Credit unions are nearly twice as likely as banks to offer free checking accounts with no strings attached, according to Bankrate.com.
The personal finance content specialist said its 2013 Credit Union Checking Survey of the 50 largest credit unions found that 72% offered standalone free checking compared with 39% of banks.
The survey also found that from 2010 to the end of 2012, the percentage of credit unions offering free checking dropped from 78% to 72%, while it plunged from 65% to 39% at banks.
“While banks have significantly scaled back free checking accounts, free checking remains the rule, rather than the exception, among credit unions,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at New York-based Bankrate.com.
The 72% figure was the same in last year’s survey.
The 2013 survey also found that 96% percent of the credit union checking accounts that Bankrate surveyed are free or can become free with direct deposit, e-statements, transaction activity, other accounts and balances or some combination of those.
Meanwhile, Bankrate.com found, the most commons non-sufficient funds fee at credit unions was $30, compared with $35 at banks,
The survey also found that credit unions’ average ATM surcharge jumped 10% over the past year, from $2.08 to $2.29 and that surcharging is nearly universal at both banks and credit unions.