Banks are not the only option available for banking services. Credit unions used to be limited to certain areas or groups, but this has changed significantly. There are now many credit unions that anyone can join, and they offer a great alternative to traditional banks.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 6 credit unions with membership criteria that anyone can meet, and we’ll explore their best products and services.

Comparing Credit Unions That Anyone Can Join

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the 6 credit unions anyone can join. We focus on the accounts offered and their terms to help you choose the best credit union for your needs.

Credit UnionMembership CostMinimum DepositBranch LocationsATM NetworkBusiness Accounts?Investment Accounts?
Connexus$5$5 savings
$0 checking
WI, MN, OH, & NHCO-OP Network & MoneyPass NetworkCredit Card OnlyYes
Alliantfree$25 savings
$5 checking
NoneAlliant NetworkReal Estate OnlyYes
Consumers$5$5 savings
$5 checking
Chicago, ILCO-OP Network YesYes
First Tech Federal$8/$15$5 savings
$10 checking
8 statesCO-OP Network YesYes
PenFedfree$5 savings
$25 checking
12+ statesAllpointNoYes
LFCU$5$5 savings
$25 checking
IN, KY, TNAlliance OneYesYes

Credit Unions That Anyone Can Join

In this article, we’ll look at 6 credit unions that all offer membership nationwide to anyone. Each offers basic banking services with minor differences in the products and rates offered. 

We’ll explore the pros and cons of each of the credit unions on this list, and we’ll summarize their account offerings and terms. 

1. Connexus Credit Union

🏆 Best for student loans & credit cards

Connexus Credit Union home page

Connexus is a credit union based in the midwest, with over 445,000 members. 

Membership is open to anyone in the U.S., even though their physical branches are limited to 3 states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Members outside of this geographical area can access their accounts via ATMs or credit union locations in the CO-OP or MoneyPass network.

This credit union offers a variety of personal account options, including checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, loans, and more.

The two areas where Connexus excels are student loans and credit cards. They offer 10 credit cards (6 personal and 4 business). They also have a partnership with ISL Education Lending to offer a wide variety of student loans and refinancing plans.  

Connexus Credit Union Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Offers a variety of credit cards – personal & business
  • Student loan options
  • Provides insurance services
  • Dedicated savings accounts for kids & holidays


  • No business accounts
  • Requires membership fee

Accounts & Fees

Membership at Connexus is open to anyone with a $5 donation to the Connexus Association. 

Or you can qualify for free membership if you are a local resident, are a family member of an existing member, or have an association with one of their partner organizations

You will need to open a savings account and deposit a minimum of $5 to activate your membership. 

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/RequirementsInterest RateMaximum balance for APY
Innovative CheckingNoneNoneNoneN/A
Xtraordinary CheckingNone15 debit card transactions or $400 in purchases1.75% APY$25,000
Member Share Savings$5$100 for interest earnings0.25% APYNone
Money Market$1000$1000Up to 4.76% APYNone

Rates are current as of 07/2023

In addition to the above accounts, Connexus offers specialized checking and savings accounts for teens as well as a holiday savings account. And they offer a basic IRA savings account and a health savings account (HSA).

They also offer a variety of loans, including 

  • Auto loans & refinancing
  • Mortgages
  • Personal loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • Student loans and refinancing
  • RV loans

One fee to be aware of is Connexus’s $5 inactivity fee. If your account remains inactive for 12 months or more, you’ll be charged this fee.

2. Alliant Credit Union

🏆 Best for online banking

Alliant Credit Union home page

Alliant is a unique credit union: they are 100% digital. There are no physical branches. Instead, they have their own network of 80,000+ ATMs that you can use with zero fees. 

Founded as the United Airlines Employees credit union back in 1935, membership has been opened to everyone. 

Membership is free if you are employed by one of their partner organizations, if you live in the Chicago area, or if you are a family member of an existing member. If none of these apply, you can join Alliant by becoming a member of Foster Care to Success, which will make you eligible for Alliant membership. Alliant will pay the one-time $5 membership fee to FC2S on the member’s behalf.

You can set up a membership, purchase insurance, open accounts, and apply for loans all via their online banking platform or mobile app. 

Alliant Credit Union Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Well-developed online banking platform
  • Mobile banking app
  • Full retirement and investment services
  • Start with a checking or savings account


  • Limited business account options
  • No physical branches

Accounts & Fees

Aside from the required enrollment to FC2S, you will need to open either a checking account or savings account. Most credit unions require a savings account. 

In addition, you’ll need to maintain a $5 minimum balance in your account. Still, Alliant will help you out by gifting you a $5 deposit. 

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/RequirementsInterest RateMaximum balance for APY
High-Rate Checking$0 or $25*None0.25% APYNone
High-Rate Savings$5* or $25 if it is your only account$5 or $100 for interest earnings3.10% APY None
Supplemental Savings$5$5 or $100 for interest earnings3.06% APYNone

*Alliant gifts you $5 when you open the account.
Rates are current as of 07/2023

Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are also available.

In addition to their banking and investment accounts, Alliant also offers a variety of loans with reasonable APRs, including

  • Mortgages
  • Home equity line of credit
  • Auto loans
  • RV loans
  • Personal loans
  • Commercial real estate loans

They also offer home, auto, and life insurance plans as well as two credit cards, one with a 12-month 0% introductory offer and the other with cashback earnings of up to 2.5%. 

All of these accounts can be set up and managed online or via their mobile app.

3. Consumers Credit Union

🏆 Best for business accounts

Consumers Credit Union home page

Consumers Credit Union is a Chicago-based financial institution with 17 branches located around the Chicago area. 

To support customers outside this limited geographical area, Consumers has joined the CO-OP Network, which offers over 30,000 free ATMs. 

Membership is open to anyone that joins the Consumers Cooperative Association

Consumer Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Range of business accounts & services
  • High APY checking account
  • High rewards earning credit cards


  • Requires membership donation
  • Branches limited to the Chicago area

Accounts & Fees

Membership in Consumers Credit Union is open to anyone. All that is required is a one-time $5 donation to the Consumers Cooperative Association. 

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/RequirementsInterest RateMaximum balance for APY
Free Checking$5NoneNoneN/A
Rewards Checking$5$500/month in deposits & 12 debit transactions/month*Up to 5% APY$10,000
Membership Share Savings$5$5 0.03% APYNone
Smart SaverNoneDeposit $50+/month and meet checking account minimums2.00% APYMax $1000 deposit a month
Money MarketNone$250,000+ for max APYUp to 1.16% APYNone
Freedom Business CheckingNoneNoneNoneN/A
Business Savings$5$5 for dividend earnings0.05% APYNone

*These are the minimum requirements for 3% APY. For higher rates, you’ll need a Consumer Visa credit card. 
Rates are current as of 07/2023

In addition to the accounts listed above, Consumer offers investment accounts, education accounts, holiday savings accounts, and more.

They also offer a variety of loans, credit cards, and other products. In particular, they have a wide range of business products, including:

  • 4 checking account types
  • Business savings
  • Business money market accounts
  • Commercial mortgages
  • Secured lines of credit
  • Equipment financing
  • 2 business credit cards
  • Additional business services

Consumers Credit Union offers a variety of banking products and services to their members, but the area where Consumers really stands out is their business offerings. They offer a variety of accounts, loans, and services dedicated to businesses and business owners.

4. First Tech Federal Credit Union

🏆 Best for insurance & credit building

First Tech Federal Credit Union home page

First Tech Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 by employees at Hewlett-Packard. It has since opened up membership to anyone. However, those who work for certain tech companies are still offered banking services for free. 

Originally based in Oregon and California, Frist Tech now has 30+ locations scattered throughout the US. They have also partnered with the CO-OP network to offer free ATM and branch services nationwide at more than 30,000 locations. 

While First Tech offers a variety of products and services, there are two areas in particular in which they excel: insurance offerings and credit-building accounts. 

First Tech Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Credit building products
  • A variety of insurance types
  • 6 credit cards to choose from
  • High-interest rate kids accounts


  • Requires membership donation
  • Higher than normal minimum deposits
  • Lower than average interest rates

Accounts & Fees

Membership for First Tech is open to anyone. If you have a family member who is a member, you work/live in Lane County, Oregon, or you work for one of their partner companies, your membership is free. 

If none of the above apply, you can still become a member if you belong to the Computer History Museum ($15 membership fee) or the Financial Fitness Association ($8 membership fee).

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/Requirements Interest RateMaximum balance for APY
Rewards Checking$1020 transactions & $1000/month in deposits for interest earningsUp to 4.00% APY or 0.1% APY$15,000
Rewards Savings$25Linked rewards checking for interest earningsUp to 4.0% APY or 0.1% APY $1,000/$25,000
First Checking$10None0.05% APYNone
Carefree checking$10NoneNoneN/A
Membership Savings$5$50.05% APYNone
Carefree Savings$25None0.10% APYNone
Instant Access Savings$5,000$0.01Up to 0.90% APY or 0.60% APYNone

Rates are current as of 07/2023

In addition to the accounts listed above, First Tech also offers accounts dedicated to children/teens, IRAs, and business checking and savings accounts

On the loan front, Frist Tech offers various products that can help members with bad credit get financing, consolidate debt, and improve their credit. Such accounts include

Additionally; First Tech offers a wide range of insurance; from car insurance and life insurance to pet insurance and earthquake insurance. They also have many types of business insurance

5. PenFed Credit Union

🏆 Best for mortgage financing & resources

PenFed Credit Union home page

PenFed, also known as Pentagon Federal, was originally established to serve government workers and members of the military. PenFed has now opened its doors to everyone. There is no membership fee or donation required!

All you need to do is apply and open a savings account with a minimum $5 deposit. 

While many of PenFed’s original locations served the DC area, they have since spread across the nation with more than 40 branch locations. To assist those who do not live/work near a branch, they are also members of the Allpoint network with over 55,000 free ATMs. 

PenFed offers the usual menu of banking accounts and loan accounts, but the one area where they excel is their mortgage resources

They offer a range of mortgage types from conventional to ARM and even a special PowerBuyer loan. They also offer home loan refinancing options, lender credit (up to $2,500), and home-buying education resources. 

PenFed Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Free membership
  • Lender credit for mortgages up to $2500.
  • Multiple student loan resources


  • No business accounts
  • Lower than normal APYs

Accounts & Fees

Membership for PedFed is now open to anyone and is 100% free.

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/Requirements Interest RateMaximum balance for APY
Free Checking$25NoneNone$15,000
Access America Checking$10$500Up to 0.35% APY$20,000/$50,000
Regular Savings$5None0.05% APYNone
Premium Savings$5None3.0% APYNone
Money Market Savings$25$100,000 for max APYUp to 0.15% APYNone

Rates current as of 07/2023

PenFed also offers several credit cards as well as personal loans, auto loans, and student loans. They do not offer business loans.

There are also many mortgage options offered through PenFed. They offer FHA loans, VA loans, conventional loans, ARM loans, jumbo loans, and a special PowerBuyer loan which is geared toward those purchasing a home in a hot housing market. 

Additionally, there are multiple home loan refinance options available. 

And, when you obtain a mortgage loan from PenFed, you’ll be rewarded with a lender credit. That credit can be up to $2,500, depending on the purchase price of your home. A lender credit will reduce your closing costs but could give you a higher interest rate. Be sure to check the impact on your rate before accepting a lender credit.

6. Liberty Federal Credit Union

🏆 Best for rate transparency and specialized mortgages

LFCU home page

Liberty Federal Credit Union, Liberty FCU for short, is an Indiana-based credit union. 

You don’t have to be a teacher to join, though. Membership is open to anyone willing to make a $5 donation to their partner alumni association fund. 

Liberty FCU has physical branches spread across Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennesee. To support their customers nationwide, they have also joined the Alliance One network, which boasts nearly 5,000 ATMs.  

Liberty FCU offers the usual range of services, but they go a step above in disclosing their rates for banking accounts and loans

They also offer some pretty unique home financing options. 

This includes home types that other lenders may deny, such as manufactured homes, and dedicated loans for certain occupations.

ETFCU Pros & Cons

✔️ Pros

  • Unique mortgage options
  • Transparent rates
  • High-interest rate checking
  • Partnership with a brokerage service


  • Requires membership fee
  • Higher than normal minimum deposits
  • Limited ATM coverage

Accounts & Fees

Membership at Liberty FCU is open to anyone. Those who work for a qualifying organization or have a family member who has membership will receive their membership at Liberty FCU for free. 

Those who aren’t immediately eligible can join with a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Freinds & Alumni Association.  

Available Accounts & Associated Fees
AccountMinimum DepositMinimum Balance/Requirements Interest RateMaximum balance for APY
Vertical Checking$25N/A3.45% APY$20,000
Platinum Rewards Checking$25$5000.005% APY$1,000/$25,000
Classic Checking$25$500 for interest earnings0.005% APYNone
Investor Checking$25$1000 to $50,000 for interest earningsUp to 0.25% APYNone
Share Savings$200$2000.01% APYNone
Money Market Savings$1,000$1,000 or $100,000 for max APYUp to 0.30% APYNone

Rates current as of 07/2023

Liberty FCU also offers a variety of loans, credit cards, and business accounts. In addition, they have a partnership with CUNA Brokerage Services to offer a variety of investment services

Liberty FCU also offers some highly specialized mortgages. In addition to common mortgage types, like conventional and FHA, Liberty FCU issues loans for the following

  • Pole barn homes
  • Manufactured homes
  • Fannie Mae Home Ready
  • Renovations
  • Community Hero – nurses, first responders, teachers, etc.
  • Condo loan
  • Freddie Mac Home Possible
  • Bridge loan
  • USDA Rural Housing 
  • Lot purchases
  • Physicians – MD, DO, DDS, DMD, OD, DP, or DPM
  • Construction 

Many of their home loan products also come with gift cards of up to $500 at closing.

What to Know When Shopping for a Credit Union

Credit unions can offer the same variety of services that a traditional bank can, and the customer service you are likely to receive will be far superior. Many traditional banks still offer a much wider range of products and services, and if your banking needs are complex a traditional bank may be a better option.

📕 Read our detailed overview of the main differences between a bank and a credit union to find out more.

Sure, credit unions require membership, but the potential dividend earnings and interest rate savings outweigh the initial cost. 

That said, if you decide you want to open an account with a credit union, look closely at all of the features they offer. After all, you don’t want to get stuck with a credit union that doesn’t offer all of the services you need or has account requirements that you cannot meet. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping around for the perfect credit union. 

Size – Does the credit union have locations in your area? If not, do they work with an ATM network? 

Insurance – The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) offers insurance up to $250,000 per customer account for Federal credit unions. But not all credit unions use this insurance. Some credit unions use state or private insurance instead. 

Account Requirements Versus Earnings – For instance, a checking account may have a high APY rate, which means little if you can’t meet the minimum balance and transaction requirements. 

Account types available – Does the credit union offer all of the banking and borrowing services you need? If they don’t, you could find yourself with accounts scattered across many financial institutions. 

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