If you’re looking to build wealth, then you’re probably trying to save as much money as possible. That means you probably want to save on fees by signing up for a free checking account.
Sounds great, but there’s one major problem. Most banks are for-profit institutions. That means that, like you, they’re looking to make as much money as possible. For instance, even if you aren’t charged a monthly maintenance fee for your checking account, you may still have ATM fees, overdraft fees, or other monthly expenses that can add up over time, costing you money rather than helping you save it.
So what can you do to save as much money as possible? Think about opening up a credit union checking account instead. Many credit unions offer a free online checking account that you can access anytime, anywhere. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. Here’s why opening an account with a credit union is a smart financial decision.
No Monthly Minimum Balance Requirements
You may think that online checking accounts should be free, but that isn’t always the case. Many financial lenders require you to maintain a monthly minimum balance or make a certain amount of qualifying deposits to avoid having to pay a maintenance fee.
Many credit unions, on the other hand, offer free checking that pays. That’s because credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that are able to pass along savings to their members, as opposed to banks, which are looking to make the maximum profit possible. Because of this key difference, credit union checking accounts often have no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements. That means your credit union checking account will not only be free, it will be simple to manage. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Even if you do manage to find a bank that offers a free online checking account, keep in mind that many financial institutions will assess fees for other types of services. For instance, if you’re banking online, you more than likely will need to use an ATM at some point in time. If you’re unable to locate an ATM operated by your particular financial institution, then you’ll likely have to pay a fee. And not only will you be charged a fee to use the ATM, but your financial institution will likely charge you a fee as well.
Some credit unions help you to avoid this. If you’re worried about being unable to access cash when you’re away from home or traveling, check to see if your community credit union has a solution. For instance, many credit unions provide unique benefits to their members, such as ATM fee refunds.
Even if your local credit union doesn’t provide fee refunds, inquire about other benefits it does provide. For example, many credit unions belong to the ATM CO-OP Network, which gives members access to 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Since credit unions pass along savings to their members, there are many types of advantages you can enjoy by opening up a free online checking account with one.
Another way banks make money off their customers is through overdraft fees. For instance, if you swipe your debit card or write a check and you don’t have money in your account to cover the transaction, you will be charged an overdraft fee. This is the fee you will have to pay whenever you spend more money than you have in your account. If you have multiple transactions you’re unable to cover, then you’ll likely be assessed a fee for each transaction. This can add up to quite a lot of money … money you probably can’t afford to lose if your balance is already low.
In fact, according to a recent article by the New York Times, banks took $11 billion in overdraft fees from account holders last year. A small percentage of account holders were responsible for paying the majority of these fees. But once again, credit unions help you avoid these types of penalties. We understand that you’re looking to make money, not lose it unnecessarily.
That’s why credit unions often provide overdraft protection. You can simply link your free online checking account to your savings account, and when you don’t have enough money to cover a posted transaction, money from your savings account can be transferred to cover it. Oftentimes, this service is provided free of charge.
Credit unions aren’t looking to rake in money at your expense like some of the big banks are. Instead, we want you to keep your hard-earned money for yourself, and we actively look for ways to help you do that.
Yields High Interest
One of the best parts of opening a free online checking account is that you may even be able to earn interest on your cash. Think of it as free money, in a sense. It’s rare that bank checking accounts earn any interest at all. That’s usually reserved for savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts.
But credit unions often offer competitive interest rates, even on money deposited into free checking accounts. That means all you have to do is let your money sit in your account and watch it grow.
So remember, even if another financial institution advertises free online checking, do your research. Ask about other fees that may be assessed to your account. In the end, you’ll more than likely see that the free online checking account the bank is offering isn’t really free at all.
If you want to open a free online checking account that really does save you money and you are based or work in an Oregon community, give Rivermark Community Credit Union a call. We have a Switch Kit that makes things quick and easy. Not only will we help save you money, but we’ll also help you earn a little extra too. That’s why we say it pays to open a free online checking account with us. Quite literally.