Lower fees are still rising
Pro: Fees are lower than at most banks.
McBride says many credit unions have some flexibility in how much they charge, and many of them aim to keep costs low for their members. For example, McBride says credit unions may eliminate products or services to cut costs rather than add fees.
That flexibility adds up to some big savings. Keefe says credit union members across the country saved a total of nearly $6.3 billion in 2011 by doing business at a credit union instead of a bank.
Con: Those fees are rising.
While fees may be lower, that doesn't mean they will always be inexpensive.
"Credit unions are not immune from some of the same regulatory pressures that have led banks to eliminate free checking and raise fees," McBride says.
In a year-over-year comparison, the average nonsufficient funds fee grew from $26.05 in 2011 to $26.65, according to Bankrate's 2012 Credit Union Checking Survey.