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5 Ways Credit Union Credit Cards Can Beat Flashy Bank Offers

When you're frequently bombarded with ads for credit cards at big banks, it's easy to overlook credit cards at a local credit union. Since credit unions are not-for-profit organizations and typically require membership based on location or affiliation with an employer, a family member or an organization, it may seem more difficult to apply. Major credit card issuers generally don’t have these requirements.

But while the rewards and perks are often flashier on bank-issued credit cards, credit union credit cards may offer generous incentives of their own or other forms of value. Plus, a credit union provides many of the same services that banks do, but the profits are returned to members in the form of reduced fees, lower interest rates and more.

Here are some ways in which credit union credit cards can eclipse glitzy offers from banks.

It's not uncommon to find credit cards at a credit union with lower annual fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, late fees and so forth. In fact, the average late fee is about $10 cheaper at a credit union than at a bank, according to a Membership Benefits report by the Credit Union National Association. And at Orlando Credit Union, we have ZERO fees to transfer your balances!

If you carry a balance on a credit card over a long period, you can potentially save more money on interest with a credit card from a credit union than one from a bank. That's because, unlike at banks, interest rates at federally chartered credit unions are capped. Federal law caps the interest rate on loans and credit cards at 18%.

As of March 2021, the national average interest rate for a credit card from a credit union is 10.97% compared with 12.55% at banks, according to the NCUA. Orlando Credit Union's new Visa Platinum Smart Card standard rates start at just 5.75% for purchases and balance transfers.

Some credit union credit cards compete with the sign-up bonuses or ongoing rewards rates found at big banks. It's one of the ways these not-for-profit institutions return value to members.

When you have less-than-ideal credit and don't have enough money for a security deposit on a secured credit card, a credit union may provide alternatives to build credit.

Orlando Credit Union offers an online Financial Wellness center

Resources are available in the form of online educational tools, seminars or partnerships with organizations that provide credit counseling or financial planning services.
Orlando Credit Union offers free financial assistance through Greenpath. Members can receive a credit report review to gain a better understanding of their credit and learn how they can improve their credit score.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 7/27/21