Residents of NSW should be aware of the exclusive benefits local banking can offer.
Formed in 1970 as Calare Credit Union, First Choice serves all residents of New South Wales (NSW), providing them with an alternative to the larger Australian Banks. You can visit them at their main office in Orange, or at any of their other five locations in NSW to open an account and begin small banking with big benefits.
Who is First Choice Credit Union?
First Choice Credit Union structures their savings products in a unique manner, encouraging you to continue saving by not paying interest when your balance falls below a certain amount. Interest payments are also different, and while calculated on your minimum monthly balance, in most cases will only be credited to the account annually. These are important features to think about when looking for a savings account that maximises your financial growth potential.
First Choice Credit Union has adopted a comprehensive internet banking system that allows for account holders to manage their accounts anytime of the day or night, so long as they have a connect to the web. You will first need to register this service by using a form found on their website. Once registered, you will be given an access code that permits you to bank using a number of features.
Notable features include:
- Check your account balance
- Transfer money between First Choice accounts
- Transfer money between accounts held at other financial institutions
- Pay your bills using BPAY
- Set up direct credit of your paycheque or other source of regular income
What about the mobile app?Image Source: App store
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What transaction accounts are offered by First Choice Credit Union?
- Access Account. Also referred to as an On Call Savings Account, this is a no fuss everyday banking account that gives you access to your money at all time using phone or internet banking. A linked rediCARD is also provided so that you can make quick purchases or withdrawals at any ATM in the rediATM network.
- Cash Management. This account is used like an Access Account, except that you can earn higher interest on the balance when it goes above a certain limit. There are no account keeping fees with the Cash Management, but you may be subject to certain transaction fees.
- Mortgage Offset. By linking your First Choice Credit Union home loan to an Access Account with Mortgage Offset you can reduce the overall amount you pay over the life of your loan. This is a 100% offset, where all funds that are deposited into the account will be deducted from your home loan balance before the monthly interest payment is calculated.
What high interest savings accounts are offered by First Choice Credit Union?
- Online Savings Account. Paying a higher rate of interest, this account is only accessible through the internet banking service by making transfers to your nominated account. You will be charged a fee if you require the assistance of a staff member to make any transaction.
- Junior Saver. This account is designed to help children develop financial literacy. Withdrawals are limited to being made inside of a branch, although electronic deposits are accepted and the account can be viewed online.
- Pensioner Deeming Account. Members who are subject to the Government Deeming Provision can benefit with an easily accessible account that charges no monthly fees and requires no minimum balance to be maintained.
- Christmas Club. With withdrawal restrictions in place from February to October you have plenty of time to build a Christmas shopping nest egg. Leave the money alone all year and you will be paid interest on your daily balance at the end of October.
What term deposits are available with First Choice Credit Union?
With First Choice Credit Union you can make a term deposit investment of $500, at a competitive fixed rate of interest. Term periods start at three months and go up to one year, with interest payments limited to maturity only.
What are the pros and cons of banking with First Choice Credit Union?
- Kids account. With the Junior Saver, First Choice will work with participating schools and offer special incentives to encourage kids to save.
- Visa debit. With accounts that offer ATM access you can apply to link a Visa debit card and get more accessibility when making purchases and withdrawals.
- Periodic payments. First Choice can help you set up payments to be deducted from your account on a regular basis.
- BPAY. Having access to BPAY makes it easier to manage your bills and ensure that they are paid on time.
- Minimum balance requirements. There are opening balance requirements for all accounts, particularly the Online Saver which requires $1,000.
- Interest payments. Not receiving monthly interest payments into your account disallows you from earning compound interest.
How do I apply for a First Choice Credit Union account?
With the exception of the Online Saver and Mortgage Offset accounts, you must visit a First Choice Credit Union Branch in order to open an account in your name. In addition to having to be a member first, you also need to be an Australian resident with an Australian mailing address.
The age requirement and amount of initial deposit will differ depending on the account that you are applying for. When going to visit your local branch, have with you a photo identification document as well as your tax file number (TFN) to avoid having a withholding tax deducted from your interest earnings.