We found five solid reasons to consider a credit union for your checking account. In Bankrate.com's latest survey of credit union checking accounts, 72 percent of the nation's largest credit unions offered a stand-alone free checking account -- that is, a checking account with no monthly fees or balance requirements. Last fall, Bankrate.com found that among banks, it's just 38 percent.
Further, nearly all of the accounts surveyed, 98 percent, are either free or can become free with electronic statements, direct deposit or a combination of both.
And there's no need for big balances to open the accounts either, with 62 percent of the accounts having no minimum opening deposit and none requiring more than $100 to open.
Even fees for overdrafts and out-of-network ATM withdrawals are lower at credit unions than banks. The average overdraft fee among credit unions is $26.78, compared to $32.74 at banks. And the typical out-of-network ATM fee is $1.50 at credit unions, but $2.50 at banks.
The bottom line is that when evaluating checking accounts, consumers should definitely include credit unions in the search.
And look, here at Bankrate.com, you can use the free search tools to find the best checking account for you. I'm Greg McBride.
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