One reason people give for sticking with their bank even as it adds absurd debit card fees is that soon, all financial institutions are likely to charge for these services. So why bother going through the hassle of switching banks at all? Small banks, online banks, and credit unions understand that the absence of fees helps them woo customers away from the big fee-crazed banks, though, and the smaller players will do everything they can to avoid adding fees to keep a competitive advantage. One credit union is even guaranteeing customers free checking and no debit card fees for life.
Given Bank of America’s new fees (and the backlash that followed), small banks and credit unions are seizing the opportunity to attract new customers. One credit union in Texas, for instance, isn’t adding debit card fees and has begun paying customers 15¢ each a debit card is swiped.
Now, the Bethpage Federal Credit Union, in Long Island, is offering new checking account customers one honey of a guarantee—a lifetime of checking and banking services that are as fee-free as they get. So long as the customer keeps a checking account with the credit union, the following is guaranteed:
• No monthly maintenance fees
• No minimum balance requirement
• No transaction fees
• No debit card fees
• No foreign ATM fees
• FREE online banking, mobile banking and telephone banking
How can this credit union suddenly start offering all of these services for free? Easy. While the guarantee is being publicized right now to coincide with the rise of fees for debit card usage, minimum-account balances, and the like, the Bethpage Federal Credit Union isn’t really making all that many sudden changes to its fee structures and policies. As the New York Times’ Bucks blog reports:
It already wasn’t charging most of those fees anyway.
For that matter, many other credit unions and small banks don’t charge for most of those services either.