Credit Union Offers more than Free Cashier Check

I did not think about writing a post about credit union until I was able to request cashier check without any fee from my Star One Credit Union.

Star One also offer several other benefits.  I do not know if these are general characteristics of a credit union.

If you are looking for these benefits, check out a credit union which has a branch office near where you live or where you work.  Search online about the credit union review.  If the credit union has a partnership with your company, that would be the best.  For example, techCU is fairly popular in the SF Silicon Valley.  But I opened accounts in Star One Credit Union (for Santa Clara County).

Why Isa and I opened accounts in Star One Credit Union

  • No-fee cashier check: it charges no fee for up to three cashier check per day, if my account balance is at least $5000,
  • Competitive savings interest rate: its savings account interest rate is currently 0.85% per year, higher than even most CD annual interest rate.  Fidelity currently offers 0.70% for one-year CD.
  • No-fee and competitive HELOC interest rate: No account management fee for Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) account.  There is also no closing cost if HELOC is not over $250k, and no cancellation fee after 2-years account opening.  I applied for a HELOC in 2015.  I became Star One member, because of their competitive HELOC offering.
  • Account sign-up bonus:  like Chase bank, it sometimes offer account bonus.  I received $150 from opening a checking account with $50 opening balance and monthly direct deposit, and another $100 for closing a HELOC with them.
  • Free checking account: I have a checking and savings account with only $50 balance, to become eligible for their home mortgage program.
  • Competitive mortgage program: its mortgage rate often beats those offer by large banks.  Unlike non-bank mortgage firm, credit union charges lower closing cost for lower loan amount, because there is no middle man (loan broker) who would want to make a good commission from your mortgage loan transaction.
There are many credit unions in US.  Each credit union should be unique in its own way in order to stay competitive in the banking business.  Identify what you need (mortgage loan? auto loan?), then google search which credit unions' offering fits your needs.

I would not recommend opening a checking account just to earn the account sign-up bonus.  The time and effort you put to open and close the account will be worth much more than $150.

It took us five days to open a checking account successfully, but three months to finalize my HELOC account.  Therefore, if you plan to take advantage of these benefits, take into the time needed to open an account.

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