Banks vs. Credit Unions: Opening a High Interest Savings Account

Posted on May 15, 2013

Are you considering opening a new bank account? Whether it’s for personal or business, there are a lot of things to consider. Are you going to go with a traditional bank, or a credit union? What are the interest rates? There are many different options, and the details may vary depending on your area. However, there are some basics to consider.

Credit Union

Image via Flickr by kenteegardin

Credit Unions are very localized. They are not national chains, and because of this, they may not be able to offer you the same incentives that larger banks can. Credit Unions, however, are known for having good interest rates on their savings accounts.



As seen on Forbes, Mashable,
  • Have requirements for membership – some Credit Unions are localization based, others only allow membership for employees of certain companies, etc.
  • Good interest rates on savings accounts.
  • Good interest rates on other accounts, such as mortgages and car loans.
  • Members get special promotions, such as discount tickets to local shows or amusement parks.
  • Many Credit Unions require minimum deposits and/or minimum balances.

Traditional Bank

Image via Flickr by kenteegardin

Many people today see traditional banks as the bad guy. However, traditional banks are a great way to invest your money in high interest accounts. With these accounts, you can walk into the bank and make deposits and withdrawals. Traditional banks generally do not have as many restrictions as Credit Unions.

  • No membership requirements. However, for some banks, you may be required to pass a background and/or credit check.
  • Though you can get good interest rates on savings accounts, the rates are usually not as high as those from a credit union.
  • Interest rates for other accounts like car loans and mortgages are comparable to credit unions.
  • There are usually not many special promotions associated with traditional banks. Occasionally, you may get special perks for signing up, such as a bonus in your account. This is very dependent on the bank itself.
  • Traditional banks are the most well-known for requiring minimum deposits and minimum balances. If the minimum balances are not met, they charge monthly fees, or in some cases close the account.

Online Bank

The newest trend in banking is online banks. One of the great things about online banks is that you can get great high interest accounts and do quick and easy high interest savings account comparison online. Online banks are known for their flexibility.

  • There are generally very few requirements for online bank accounts.
  • The interest rates for savings account are the highest in the industry.
  • With an online bank, you can get very good interest rates for other accounts, such as car loans and mortgages.
  • Though you may get special promotions such as a sign up bonus, you will not get local promotions.
  • Minimum deposits may be required to open the account, but the amount is generally very low. There is usually no minimum balance or fees.

When looking for a high interest savings account, it is important to do your research. Find an account that works for you and your situation. What works well for one person may not be the best solution for everyone.


2 Replies to "Banks vs. Credit Unions: Opening a High Interest Savings Account"

  • Teddy Hunt
    May 16, 2013 (10:05 am)

    Thanks for the post. This article is very helpful.

  • Finance and Me
    June 13, 2013 (4:35 am)

    Hello guys,
    I know this might be a bit off-topic, but I am from and organization called
    Child and Youth Finance International and our aim is to provide access to
    financial services and financial education to youth around the world. We have
    now developed a survey for people under the age of 25 in order to help us
    achieve our aim. If anyone would be willing to fill it out (if it applies to
    you), or take it to someone who could, it would be of great help. I leave you
    the links to our website and the survey. Thank you very much.



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