This is the most common response I hear from people, when I talk to them about becoming a member of our credit union. After recently closing an account of my own at a major bank, and finding out that they charge $10 for a Cashier’s Check, I decided it was time to compare bank fees with credit union fees. I researched the fees of 10 banks and 10 credit unions. Let me tell you, it was a real wakeup call.
While it is true that most banks offer accounts free of monthly maintenance fees, there is usually a requirement, such as direct deposit. There are more fees to worry about, however, than just the maintenance fee. Here is a list of some of the fees I found, (that are ALL FREE at Constellation FCU):
- Teller withdraw fee
- Account history fee
- Check deposit fee
- Check cashing fee
- Excessive withdraws fee
- Debit card replacement fee
- Bad address fee
- Paper statements fee
- Dormant account fee
- Inactivity fee
- Telephone transfer fee (with a person)
- Telephone inquiry fee
Well I could go on, but, you get the idea. Many of the financial institutions I looked at did have ways to avoid some of these fees as well, but, there is a catch: open a specific account, requiring a high minimum balance, sometimes as high as $10,000 or more.
In the interest of saving space, I cut the list in half. The chart below compares our fees with 5 banks and 5 credit unions. While, most credit unions I looked at did charge fees for these services, they were usually less, on average, than the banks. If you don’t have $10,000 just lying around, check out the results of my research:
After doing this research, I began to feel a bit spoiled as a Constellation FCU member. I was surprised by the number of fees imposed by banks and even other credit unions. As a longtime member of Constellation FCU, I took for granted the many free services offered here. I got used to the fact that you could just call and talk to someone and say “Hey, I can’t seem to get into my account today, could you please transfer some money for me?” While you can still do this other places, they will charge you for the privilege.
Don’t let your family and friends throw their money down the drain. The next time you hear someone complain about the fees at their bank, why not recommend us? We are open to all federal government employees, in the DC Metro area, and their immediate families. Also keep in mind that not only is our checking FREE, but we pay you a 1% rebate to use our Visa CheckCard.