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Do I Need to Be Part of the Military to Join a Credit Union?

October 12th, 2022 | 5 min. read

Do I Need to Be Part of the Military to Join a Credit Union?

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"Do I need to be part of the military to join a credit union?" This is a common question from prospective new customers, mostly because people have seen all the advertising about military credit unions (think Navy Federal Credit Union). The perks include low loan rates, higher interest in savings, and exclusive discounts. They're discouraged and think it's impossible to get access to these great money-saving perks.

But there's good news - Other credit unions offer the same, similar, or better perks, all without needing ties to the military to join!

So to answer your question: Nope - you do not have to be or have ties to the military to join a credit union!

More than 5,000 credit unions in the United States have other eligibility requirements - which I’m sure you'll be able to find a qualification to join. 

bubble-est-1962Take SKYLA Credit Union, for example...

We're a financial institution rooted in the Carolinas with membership open to those who:

    • Have an immediate family member who already has a Skyla account;
    • Live in specific areas;
    • Work for one of our Select Employer Groups (SEG); or
    • Join our partner association, the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation.


In the event you can’t meet those requirements, that’s ok! There are thousands of credit unions within the United States that represent other companies, groups, and communities, most of which offer a large number of benefits credit unions are known for.

As both a financial expert, and a member at Skyla, I‘ll share the why’s behind credit union membership, the military perk Skyla offers, and reveal why anyone can join a credit union to help you determine if credit unions are the right fit for you. 


Checklist-Iconwhy do credit unions have membership requirements? 

By law, credit unions are required to have a field of membership to a group of people to serve, meaning credit union members must have something in common to join. According to, this is the common bond between members. 

The common bond could be your: 

  • Employer Group: Employers can sponsor their own credit unions as an added benefit of working for them.
  • Family Member: If you have a family member who is already part of a credit union, you can join by association.  
  • Geographic Location: Some credit unions have a Community Charter, meaning you can be where you live, work, go to a place of worship, or attend school in a particular geographic area to be eligible.
  • Members in a Group: Similar to an employer group, sometimes you can be part of a place of worship, school, labor union, homeowners’ association, etc. 


Personal-Loan-Iconhow do you even join a credit union? 

When researching credit unions to join, be sure to check their eligibility requirements to ensure you qualify for their membership. Generally, it costs anywhere from $5-$25 to establish a membership account. Contact the credit union or check their website for additional fees to process at account opening. 

If you're interested, make sure to check out the article about What Does it Mean to be a Credit Union Member to learn more about the process. 

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Trophy-Icondoes skyla serve armed forces, veterans, and their families?

Being in the military is not one of our requirements to join, but we welcome them! We are proud to serve our members who are veterans or active-duty and their families!


MBA-Icondoes skyla have military benefits? 

As a special thank you, active duty, military veterans, and first responders enjoy a .35% APR1 rate reduction2 certain loan products. Want to learn more? 

Find a Branch Contact Us


a quick recap

Remember: not all credit union requirements are the same. And, if you’ve served or are an active duty member looking to join a credit union, there are credit unions that welcome you with open arms (including us at Skyla.) 

Need help to decide if credit unions are for you? Check out How Is a Credit Union Different from a Bank where you’ll find the answers to help you determine if credit unions are a good fit for your banking needs.

ok. so here's the fine print:




As the Content Specialist and author of the Learning & Guidance Center, Yanna enjoys motivating others by uncovering all that's possible in the world of finance. From financial tips and tricks to ultimate guides and comparison charts, she is obsessed with finding ways to help readers excel in their journey towards financial freedom.


more resources for your financial journey

How Is a Credit Union Different Than a Bank?

Don’t know how credit unions differ from banks?  This article answers your credit union questions and will help you determine if credit unions are a valuable and viable option for your banking needs.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Credit Union Member?

Heard about credit unions but you don’t know what it means to be a member? Don’t know what it means to be a credit union member? Find out what membership entails including how to open an account to help you determine if credit unions are for you. 

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