Cryptocurrency and Credit Unions
Credit unions are always looking for new and innovative ways to help members achieve their financial goals. Whether it’s introducing new products and services or reevaluating current practices, credit unions are on the leading edge of innovation.
And offering cryptocurrency is no exception.
Although cryptocurrency is often deemed a risky and perhaps short-lived fad, it is evident that it is an important innovation in the financial services world.
Interested in buying, selling, holding, or managing cryptocurrency with a credit union? You’re in luck – credit unions are crypto-friendly! We spoke with Jennifer Lown, Chief Experience Officer at Oklahoma’s Credit Union (OKCU), to help us break down some frequently asked questions about cryptocurrency at credit unions. Additionally, we conducted independent research to learn how other credit unions are engaging with digital currency.
Why are credit unions offering cryptocurrency?
According to consumer research conducted by Fiserv, six in ten (61%) Gen Z and Millennial consumers want their bank or credit union to hold cryptocurrency. Additionally, this research proved that 69% of those who bought or sold cryptocurrency did so using a non-banking app or website. Anecdotally, OKCU received similar feedback from members. With this rise in popularity, some credit unions have begun to offer digital currency transactions to members.
As with any product or service you use through a credit union, you will receive top-notch customer service – investing in cryptocurrency is no exception. Lown explained that the entire OKCU team received in-depth Bitcoin 101 training to learn more about the new service their credit union is offering. Bitcoin is new to some, so it is reassuring to know that if you buy or sell through a credit union, you will receive an exceptional level of service for any questions or concerns you may have.
Credit unions are unique financial institutions because they offer both personalized service AND innovative products and services. Lown describes this phenomenon as “Small-time service, big time tech.”
How does cryptocurrency at credit unions work?
Largely, credit unions that offer cryptocurrency to members are doing so through partnerships with NYDIG. NYDIG is a leading technology and financial services company built for Bitcoin. If you’ve heard of cryptocurrency, you’re likely familiar with Bitcoin. As one of the world’s largest and most recognized forms of digital currency, Bitcoin allows for secure peer-to-peer transactions on the internet without the need for an intermediary. NYDIG’s platform is built to the highest security, regulatory, and operational standards. Additionally, NYDIG stores your Bitcoin in “cold wallets” – i.e., your passwords are stored on devices that never touch the internet. So, rest assured your Bitcoin investments made through a credit union are protected.Interested in Bitcoin at a credit union?
- If you’re not yet a credit union member, you will need to become a member by simply opening a savings account. Make sure to research whether the credit union you are interested in joining is currently crypto friendly. Find a credit union near you.
- If you are already a credit union member and your credit union is crypto-friendly, you can likely find information about this feature on the credit union’s website.
- Downloading your credit union’s mobile banking app
- Navigating to the Crypto or Bitcoin feature
- Following the prompts to enroll
- Voila! You can now buy, save, or sell bitcoin all while viewing your current Bitcoin balance.
- One distinction about cryptocurrency at a credit union – you typically must buy and sell Bitcoin from one of your credit union accounts.
Lown explains that their mobile app offers Bitcoin purchasing amounts for as little as $10 to help first-time crypto users get started. Additionally, she notes that all Bitcoin quotes are good for 25 seconds, simply because the market moves so rapidly.
The Fine Print
Unlike other financial products and services credit unions offer, cryptocurrency is not federally insured. In fact, there is currently no federal protection for cryptocurrency at all. Prior to investing, it is important to understand that cryptocurrency is incredibly volatile. For example, in just one day, Bitcoin’s value dropped 30%. Before you decide whether to invest in crypto, make sure to do your research! If you decide that investing in digital currency is right for you, you might benefit from buying and selling Bitcoin through a credit union. Find a credit union near you!