Credit Union Checking is Still the Consumer’s Best Bet

A just-released study by the research firm Moebs Services finds credit unions and community banks’ median charge for an Overdraft is $28—compared to a median penalty of $33.50 charged by banks with assets greater than $50 billion.

Mainstream media reports latched onto quotes in the study about credit unions increasing their overdraft fees this year to make up for revenue declines caused by fewer consumers overdrawing their accounts. Still, the study found credit unions’ fees remained on average $2 lower than banks’.

In addition to researching economic trends, it should be pointed out that Moebs Services also offers consulting and overdraft services programs to financial services providers.

Other economic studies and data analysis support credit union checking accounts as the best choice for consumers, including:

  • A recent study showing 72% of credit unions still offering free checking vs. 39% of banks;
  • Data showing credit union members are impacted by overdraft far fees less often. A 2009 study by Victor Stango, PhD, University of California and Jonathan Zinman, PhD, Dartmouth College, found credit unions members were paying overdraft fees on an average of just 1.5 transactions per year, while bank customers were being penalized for overdrafts on an average of four transactions per year; and
  • An analysis of Thomson-Reuters data through Q1, 2013 showing 101 of the Northwest’s 175 credit unions are offering overdraft protection services to their members, usually in the form of automatic transfer from savings or other lines of credit. Fees for overdraft protection services are generally lower than overdraft fees.


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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