For almost everyone, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear “Rochester, Minnesota” is “Mayo Clinic.” That’s fair, but the second thing that comes to mind should definitely be “credit unions.”
That’s because Rochester, MN credit unions have a lot of resources available that will supercharge your finances, in addition to having fewer fees and better rates than banks. Even better, you don’t have to be a member to take advantage of some of these benefits. Here’s an overview of how to get the most from credit unions in Rochester, using First Alliance Credit Union as an example. (It is our blog, after all…)
Here's how to get the most from Rochester, MN credit unions
What Credit Unions are in Rochester, Minnesota?
Currently, Rochester Minnesota is home to 5 credit unions:
- First Alliance Credit Union
- Altra Federal Credit Union
- Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
- Wings Financial Credit Union
- Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union
Use Free Resources From Rochester, MN Credit Unions to Shore up Your Finances
When you visit a credit union’s website, you’ll almost always find a treasure trove of resources dedicated to improving your financial literacy, helping you create a solid financial foundation and showing you how to reach your financial goals.
Altra Federal Credit Union, for instance, has resources to help you prepare to live on your own, as well as a beginner's guide to getting a loan and a guide to understanding compound interest. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union's learning webpage helps you learn about different types of loans and how to apply for them, as well as how to get some financial relief if you lose your job or start to fall behind on your mortgage.
At the First Alliance Credit Union website, for instance, the Resources Center offers:
- Important documents that will help you when switching banks, setting up direct deposit and applying for a business account
- Financial calculators that will help you figure out how much you’ll pay on loans and earn in interest
- Guides to help you set up a budget, start saving and even help people prepare to move to Rochester
- Tutorials that will help you get the most from our products and services, including the First Alliance mobile app.
- Access to our award winning Good Money Moves podcast
Check out latest episode of the Good Money Moves podcast now!
Download your Rochester Credit Union's Mobile App
Since we’re living in the 21st century, you probably have a good idea of all the advantages online banking has to offer. If you’re a credit union member, though, you’ll definitely want to download their mobile app. In addition to being able to do almost everything you can do in online banking, a credit union’s mobile app may have a few extra features you won’t be able to do on a laptop or desktop, like mobile check deposits.
One of the features the First Alliance Credit Union mobile app offers is My Cards, which helps you manage your debit and credit cards. This feature not only shows you the recent transactions you’ve made on a credit card or debit card, it also sends you alerts you can manage about when your card gets used. You can even set limits on where you can use your card and how much you can charge per transaction.
Explore the Partnerships of Rochester Credit Unions
Many credit unions have partnerships they leverage to give you incredible deals. One popular partner is the Love My Credit Union Rewards partnership program, which gives credit union members exclusive savings on everything from tax preparation software to cell phone service. Many credit unions, including First Alliance, Altra and Affinity, also partner with TruStage to provide insurance options to their members.
Of course, individual credit unions can also have their own separate partners. Wings Credit Union partners with BrokerCheck, a service that researches brokers, advisors and firms so you can get more information about the investment professionals you’d like to work with. Altra offers the services of an estate planning advisor.
First Alliance Credit Union has its own partnerships as well. Members can make P2P payments to family and friends courtesy of Zelle, or they can get help from Green Path Financial Wellness if they are struggling financially. They can even get discounts on car and home insurance with Liberty Mutual.
First Alliance has also partnered with Greenlight, a service that gives your child their own debit card, and a mobile app to help manage it. Parents also get their own version of the Greenlight app which is connected to their child's account. Parents can transfer money to their child's debit card, monitor where and how children are using their cards and limit how the card can be used.
Use Credit Union Loans to Build up Your Credit
If you’re trying to build up your credit history—or rebuild it after getting out of debt—you should take a look at the loans a credit union offers. Most Rochester credit unions offer debt consolidation loans that can make paying off your debts easier and save you money in interest as well. Consolidating your debts can also give your credit score a boost.
However, some credit unions also have loans specifically designed to prove your creditworthiness to the credit reporting bureaus. First Alliance, for instance, offers credit builder loans where the money you “borrow” gets put into a certificate of deposit instead of your checking account. This CD has the same term as your loan, so once you’ve paid off the loan, you get the money in the CD, as well as the interest that money accumulated.
No judgment, just guidance
Credit unions don't just give loans to boost your credit score, though. They also offer loans for traditional reasons, like buying a car or financing home repairs. While banks rely heavily--and sometimes solely--on your credit score to determine if they'll give you a loan, credit unions tend to look at loan applicants as more than a number.
First Alliance Credit Union is especially known for this. Our lending advisors use an award-winning "no judgment, just guidance" approach to take into account your whole financial situation and the circumstances that led to you applying for the loan. Even if they can't approve you for the loan, they'll help you figure out how to improve your finances so you'll be approved the next time you apply for a loan.
Got questions about the benefits First Alliance has to offer? Ask us!
How do you become a member of a credit union in Rochester, MN?
To become a member of a credit union in Rochester, MN, you typically need to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as living or working in the local area. You will need to provide identification and open a savings account with the credit union by making an initial deposit.
Take Advantage of What First Alliance Credit Union Has to Offer
Whether you’ve just moved to Rochester, Minnesota or you’ve lived here for several years, there’s a lot Rochester credit unions can do for you. You can use their resources to shore up your finances and achieve your financial goals, take advantage of their partnerships and even see if they have loans you can use specifically to build up your credit.
The best part about these features is the low bar of entry. Many of these features are free, but for the ones that require membership, you don’t need a lot of money to become a member of a Rochester credit union. Many credit unions in Rochester only require around $20 to become a member, and at First Alliance Credit Union, you only need $5 to get your membership.
Credit unions are here for the community. Come take advantage of our resources and transform your finances today!
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