NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (2/4/15)--Credit unions not only regularly offer free checking, but they also serve up a number of specialized savings accounts useful to a broad spectrum of consumer types.
A recent article by Bankrate.com looked into five types of unique credit union savings programs that not only require low minimum deposits, charge fewer fees than banks and feature a variety of financial education tools--as credit union accounts typically do--but also benefit the different consumer types to which they cater.
Bankrate first features youth savings clubs, which help kids begin to learn about the value of a dollar.
Prospera CU, Appleton, Wis., with $164 million in assets, for example, offers the Daisy Dollar Kids Club savings account geared towards kids up to 12 years old. For every dollar deposited, kids earn a point, which they can redeem for gift certificates, movie tickets, electronics and cash.
"Reaching kids at a young age is important," Kristina Flores, Prospera spokesperson, told Bankrate. "They need to know how to save, spend and share money."
Credit unions also provide goal-setting savings accounts that are often used to help fund big-ticket expenses such as vacations or new homes, the article said. These types of accounts also often carry higher interest rates, no fees and low minimum balances.
Municipal CU, New York, with $2 billion in assets, offers Holiday and Vacation Club programs, which automatically deposit money into accounts on a set date.
College students also can reap the benefits of these specialized accounts.
The perks for college-related savings accounts offered by Metro CU, Chelsea, Mass., with $1.3 billion in assets, include interest paid on deposits of $25 or more, online banking, bill pay and mobile banking. The Student Savings Account, Metro CU's college savings program, also waives fees for all students age 18 to 23.
Bankrate also highlighted first-time saver savings accounts, which set requirements that determine when a member can access the funds.
Delaware Alliance FCU, New Castle, Del., with $20 million in assets, offers a 1.05% interest rate on its first-time saver accounts. Once members reach $500 in savings, they can make withdrawals, and once they hit the $1,000 mark, they can transfer funds to checking accounts or make withdrawals.
Credit union savings accounts are usually better deals for consumers, since they're highly tailored, George Hofheimer, chief research/innovation officer for the Filene Research Institute, told Bankrate.com.
The article also touched on savings accounts that tie in with rewards checking programs. Rewards earned through checking accounts are deposited into a member's saving account through these programs, and the rewards savings account often carries a much higher interest rate.