2 Helpful Services Offered By Credit Unions

As you search for a new bank, you may want to consider joining a credit union. Credit unions are member-owned, and because of this they offer many advantages to customers over other types of banks. While credit unions offer checking accounts, loans, and other traditional types of banking services, they may also offer additional services. Here are two services to look into that might interest you.

Christmas Club Savings Account

In 2013, the average shopper spent roughly $801 on Christmas gifts, but many people spent a lot more than this. If you are a planner and do not want to end up using your credit cards for your Christmas shopping, you could look into opening a Christmas club account.

This is an account you can begin at the beginning of the year, and you can make deposits into the account all year long. Around the first of November, you will be able to take the money from the account to use for your Christmas shopping.

Not only is this a great way to avoid racking up debt at the holidays, but it is also a great way to learn how to save money. Through a Christmas club at a credit union, you will most likely earn a higher interest rate on your deposits than you would through a normal savings account.

According to CreditCards.com, Christmas club historically pay higher rates than savings accounts. Credit unions are known for offering the highest rates on all types of savings accounts, so choosing a Christmas club could be one of the best ways to save money. 72% of credit unions offer Christmas clubs, and this is a great service to consider using.

As you look for a club to use, you may want to compare the following things:

  • Maximum amount you can deposit in the account
  • Time restrictions for opening an account
  • Date in which you can withdraw the money
  • Interest rate on the deposits

Rewards Programs

Many banks are now offering rewards programs on checking accounts, but credit unions may offer the best types of programs. Credit unions tend to pay higher rates on deposit and charge lower rates on loans, and this is because the depositors actually own the bank. The profits are given back to depositors, and this is one of the primary reasons consumers use credit unions.

As you compare your options with banks and credit unions, finding one with a good rewards program might be important to you. Here are several different ways that rewards programs work through banks and credit unions:

  • Earn cash back – some programs offer a certain percentage of cash back to you when using your debit card or credit card. If the percentage is 3% and you spend $1,000, you could earn $30 just for using your debit or credit card.
  • Earn points – some institutions offer a point system program. Each time you use your card, you earn points that you can redeem for prizes.

Another type of unique program available at some credit unions is a round-up program. While this is not really a reward you earn, it will help you save money. It works by rounding up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar.

For example, if you spend $22.54 at a store, the bank will debit your account $23.00. The difference of $0.46 is automatically placed in your savings account. Little by little this amount will add up, and eventually you will begin to see your savings account grow.

If you are interested in any of these programs and services, look for a credit union that offers them. Once you join a credit union, you will find that they offer a lot of other services that you may be interested in using.