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How to Join and Open a Credit Union Account

Join and open a credit union account in four simple steps.

Credit unions are financial cooperatives and a great choice when it comes to opening accounts like savings, checking, credit cards, and loans. Many credit unions offer competitive rates, no minimum requirements, and little to no fees.

Steps to open a credit union account

  1. Find a local credit union
  2. Meet the membership eligibility
  3. Establish membership and open an account
  4. Enjoy your new credit union accounts
  5. Become part of the financial cooperative

Step 1: Find a Credit Union

Chances are you’re already eligible to join a credit union, you’ll just have to find one that meets your needs. Start your search by asking family and friends.

You can find a local credit union through

Step 2: Membership Eligibility

Before opening an account at a credit union, you’ll need to be eligible for membership. This isn’t difficult to do. It just requires an extra initial step.

You’re eligible to join and open a credit union account by:

  • having family belonging to a local credit union,
  • living in a particular area,
  • working for a company,
  • belonging to a group,
  • a member of a church,
  • student or alumni of a school,
  • or even by joining an association when you apply.

Credit unions offer a variety of banking products and services. And many participate in the CO-OP shared branch network giving you access to over 5,000 locations nationwide and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Step 3: Establishing Membership and Opening an Account

With credit unions, you can apply for membership online or by visiting the local branch. Bring your valid IDs and proof of address to verify your identity.

Most credit unions require a membership share account that establishes your relationship.

You are required to have this share account to become a “member-owner” of the credit union. Additionally, this share deposit is “locked-in” and cannot be used for the entirety of your membership.

Each credit union has a specific membership share deposit requirement. It’s often between $5-$50.

*Note: Once you’ve closed your membership with a credit union, you get back the share deposit.

Step 4: Enjoy Your New Accounts at the Credit Union

After becoming a member-owner, you’re eligible to open accounts at the credit union. Keep in mind that credit unions often use different names for the same products you’ll find at banks. For instance, they may call checking accounts as “share draft accounts.”

Credit union accounts can include :

  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • Certificates
  • Car Loans
  • Personal Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgages

Credit union services can include:

  • Debit cards
  • Direct deposit and other electronic transfers
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Mobile banking and deposit via an app

Step 5: Support Your Credit Union

“Once a member, always be a member” is the credit union way.

Get involved with your credit union. Utilize the products and services offered by your new credit union. The success of your credit union depends on the involvement of its members. Remember, it’s a financial cooperative that exists for your benefit and remains viable with the support of member-owners. Consider your credit union whenever you’re looking for credit, loans, financial planning, and more.

Is your new credit union account insured?

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the independent agency of the federal government that administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Similar to the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, the NCUSIF is a federal insurance fund backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

  • Deposits at federally insured credit unions are insured up to $250,000 per individual depositor.
  • Federally insured credit unions must prominently display the official NCUA insurance sign at all locations accepting deposits and on their websites.

How to Calculate Your Credit Union Deposit Insurance

Calculate your deposit insurance by using the NCUA Share Insurance Estimator

Find out if your credit union is insured by the NCUSIF.

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