Public perceptions of the large banks have soured in recent years, with many consumers feeling as if the banks have been taking advantage of them to line the pockets of the executives and shareholders of the bank. Some of these consumers have decided to put their money into credit union accounts instead, viewing them as the more cost effective option. So, which option will save you more – the credit unions or the large banking institutions?
One of the most common reasons people flee the large banks is to escape the numerous fees and fee increases the large banks have been arbitrarily charging their customers. Some banks have gone so far as to charge their customers for accessing their money using the debit cards linked to their accounts. These types of actions have caused many people to move their money from their accounts at large banking institutions to smaller credit unions in their area.
The interest rate paid to savers on the money in their savings account is generally higher at credit unions than at the large banks. Some credit unions are also offering incentives for opening bank accounts at their branches and using the debit cards connected to the accounts to make purchases. These incentives typically include cash back rewards or rewards points for usage. Meanwhile, many large banks are scaling back their rewards programs and starting to charge for services that used to be free.
One of the main reasons that people stick with large banks is the number of ATMs they can use to access their money without fees around their city or across the nation. These ATMs are typically branded for a particular bank and charges people to access money at other institutions. However, some credit unions have expanded their number of branches that include ATMs, offered to reimburse account holders for ATM fees, and partnered with other credit unions to allow account holders access to those ATMs as well. Credit unions have found ways to be competitive with or better than the large banks on many levels and will generally save you more in the long run.