When it comes to checking, credit unions have a big fee advantage over large banks.
Most large banks charge a monthly fee for checking, in addition to the other bank fees they require for using another bank's ATM or overdrawing your account.
In contrast, Bankrate's 2013 Credit Union Checking Survey shows that 72 percent of credit unions offer checking accounts with no monthly fee. Credit unions also charge smaller fees for overdrafts and for using out-of-network ATMs.
For their part, consumers have caught on. Credit unions have seen business pick up, with membership growing from less than 84 million members in 2004 to more than 93 million members in 2012, according to statistics from the National Association of Federal Credit Unions in Arlington, Va.
Still, many customers are afraid that switching to a credit union will involve sacrificing convenience. Of those who don't bank at a credit union, 37 percent say it's because credit unions need more convenient locations, according to a 2011 survey by the Credit Union National Association headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., and nearly as many demanded more ATMs and better technology.
The only problem is, those assumptions about credit unions may no longer be true. Here are four popular myths about credit unions.