Credit union loans are among the most competitive loans available. They typically come with low rates and fees, which means a lower overall cost of borrowing. What's more, you might have better luck qualifying at a credit union. Credit unions aren't interested in making loans that will never get repaid, but they are more likely to take a more personal approach to evaluating your loan (instead of spitting out an automated answer).
So, how can you get a loan from a credit union? Three simple steps will get you funded:
- Find a credit union
- Become a member
- Apply for the loan
Getting Started With Credit Unions
If you’ve never used credit unions before, you may not know much about them, or you may just think they’re the same as banks. There are plenty of similarities, but a key difference is ownercredit unions are nonprofits owned by their customers. As a result, credit union loan rates often come out a little bit lower.
- Learn more about How Credit Unions Work
- Unsecured (Signature) loans
- Home equity loans
- Auto loans
- Business loans
- Student loans
Small credit unions might have fewer options, but you'll never know for sure until you ask.
Becoming a Member
Before applying for a credit union loan, you have to become a ‘member’ or a partial owner of the credit union (don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds).
To become a member, you'll have to qualify by meeting certain criteria. That usually means you share some characteristics with other members (such as where you live or the industry that you or your family members work in).
No matter who you are, there's a good chance that you can join a credit union.
To find out which credit unions are available nearby, try the National Credit Union Administration's credit union search tool. If you can't find anything local, plenty of credit unions accept members from all over the United States.
Applying for a Loan
Once you've picked a credit union, contact the institution and let them know you’re interested in borrowing money. Applying for membership is usually very quick and easy, and usually only requires that you make a small deposit to a savings account.
Once you’re a member, you can apply for a loan.
Like bank loans, credit union loans usually require you to prove your creditworthiness. The credit union needs to know that you can repay the loan. Having consistent income and good credit will help you qualify for the best loans. If you don't have either of those, start building credit and consider using a co-signer to get approved.