Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mythbuster: Credit Unions are inconvenient

One of the common excuses I hear from people about why they don’t belong to a credit union is that they are not convenient, the lack of branches and ATMs on every corner being their main concern. I shared this same logic years ago, before I truly came to understand and appreciate the credit union difference. In fact, I used to choose my primary financial institution based on which one had the most ATMs around town. Since then I have obviously been enlightened and would like to share a little anecdote with you…

On December 21 I left for Texas to spend the holidays with my family. In my rush to pack and get to the airport, I forgot to take cash out of the ATM for my journey. A few years ago, this would’ve stressed me out. But with the increased use of debit cards, I no longer have to worry. I was able to buy a snack during my layover at the DFW airport using my debit card, and once I got to my parent’s town I was able to use my card at the grocery store and get cash back for peace of mind. As it turned out, I didn’t need any cash because every retailer I visited accepted debit cards. I felt safe using my debit card because I knew that the money was coming directly out of my checking account and that I wasn’t spending anything I didn’t have. If I wanted to, I could’ve checked my balance via Home Banking or Telephone Teller to make sure I was within my limits. Or, I could’ve just called Verity’s 800 number and talked to someone in the Member Service Center. At no time during my vacation did I feel inconvenienced, even though I was far away from my credit union. I knew I had easy access to all of my accounts and to cash if I needed it. And most importantly, I knew that if I had any problems at all I had the Verity staff to back me up. I could call the 800 number and talk to a real person!

So, there you have it. With today's technology, credit unions are every bit as convenient as even the biggest banks. Another myth busted.

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