ran charges through before they deposited my paychecks.

When it comes to charges on my checking account, I can go online and view the actual balance and the pending balance as the credit union puts a 24 hour hold when I use my debit card. This is handy so I don't go over and I can see that the restaurant has charged me correctly. Gas charges always show up as a pending $1.00 though.

Overall, I have to say I am quite satisfied with my banking at a credit union and it would take a lot to make me change. Plus I'm kinda keen on having the door opened for me and a smile greeting me at my branches credit union.

How are your experiences with credit unions and banks? Thinking of switching anytime soon?


  1. Mrs. Money // Friday, October 02, 2009 5:23:00 PM  

    The gas stations only holding $1 kinda ticks me off. I work for a bank and have only banked at a bank, so I can't say about credit unions. I will say that I have considered going to a credit union though. :)

  2. Anonymous // Saturday, October 03, 2009 9:32:00 PM  

    Freedom Credit Union, Warminster, PA (Philadelphia)... The fees and interest rates are great, but the CD penalties are terrible, the worst I've seen. I'm pulling my money out as they come due.


  3. Dawn // Sunday, October 04, 2009 12:02:00 PM  

    @Mrs Money
    Why does it tick you off? Because it doesn't hold the exact amount or because it holds anything?
    I would like it to hold the exact amount but haven't had any problems yet.

    CD penalties? Like taking money out early? Perhaps you have the money in there to long or a CD is not what you need and an online savings account would be better.

  4. Lawrence // Monday, October 05, 2009 10:33:00 PM  

    Navy Federal Credit Union is very big around my area and from what I understand, they have great rates.

  5. Peter from Bellco CU // Tuesday, October 06, 2009 9:21:00 AM  

    Hi Dawn!

    Thanks for the positive words about credit unions! We are glad you've had such a good experience and have taken the time to write about it.

    Credit union members rock!


  6. Best Credit Cards // Sunday, October 18, 2009 7:57:00 PM  

    Thank you so much for posting this. I learned a lot of things. Also read some of your postings and thank you for sharing them.