Has your bank burned you for the last time? Did you recently move to the Treasure Valley and need a new credit union? Are you just starting out your financial journey and looking for a place to keep your money?
Picking the right financial institution can feel a bit daunting. With banks and credit unions everywhere, and everyone having an opinion, you might have a bit of decision paralysis from all the options. To help you pick the right credit union for your situation, here’s a handy guide for examining your options.
If You Can Become a Member
Many credit unions serve a very specific group of people and if you aren’t a part of that group, you can’t become a member. For example, a firefighter credit union might only allow firefighters and their families to become members. Other credit unions might only allow members in specific industries, geographical areas, organizations or religious affiliation.
The first step in picking a credit union is identifying if you even can become a member. Look for a field of membership to make sure you qualify. Many of the more popular credit unions have larger fields of memberships, some just requiring you to be an Idaho citizen or live in the Treasure Valley.
You can learn a lot about a credit union based on their field of membership and what type of services they will offer. If they only allow members from a specific industry or group, their products will be geared around the lifestyles of that demographic. A wider field of membership will likely have products to serve more of the general population.
Don’t just join a bank or credit union because someone told you to. You need to make sure joining a specific financial institution will benefit you. Examine the different rates between credit unions and see which ones offer the best for you.
The two types of rates you should look at are: loan rates and savings rates. If you need to take out a loan soon, like a mortgage or an auto loan, compare those rates and make sure they are competitive. When examining savings rates, look at what kind of saving tools, like savings accounts, term certificates, IRAs and more that they offer.
Checking Accounts that Reward You
It’s time to leave boring old checking accounts in the dust. If a bank or credit union only offers you a checking account with no extra perks, ditch them.
Checking accounts, much like credit cards, should give you something extra for using them. This could include cash back on expenses, higher dividends on your average balance, or reward points you can redeem for hotels or flights. If a credit union doesn’t have this, it isn’t worth your time.
Pioneer has two checking accounts that reward you, our Reward U Checking Account and WOW Cash Back Checking Account. Both of these have unique benefits for our members to best match how they spend and keep their money.
Support Your Community
Credit unions are a part of their local communities that include their membership. A firefighter credit union supports the firefighter community and a Boise credit union supports the Boise area.
When picking a credit union, look at what they are doing to support the communities that are important to you. Are they supporting and sponsoring community events? Do they donate time and money to important causes? Are they aware and involved with local events and concerns? A good credit union should be able to answer all of these easily.
Pioneer gives back to our local communities and local businesses. Through our Community Pioneer program, we recognize and celebrate local people who are making an impact in their communities. Our Buy Local program is how we support local small businesses to keep our communities' economies strong.
Up to Date with Technology
Is the credit union you are looking at up to date with the latest technology? In today’s world, credit unions should be more than just physical branches and a website, they should have a variety of digital tools to make banking easy. An easy-to-use and reliable online banking platform is the bare minimum.
The right digital tools can make your banking experience much easier. This should include things like video chat with Tellers, controls over your debit and credit card, automatic alerts for changes in your account, and more!
Pioneer offers a large variety of technology to best serve our members, including all of the ones listed above. Our myPioneer Personal Assistant Video Chat connects you with a Pioneer team member anytime 7 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Saturday, so you can get assistance with whatever you are working on. Pioneer’s online banking platform gives you control over your debit and credit card, letting you pause or set limits on your cards. You can even set up alerts for your account when money comes in or out.
Become a Member
Once you’ve found a credit union, become a member and start enjoying their many benefits. If this is your first time banking with a credit union, there might be a slight adjustment period learning new terms and becoming familiar, but you will definitely learn to love it.
Becoming a member of Pioneer is easy and switching banks is simple. Pioneer’s ClickSwitch tool lets you move your automatic payments, direct deposits, and transfer money over to your new account from your old bank in around 10 minutes with little work from you. Plus, it will start the process for you to close out your accounts so no awkward break-up talk with your old bank.
Switch to Pioneer Today