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Why Should I Have a Checking Account at a Credit Union?

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When it comes to storing your money there’s different options of places to keep it, but the most common places are either a bank or credit union. These financial institutions are very similar in many ways, however there are a few slight differences between them.

Chances are you’re familiar with having a checking account at a bank, but now days many people have a financial relationship with more than one institution. If you’re looking to build your financial relationship here’s why having a checking account at a credit union could work for you.

Difference Between Credit Union and Bank

Let’s start by answering the question of, “What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank?” The only major difference is that credit unions are owned by their members, whereas a bank has to report to outside stakeholders. Credit unions are not for profit compared to banks, which means they have the ability to put money back into their members by offering dividends and lower rates than banks. Credit unions offer the same things that banks do such as loans (auto, mortgage, personal, etc.), checking and savings accounts, credit cards, technology (online and mobile banking, mobile deposit, bill pay, transfer funds, etc.) as well as financial education for their members.

Generally Lower FeesGettyImages-1090754048

We mentioned that because credit unions are not for profit they have the ability to put money back into their members, another way they take advantage of this is by offering lower fees compared to other financial institutions. With checking accounts, often times there will be a schedule of fees, this outlines how much the institution would charge for things such as monthly service fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees, etc. With credit unions these fees are generally much lower to benefit the member.

Variety of Account Options

Since credit unions put an emphasis on financial education, generally having different account ages for all ages is standard. Specifically, for Tropical Financial there are three separate account options for members.

Daily Rewards Debit

This account rewards account holders by paying two cents every time someone uses their card.

Open a Daily Rewards Debit Account from TFCU

Premium Checking

This account offers special advantages to long standing members such as the ability to earn interest and free services (notary, incoming wires, etc.).

join tropicalfcu cta

Shared Branching Network

One of the most attractive reasons to have a checking account with a credit union is that members have the ability to access their accounts anywhere through the shared branching network. For example, say you’re on vacation in a different state and need to make a transaction, you have the ability to walk into any other credit union that’s part of the network and complete it as if you were at your local credit union, without the fees that bank generally charge. This is extremely helpful in situations where an ATM transaction needs to be completed.


A common thought associated with credit unions is that because they are community based they don’t offer the same technology as a bank would. While in the past this may have been true, things are a bit different now. For TFCU specifically, checking account holders have the ability to bank anywhere on the go via online and with our mobile app, Pocket Branch. Account holders have access to their account balance, ability to make mobile deposits, schedule bill pay, transfer funds, and more.

Opening a checking account with a credit union is a good idea if you’re looking to make financial relationships with more than one institution. Opening an account has never been easier especially now, it takes less than ten minutes and can be done online or on mobile.