credit unions

5 pros and cons of credit unions

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Find better credit card rates

Pro: Credit unions offer lower interest rates.

McBride says credit unions traditionally pass on the savings from their not-for-profit status through their entire product line, offering customers higher rates on savings accounts and lower rates on loans and credit cards.

"If you have a balance on your credit card and you're looking to transfer for a lower interest rate, credit unions offer very competitive rates," McBride says.

Con: They also offer lower rewards.

For consumers who pay off their balances in full each month, McBride recommends expanding the search for a credit card rewards program with a bigger payout.

"It's an increasingly competitive rewards landscape that benefits responsible consumers," McBride says.

Banks appear to be dominating the rewards landscape. Of the 50 credit cards in the 2012 Bankrate.com Credit Card Rewards Survey, only five cards were issued by credit unions. While some cards issued by banks offered up to 6 percent cash back in certain spending categories, credit-union-issued credit cards topped out at 1.5 percent.

 

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