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INerdWalletI promotes CUs checking accounts as top picks
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.  (4/5/12)--Checking accounts at America's credit unions offer "free checking with good karma," according to consumer financial website NerdWallet.

In a recent blog post, NerdWallet highlighted the advantages of credit unions' checking accounts and other products when compared to banks. The April 2 blog post honored six credit unions for offering "top" checking account options:

  • Members 1st CU, Redding, Calif., offers its "Basic Checking Account" with no minimum transaction level to save households an average of $150 per year. E-statements are required, but the account also offers free bill pay and free access to MoneyDesktop, a personal financial management tool.
  • 3Rivers FCU, Fort Wayne, Ind., has "Livin' Free Spending" accounts to provide free access to ATMs through two major networks, shared branching and  "Oops Refunds" that repay penalty charges up to three times a year for up to $30 per refund.
  • San Diego County CU, San Diego, Calif., requires only $25 to open the account, which includes online banking and bill pay and offers mobile deposit via smartphones.
  • Randolph Brooks FCU, Universal City, Texas, provides 10 cents cash back on all debit card purchases on top of a 0.15% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances. Free standard checks are provided for online orders. E-deposits are available with a smartphone or scanner, balances are provided on mobile phones, and free e-alerts send text messages about account activity.
  • First Abilene FCU, Abilene, Texas, comes with two annual fee refunds, a consumer loan discount and no limits on checks or withdrawals.
  • Northern FCU, Watertown, N.Y., offers ATM refunds as well as 2.01% APY on balances up to $25,000 for accounts that qualify by using e-statements, accessing online banking at least monthly and having one automatic payment or direct deposit each month.
NerdWallet noted that while banks are increasing fees, credit unions are "rolling out the welcome mat" for new members.

"In the ongoing battle of credit union vs. bank, credit unions almost always come out ahead," NerdWallet reminded readers.

To read the full article, "Top Free Checking Accounts at Credit Unions," use the link.
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