Credit Unions Are The Better Value For ATM Users

Despite incurring higher costs per ATM owned, credit unions surcharge members less for out-of-network ATM use than banks charge their customers, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday.

NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said the GAO’s finding show credit unions, despite rising costs of doing business, are doing a better job of keeping costs to members in check. “This is a good message for credit unions to share during National Financial Literacy Month, which is all about making smart financial decisions,” said Becker.

The report, requested by lawmakers, is the first the GAO has issued since 2008 on trends in ATM surcharges at the machines.

The GAO said surcharge fees assessed by credit unions, on average, were 17 cents lower than bank surcharge fees in 2012. Foreign fees assessed were 23 cents lower at credit unions than at banks. (A portion of the surcharge fee goes to the non-network ATM operator. A foreign fee is just for the credit union.)

The GAO also found that people more often are able to obtain cash without a fee attached when they use a credit union: A consumer can get cash without a fee attached 95 percent of the time at a credit union; and 85 percent of the time at a bank.

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