I did extensive research when I wanted more and better credit cards some years ago. Studies and reviews convinced me to avoid big banks altogether so for many years I only had credit union cards.
“Megabanks… offer state-of-the-art digital banking platforms. And because high-profile brands are under constant attack by cybercriminals, megabanks have sophisticated security systems, which include fingerprint log-in for mobile banking and voice- and face-authentication systems. But when it comes to customer service, you’ll do better at credit union or regional bank.”
“Credit unions are among the highest-rated services we’ve ever evaluated, with 96 percent of our members highly satisfied vs. 80 percent for the three biggest national banks. That satisfaction is driven by good customer service, not surprising when you consider that credit unions are owned and managed by their members. Credit union members usually have access to free checking, higher interest rates on certificates of deposit, and significantly lower rates for credit card and auto loans.”
Membership in credit unions is a cooperative relationship where they strive to serve their members, rather than view them as marks to make money from. Credit unions are “not-for-profit” entities. To be sure, credit unions can have their problems, but they usually pale by comparison with big banks. Big banks have less social responsibility and engage in more questionable financial activities because they are governed by making profits for shareholders, so there’s a greater chance you might be victimized by some of their tactics.
I went through the list of the 100 biggest credit unions in the US to find out: 1) Which ones I could join; 2) Which had good credit cards and; 3) Which ones had good overall reviews and records. I looked at the largest credit unions because smaller ones tend to have more restrictive membership and fewer resources for superior offers.
Now I have cards from 7 CUs. I have two non-CU cards - Amex Preferred and Barclays (used to be Sallie Mae). Amex has been great, Barclays not so much, but I don’t use it any more.