With a recent hike in banking fees, a new study surveyed the biggest banks and credit unions in the country, to find the best checking accounts.
Here's a hint: they may not be at a bank!
The Bankrate study found that 76% of the credit unions surveyed offer free checking accounts, with *no strings attached*.
Add in the 20% of the remaining credit unions that waive fees if members agree to meet certain conditions, and the number jumps to 96%.
Meanwhile, only 65% of banks offered those kinds of accounts.
Because credit unions are not-for-profit.
While they make money, the credit union members are the owners, so they're not focused on the profitability of individual products, like checking accounts.
Which means you can often find lower interest rates on credit cards, car loans, and mortgages there.
And credit union issued credit cards often do not have annual fees, or charge late fees for one late payment.
And joining a credit union isn't as hard as you might think.
Out of the 8,000 credit unions in the U.S., about 25% are community based.