Smart Spending

Banks vs. credit unions: what’s the difference?

Since we’re member-owned, we’re member-driven. Here are 7 reasons why a credit union could make sense for you.

Key takeaways:

  • When you become a credit union member, you’ll earn higher interest and pay lower fees.
  • Credit unions offer competitive rates and the financial services you need most, including loans and mortgages, insurance products, investment options, credit cards as well as checking and savings accounts.
  • Because our members are our owners, your well-being is important to us; Alaska USA contributes to the communities we serve through donations and community support programs.


Your decision of where and how to manage your money is a personal one. Both banks and credit unions keep your savings safe, and they both offer loans and other financial services. But in recent years, more consumers have been choosing credit unions versus banks. Today, more than 126 million Americans use a credit union. And more than 700,000 of them have chosen Alaska USA Federal Credit Union.


When you choose a credit union vs a bank, here’s how you’ll benefit


1. You become an owner of the credit union

While a bank is owned by shareholders, a not-for-profit credit union like Alaska USA is owned by its members. This means that instead of returning profits to investors, we’ll return those profits to you and our other members in the form of higher dividend rates, lower loan interest rates, and lower fees.

2. You’ll be treated like an owner

Because members are owners, we’re motivated to give you the best experience possible, through personal, friendly service. Plus, we’ve developed tools and resources to help you learn how to manage your money most effectively. We’re in this together.

3. You will earn higher interest and pay lower fees at a credit union vs. a bank

Worried about paying too much in fees? Want to earn more on your savings? It all adds up. Since a credit union is a member-owned not-for-profit, you benefit from the credit union’s success. This translates to higher dividends, lower loan rates, and lower fees.

4. You’ll find the financial services you need

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of financial services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto and personal loans, mortgages and real estate loans, insurance products, investment options, and more.

5. We’ll keep your money safe

We’re backed by the NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, which means up to $250,000 per depositor is insured. Plus, we provide fraud alerts and help you learn how to detect and avoid scams.

6. We’ll be there when you need us

We operate more than 60 branches in four states, several of which are open seven days a week. And if you need help after hours, we offer a mobile app, online banking and a Member Service Center that you can call 24/7/365. Even if you move out of our service area, you can continue to maintain your accounts with us.

7. We make a difference in your community

In addition to returning profits back to our members, we are committed to serving the communities in which our members live, work, and attend school. In 2021, Alaska USA contributed nearly $650,000 to non-profit organizations in more than 50 communities. Plus, our members donated nearly $200,000 to local fundraisers coordinated by the Alaska USA Foundation, funding services for children, veterans, and active-duty members of the armed service. Plus, our employees volunteer hundreds of hours supporting organizations they are passionate about. We even provide financial literacy programs to students, and host retirement seminars to help members and families better understand money management.


A woman smiling
A woman smiling

Did you know?

It’s easier than ever to become a member of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Your physical address will be used to determine membership eligibility. To qualify, you must live, work, worship, or go to school in one of the many communities we serve. For questions about eligibility, please contact our Member Service Center at 800-525-9094 or

More consumers are choosing credit unions versus banks because a credit union is a cooperative—we’re all in this together. We succeed when you succeed.

Related Content

Young couple sitting together

How to Build Credit from Scratch: 4 Things to Know

Building credit can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a credit history.

Mother and father holding daughter on their shoulders.

How Do I Automatically Transfer Money to Savings?

Reach your goals faster with automatic transfers to your savings account.

Young couple moving into their first home

6 Common First-Time Homebuyer Loan Programs

First home? Here’s how to find the best mortgage program for you.

Man checking email on his smartphone.
Man checking email on his smartphone.

Knowledge is power

Equip yourself to make smart financial decisions in every stage of life—subscribe for financial know-how and more.