35 responses

  1. DIY Investor
    December 1, 2011

    Very good analysis. I’m surprised at the minimal requirements to get the 1.1%. This will definitely put the pressure on the big money center banks. The banks and credit unions that did not screw up the capital structure over the past several years should definitely take advantage of the situation.

    • moneycone
      December 1, 2011

      True Robert! Till I actually joined ACU, I kept thinking there has to be a catch somewhere! Been with them for a couple of years now and so far have been enjoying the relatively high interest rates!

  2. Roshawn @ Watson Inc
    December 1, 2011

    Wow, that’s a very good point. Quite honestly, I haven’t heard enough about the benefits of credit unions to justify switching yet. I love the conveniences with big banks, but this certainly suggests that there is a price for those conveniences that I hadn’t considered. Thanks for your analysis.

    • moneycone
      December 1, 2011

      CUs provide the same conveniences as Big Banks for a lot less!

  3. Jeffrey Trull
    December 1, 2011

    Rewards and interest rates aside, I’m for the Move Your Money Argument of getting my money out of the big banks. They’re too big, too powerful, and they’re not in the best interest of the consumers a lot of time.

    To me, the plus sides of credit unions are just a bonus on top of the other things I just mentioned.

    • moneycone
      December 1, 2011

      I wouldn’t club off the banks together. But I hate it when the big 4 or 5 banks band together and screw the customer. The latest being the debit card fiasco.

  4. Hunter – Financially Consumed
    December 1, 2011

    I’m sure there’s always been collusion in banking, and just about every industry. Human nature?

    Hey, great new look on the blog.

    • moneycone
      December 1, 2011

      Colluding together is actually illegal. I’m sure the big 4 banks know this, but then how exactly is the justice department going to prove this?

  5. krantcents
    December 1, 2011

    I am not sure if I am happy with my big bank, but I am not unhappy enough to switch. If I wanted to change it would be easy because I am already a member of a good credit union (over 30 years). I would write acheck and deposit it into the credit union. I am not that unhappy.

    • moneycone
      December 1, 2011

      I too bank with a credit union and a bank. Each has something I need that the other doesn’t have.

  6. Untemplater
    December 2, 2011

    Wow that is a huge difference in interest. I didn’t realize there was that big of a spread between some credit unions and the big guys. I don’t keep too much in my checking account but long term even .5% will add up a lot faster than 0.1%. Love you site redesign btw! -Sydney

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      It does add up especially when the horizon is long. Free checking is great, but free checking with 1.10% interest on your checking is even better!

      Glad you like the site redesign Sydney!

  7. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    December 2, 2011

    I switched from a bank to a credit union years ago and it was one of the best decisions I could make. I got much better service, paid less fees and better access to good rates. They actually treated me like a customer. I won’t go back to a big bank again.

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      Unlike banks, with a CU, you *are* the shareholder! CUs may be a little difficult to join, but definitely worth the effort.

  8. retirebyforty
    December 2, 2011

    My credit union pays less than 1% on the saving account. Maybe I need to switch CU! I sent most of my cash to ING these days.

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      You should consider RB40!

  9. Buck Inspire
    December 4, 2011

    Excellent point. I think I’m being lazy. Granted I am getting practically nothing on interest, the pain of picking a new bank, filling forms, and moving into a new bank is too much for me right now. Maybe I can make it a resolution for next year. Thanks!

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      Depending upon how much money you keep liquid, it may be worth switching.

  10. Sfi
    December 4, 2011

    I use both a credit union and a bank. From a practical point of view its harder to get your money from a credit union so you will inevitably be forced to pay atm fees. Thats why i have bank atm.

    But cu do have cooperating networks that increase access to atms (eg mine can be used at CVS). Check them out.

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      A number of CUs refund ATM fees either upto a certain amount or upto a number of transactions per month. (I know DCU and USAA both do this).

      Or you could use your CU’s debit card and get cash back which does not incur fees.

  11. Darwin’s Money
    December 4, 2011

    I’m pretty happy with TD Bank. The hours are better than my credit union and other banks. And the fees are reasonable. Works for me! I guess that depends if you consider TD big. There are like 3 in every town around here, but I don’t think they’ve hit the west coast yet.

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      Not a rant against all banks Darwin! :) For instance, I do bank with Ally (which probably comes under the Big Bank category), but they offer some advantages that my CU doesn’t.

      You ultimately are the best judge of what’s good for you.

  12. Maggie@SquarePennies
    December 4, 2011

    There is another reason to switch to a credit union. The banks are planning to add more and more fees wherever they can. So even if you’ve managed to avoid the fees so far, you need to read those mailed “changes to your account” notices to know what new fees might be applied. Or just move your money now. I love our credit union for being so customer-friendly. The personal service is amazing.

    • moneycone
      December 5, 2011

      I dread those mails Maggie! Changes to your account always means less for you and more for the bank!

  13. Squirrelers
    December 7, 2011

    I had a credit union account in the past, and found that customer service was better. A part of this is the absence of the ridiculous add on fees that some banks are purported to be charging. Getting back into a CU account is another thing on my massive to do list :)

    • moneycone
      December 9, 2011

      I agree Squirrelers, the general perception is that the customer service is better with CUs. But then some big banks too have excellent customer service. That’s why I wanted to highlight the hidden benefit of joining a credit union – more money in your pocket!

  14. Christa
    December 8, 2011

    What a huge difference! I’m happy with my bank’s new rewards saving/checking interest policy (3.5% on checking balances as long as a minimum is kept in savings); they rolled it out when BofA started making such a stink, and I think it saved them from losing a ton of customers.

    • moneycone
      December 9, 2011

      That is a good rate Christa!

  15. Eric
    December 8, 2011

    I don’t always think Credit Unions are better, though they can be. People shouldn’t forget that if they manage their accounts responsibly, they get better access to ATMs and have more services at a big bank.

    • moneycone
      December 9, 2011

      Credit unions like USAA reimburse ATM fees and offer services like any big bank including investment services.

      But unlike Banks, CUs don’t have to answer to shareholders – which could result in better customer service and more savings for the customer.

  16. Ken deGruchy Jr
    December 9, 2011

    I have been using the Fox Credit Union (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.)http://www.foxcredit.com/, for over 20 years now and have been very satisfied. Even though they only have physical branches in CA and NY it does not seem to be a hinderance if you are comfortable with all of the electronic banking scene that has become comonplace these days. I managge my savings and checking accounts online. If I needed a bank drawn up I guess I would have to have it mailed to me. I still use a big bank but this article is getting me to rethink the situation.

    • moneycone
      December 9, 2011

      Like you I use my CU like an online bank! I’ve never stepped inside my CU!

  17. 101 Centavos
    December 11, 2011

    Hi MC – I like your policy on writing about products you only use yourself. We ditched our big bank some time ago in favor of a regional bank, and even now are thinking about a switch to a local CU.

  18. Oren
    December 22, 2011

    I love my Charles Schwab checking account, even thought it is a big bank. They give me unlimited ATM withdrawals and pay back any ATM fees and unlimited checks. I keep most of my money in savings accounts that are similar to the interest bearing checking accounts and the reimbursed ATM fees make up the little bit of interest I lose by having money in non interest bearing checking account.

  19. Peter
    January 2, 2012

    Of all of these comments not a single person points out the MANY large banks that have a high online savings rate?

    Banks such as ING Direct (now owned by capital one), HSBC among many others offer a very competitive interest rate.

    Big bank or small you should never keep your money in an on demand account (checking) and should find a savings account that pays a high rate.

    Note with those savings accounts you are only allowed 5 withdrawals a month (pretty sure a regulation of sorts regarding the classification of the account) so you should still maintain a checking account for day to day needs.

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