credit unions

The Benefits of a Credit Union Vs. a Bank

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Lower fees are still rising
Lower fees are still rising | Raif Hiemisch/Getty Images

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. The 2015 CUNA Membership Benefits Report estimates that credit union members across the country saved nearly $8.5 billion during the 12 months ending in September 2015 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 $26.78 in 2015 to $26.96, according to Bankrate's 2016 Credit Union Checking Survey.

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