Jenna, Vice President, Operations

Most of our new checking account holders switch to Pacific Service CU because they want to receive good value.  But how do you know you’re getting a good deal?  Here are five fees to consider when assessing a new checking account.

 

ATM Fees
Typically, banks offer free ATM access to their own ATMs.  However, be sure you look at the out-of-network ATM fees, the charge that results if you use your Bank of America ATM or debit card at a Chase or other bank ATM.  Non-network ATM fees can range between $2 and $5 and can quickly add up over time.

 

Monthly Fees
You should also make note of monthly maintenance fees and requirements to avoid those fees.  Sometimes the fee can be avoided simply by taking advantage of direct deposit.  Often a minimum balance is required to avoid the fee.  If so, be sure that the minimum is realistic for you.  And finally, some checking account providers require certain activities to avoid the monthly fee; things like number of debit card uses per month or limiting to the number of checks you can write.

 

Usage Fees
Generally speaking, try to avoid checking accounts that require you to pay to use or access your account.  Look at the fee schedule for charges such as speaking with a phone representative or teller, limits on paper checks written or charging for paper statements.

 

Non-Sufficient Funds and Overdraft Protection Fees
When there are not enough funds in your checking account to cover a transaction, your financial institution may still pay the transaction using either an elected overdraft protection account or allowing you to temporarily overdraw your account.  These types of services can be very reasonable, but often are very exorbitant.

 

Overdraft Fees
We encourage our members to designate other credit union accounts to be used as an overdraft protection source in case your checking account becomes overdrawn.  We will automatically transfer funds from the designated overdraft account(s) to help prevent checks from bouncing.  At Pacific Service CU, this is a free service; however, we see these fees as high as $15 or more per transfer at other financial institutions.

Courtesy Pay Fees
Courtesy pay allows you to overdraw your account, up to your courtesy pay limit.  For this service, a courtesy pay fee will apply because the institution is standing in for you.  Our fee is a low $25.  We often see courtesy pay fees at nearly $40 per transaction and some fees increase the more often you use the service.

Foreign Fees
If you regularly travel outside of the country, foreign fees should be a part of your decision-making process.  Outside of the country, consumers typically pay a premium for ATM access, debit and credit card transactions and more.  This can be a real differentiator for some consumers.

 

We pride ourselves on being a low-fee leader in the financial services marketplace.  Our Fee Schedule is available online or in branch and we encourage you to compare and see how we stack up.  Our low fees and great service are hard to beat!