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Are Credit Unions Tech Savvy? The Truth is Revealed!

There’s a commonly held belief that credit unions can’t compete with banks in terms of technology and convenience. But credit union online banking and mobile options are fiercer than you might think. We’ll prove it by debunking five credit union tech myths.

There’s no denying that technological advances have made money management easier. Just ask your parents or grandparents how they balanced their accounts back in the day (and prepare to cringe). Thanks to your handy smartphone and a few helpful apps, you can now check your bank accounts, transfer money, track your investments, pay bills and friends and much more virtually!

A survey from Provident Bank found that 80% of consumers prefer using online and mobile banking to going into a branch.1 You know that you’ll get that kind of modern technology at a big bank or online fintech, but what about a credit union?

Most credit unions have online banking, and some — like Desert Financial Credit Union — also have top-rated mobile banking apps along with other virtual money management features that you’d expect from a bank. So, if you’ve heard the rumor that credit unions aren’t as tech-savvy as the other guys, you’re not getting the true picture.

Let’s walk through some of the most common myths to reveal the truth.

Myth #1: You must physically visit a credit union branch to open an account.

You must physically visit a credit union branch to open an account.

Truth: Hello, potential credit union member! Meet online account opening.

While this myth was certainly true when we opened back in 1939, credit unions today are a lot more convenient. With Desert Financial’s online account opening feature, you can request a new checking, savings or money market account by filling out an online application on your computer, tablet or smartphone — even if you don’t already have an account with us. It takes just a few minutes to get started!

Myth #2: You have to visit a branch to get a loan though, right?

You have to visit a branch to get a loan though, right?

Truth: We’d love to see you in the branch! But you can also apply online if you prefer.

No need to make the trip when you can easily apply for an auto loan, personal loan or auto refinance on your computer or mobile device. You can even apply for a mortgage loan or a home equity line of credit without leaving your cozy nest. With our online mortgage system, you’ll be able to upload documents as we request them. We’ll see you in person for closing on a new home (and possibly to get your new house keys), but nearly all other loan processes can be completed remotely.

Myth #3: Credit unions don’t have (good) online and mobile banking.

Credit unions don’t have (good) online and mobile banking.

Truth: Check out our easy Online Banking and 4.8-star-rated mobile app!

Desert Financial’s Online Banking lets you do all your daily transactions from home (or anywhere you have a digital connection). Check balances, transfer funds, PayItNow and so much more! You can do all of that AND deposit checks in our mobile app by using the remote deposit feature. Just follow the instructions in our Mobile Check Deposit how-to video and snap a pic with your phone.

Myth #4: Credit unions aren’t set up for contactless payments.

Credit unions aren’t set up for contactless payments.

Truth: “Tell that to my digital wallet,” our members say. “I’m also rockin’ P2P payments like a pro!”

Desert Financial debit and credit cards can be used in digital wallets and peer-to-peer payment apps including Venmo and Zelle. It’s simple to set up your digital wallet. Just open a payment app such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, follow the instructions to add your card and start using your phone or smartwatch to pay for transactions.

Having trouble setting up your digital wallet? No problem! Follow the simple step-by-step instructions in our contactless payments video. After you’re done, you’ll be able to pay with the click of a button or a tap of your phone.

To use your Desert Financial debit card with peer-to-peer payment apps, simply enter your card or account info as requested by the app to link a new payment source. Then, search for the recipient and follow the in-app prompts to send your money!

Myth #5: Making the switch from a bank to a credit union is hard.

Making the switch from a bank to a credit union is hard.

Truth: We have a handy three-step Switch Kit to make moving your accounts over to Desert Financial a breeze.

Just open an account, make the switch and close your old accounts — it’s that simple. Everything you need to get started with Desert Financial is contained in a downloadable two-page checklist. With our free Relationship Rewards program, you’ll get the most out of your membership if you move everything over to Desert Financial, including opportunities for an annual cashback bonus!2

Credit Union Tech Trends

CUs are keeping up with the Big Banks and even surpassing them with some technologies!

  • Online Banking
  • Mobile App
  • PayItNow
  • Remote Check Deposits
  • Contactless Payments
  • Online Account Opening
  • Online Loan Applications

Compatible with:

  • P2P Payment Apps
  • Digital Wallets

While technology certainly makes managing your money easier, it isn’t the only thing that creates an exceptional banking experience. Ever found yourself struggling to explain your situation to a disinterested Big Bank teller? Pressing zero repeatedly while yelling “Speak to a REP-RE-SEN-TA-TIVE!!” on a phone call with your bank? Questioning random fees that showed up on your account?

Like most credit unions, Desert Financial prides itself on helping and supporting its members. Yes, we have the online and mobile banking you need when you just want to log in and go. You could manage your money every day without ever speaking to a live person if you choose. But we’re also here for you whenever you need more than just buttons and screens; just pick up the phone, walk into a branch or chat with us online!

Bank with a Click, Tap and Scroll

At Desert Financial, we love seeing members in person! We also want to make your banking fast, easy and convenient with online and mobile banking. Learn how to harness the latest online and mobile banking tools to manage your money better.

Get the guide

2Must be Rewards Member, or Rewards+ Member for a minimum of six months per calendar year to be eligible for cash back. Additional restrictions apply. See Statements of Terms, Conditions, and Disclosures for full details.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment or legal advice.