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WASHINGTON (8/30/12)--National media continue to point out credit unions as a viable choice for consumers, especially those tired of bank fees. The latest include U.S. News & World Report, Fox Business.com, and Bankrate.com.

Back to school season and banking alternatives for students was the topic of a blog by Joseph Audette, NerdWallet vice president of education and financial literacy, in the U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 28).

"One aspect of returning to school that should not be costly is your banking. Too often, students pick the large nationwide banks for their student checking when better options exist right on campus in the form of university credit unions," Audette wrote.

"Overall, university credit unions charge less for out-of-network ATM transactions and many include several free transactions a month," he said. "By researching on-campus banking options at more than 80 major universities, NerdWallet found that 57% of credit unions surveyed offered at least one free out-of-network transaction per month, compared to only 18% of banks."

He also pointed out that students have an easier time accessing money from university credit unions. The NerdWallet study "found that 72% of university credit unions had branches on campus, while only 54% of banks" did so. Also, credit unions' ATM networks "offer surcharge-free ATM networks that dwarf that of individual banks," Audette wrote.

Some credit unions also offer bonus perks, such as the three cent reward on every debit purchase up to a maximum of $250 per year, offered by Metro CU in Boston, the article said.

Another article, "Six Cutting-Edge Bank Alternatives," which appeared first in Bankrate.com and then in FoxBusiness.com (Aug. 29), names credit unions as one of six alternatives to its question, "Can you do better than a bank?"

"By joining company credit unions, you can save money on banking fees. They offer core services such as savings accounts, auto loans and checking accounts. And some credit unions are branching out to community members to become an alternative to banks," said the article, which said that San Jose, Calif.-based Alliance CU serves more than 400 small employee groups.

Credit Union National Association spokesman Pat Keefe also provided information on the valuable benefits that come with membership.  Use the link for the full article.
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