For many years, credit unions were only available through an employer or group association. Not anymore. There are many credit unions that are open to a wider field of membership, just like 1st United. But there are a few things you need to know before you apply for membership. These steps will help you to get started.
Step 1: Find the best credit union for you
Different credit unions offer different products and services so you’ll want to research those in your area to find one that works best for you. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements such as working for a specific company or living or working in a certain city or county. 1st United, for example, offers membership to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, and Kings Counties.
Step 2: Apply
Just like at a bank, you can typically apply for a credit union online, over the phone, or in-person at a local branch. You will be asked to provide a Social Security Number, a physical address, and valid identification such as your driver’s license or passport. After submitting your application, the credit union will pull your credit report and other history such as ChexSystems – which tracks your check writing history – prior to offering membership. Once you apply and credit is run, the credit union will let you know if you qualify for membership and what types of accounts you may open.
Step 3: Pay your membership share
Credit union members are owners of their financial institution and are asked to buy a “share” in the company. At 1st United, the share is $5 and you’ll be asked to deposit this amount into a savings account when you become a member. The share can be paid by cash, check or a transfer from another financial institution. If you apply online, 1st United waives the fee, too.
Step 4: Enjoy the benefits
Once you’ve paid your share and opened your accounts, you are all set to begin enjoying credit union benefits. At 1st United, we offer financial products in addition to discounts on life and auto insurance, identity theft protection, VISA gift cards, and auto buying services. And because credit unions operate with their members’ best interests in mind, they tend to offer extensive financial education and planning.
There are many advantages to joining a credit union for you financial services. And if you live, work, or attend school in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, and Kings Counties, we invite you to check us out.