RICHMOND, Va. (12/10/12)--A new program at Virginia CU (VACU) in Richmond, Va., is overcoming one of the most common objections to joining a credit union--"not enough ATMs." Its solution is not to build more ATMs, but to rebate the ATM fees charged by others.
The rebates have few restrictions and will take effect when members at the $2.33 billion-asset credit union use another institution's ATM for a cash withdrawal from their checking accounts.
"When you build a new ATM, you increase convenience only for those who live or work near it. By going with surcharge rebates, we are now enabling our members to use ATMs virtually anywhere and have surcharge fees returned," explained Deb Wreden, Virginia CU senior vice president of product and delivery strategy.
The program went into effect in November and the first surcharge rebates were credited to member accounts Dec. 3.
VACU will rebate up to $8 per month in ATM surcharges for its credit union checking accounts that qualify. To receive surcharge rebates, members use their debit card for the withdrawal and have a qualifying direct deposit to their checking account.
ATM surcharges are fees assessed by other institutions for using their ATM to get cash. The amount of the surcharges varies, but is typically $2 to $5 per withdrawal. Surcharges are in addition to the network fee that consumers' own financial institutions charge for providing access to other network ATMs.
VACU already provides its members up to four checking withdrawals per month at other institutions' ATMs with no fee assessed. Members also enjoy free access to the ATMs at all WAWA (a chain of convenience store/gas stations located along the East Coast) locations in Virginia. In addition, VACU continues to offer free checking with no minimum balance requirements.