As Banks Boost Fees, Credit Unions Are an Even Better Deal

Tell your friends it’s time to switch to a credit union. Why now?

As national studies report soaring bank fees on checking accounts, ATM use, and overdrafts, the data show many credit unions still offer no- or low-fee checking accounts, with no or low minimum balance requirements. On average, to avoid fees, banks require a $585 minimum balance on noninterest-bearing accounts, and a staggering $5,857 balance on interest-bearing accounts.

The studies also show:

* Credit union overdraft fees are consistently lower–$5 to $10 lower–than bank fees for nonsufficient funds.

* More credit unions than banks offer at least one free ATM transaction outside their networks.

* Credit unions’ ATM fees to nonmembers are commonly $1 lower than bank fees to noncustomers.

* Credit unions offer lower fees on loans and credit cards and higher rates on savings accounts.

* Credit union members saved $6.3 billion last year by not doing business with banks.

* In every service and performance satisfaction category, credit unions ranked higher than banks and, overall, ranked seven points higher than the financial industry average.

As member-owned nonprofit cooperatives, credit unions’ mission is to provide members with affordable financial services, while banks exist to make profits and satisfy shareholders. And credit unions provide members nationwide access. Through national ATM networks and shared branch alliances, credit unions offer nearly 30,000 cash machines and the ability to conduct in-person transactions at almost 4,700 branches.

Your friends are bound to agree. It’s time to switch to a credit union.