All the interest checking perks a credit union has to offer are only available to its members. Many credit unions restrict membership based on geography, so depositors may have to live, work or worship in a particular community in order to be eligible to join the institution, Schenk says.
Other credit unions may have employment requirements, meaning members must work for a particular company to join.
Fortunately, it's relatively easy for a depositor to find a local credit union, says Schenk. Consumers can search for an institution with the help of an online locator, he says. Potential members can search by ZIP code, city or credit union name.
Schenk advises consumers to look at different institutions and review product offerings before becoming a member. Potential account holders should know the APY of the interest checking account and understand specific rules and restrictions, such as transaction minimums or electronic statement requirements, he says.
"The best thing to do is shop around and make sure you're comparing apples to apples with checking account features," Schenk says.