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Join the Club: How much money can a credit union membership save you?

navy federal credit union membership
U.S. Army photo by Mary Davis.

Why does joining a credit union feel like being part of an elite club? Because there are so many amazing, money-saving benefits that membership can get you. In fact, Navy Federal Credit Union’s members consistently save $349 on average, every year. As opposed to non-members, those who sign up for this club get savings on service fees, low-interest rates and rate discounts, cash back, partner perks, and other discounts.  

Here are some of the ways credit union members can save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year if members take full advantage of what their membership has to offer:

Save on Service Fees

Traditional banks often charge a monthly service fee if a checking account doesn’t meet a minimum balance or monthly deposit requirements. This fee can be as little as $6 or up to $15+/month. However, credit unions like NFCU have checking account options that don’t require a minimum balance.

There are also no service fees for a credit card balance transfer. If you are looking to transfer your credit card debt to a card with a lower interest rate, this perk can save you a fee that could be as much as 3-5% of your overall balance. For example, transferring a balance of $10,000 could cost anywhere from $300 to $500, but with an NFCU membership, there is no charge.

If you’re traveling abroad, having a membership could save you foreign transaction fees. These pesky fees can rack up an additional 1-3 % charge every time you use a domestic payment card in a foreign country. Even if that doesn’t seem like a lot, it could mean $30 for every $1,000 you spend on vacation or if you PCS overseas. Some travel experts even recommend using a card for all your purchases when traveling abroad because it likely will offer a better exchange rate than a currency exchange kiosk. This makes a no-fee card a must-have.

Low Rates and Rate Discounts

Another great perk of having a membership with a credit union is the rates are hard to beat. For example, NFCU will give you a .25% interest rate reduction on your student loans when you sign up for automatic payments, and every little bit helps.

In addition to a credit card balance transfer not having a service fee, credit union cards often have a lower APR across the board on their credit card offerings. The NFCU’s cards are 5% lower than the industry average and are capped at 18%. These are great cards to help pay off debt and to make sure you save on interest over your lifetime.

Get Cash Back

There are several ways to get cash back when you are a member of a credit union. For example, NFCU offers credit cards with 1.75% cash back, checking account dividends, and ATM reimbursement (up to $240 annually). Additionally, if you happen to buy or sell a home this year, you could get up to $9,000 cash back. Or you could get up to $200 cash back if you refinance your auto loan with NFCU.

Get Rewarded

We have covered several ways to get the most out of a credit union membership — and this last way is extra satisfying. When it comes to shopping online, member deals get you extra discounts on the items you purchase, you’ll rack up bonus credit card rewards, and you can even receive free shipping with select retailers. When buying anything online, check out the partner perks and discounts for dozens of extra ways to reap the rewards.

Who would have thought joining the club would more than pay for the price of the annual membership? There aren’t many clubs that pay for themselves, but this is a fantastic way to cash in on a membership with a credit union. There are so many ways you can get the best use of your NFCU membership by taking advantage of the benefits waiting for you to claim. It sounds like a smart money move to me!

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