How to Open Credit Union Checking Accounts

A checking account is a checking account, right? Well, is a sneaker just a sneaker? Is a gaming console just a gaming console? Preferences, options, and details matter. When opening a checking account, you’ll find credit union checking accounts are among the best at keeping your finances secure and allowing you to easily access your money when and where you need it, using a debit card, checks, or both. 

Maybe you’re at the investigation stage and simply wondering, “Do credit unions have checking accounts?” Or, you’re already all in and want to know, “Where can I find a credit union checking account near me?” We’ve got your questions covered here. Learn all about how to open credit union checking accounts.

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How to Open Credit Union Checking Accounts

Because credit unions are focused on supporting members’ unique needs, they offer different types of accounts with various benefits and features. That means finding the option that aligns with your personal priorities for the account is easy. Follow these six steps to get started.


1. Find the Right Institution

With more than 5,000 credit unions in the U.S., you’re guaranteed to find the local credit union that blends your banking preferences with your lifestyle. It’s a common misconception that credit unions require special eligibility which can be hard to come by. But in fact, credit unions are organized and structured around common bonds or activities, such as through an employer, community, faith-based organization, or school. The many types of credit unions mean there’s a credit union out there for everyone. Here are some common credit union options:

Beyond determining the type of credit union you’d like to join, consider these factors when opening a credit union checking account:


2. Choose the Right Checking Account for Your Needs

Once you know which institution you’d like to join, it’s time to choose your checking account. You may have heard that credit union checking accounts have slightly different names than bank checking accounts. So, what are checking accounts at credit unions called? Credit union checking accounts are also known as share-draft accounts. To get technical, it’s because you’re buying a share in the credit union. But in reality, most people just use the term checking account.

To select the type of credit union checking account you’d like to open, start by considering which features and benefits are the most important to you. For example, you may want to prioritize a low minimum balance, or would rather not have to worry about overdraft fees. Here are several common types of credit union checking accounts: 


3. Collect the Required Information

Now that you’ve weighed all the factors and picked the right credit union checking account for you, gather the information you’ll need to open your account. Collect these materials:


4. Review Terms & Conditions

The terms and conditions of opening a credit union checking account are usually relatively standard, but it’s still important to review the details so there are no surprises. Standard terms and conditions include:


5. Submit the Application

Depending on the institution, applications for a credit union checking account may be submitted in person or online. If your credit union requires certain criteria for membership, such as employment or military service, you will need to provide this information as well. The application typically includes submitting the information detailed in Step 3 above, although in some cases, the credit union may also check your credit and financial background. 

6. Fund the Account

Congratulations, you’ve opened your credit union checking account! Once you deposit money into the account, you can start using it immediately. Fortunately, opening a credit union checking account typically requires a small deposit of between $5 and $25.  

You can fund your account using cash, check, debit card, or other electronic transfer. You can also set up direct deposit so that your paycheck is automatically deposited into the account each pay period. If you use your account to set up automatic bill payments, note that you will need to ensure enough cash is in the account to cover your bills.

Further Resources on How to Open a Credit Union Checking Account

For further guidance on opening a credit union checking account, check out these resources: 

Open Your Credit Union Checking Account Today

Whether you’re looking into opening a checking account for the first time or simply want to switch to a more personalized membership with a credit union, you’re sure to find the credit union checking account that fits your financial needs. Use our helpful guide to find a credit union near you

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Did you know? 

Credit unions offer a host of checking account options that keep your money safe, help boost your credit score, and provide online tools to manage your finances. Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions, meaning profits are returned to members through better rates, lower fees, and other benefits.

Find the right Credit Union for you

There are more than 5000 credit unions to choose from across the U.S.