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6 Best Credit Unions for Small Businesses in 2022

6 Best Credit Unions for Small Businesses in 2022

When looking for a credit union for your business banking needs, you need to choose a provider that offers great interest-drawing accounts for your ch

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When looking for a credit union for your business banking needs, you need to choose a provider that offers great interest-drawing accounts for your checking and savings and a full range of business lending and financial services. The best credit unions should be easy to join and offer great benefits you might not get from your local bank.

Here are the six best credit unions for small businesses:

Best Credit Unions for Small Businesses at a Glance

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union: Best Overall for Small Businesses With a Wide Range of Business Products

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union logo.

What We Like

  • 60,000 ATMs through MoneyPass, Co-op, and SUM ATM networks
  • Earn rewards with debit purchases
  • Highly rated mobile banking app

What’s Missing

  • No nationwide branches
  • Business loans require two years of federal and state tax returns―both business and personal―to apply

Features

  • Merchant services including point-of-sale (POS) solutions
  • Auto loans
  • Mortgage and mortgage refinance
  • Home equity loans (HELs) and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs
  • Cash and coin delivery with Loomis

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

With nationwide membership and a wide range of business services available, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is our choice for the best credit union for small businesses. Affinity Plus has a rewards program for debit card purchases, allowing you to redeem points for gift cards, travel, and more.

There are interest-bearing options for both checking and savings. In addition, Affinity Plus offers CDs, a business credit card, lines of credit, equipment loans, vehicle loans, and merchant services. The company even partnered with Loomis to provide cash and coin delivery. For small business owners looking for a well-rounded credit union for their business needs, Affinity Plus is an excellent choice.

Membership Requirements for Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

First, business owners need a personal membership with Affinity Plus, either on their own or jointly. If your business is a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC), the owner must be the one that opens the membership. To be a personal member, you must meet one of the two following criteria:

  1. Meet the geographic, school, or employment requirements listed here.
  2. Make a one-time $25 dues payment to the Affinity Plus Foundation, supporting those making a positive impact in Minnesota communities.

Once you have a personal membership, you’ll need to gather the documents for your business type, and then submit an interest letter through the company’s website.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Best Credit Union for Military Members & Families

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union logo.

What We Like

  • 350 branches worldwide
  • Branch locations in 30 states and United States territories, including Washington D.C., and Guam
  • Checking, savings, money markets, CDs, loans, lines of credit, vehicle, and term loans

What’s Missing

  • Restricted membership requirements
  • No unsecured startup loans―businesses less than two years old
  • $250 deposit for sole proprietorships and $255 for all other legal entities required

Features

  • Merchant services
  • Payroll processing
  • Business insurance
  • Resources for veterans starting a new business

Navy Federal Credit Union Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like Navy Federal Credit Union

Even though Navy Federal Credit Union is limited to service members, their families, and Department of Defense personnel, for those who qualify, it’s an outstanding credit union for small businesses.

For businesses, Navy Federal Credit Union requires a $250 deposit for sole proprietorships and $255 for other legal entities, along with a list of required documents to open an account. All owners must be members of the Navy Federal Credit Union in good standing.

With more than 11 million members, branches in 30 states, and more than $160 billion in assets, Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the United States. For those who qualify, they offer great rates and great business services. As long as you can meet the minimums required to waive fees, Navy Federal is one of the best credit union options for your small business.

Membership Requirements for Navy Federal Credit Union

To become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Be active duty, retired, or a veteran of one of the branches of the armed forces.
  2. Be a family member of someone who qualifies as active duty, retired, or a veteran of one of the branches of the armed forces.
  3. Be a member of the Department of Defense Civilian personnel.

Self-Help Federal Credit Union: Best for Loans for Small Businesses & Social Entrepreneurs

Self-Help Federal Credit Union

Self-Help Federal Credit Union logo.

What We Like

  • Easy to qualify for membership
  • Checking, savings, money markets, and business loans
  • Free online and mobile banking

What’s Missing

  • Small business loans outside of Illinois and North Carolina must be larger than $500,000
  • Startups and new nonprofits limited to loans of $50,000 or less; secondary source of income required
  • No small business loans in California offered at this time

Features

  • Offers a full range of financial products and services, including home loans, loans for large and small businesses, car loans, and credit-building loans
  • Investments go toward strengthening community organizations, businesses, and social justice efforts

Self-Help Federal Credit Union Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like Self-Help Federal Credit Union

For small businesses that might need loan products, Self-Help Federal Credit Union (SHFCU) is a great choice. While there are some limits on loan sizes, SHFCU offers a wide variety of loan offerings, including SBA 504 loans. The company also offers charter school loans, child care loans, faith-based loans, food system loans, small business and nonprofit loans, multifamily housing loans, and other commercial real estate loans.

SHFCU has no minimum opening deposit or monthly balance requirements. Both checking and savings accounts are interest-bearing, and the monthly fee can be waived with an average daily balance of $25,000 across all accounts. There are transaction limits, and you’ll incur fees if you exceed them, but SHFCU offers free incoming wires and doesn’t charge any nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees.

Membership Requirements for Self-Help Federal Credit Union

You can join Self-Help Federal Credit Union in one of two ways:

  1. You can join for free if you live, work, worship, or attend school in an eligible county, or have a family or employer affiliation. They serve communities and employer groups in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin. You can call (877) 369-2828 to verify.
  2. You can pay a one-time fee of $5 to join their Center for Community Self-Help.

Membership forms can be downloaded from the company’s website and mailed in or dropped off at a branch location.

Credit Union 1: Best for Easy Membership & Scalable Checking Accounts

Credit Union 1

Credit Union 1 logo.

What We Like

  • Easy to qualify for membership
  • Variety of checking accounts
  • Send domestic or international wires from a digital device

What’s Missing

  • No business loan options
  • Low-yield savings & checking
  • No business money market accounts or CDs

Features

  • Rewards-earning business credit card
  • Offers sweep account, which links to your checking account automatically and allows you to set a target balance in your business checking account
  • On a daily basis, balances higher than your target are transferred into your sweep account; if your checking account balance falls below your target, funds are transferred from the sweep account back into your business checking account

Credit Union 1 Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like Credit Union 1

Credit Union 1 offers a multi-tiered checking account product that can grow as your business grows. With three business checking accounts to choose from, it has an account that should meet your business needs. While the lowest-tier account, Business Express Checking, doesn’t draw interest, it does have some of the same benefits as the higher-tier accounts.

You can draw interest on balances in the middle-tier and top-tier accounts, but the rates are pretty low compared to its competitors on this list. However, those two accounts offer high limits of free transactions and cash deposits each month. Once you reach the highest tier, Business Express Premium Plus Checking, Credit Union 1 doesn’t charge for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. You need an average daily balance of $25,000 for that account to avoid a $50 monthly fee.

Membership Requirements for Credit Union 1

Membership in Credit Union 1 can be obtained in one of two ways:

  1. Be eligible within their field of membership, which are listed within the online application, or by contacting a Member Solution Specialist.
  2. Donate $5 to the Credit Union 1 Educational Development Association, which benefits the continuing education of selected groups.

First Tech Federal Credit Union: Best for Business Insurance

First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union logo.

What We Like

  • Variety of business insurance options
  • Interest-earning checking
  • 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide

What’s Missing

  • Limited business loan options
  • No business money market accounts
  • No business credit cards

Features

  • For business savings accounts, funds are completely liquid, which means you can withdraw anytime
  • Full suite of personal accounts
  • Personal financial advisors available

First Tech Federal Credit Union Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like First Tech Federal Credit Union

For businesses looking to secure insurance with the same company as their business checking, First Tech Federal Credit Union is an outstanding choice. It offers the following types of business insurance:

  • Directors & officers (D&O) liability
  • Inland marine policy
  • Business umbrella policy
  • Professional liability
  • Workers’ compensation policy
  • Commercial vehicle policy
  • Employment practices liability
  • Crime insurance
  • Business owners policy (BOP)
  • Builders risk policy

In addition to its excellent insurance products, it has great checking and savings options, many of which are interest-bearing. Monthly fees are waivable easily across its accounts. First Tech also offers commercial real estate loans for multifamily, office and industrial buildings, self-storage, mobile home parks, flagged hotels, and healthcare.

Membership Requirements for First Tech Federal Credit Union

To qualify for membership with First Tech Federal Credit Union, you need to meet one of the following criteria:

  1. You have a family member or household member who’s already a First Tech member.
  2. You or a family member work for an innovative company on the company’s partner list or for the State of Oregon.
  3. You work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  4. You belong to the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association, which can be joined at a branch or via an online application.

If you don’t meet any of those criteria, First Tech encourages you to contact its reps at (855) 855-8805 for more information.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: Best for Interest-earning Checking & Savings

Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Bethpage Federal Credit Union logo.

What We Like

  • Easy to qualify for membership
  • Interest-earning checking and savings accounts
  • No monthly maintenance fee

What’s Missing

  • Branch locations in New York state only
  • No secure messaging within online banking
  • Online membership application only available to residents of 12 states

Features

  • Retirement planning
  • Investment services
  • Succession planning
  • Vehicle loans, commercial mortgages, lines of credit, and term loans

Bethpage Federal Credit Union Business Checking Terms & Features

Why We Like Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

While Bethpage Federal Credit Union has great product offerings, the fact that you can only reside in one of 12 states to join is a significant drawback compared to the other credit unions on this list.

If you’re in one of the states where membership is available, Bethpage offers good interest rates on its business checking, savings, and money market accounts. The company also offers vehicle loans, commercial real estate loans, lines of credit, and term loans.

There’s no minimum deposit required, and you need just 1 cent to continue to draw interest on your account. There are no monthly fees and no transaction limits. If membership were more widely available, this would be one of the best options on the list. If you can join, Bethpage Federal Credit Union is a good choice.

Membership Requirements for Bethpage Federal Credit Union

To become a member of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, you just need to open a $5 savings account, which can be done through the website. Although, to apply for membership on the Bethpage Federal Credit Union website, you must reside in one of the following 12 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, or Washington.

How We Evaluated the Credit Unions for Small Businesses

When considering the best credit unions for small businesses, we considered the following criteria:

  • Nationwide availability
  • APY on checking and savings accounts
  • Required minimum opening deposits and balances
  • Monthly fees, and how waivable they are
  • Transaction limits before fees
  • Wire fees and ATM fees
  • Availability of customer services
  • Other business products and services
  • Lending products, if available

When To Consider a Credit Union for Your Small Business

When trying to decide whether to go with a credit union or a bank for your small business, you want to compare what features and perks you’re getting from a credit union compared to a bank. You also need to consider the membership fees and monthly fees that might be associated with credit unions. While initial fees are often higher, APY on checking and savings accounts are usually higher with a credit union. In addition, loan rates are often lower.

It may come down to convenience, however. If you need a physical branch location, you might choose a small business checking account instead, as large traditional bank franchises offer more physical locations. Either way, check out our guide on how to open a business bank account before you proceed.

Bottom Line

The six credit unions on our list all offer excellent business banking accounts and services that can be scaled as your business grows. They all have slightly different advantages and disadvantages, so consider that before choosing a savings account. Make sure whichever provider you go with has the services to meet your business banking and lending needs.

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