WASHINGTON (3/4/08)--Credit unions have the best deals, beating banks in every category--consumer loans, mortgages and savings accounts--according to a recent survey conducted by Datatrac, a financial services firm, and reported in Kiplinger.com and WashingtonPost.com. As an example, the credit card interest rate issued by credit unions was 12.04%--2.5 percentage points lower than the average bank card (Kiplinger.com via The Washington Post.com March 2). Members of smaller credit unions can receive many of the amenities and services of larger organizations through shared branches and networks of surcharge-free ATMs, said Greg McBride of Bankrate.com. Membership in the country’s roughly 8,500 credit unions is generally less restrictive than it used to be, Kiplinger.com said. Eligibility in a credit union is available if a family member belongs, if one’s employer or spouse sponsors one, or if people live within the boundaries of a community-based credit union. Also if one works for the federal government or has a military affiliation, Kiplinger added.