From SUVs to soft drink sizes, burgers to investment portfolios, the “bigger is better” mentality is widespread in the U.S. Big banks definitely want to jump on that bandwagon, using big marketing budgets to convince consumers like you that their brand is not just bigger, but better and more secure than a community bank or credit union, but that’s not quite true.
The truth is, smaller banks employ the same types of safeguards the big banks do, such as issuing your checks with multiple layers of security features and protecting their online banking systems with cybersecurity tools.
Community banks and credit unions have all the same protections
Both megabanks and community banks are insured by the FDIC, meaning the federal government protects the money you deposit there — up to $250,000. Credit unions are similarly covered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Insurance Fund. Federal regulations require all banks to be insured this way, so the level of insurance you get at a community bank or credit union is exactly the same as what megabanks offer.
Debit card chip technology and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) are additional security measures that big banks and community banks have in common. By April 2021, American payment networks implemented new rules that require retailers to use chip readers for debit and credit cards — or assume liability for fraud if they don’t. Both large and smaller banks, as well as other card issuers, have all gotten on board by issuing new credit and debit cards embedded with high-security microchips.
People want to bank locally — and there’s no reason not to
A survey by Kasasa found that two out of three consumers say they would rather bank at a community bank than a big one. With community banks and credit unions offering security that’s comparable to that of the big banks, what’s stopping you from switching banks?
If you need a bit more convincing, consider this: personalized customer service is the hallmark of community banks and credit unions. In fact, a 2018 study commissioned by Kasasa and conducted online by The Harris Poll found 85% of Americans overall believe that local community banks and credit unions are, in fact, capable of satisfying the majority of their financial needs.
Plus with community financial institutions, personalized relationships can be an added layer of security in itself. A community banker who knows you and your spending habits may quickly notice when an unusual transaction occurs on your account. And if you ever do have a problem, you can count on that relationship to get you speedy, effective, and personalized help.
Financial institutions of all sizes have the same basic security measures in place to protect your identity and security, and some go the extra mile. It’s up to you to do the research to find out which bank or credit union is best for you.