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4 popular myths about credit unions

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Credit unions don't hit you with penalties
Credit unions don't hit you with penalties © Kreative Photography -

Credit unions may be consumer-friendly, but they're not running a charity operation.

Just as with banks, credit union members who overdraw their accounts, constantly make out-of-network ATM withdrawals and do other things to trigger fees will end up paying for it, McBride says.

"Overdrawing your checking account will cost you anywhere, regardless of bank or credit union," he says. "Credit unions are nonprofit cooperatives, but nonprofit doesn't mean they run at a loss. They must cover their costs, so while ancillary fees are less likely, it doesn't mean you are completely immune from any and all fees."

Becker says credit unions are feeling pressure to raise fees because of the escalating cost of regulation and because ultralow interest rates are squeezing what's historically been their biggest source of income -- lending members' money to other members.

"Credit unions are doing everything possible to keep the costs low as best they can for their members," Becker says.

So no matter where you get your checking account, it's important for consumers to take a close look at the fine print, including the fee schedule, before signing on the dotted line.


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