This page features the article "Friends Tell Friends About Free Checking."

Friends Tell Friends About Free Checking

Free Checking is Not a Myth

No strings attached free checking is still available, you just need to know where to look for it. Hopefully when you see free checking advertised now, it is free because regulators have cracked down on advertising free checking that has restrictions.

Unfortunately, most financial institutions require direct deposit, minimum balances or a minimum number of debit card transactions (which they make money on) in order to avoid monthly maintenance fees. The problem arises when you don’t have direct deposit from a regular job or a lot of spare cash to keep in a checking account.

Do you really have time to worry about meeting conditions and counting the number of debit card transactions you’ve done in a calendar month? Of course not. You can do an online search but your best option may be a credit union which isn’t even included in the comparison charts that pop up.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives without investors. They are financial institutions but not a bank. They are membership organizations and when you open an account, you become an owner. Since you are an owner, your interests are their interests.

Many credit unions offer truly free checking with no restrictions meaning no minimum balance, no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum number of debit card transactions.

What else do you want with your truly free checking? A free debit card and access to no-surcharge ATMs. Most credit unions do not charge for debit cards and do not require a minimum number of transactions per month. Credit unions recognized that consumers/members perceived that they didn’t offer access to a lot of ATMs so they signed agreements with AllPoint.

AllPoint is a company which offers access to over 56,000 no-surcharge ATMs including all the machines in CVS, 7-Eleven, Target and Walgreens. As well, credit unions are cooperatives and many of them are members of the CU$ network which allows each other’s members to use their ATMs at no charge increasing the number of no-surcharge ATM’s available to over 58,000. There is a locator app to find free ATMs too. You would have to research the individual credit union, but most try to keep things simple with no fees.

When you are opening a checking account, you really don’t want to pay a monthly maintenance fee, maintain a minimum balance or pay to access your own money. Credit unions are a great option and an alternative to using a bank. They are more accessible than ever. It used to be that you had to work for a specific company or union to open an account at a credit union but credit union membership is much more open now. You can find a credit union for you right here:

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Hamilton Horizons Federal Credit Union offers access to TruStage Insurance Services.  For more information, please call 609-631-4300 or toll-free 800-449-3221.

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