Best Credit Union Arizona | #2 Is Actually Our Favorite

Need a good credit union based in Arizona? Check out our top recommended credit unions in Arizona right here, along with our in-depth reviews for each choice!
Updated April 2024
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Fact checked by Cathy Gresham
Best Credit Union Arizona
Credit unions are nonprofit cooperatives which offer people saving and lending services as an alternative to banks. Since they’re usually member owner, they often (but not always) lack the high fees and interest rates on loans that banks do. This can make them a much more attractive option for a lot of people who want to save their money and manage their loans more fairly.

However, credit unions have to limit their member base – which means that a lot of credit unions will only allow people to sign on as members if they live in the same state. This means that a lot of people who want to find a good credit union are forced to ‘shop’ locally.

So, if you live in Arizona, here are some of the best credit unions open to you. Check out the information below and hopefully, you will find the right credit union for you! Good luck!

Desert Financial Credit Union

1. Desert Financial Credit Union

The first credit union on our list is Desert Financial Credit Union. Desert Financial is a local credit union in Arizona, founded nearly 80 years ago in order to help more people reach their financial goals. As a result, Desert Financial offers a range of services for both personal and business finances.

For personal finances, there are free checking available alongside lots of different types of savings accounts, including certificates of deposit, health savings, and holiday savings. There’s also multiple credit cards and insurance services available. Even businesses can access services to help with loans, treasury management, credit cards, investments, and insurance.

Basically, Desert Financial has a lot of services offered all through one institution. As one of the largest credit unions in Arizona, they are easy to access and have locations in Phoenix, Temple, Scottsdale, Chandler, Flagstaff, and more.

In 2022, Desert Financial Credit Union topped Forbes’ list of the best credit unions in each state – meaning that this credit union is regarded as one of the best when it comes to customer satisfaction and recommendation. However, nothing is perfect and one of the main drawbacks for Desert Financial is that their fees are fairly on par with traditional banks.

What this means is that if you are looking for a credit union that offers lower fees than your regular bank, you will be better off looking elsewhere.

Pros

  • As one of the largest credit unions in Arizona, Desert Financial is one of the most accessible credit unions in the state.
  • It offers a range of services for both personal and business financial needs.
  • It’s also one of the most highly recommended credit unions in Arizona.

Cons

  • Fees are on par with traditional banks, when lower fees are one of the main advantages of a credit union in the first place.
Credit Union West

e2. Credit Union West

Another great credit union available in Arizona is Credit Union West. Credit Union West offers a ton of services and options, but it is especially known for its flexibility when it comes to loans. There are loans available for vehicles, mortgages, home improvement, and recreation loans – all with low interest so you get a fair deal.

You can tailor your borrowing options to suit your needs so borrowing is made much easier than compared to regular banks. Other services on offer with Credit Union West include a range of credit cards with rewards to help you get the most out of your choice.

There are also insurance and investing services available but Credit Union West really shines in the credit card and loan department. Another great advantage with Credit Union West is how accessible they are, with hundreds of branches and ATMs found all across Arizona.

They also offer additional special offers to help you save even more at stores like Costco, so there are additional benefits on offer for Credit Union West customers that allow you to receive discounts on things like movie tickets and more.

As for disadvantages with using Credit Union West, some members have complained that application processing can take a while when compared to other credit unions. If it’s a speedy service you want, then Credit Union West may not be able to deliver on that front.

Pros

  • Credit Union West is a very accessible credit union with branches and ATMs all over the state.
  • They are known for the flexible loans and ability to tailor them to their customer’s needs.
  • They also offer additional benefits such as discounts and store cards to help boost your savings.

Cons

  • The processing times on applications are longer than the average for credit unions and banks, so you may be delayed in receiving your services.
TruWest Credit Union

3. TruWest Credit Union

Next on our list is TruWest Credit Union. TruWest really shines when it comes to their range of services and options: there are multiple savings and checking accounts you can choose from for yourself or your business, great credit card options, and lots of loan options too.

Loyal TruWest customers can earn rewards through the points program, where customers can earn additional cash, gifts, and even give to charity all through TruWest. They’re also accessible in both Arizona and Texas with over 30,000 free ATMs and 5,000 shared branching locations.

Where TruWest falls short, however, is in its customer service department. Online reviews are split, with half criticizing the ‘defensiveness’ of some staff compared to the helpfulness and friendliness of others. So, it seems their customer service is a mixed bag.

Pros

  • TruWest has a great range of loans, credit cards, saving accounts, and checking accounts available for customers.
  • They also offer a great rewards program so loyal customers can save more.
  • They are easily accessible thanks to the thousands of free ATMs and branches throughout Arizona and Texas.

Cons

  • Customer service has received mixed reviews.
Hughes Federal Credit Union

4. Hughes Federal Credit Union

The final credit union on our list is Hughes Federal Credit Union. Hughes offers a ton of options to help customers handle their personal finance. Their services range from debit and credit cards, digital banking for easy access to accounts, and a range of checking and savings accounts available tailored to suit individual needs.

There’s also great options available for those seeking loans and credit cards, so it’s a great place to start if you want more control and support with your finances. Hughes ranked the top in-state credit union in Arizona by Forbes in 2021, so clearly they have a great reputation.

As Forbes made their rankings based on customer satisfaction and overall recommendation ratings, it’s clear that many of Hughes’ customers are clearly happy with the quality of service they receive. Despite this, there has been some criticism online regarding Hughes’ inflexibility when it comes to their policies.

While some credit unions are more generous than others when it comes to things like wavering withdrawal penalties, Hughes’ apparently prefers to follow their policies word by word – which can be understandably frustrating.

Pros

  • Hughes Federal Credit Union has a great reputation for its customer satisfaction, with it ranking highly with the likes of Forbes in the past.
  • The union offers a range of services to help with your personal finances.

Cons

  • They can be inflexible when it comes to their policies.

Buyer’s Guide To Credit Unions

So, those were some of the best credit unions available in Arizona! Because credit unions have strict membership criteria, it’s much harder to find the right credit union for you (especially when compared to banks) but there are still more options available out there – even for people in Arizona.

So, if you still want to do a little more research into credit unions open to you, then here is a handy buyer’s guide you can use to evaluate and rate your options. Below are a bunch of important factors you should consider when choosing the right credit union for you – we even used them to choose our choices above!

Take a look and good luck with your future credit union research!

Range Of Services

Compared to banks, credit unions tend to offer a much more limited range of services which can limit your options – but that’s not always the case. Credit unions can offer a ton of different services including investment options, insurance products, mortgages, business accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and more.

So, while credit unions can offer a lot of service, not all credit unions will offer all of these services. This means that you need to think carefully about what kind of services you want from your credit union.

If you know you want a really great savings account and good interest rates on your savings, then this can help inform your decision and find a credit union which services that lean towards that area. Alternatively, if you are more interested in investing, then you can aim to find a credit union with more investment options and support. FYI – many credit unions calls their savings account payout dividends, for a full explanation check out our article on it – How Do Credit Union Dividends Work?

If you’re not sure and you just want a credit union that offers a little bit of everything, then you need to find one that offers a really wide range of general services. Each credit union is unique so it’s important that you work out what you want from your credit union and use that as your basis for evaluating and ranking your options.

Branch And ATM Locations

One of the main complaints people have with credit unions is how much more difficult they are to access compared to banks. This isn’t just referring to how some unions only take on members in their local state – accessing branches and ATMs can also be difficult when using a credit union.

Luckily, thanks to the internet, a lot of services and tasks can be done online but a lot of people still want to be able to access branches and ATMs for various reasons. A lot of credit unions belong to national networks, like the Co-op network, which means that you can access your credit union accounts from thousands of ATms and branches across all 50 US states.

However, not all credit unions are this accessible. If you know that you will need to regularly access your credit union accounts through a local branch or ATM, then this is definitely something you need to check with each of your options. Contact the credit union and ask them if they are a part of any national networks that improves their accessibility.

Most credit unions also publish maps highlighting their branches on their websites, so check those out too! All of this will help you get a better idea of how accessible your credit union is via local branches and ATMs.

Membership Fee

Not all credit unions require a membership fee from their new members, but some do and this fee can eat into your savings over time. Some membership fees only cost a few dollars, but others can extend up to $100. As a result, membership fees should be one of the first things you research when looking for the right credit union.

You may be able to sign up for free if you live in a certain location, work for a certain company, or are a part of a group affiliation. Some credit unions offer free membership to students, family members of existing members, senior citizens, and more. So, it’s worth researching with which credit unions you could be entitled to free membership with.

It’s also worth checking for any additional feels that could catch you out later down the line. This includes ATM fees (as some ATMs outside of your credit union may force you to pay a fee to access your money), monthly checking account fees, and more.

Customer Satisfaction

Finally, we want to touch on one incredibly important factor to consider when applying to any kind of financial union – customer service and satisfaction. One of the advantages of credit unions is that they rely more heavily on their customer’s satisfaction than banks do.

As a result, they are more flexible and work harder to keep you happy with the quality of service you receive. This is an advantage that draws in a lot of people, as we’ve all felt ignored by banks or blown off for loans.

However, not all credit unions have the same customer satisfaction rating so it’s important to do your research and find out what others are saying about the credit union itself. Are its customers happy? Do they feel listened to and appreciated? Or do most of its members leave not long after joining? What are the most common complaints said by members of this credit union?

Find the answers to these questions, and this will give you a much better idea of what kind of service you will receive with each credit union!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Better To Join A Credit Union Or A Bank?

This question is a tricky one to answer because both offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Credit unions often boast lower fees because they don’t need to make a profit for any investors, but they also have to limit their customer base which makes it tricky to sign up to and qualify to become a member.

However, credit unions often have better customer service than banks and are more flexible when meeting a customer’s needs. As a result, it’s considered easier to get a loan from a credit union. Banks also have their own advantages.

They tend to offer a wider range of products and are more convenient to access – but they also have higher interest rates on loans, and put high fees on their checking and savings accounts.

Both banks and credit unions are generally safe to use as they are both insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) – so whether or not a bank or credit union is right for you all comes down to what your main concerns are. Although, we still would not keep all of our finances at one institution.

If you want lower fees and higher interest rates on your savings, then a credit union could be the answer. On the other hand, banks can be easier to access and generally have a lot more options available for you to choose from. Consider these factors carefully before deciding which option is better for you.

What Is The Easiest Credit Union To Get Into?

One of the biggest concerns for Americans regarding credit unions is how easy the union is to get into. Some unions have very strict criteria for their members, while others are very open and have membership requirements that are very easy to meet.

For example, Bethpage Federal Credit Union allows anyone in the US to join online so long as they open up a savings account with a minimum balance of $5. Another credit union that allows members to join from anywhere in the US includes Consumers Credit Union, Hope Credit Union, and Wings Financial Credit Union.

Each credit union will have its own membership criteria but the options mentioned above are very easy to sign up to and only require very small deposits.

What Credit Union Has The Most Branches In Arizona?

As of 2023, Desert Financial claims to be the largest credit union in Arizona. It has nearly 50 branches across the state with over 400,000 members – and that phenomenal size has been the result of more than 80 years of work in Arizona!

Should I consider banks and credit unions in nearby states as well?

If you live near the border with Utah and consider banks there too, then check out our report on the Best Banks in Utah

Editor's Note:

At Personal Finance Guru, we want to help you maximize your lifestyle through personal finance. You can trust the integrity of our independent financial advice. Our opinions are our own and have not been provided, reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any advertiser or financial product provider. To support and grow the site, however, we may receive compensation from the issuers of some products.

Meet the author:

Cody Beecham

Cody Beecham

Founder/Owner/Editor/Author

Cody is the founder and owner of Personal Finance Guru. His day job is as a management consultant at one of the Top 3 firms (think Mckinsey, Bain), where he advises Fortune 500 C-suite clients on their most important and pressing business problems. He completed his business education at Harvard Business School. 

After seeing the lack of personal finance education for regular people, Cody started the website with the mission to provide everyone access to information that will help them achieve their financial goals.

Cody approaches personal finance from a maximalist perspective, shunning typical advice around simply not buying a cup of coffee instead of more effective methods like investing in yourself to quickly grow your income. 

He believes in saving money and investing for the future, but he also knows that you need to enjoy life today. That’s why Cody approaches money with a sense of humor and a positive attitude. He knows that if you’re not having fun while you’re growing your wealth, then what’s the point?

Cody approaches life with the same gusto that he brings to personal finance. He loves to travel and experience new cultures, and he is an avid reader and learner. He also enjoys playing sports (especially tennis) and spending time with his family and friends.