Credit Union Fact or Fiction

Time to clear the mystery. Do you know the truth about credit unions? I’ll clear up some of the myths with CU Fact or Fiction.

A Big Bank has more ATMs in Maine than a Credit Union

FICTION – Many credit unions across Maine are part of the SURF ATM Network. SURF stands for surcharge free. If you’re a CU member, you can access your money at any of these SURF ATMs for free! If you’re a customer at a bank and try to take money out at another bank’s ATM, you’ll probably be charged a hefty fee. SURF ATMs outnumber the ATMs of banks, making it easier and cheaper to withdraw money, check balances, and make transfers on the go.

Credit Unions don’t have the technology I want

FICTION – This is one of the biggest credit union myths. Credit unions may be smaller than big banks, and they may be more locally focused, but many of Maine’s Credit Unions exceed the technology offerings of the larger banks. Many credit unions now have online banking, mobile apps for smart phones and tablets, and even Remote Check Capture, which allows you to deposit checks from your phone! Credit unions are on the cutting edge of technology.

Credit Unions don’t have convenient branches

FICTION – Have you heard of the Shared Branch Network? This network of credit unions makes it possible for you to access your money at any participating branch, anywhere in Maine, and even across the country. While your CU may have just a few branches locally, you can still walk into any Shared Branch, anywhere and do many of the same transactions that you would at your home branch. Through sharing their branches, Maine’s Credit Unions actually have more locations than any single bank in the state. There’s always a convenient branch wherever you are. Find a shared branch location near you using

Banks charge higher penalties and fees

FACT – Credit unions are not-for-profit, which means money left over after expenses are paid goes back into the CU and is transferred to members in the form of lower fees. Overdraw your account? You’ll probably pay more at a big bank than at a credit union. Even better, if you have a Free4ME account, you’ll get at least one overdraw fee reversed thanks to the Oops! Refund. Don’t get confused, though. Credit unions may have other penalties and fees for other situations, but they’re likely to be much less than what a bank would charge, and you’ll find CU’s fee policy to be more transparent and member-focused. 

Kylie K.