Bankrate.com releases survey of bank and credit union checking accounts.
Community banks also offer far more free checking options than big banks. Economist blames interchange cap on large institutions.
In 2012, 33,440 new members joined Bethpage, a 26% increase compared to 2011, the Long Island credit union said.
Since 2010, credit unions offering free checking dropped from 78% to 72%, while it plunged from 65% to 39% at banks.
Survey finds free checking with no minimum balance 72% of largest credit unions compared with 45% of banks.
A lifetime of no debit, maintenance, minimum balance or foreign ATM charges awaits new members who open checking accounts at the $4.2 billion Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
Survey finds 87% of online respondents had free checking already.
MoneyRates.com says 33% of bank checking accounts remain free.