Pennsylvania Credit Union Association

Credit Union Better Choice Saves Consumers More Than $27 Million


HARRISBURG —More than 87,000 Credit Union Better Choice loans totaling $37 million dollars have been issued to credit union members for short-term cash needs since the program launched in 2006. More importantly, Credit Union Better Choice has saved borrowers more than $27 million dollars over using a traditional payday lending product. The Credit Union Better Choice program is the credit union alternative to payday loans affording members access to affordable small dollar loans. 

“For more than seven years, Better Choice loans have been meeting the emergency loan needs of credit union members,” said PCUA President & CEO Patrick Conway. “The continued growth in the volume of loans, demonstrates the ongoing need for this program. Better Choice is an example of the People Helping People® philosophy of the credit union movement and demonstrates our difference from for-profit financial providers,” said Conway. “I encourage Pennsylvanians who are not using a credit union to consider switching to one for all of their financial needs.”

The Credit Union Better Choice loan is a payday lending alternative product where credit unions offer borrowers a 90-day loan with a $500 limit. Reasons cited for loan purpose have included Christmas gifts, taxes, car repairs, heating fuel, and funeral expenses. The Credit Union Better Choice was developed through a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA), Pennsylvania Treasury Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities.

Currently, 65 credit unions with 178 locations offer Credit Union Better Choice loans across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During 2013, 11,178 loans totaling more than $5.5 million dollars were issued.  Furthermore, borrowers also placed more than $551,710 (10 percent) into savings accounts during the year. Since 2006, the total number of loans issued is 87,186 loans totaling $37 million dollars.

The Credit Union Better Choice program is offered through participating credit unions. To learn more about the program and a view a list of participants, visit To find a credit union to join, visit

A typical $500 payday loan costs consumers $15 for every $100 borrowed for two weeks, or approximately $450 over 90 days. A $500 Credit Union Better Choice loan costs consumers approximately $42.50 for the same 90 days and at the end of the loan term, the consumer has $50 in a savings account, which allows them to begin to develop a savings habit. In addition, the program builds upon this new wealth-building component by providing financial education to consumers in an effort to help them make better informed financial decisions.

Pennsylvania consumers saved an average of 80 cents in loan fees and costs for every dollar borrowed through a Credit Union Better Choice loan rather than through a typical loan from a payday lender. This translates into more than $27 million dollars that consumers kept in their own pockets by using credit unions that offer Credit Union Better Choice loans.


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Credit unions are financial cooperatives that provide affordable financial services to help their owner/members. The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is a trade association that provides legislative, promotional, educational, and operational support for nearly 400 credit unions in Pennsylvania. These credit unions have assets in excess of $38 billion and serve more than 3.8 million members. For additional information about credit unions or to find a credit union near you, visit