TIP OF THE WEEK

The banking and credit union worlds are as much the same as they are different. Both are eager to earn your business and to provide you with loans, mortgages, savings and checking accounts. With that said, there are some significant differences between the two financial institutions.

Credit union and banks: The differences

The primary difference between a credit union and a bank is that a credit union is a not-for-profit cooperative, meaning it’s owned by its members or customers. Profits made by credit unions are returned back to members in the form of reduced fees, higher savings rates and lower loan rates. A bank, on the other hand, is for-profit, owned by shareholders and focused on its stock value.

Credit union advantages

Credit unions, by and large, are able to provide better rates to their members. Unlike a for-profit bank, credit unions return their “profits” to members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher interest on deposits and more personalized services. Other advantages of a credit union are that they tend to have lower fees on checks, withdrawals and electronic transactions, and many offer checking accounts with no minimum balance and without a monthly service charge.

Bank advantages

Banks, because of their size and scale, tend to offer more financial products than credit unions. For example, a credit union may have two or three different types of checking and savings accounts, whereas a bank may have dozens to choose from. Depending on where you live, banks will most likely have more locations for convenient access and more advanced online and mobile banking capabilities.

Credit unions catching up

Depending on where you live, you may have numerous options for selecting a credit union. Some credit unions may have only one location and offer basic financial services like auto loans, checking and savings accounts. Other credit unions may have a large footprint in a market or state and offer the breadth of services you’d find in a bank. Most offer free, nationwide ATM access, and since many credit unions belong to cooperatives, members can access accounts across the country through other credit union branches.

— Brandpoint

THE LIST

According to U.S. News and World Report, the top 10 most affordable places to live in the U.S. are:

1. Des Moines, Iowa

2. Omaha, Nebraska

3. Indianapolis, Indiana

4. Grand Rapids, Michigan

5. Fayetteville, Arkansas

6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

7. Buffalo, New York

8. Syracuse, New York

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

10. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

NUMBER TO KNOW

$841 billion: According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, it is estimated that 16-year-old war in Afghanistan has a total cost of about $841 billion.

TECH TALK

Nintendo Switch users can add PayPal to accounts

Nintendo recently gave its Switch users a new way to make purchases by adding the capability to link their Switch accounts to their PayPal accounts. Users can pay for future purchases using a PayPal balance or any other payment method linked to the PayPal account. The linking of accounts will allow users to purchase games from different countries and also gives parents an option to limit purchases made by children.

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