People who switched from banks to credit unions could still be hit with fees

Published: Friday, Nov. 30 2012 2:15 p.m. MST

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A customer uses a Bank of America ATM on September 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Bank of America annouced its plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers using their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

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Credit unions are not as safe as many people think they are.

Last year large groups of people switched from banks to credit unions to avoid fees, but those people are equally vulnerable to them when banking with a credit union, according to an article by The Street, a personal finance blog.

Credit unions, in general, have fewer fees, but fees have started creeping in. Some credit unions that used to offer free checking accounts have added account minimums and fees.

Why do credit unions charge fees? "Because they can," said Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, to The Street. "Many Americans still do not check their monthly bank statements, and many unknowingly pay these fees. The credit unions that remain fee-free are the ones that are truly committed to their customers."

Despite the fees, credit unions still consistently offer better interest rates on loans when compared to banks, according to the article. There are still credit unions that are fee-less as well.

Schrage offers advice for choosing a credit union.

"There are still plenty of fee-free credit unions out there, and if you start getting charged at your current credit union, simply look elsewhere," Schrage said to The Street. "No matter where you go, however, make sure you check your bank statement each and every month for hidden fees or any errors."

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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