Credit Unions Beat Banks in Free Checking
(Bankrate) — “Free checking remains alive and well at credit unions,” says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Of the 50 credit unions surveyed for Bankrate.com’s 2011 Credit Union Checking Study, 38 of them, or 76 percent, offer free checking accounts with no strings attached. When you include credit unions that waive fees if members agree to meet certain conditions, the number jumps even higher.
“An additional 20 percent of credit unions will waive the fee, usually with direct deposit and/or e-statement,” McBride says. “Together, that’s 96 percent of the credit unions offering checking that is free or can become free with pretty minimal effort.” In contrast, only 65 percent of banks offered free checking with no strings attached, according to Bankrate.com’s 2010 Checking Study. Why the discrepancy?