Q: I’m thinking of switching my checking account to a credit union. How is it different than using a big bank?

A: You’re not alone. Many Americans are dissatisfied with banks and are looking to make a switch.

As a member of State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU), you can expect to have a more rewarding experience. As a member-owned and not-for-profit financial institution, SDFCU is more attuned to the needs of its members.

While banks and credit unions offer nearly identical services and account choices, there are some differences.

Let’s take a look at how having a checking account at SDFCU differs from a bank.

1.) Account fees
To the unsuspecting consumer, big banks may not feel like money-hungry monsters. But while they’re happy to hold onto your money, once your account is up and running, expect to get hit with steep maintenance fees. The average bank charges consumers close to $150 each year for having an open checking account.

On the flip side, SDFCU offers truly free checking and charges no fees on it’s checking accounts, so you can set up your account and keep it running without it costing you a dime.

2.) Overdraft fees
Sometimes, you miscalculate the funds in your account and overspend. If you make this mistake at a bank, get ready to cough up those overdraft fees!

These fees usually top $30, and some banks will make consumers pay the penalty for each transaction they make while their account is overdrawn.

While some credit unions do charge an overdraft fee, on average, these fees are lower than what banks demand.  It is also very easy to set up SDFCU’s overdraft protection (Moneyline) and never have to worry about getting declined when checking out.

3.) Fewer strings attached
Most big banks won’t allow you to open a checking account unless you have a minimum balance of several hundred dollars. In contrast, SDFCU has no minimum balance requirement at all.

4.) Credit unions are government-regulated
Both credit unions and banks are federally governed. SDFCU is federally insured, like a bank with federal insurance, covering your accounts up to $250,000.

However, credit unions face more government restrictions on their investments and loans than banks do. This means SDFCU is very careful with how it invests your money.

5.) Superior service
When you stop by an SDFCU branch, you’ll be greeted with friendly, familiar faces and representatives who actually care. They’re always ready and willing to help you because they only have your best interests in mind – always.

6) CO-OP network access to branches and free ATMs
Access up to 5,000+ shared branch locations and nearly 30,000 free CO-OP ATMs through the CO-OP network.

7) Interest-earning checking account options
SDFCU offer members two interest-earning checking account options – Advantage and Privilege Checking Accounts.

Why choose SDFCU for your checking account? With no fees, fewer strings attached and better service, it’s the best place possible to park your money!

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