WASHINGTON (9/11/13)--A recent survey shows bank customers across the country are dissatisfied with the checking account fees they are being charged: 35% of respondents to an AngusReid Public Opinion/TD Bank survey said they have closed a primary checking account or left their bank due to checking account fees, and 36% said they'd likely change banks due to dissatisfaction with the fees they have been charged.
Just over one-fifth of the 3,000 respondents surveyed said their fees had gone up in the past year, and 14% said they had switched their primary financial institution as a result of fee increases. Nonbank ATM fees were particularly galling for 38% of respondents, while 27% said they were most annoyed by bank overdraft charges.
Credit Union National Association market research shows member-owned credit unions offer an alternative for these customers. A 2013-2014 Fees Report generated by CUNA's Market Research Department details just how much credit union members save when compared to fees and charges levied on bank customers.
Just over 80% of credit unions with checking services still offer free checking, compared to 39% of banks. Only 18% of credit unions overall charge maintenance fees on non-interest bearing checking accounts. Half of those credit unions (9%) levy a general maintenance fee. The other 9% of credit unions only charged fees when a minimum balance fell below a certain threshold.
The median amount required to avoid this fee was $300, and the average minimum balance threshold was $534. The median and most charged checking maintenance fee reported was $5, and the average fee was $5.05. Most banks, CUNA found, charge a monthly fee as standard practice. That fee is 43 cents higher than the average credit union fee.
The median overdraft protection fee at credit unions is $25, compared to median fees of $30 at banks and $35 at larger banks, CUNA reported.
As for ATMs: The average nonmember credit union ATM fee, for those that charge them, is $2.10. Banks on average charge non-customer fees of $2.50 per transaction.