Credit Unions vs. Banks: Is it Time to Make a Switch?

So many Americans are fed up with huge multi-million dollar banks charging them to store their money and are now debating if they should bank with a different bank or different type of financial institution all together like a credit union. With credit unions offering no fees for their services, people are seriously considering switching over. For many big bank customers, debit card and checking accounts fees in addition to rising ATM surcharges are turning pushing Americans to their limits where they are ready to take their business elsewhere.

A campaign on Facebook entitled “Bank Transfer Day” already has over 11,500 people pledging to make a switch by November 5th. People by the thousands are banding together and heading straight to credit unions because that is one of the last options when it comes to free basic checking accounts.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Long Island, New York is offering customers a lifetime certificate for a “no fee guarantee.” According to Bethpage President and CEO Kirk Kordeleski, after Bank of America notified the public about the new debit fee, more than 1,500 new accounts were opened. “People are literally walking into bank branches and cutting up their debit cards,” said Kordeleski.

But you need to be prepared to deal with the tedious aspects that come along with starting fresh and opening a new checking account. If you have direct deposits, electronic bill payments, or automatic transfers set up to your checking account, you will have to cancel the old checking account information and connect your new account with those electronic payment methods.

Some research suggests that people reliant on mobile or online banking are less likely to actually make the switch to credit unions due to the fact that most credit unions don’t offer such high tech options.

However, there are some credit unions and online-only banks offering switch kits to make the transition smoother. “SwitchAgent,” a new service provided by Free Star Bank, offers to do the work for you such as setting up reoccurring bill payments and direct deposits. But even the SwitchAgent requires work on your part including researching the service and signing up for it.

Finally, for those who prefer online banking as their only method of banking, which accounts for a vast number of Americans – you can sign up for free checking accounts at financial institutions like, or

Before you make any major changes to your personal finances, you need to weigh your options and see what best fits your financial lifestyle best. You can sit around and complain or make the change, the choice is ultimately yours!