Credit Union Cards Reviews: The Sweet Rates of Credit Union Credit Cards
Credit unions provide fantastic rates and limited fees for its customers. Why? Unlike banks, they are not-for-profit institutions. They answer to their members (whom they see as co-owners) and not to shareholders, which banks do.
And because credit unions like the SECU Credit Union, which offers the State Employees’ Credit Union credit card reviewed in this article, intentionally stay small and community-oriented, they do not spend as much on advertising and branches, meaning they can pass the savings on to their customers.
Image source: Pixabay
A credit union is not just limited to checking and savings accounts. Customers can get credit products and more through their credit union, like the SECU credit card, LMCU credit cards, and BECU credit cards that we will cover in this review.
Can I Join a Credit Union?
After you take a look at the comparison table below (especially the section on the SECU credit card’s phenomenal interest rate) you may be wondering how you can join a credit union.
Credit unions keep themselves small on purpose, and they have to have specific requirements for membership as required by law. This allows them to keep themselves small and running a financial institution that is in the best interests of their customers, or “co-owners.”
Many credit unions like the ones that offer the SECU credit card and the BECU credit card are focused on employee circles. Most people gain access to a credit union through their employer or a trade organization. But there are also credit unions that allow people to join for supporting a particular cause or charity. In some case, simply joining or providing a donation to a specific organization gets a person access to a credit union and its fantastic rates and fees.
Good to know: if you are related to someone who is eligible for membership in a credit union due to their job, and you are an immediate relative, you are likely eligible for membership as well. Enquire with your employer or do some research online to see if you can find a credit union you can join like the 6% APR SECU credit cardholders receive.
AdvisoryHQ’s Comparison Review List
The list below is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section):
High-Level Comparison Table
Credit Union Credit Cards
BECU Visa Card
7.15% to 18.15%
LMCU Max Rewards Visa Card
10.25% to 18%
LMCU Prime Platinum Card
6.50% to 14.50%
SECU Visa Card
Table: The above list is sorted alphabetically
AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?
Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.
BECU Credit Card Review
The BECU Credit Card offered by BECU is a low-rate credit card that doubles as a BECU rewards card. The BECU rewards program gives BECU credit card rewards participants the opportunity to earn while they make purchases using their BECU card and this BECU credit card review will go over its main features.
Image source: BECU.org
BECU Credit Card Review: Rates and Features
Because BECU is a credit union, it is a not-for-profit institution, meaning their savings get passed on to the customer. As they put it on their website, they put “people ahead of profit.” This means that the BECU rewards card comes with great BECU credit card rates and fees.
BECU credit card rewards customers receive an introductory rate when they sign up for the BECU credit card. For the first twelve months, BECU rewards card customers receive 0% APR. After that first year is up, the rate reverts to a regular rate that will be somewhere between 7.15% and 18.15%, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness.
There is no annual fee for the BECU credit card. In addition, the BECU rewards card comes with no foreign transaction fee, no balance transfer fee, and no cash advance fee.
BECU Credit Card Review: BECU Rewards Program
The BECU credit card comes with a BECU rewards program. Every dollar spent using your BECU card earns one BECU rewards point. And the BECU credit card rewards program comes with flexible perks you can redeem your points for.
BECU credit card customers can redeem their BECU rewards for travel, merchandise, and even good old cash back. To participate in the BECU rewards program, you do need to enroll once you get the card. But if you do this when you apply for the credit card they will waive the $25 BECU credit card rewards participation fee.
BECU credit card customers also receive worldwide travel accident insurance and auto rental insurance to keep them covered during their trips abroad. When you use your BECU rewards credit card, you also receive an extended warranty on your purchases to provide extra protection beyond what the vendor gives. Finally, the BECU credit card rewards card comes with travel emergency assistance.
Additional Helpful Features When Applying for the BECU Credit Card
Credit card providers often provide a range of percentages to give an idea of the variable rate a customer will receive based on their creditworthiness. But, it can be frustrating not knowing a number beforehand. The BECU credit card provides some useful information on their site.
Consumers interested in the BECU credit card can use the following chart to get an idea of what APR they will receive.
LMCU Max Rewards Visa Credit Card Review
Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) offers a couple of LMCU credit cards that we will discuss in this article. The first LMCU credit card that we will look at in this review is the LMCU Max Rewards Visa Credit Card.
This Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card offers LMCU members access to a versatile card that has the purchasing power of the Visa brand with the low rates of a credit union. As a rewards card, the LMCU credit card gives customers the opportunity to earn points while they make purchases.
Image source: LMCU.org
LMCU Credit Cards Review (Max Rewards): Rates and Features
The purchase APR on the Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card is a variable rate of 10.25% to 18%. This variable rate on the LMCU credit card applies not only to purchases, but to balance transfers and cash advances as well.
As a credit union, LMCU passes on its savings to its customers in the form of lower rates, lower fees, and, in some cases, even no fees on its LMCU credit cards. This Max Rewards LMCU credit card comes with no annual fee. So if a cardholder never carries a balance on their Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card, the card is essentially free.
The LMCU credit cards do come with fees for specific transactions. There is a fee for foreign transactions and for cash advances using your Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card. The good news is that if you wish to carry out a balance transfer to your LMCU credit card, there is no fee. You would just pay the interest until the balance is fully paid off.
For a cash advance on LMCU credit cards, there is a fee of 3% of the amount you are advancing. And for foreign transactions using your Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card, there is a 1% fee charged to your LMCU credit card, calculated in U.S. dollars.
LMCU Credit Cards Reviews (Max Rewards): LMCU Credit Card Rewards Program
Among the line of LMCU credit cards, this LMCU credit card is great for those who want to earn rewards while they shop. The Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card also comes with tiered rewards that allow you to earn more points on specific purchases.
Customers who use their LMCU credit card to purchase gas earn 3 points for every dollar they spend. This bonus offer has a limit of $500 spent on gas a month before those purchases are knocked down to the regular rewards level.
When customers use their LMCU credit card to buy groceries they earn 2 points for every dollar spent, and this is for an unlimited dollar amount of grocery store expenses.
And finally, all other purchase made using your Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card earn 1 point for every dollar. There is no limit on the number of purchases you can make to earn these rewards.
The points you earn using your LMCU credit card can be redeemed for cash back, travel, or merchandise. Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card customers get free car rental insurance and can easily redeem their rewards points online.
LMCU Prime Platinum Visa Card Review
Of the credit cards offered by Lake Michigan Credit Union, we are only reviewing two. The LMCU Prime Platinum Visa Card is the second of the two LMCU credit cards we’ll be looking at in this review.
Image source: LMCU.org
The Prime Platinum Visa card is one of the LMCU credit cards intended for those who regularly carry a balance or who are thinking about consolidating their debt. The lack of balance transfer fees and the low APR make this LMCU credit card perfect for people who fit that profile.
LMCU Credit Cards Review (Prime Platinum): Rates & Fees
The Prime Platinum Visa comes with an LMCU credit card variable APR of 6.50% to 14.50%. This rate also applies to the interest you accrue on cash advances and balance transfers made to your Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card.
None of the LMCU credit cards come with an annual fee, so you do not have to worry about paying a yearly expense to hold the Prime Platinum Visa. And just like the Max Rewards card, there is no fee for balance transfers using this LMCU credit card.
The fees incurred for cash advances and foreign transactions are the same across the board for all of the LMCU credit cards. A cash advance from your Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card will carry a fee of 3% of the amount being advanced. And a foreign transaction using your LMCU credit card will incur a 1% fee, calculated in U.S. dollars.
LMCU Credit Cards Review: LMCU Credit Card Perks & Bonus Features
Unlike the other LMCU credit cards, like the Max Rewards card, this Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card does not come with a rewards program. The card is mainly intended for those who are trying to consolidate their debt.
The rate on this LMCU credit card is extremely low compared to the variable APR offered on other LMCU credit cards. There is no annual fee on the card, and users can be eligible for a credit line on this Lake Michigan Credit Union credit card that goes up to $25,000. Customers get free car rental insurance, Zero Liability fraud protection, emergency card replacement, and the flexibility to make payments online, by phone, or in person.
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SECU Visa Credit Card Review
This SECU credit card is for State Employees’ Credit Union members. Only members can get access to the SECU credit cards offered by this credit union, but you may be surprised to find that you are eligible to join this credit union. The State Employees’ Credit Union credit card that we’ll be reviewing here comes with an APR of 6%. Did that pique your interest?
Image source: SECUMD.org
SECU Credit Card Review: Eligibility Requirements for SECU Membership
In order to get your hands on this credit union’s SECU credit cards, you must be a member. In order to be a member you have to meet certain eligibility requirements. You can browse what makes you eligible for membership and one of the State Employees’ Credit Union credit cards on the site, but the biggest stipulation is that you are employed in North Carolina in a state government job or in some kind of public service role.
And of course, the immediate family of individuals who qualify for SECU membership and SECU credit cards are also eligible to become members.
State Employees’ Credit Union Credit Cards Reviews: Rates and Fees
The rate that this SECU credit card comes with is enough to have people moving to North Carolina to get a state government job. The State Employees’ Credit Union credit card comes with a purchase APR of 8%, and this is not an introductory rate. This is the rate that people who hold State Employees’ Credit Union credit cards enjoy throughout the entirety of their account.
This rate on members’ State Employees’ Credit Union credit cards is not just for their purchase APR. This is the rate they enjoy for cash advances and balance transfers on their SECU credit cards as well. In addition, there is no annual fee on the SECU credit card.
SECU Credit Card Review: Additional Perks or Bonus Features
The State Employees’ Credit Union credit card comes with a lot of attractive perks, most particularly the low APR. But if you are looking for a card that allows you to earn comprehensive rewards while you shop, this is not the card for you.
Unlike two of the cards we reviewed earlier, the SECU credit card does not come with a rewards program that allows SECU members to redeem their points for things like discounted airfare, merchandise, or cash back. That being said, it would be remiss for this SECU credit card review not to note that this card comes with many helpful credit card features including the ability to use it for overdraft protection and car rental protection.
Conclusion—Credit Unions Offer Some of the Best Interest Rates
If you’re eligible to join a credit union, opening an account may be one of the best personal finance decisions you ever make. The amount of money you stand to save in bank fees and credit card interest is staggering. Imagine having a card like the State Employees’ Credit Union credit card? You’d be sitting pretty. And if you are more interested in rewards, credit unions like BECU offer their BECU credit card rewards to help you earn while you spend. The same way the big banks do—except cheaper!
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