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Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

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Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

Hey guys, just wanted to hear you guys thoughts on this so when it comes to credit cards, we know and see the major banks everywhere around us from Chase, BoA, Citibank, etc and even though Amex isn't a physical bank, nor do they offer a online banking - checking, they're like a hybrid where they process merchant payments and have credit cards. So, my thing is when I look at credit cards I look to see how the structure are as far as rewards, and if it makes sense for the categories and whatnot. Most of the time, we wouldn't go to a credit union for a credit card unless they're really big but say for example even tho a major bank doesn't offer a good reward structure, would you choose a credit union credit card if it has a better structure? Or it doesn't matter, as long as the customer service is good to where everything is accurate? Cause we know that sometimes banks don't honor their bonuses.

Like for example, boa has the cash rewards of 3% on a category that you could choose, 2% on groceries and warehouse clubs and 1% everywhere else, it's typical - average card. However, let's say a credit union like SAFE, it gives you 5% on a quarterly category and 3% on gas, dining, etc who would you give your money to?

Thanks.
Message 1 of 14
13 REPLIES 13
Frequent Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

Credit unions are fantastic. Whether big or small, they are great to work with. I would absolutely choose a credit union card over a bank card when the rewards work with my spending. I don't know if there's a particular issue with the credit union in your example, SAFE, but the 5% card looks superior to BOA Cash Rewards, unless you want a particular category that the BOA card offers.


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Message 2 of 14
Valued Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Cap One has treated me like a king.

PenFed and NFCU can’t figure out if they love me or hate me.

 

As with anything, balance is the key I think.  Eggs in baskets.

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Message 3 of 14
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

50/50 as they say. You go for the card that works for you. Not all Credit Unions are great to deal with. Some favor certain members over others, ie Penfed ime, as does some banks. So your experience csn vary greatly with each lender depending on varying factors.
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Message 4 of 14
Established Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

I am a member of two credit unions, and my experiences with them are totally different. To be fair, though, I've been a member of one for 32 years, and I joined the other the same day I applied for cards with them, so that may be a big part of it.

 

But, one credit union is Coastal. I have been a member since 1987 and my paycheck direct deposit goes there. They treat me like I have good credit when I really do not. They gave me a great auto loan, an unsecured personal loan, and a signature Visa rewards card with a $5,000 limit when all of my other credit cards were secured and my highest limit was a $1,500 Amazon Store Card. I feel like they would help me in any way they feasibly could and I am in direct email contact with a loan officer there who has never said "no" to anything I've asked him.

 

The other credit union is PenFed. I joined in June with a $5 savings deposit, based on a membership in Voices for America's Troops. I applied for a credit card the day I opened my savings account and was denied. This is after opening my Coastal accounts, but before they appeared on my credit reports. My Equifax FICO 8 was 691 at the time and Equifax FICO 9 was something like 770 for some weird reason, so I was hoping they'd approve based on raw scores. I called them to see if they could reconsider the denial and a nice gentleman explained that there's nothing they can do, it's up to the computer.

 

Both are credit unions, but I feel like they are worlds apart as far as my relationship with them and how much they will try to help me. But again, as you can see from my description, my relationship with Coastal is MUCH longer and more substantial.



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Message 5 of 14
Community Leader
Mega Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards


@TheBoondocks wrote:
Hey guys, just wanted to hear you guys thoughts on this so when it comes to credit cards, we know and see the major banks everywhere around us from Chase, BoA, Citibank, etc and even though Amex isn't a physical bank, nor do they offer a online banking - checking, they're like a hybrid where they process merchant payments and have credit cards. So, my thing is when I look at credit cards I look to see how the structure are as far as rewards, and if it makes sense for the categories and whatnot. Most of the time, we wouldn't go to a credit union for a credit card unless they're really big but say for example even tho a major bank doesn't offer a good reward structure, would you choose a credit union credit card if it has a better structure? Or it doesn't matter, as long as the customer service is good to where everything is accurate? Cause we know that sometimes banks don't honor their bonuses.

Like for example, boa has the cash rewards of 3% on a category that you could choose, 2% on groceries and warehouse clubs and 1% everywhere else, it's typical - average card. However, let's say a credit union like SAFE, it gives you 5% on a quarterly category and 3% on gas, dining, etc who would you give your money to?

Thanks.

 

 

 

Itr's hard to compare two CUs let alone CUs vs Banks. 

You should use the cards that financially make sense for you, regardless who the issuer is. 

Dont think about " who you're giving money to" as you stated in your post. Think about who is giving you more money back, then go with them

 

Also, when applying, planning a specific use for the card would help you avoid agonizing over which cards to use, and it would avoid redundancies and post app regrets. 

Use whatever gives you to best return, dont sweat who the lender is. 

EX 759 EQ 774 TU 753


Message 6 of 14
Super Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards


@Remedios wrote:

@TheBoondocks wrote:
Hey guys, just wanted to hear you guys thoughts on this so when it comes to credit cards, we know and see the major banks everywhere around us from Chase, BoA, Citibank, etc and even though Amex isn't a physical bank, nor do they offer a online banking - checking, they're like a hybrid where they process merchant payments and have credit cards. So, my thing is when I look at credit cards I look to see how the structure are as far as rewards, and if it makes sense for the categories and whatnot. Most of the time, we wouldn't go to a credit union for a credit card unless they're really big but say for example even tho a major bank doesn't offer a good reward structure, would you choose a credit union credit card if it has a better structure? Or it doesn't matter, as long as the customer service is good to where everything is accurate? Cause we know that sometimes banks don't honor their bonuses.

Like for example, boa has the cash rewards of 3% on a category that you could choose, 2% on groceries and warehouse clubs and 1% everywhere else, it's typical - average card. However, let's say a credit union like SAFE, it gives you 5% on a quarterly category and 3% on gas, dining, etc who would you give your money to?

Thanks.

 

 

 

Itr's hard to compare two CUs let alone CUs vs Banks. 

You should use the cards that financially make sense for you, regardless who the issuer is. 

Dont think about " who you're giving money to" as you stated in your post. Think about who is giving you more money back, then go with them

 

Also, when applying, planning a specific use for the card would help you avoid agonizing over which cards to use, and it would avoid redundancies and post app regrets. 

Use whatever gives you to best return, dont sweat who the lender is. 


This exactly. I think people sometimes overthink "relationship", lender, etc. At the end of the day you should apply for and use the products that benefit you. Many CU cards are pretty meh with nothing special rewards, but some people prefer the more "personal" service they can tend to provide.

 

I find it's best not to stress over it too much as stated. Use the cards that benefit you and pay the bills off. I guarantee the lender isn't sweating your relationship with them one way or the other as long as the bill is paid.

Message 7 of 14
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards


@Remedios wrote:

@TheBoondocks wrote:
Hey guys, just wanted to hear you guys thoughts on this so when it comes to credit cards, we know and see the major banks everywhere around us from Chase, BoA, Citibank, etc and even though Amex isn't a physical bank, nor do they offer a online banking - checking, they're like a hybrid where they process merchant payments and have credit cards. So, my thing is when I look at credit cards I look to see how the structure are as far as rewards, and if it makes sense for the categories and whatnot. Most of the time, we wouldn't go to a credit union for a credit card unless they're really big but say for example even tho a major bank doesn't offer a good reward structure, would you choose a credit union credit card if it has a better structure? Or it doesn't matter, as long as the customer service is good to where everything is accurate? Cause we know that sometimes banks don't honor their bonuses.

Like for example, boa has the cash rewards of 3% on a category that you could choose, 2% on groceries and warehouse clubs and 1% everywhere else, it's typical - average card. However, let's say a credit union like SAFE, it gives you 5% on a quarterly category and 3% on gas, dining, etc who would you give your money to?

Thanks.

 

 

 

Itr's hard to compare two CUs let alone CUs vs Banks. 

You should use the cards that financially make sense for you, regardless who the issuer is. 

Dont think about " who you're giving money to" as you stated in your post. Think about who is giving you more money back, then go with them

 

Also, when applying, planning a specific use for the card would help you avoid agonizing over which cards to use, and it would avoid redundancies and post app regrets. 

Use whatever gives you to best return, dont sweat who the lender is. 


+10 on every point. 

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Message 8 of 14
Mega Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

In most cases I agree that issuer type doesn't really matter for credit cards.   There are niche cases, where you want to use Amex Global Transfer, or use Citi/HSBC for similar international abilities.   For pure banking (checking/savings) you probably do best fee/reward wise with an online bank rather than traditional bank or credit union.    And if you want foreign paper currency at short notice, you are going to do better with an international bank than with most credit unions.

Message 9 of 14
Senior Contributor

Re: Major Banks vs Credit Union Credit Cards

Many of the smaller banks and credit unions IMO don't have great credit card programs. The exception being if you needed a secured rebuilder card.  For checking/savings dw and biz uses a regional bank with about 50 branches and has a great online banking platform. The closest branch is actually about 100 miles away. My personal account and dw secondary account are at Navy.   I love the 24 X7 service if I need them. DW, I and biz keep   checking accounts with bank 100 feet from office for emergencies. They are very hard to work with.  For credit cards with larger banks and larger credit unions I found all are good. The programs vary and it really depends on what you want. Miles, cash back, so forth some offer no rewards but great low interest on balances. 

Message 10 of 14
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