Banks vs. Credit Unions: Free Checking and 15 Other Reasons to Join RBFCU

At RBFCU, there are thousands of ways to meet membership requirements and join. Yes, you become a member to enjoy the benefits of a credit union. It’s free and easy, and well worth the few seconds it takes to apply.

Here are 16 reasons why it’s better to join a credit union rather than going to a bank:

1. The purpose of a credit union is to provide low-cost, often free, services to its members. RBFCU pays cash back to members — millions of dollars every year just for using a debit card. Banks return millions, but that’s called a dividend to outside stockholders or Wall Street investment firms.

2. Free checking accounts are one of those free services credit unions offer to members. At RBFCU, we call it Really Free Checking. No monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balances. Really free!

3. Credit unions cut a lot of the banking fees, and we cut rates on loans as well. RBFCU offers loan rates at significantly less than the national average.

4. Credit unions are embraced by government regulation and oversight, including the same levels of federally insured accounts that banks provide.

5. Credit unions are convenient and meet the needs of an on-the-go society. In addition to more than 50 branch locations, RBFCU shares an expansive network of ATMs across the country that charges no transaction fee. The RBFCU.org website and RBFCU Mobile app enable self-service banking when you can’t get to a branch.

6. You’re part of something bigger: the cooperative movement. RBFCU identifies itself as a “financial cooperative.” Co-ops are the ultimate democratic institutions. They are controlled by their members and always operate in their best interest.

7. Credit unions promote financial knowledge and awareness, with programs on money management for all ages. RBFCU has a Financial Literacy program that has mentored more than 10,000 school-age children and youth, and we also have partners that provide financial counseling for adults.

8. Credit unions live on Main Street, not Wall Street. As nonprofit organizations, they don’t make risky investments. RBFCU’s investments and loans have been measured by analysts to outperform our peers.

9. Members, not outside stockholders, decide how their credit union is run and who runs it. There are more than 700,000 members at RBFCU.

10. Membership is forever. If you were eligible to join a credit union based on your job, for example, you can keep your membership even if you leave that job.

11. One member, one vote. Whether you have $5 or $50,000 in your account, you have the same say as any other member in determining the direction of your credit union. RBFCU’s board of directors serves by volunteering their personal time.

12. Credit unions are for everyone — most people do not realize they qualify for membership. RBFCU has a proud heritage of serving our country’s Air Force, but you don’t have to be in the military to join. There are still eligibility rules, but they’re not as strict as you might think. Remember, at RBFCU there are thousands of ways to join, and we’ll help you find a way to qualify.

13. Unlike banks, no credit union has ever needed a government bailout. The National Credit Union Association (NCUA) gives RBFCU a top rating.

14. Credit unions are No. 1 in customer service, because their members are No. 1 with them. RBFCU annually receives ratings from independent analysts that go like this: 5-star, superior, A+, highly likely to recommend, outperforms, lowest fee structure, and so on.

15. Credit unions foster a sense of community among their members. RBFCU’s annual meeting is open to members, and we have numerous ways for members to stay in touch every day.

16. Credit unions are socially conscious and reflect the values we live by. RBFCU is an active participant in national humanitarian programs and steps up to provide assistance to members and the larger community whenever disaster strikes.

Credit Unions: Banking Without Bankers