A credit union offers many of the same benefits as a bank, but often with reduced fees and lower interest rates. We looked at dozens of the country’s most popular credit unions and, in this guide, we’ve highlighted the very best, the ones that topped our list for options, fees, rates, terms, and customer support.

The following list of the best credit unions is not in any particular order and all options are worthy of your consideration if you’re looking for a new bank account, savings account, credit card, or loan:


Chicago-based Alliant is consistently ranked as one of America’s best. It was founded way back in 1935 by employees of United Airlines and assumed its current name in 2003. In addition to 24/7 customer support, Alliant has over 80,000 free ATMs around the world and offers its members a wealth of account options and perks.

Banking and Credit

You can open an Alliant savings account with just $5. Options include Regular Savings, Custodial Savings, Supplemental Savings, and an account for under 12s known as Kidz Klub. As soon as the account has more than $100, the owner will be entitled to receive monthly dividends from Alliant.

The high-rate savings account returns an APY of 1.65%, while a rate of 0.25% APY is paid on qualifying Alliant checking accounts. 

Alliant members can benefit from online banking services, ATM deposits, and something known as eDeposit, whereby electronic payments are processed following physically mailed checks.

Loans and More

Alliant members can get mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans, car loans, and student loans. Alliant even offers insurance and investment products.

Who Can Join?

If you are a member of one of the many companies that Alliant partners with, you are eligible to join. You can also join if you:

  • Are a member of Foster Card to Success
  • Are related to a current Alliant member (spouses and domestic partners included)
  • Live in a qualifying Chicago community

First Tech Federal Credit Union

The First Tech Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952. It has over 600,000 members, more than $12 billion in assets, and offers a selection of credit and loan products.

Banking and Credit

First Tech offers some of the best rates on checking accounts, paying 1.50% APY on balances up to $15,000. To qualify, you just need to meet some basic criteria, including using your account for a specific number of debit card purchases. This stops members from using it as a savings account.

Generous savings accounts are also available, although you’ll need at least $5,000 to qualify for the best rates.

First Tech operates out of more than 5,000 national branches and members can use 30,000 network ATMs, with refunds available for out-of-network ATM charges where applicable.

Loans and More

In addition to banking services, First Tech offers loans, investment services, and insurance products. You can also apply for home loans, home equity, refinancing, personal loans, and student loans, with respectable rates across the board.

Who Can Join?

You’re eligible for First Tech membership if you work for one of the hundreds of partner companies (including Amazon, Comcast, and Google) or you work/live in Lane County, Oregon. Members of the Financial Fitness Association, which costs just a few dollars to join, are also eligible for First Tech membership.

Navy Federal

Located in Virginia, Navy Federal is the largest Credit Union in the world, with millions of members and a wide variety of products and services. It has a history that dates back to the 1930s and operates an expansive network spanning more than 300 locations.

Banking and Credit

Navy Federal has a selection of checking and savings accounts and these have some decent perks, including the Free EveryDay checking account, which is free of fees and doesn’t have a minimum balance. However, if it’s a high rate of return you’re looking for, Navy Federal is not the best option. Even the savings account is very limited in this sense.

The good news is that Navy Federal Credit Union has a great selection of credit cards. In fact, Navy Federal credit cards are some of the only credit union cards to have featured in our top lists over the last year.

The Navy Federal rewards card is a great example of this. It has no annual fee, a low-interest rate, and it offers big rewards for gas, dining, and groceries.

Loans and More

Mortgages, personal loans, and other products are available from Navy Federal. Home loans in particular are a great option, as Navy Federal specializes in VA loans, with no private mortgage insurance or down payment. If you qualify, these are some of the most favorable mortgages available in the United States.

Who Can Join?

To join Navy Federal, you need to have a connection to the military, either as an active/former member or family member. This is a pretty limited range and, as a result, most of you won’t qualify. But if you do, take a look at Navy Federal’s products and services and see how they can benefit you.

Consumers Credit Union

Consumers is a Michigan-based credit union that offers a full spectrum of banking services, including a high-yield checking account, personal loans, business loans, credit cards, and more. If you’re from the local area, you can join Consumers Credit Union and sign up for these services.

Banking and Credit

Consumers checking accounts have a very high APY, going above 4% if you meet specific requirements regarding deposit and transaction amounts. To begin with, you’ll earn 2.09% on balances of up to $10,000 when you make at least 12 monthly purchases, opt for e-statements, and have electronic transactions totaling at least $500 a month.

To increase this to 3.09%, you need to meet the aforementioned requirements and spend at least $500 per month with the Consumers credit card. To go all the way to 4.09%, spend an extra $500 a month on that credit card.

The savings account options are surprisingly poor, but there is a huge ATM network available without charge, and you need just $5 to open most accounts.

Loans and More

Consumers offers mortgages, auto loans, recreational loans, and other personal unsecured/secured loans. It also has services specifically tailored toward businesses, including equipment leases, real estate loans, and small business loans.

Who Can Join?

To join Consumers Credit Union, you need to be a US resident over the age of 18 with a Social Security number. You also need to live, work, or worship in the lower peninsula of Michigan.

PenFed Credit Union

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known simply as “PenFed”, has close to 2 million members, making it one of the largest in the United States. It was founded in 1935 and offers financial products and services to members of the military.

Banking and Credit

The PenFed Premium Savings Account requires a deposit of just $5 and offers an APY as high as 1.05%. It’s an insured account and there is no monthly maintenance fee. There are also checking accounts and regular savings accounts, but the Premium Savings Account is the main reason this provider makes it onto our list.

Loans and More

PenFed offers its members a selection of auto loans, home loans, and home equity loans, including refinancing options and VA home loans. Pretty much any service or product you can purchase from a bank is also available through PenFed.

Who Can Join?

You can qualify for PenFed membership if you meet any of the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are an active member of the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard.
  • You are in the National Guard.
  • You are a retired member (or reserve) of one of the aforementioned organizations.
  • You are employed by the Pentagon.
  • You are a family member of someone who qualifies.

Many other organization members can also qualify. Generally, if you are connected to any armed forces, whether you’re on active duty, retired or a family member, you may qualify for PenFed membership.

Connexus Credit Union

Connexus is a Wisconsin-based credit union with more than 300,000 members and some of the highest yield checking accounts in the industry. It combines innovative features with great perks and rates.

Banking and Credit

Connexus has a high rate of interest on its premium checking accounts, paying up to 1.75% APY on balances of no more than $25,000. It also reimburses ATM fees of up to $25 a month, making this one of the best choices for long-term checking accounts.

There is also a 2% APY account targeted towards teenage savers. This is capped at balances of $1,000, but it’s a great option for youngsters looking for their first accounts.

Loans and More

Mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, personal loans, auto loans—all of these and more are available at Connexus. Secure top rates on essential purchases, including both fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages ranging from 8 to 30 years.

Who Can Join?

You can join Connexus if you live/work in the local area or are employed by one of its partner organizations. Alternatively, you can make a small $5 donation to the Connexus Association.