Happy Monday to everyone, and thanks for reading my first official blog as the Young and Free Maine spokester. Are you ready to be a part of something big? To be honest, I couldn’t have picked a better first day of work. The sun is shining, I have coffee running through my veins and life is good. So today is the first day of what is sure to be an exciting year in Maine’s credit unions.
So why does any of this pertain to you? Maybe you’re asking yourself, what is Young and Free? Is it a dating site perhaps? Does it mean that you are single and ready to mingle? The answer to that is no. Young and Free is not a dating site (sorry). If you are not a credit union member and are curious about what they have to offer, then you should be excited about the Young and Free program. Credit unions have a lot to offer the 18-25 year olds of Maine. Did you know that there are 64 different credit unions (not including branches) in Maine? Essentially what that means is there is a credit union near you!
I’ve found that driving around in a lime green Chevy Cruze is making people do a double take. Some asked (after I parked) about the car and what Young and Free is. After talking to these curious individuals, I came to realize that there are some misconceptions about credit unions and many questions about what they have to offer. Here are three of the most common misconceptions I found that people have.
Banks are more convenient because there are more locations nationwide
Not true. While I have been a member of a credit union for years now, I also believed this misconception. As someone who has driven to 42 states, I can tell you that it appeared that accessing my account outside of Maine was impossible. One of the benefits of being a credit union member is shared branching. Essentially you’re allowed to take your banking transactions to any credit union that has the ability. If your credit union is a shared branch, you are allowed to do banking at any of the 140 locations in Maine, and 4,200+ across the country. Thought credit unions were not convenient? Think again! Need a list of available shared branching locations in Maine and across the United States? Click here.
Not true. Most credit unions have online banking available, and some even have android and IPhone apps which make monitoring your accounts that much easier. Online banking with credit unions is just as simple as banking with a bank. I monitor my savings and checking account online, and when I need to transfer money from one account to another, it’s as easy as clicking a button. I don’t have to go into my credit union lobby or an ATM to transfer funds.
My bank doesn’t charge me any ATM fees. Credit unions don’t have that luxury
Not true. Credit unions of Maine launched a program called SURF which allows a credit union member to use ATMs across Maine with no surcharge fee. In fact, there are over 200 SURF locations throughout Maine now. Just look for the "SURF dude" to see if the ATM is surcharge free.
Now there are definitely more misconceptions out there about credit unions and what they have to offer, but I want to know what you have heard about credit unions. What’s stopping you from joining? Let me know! Here’s to a great year of blogs and videos filled with financial fun. I assure you, you won’t want to miss out!
Are you ready?