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7 Advantages of a (Seriously) Free Checking Account

7 Advantages of a (Seriously) Free Checking Account

Whether you already have a checking account and want to switch, or you've never had one - the right benefits at the right price (preferably $0) should be big factors in your decision. As well as, obviously, being able to open a checking account online quickly and easily.

As of September 2022, Arizona credit unions serve nearly 1.8 million residents. Compared to traditional banks, Arizona credit unions save the average household over $150 per year. Let's find out why so many people trust credit unions with their money. 



1. Fewer/Lower Fees


Americans despise fees, and though they're sometimes a necessary evil, that's simply not the case when it comes to checking accounts. 

The average big bank monthly maintenance fee will run you about $9 per month for a checking account, with some also handing out a fee for a savings account, if you don't meet certain criteria (like a minimum balance.)

Arizona credit unions save individual members an average of $78 per year compared to other financial institutions. One of these factors is due to the fewer and lower fees. Total financial benefit to Arizona members in 2022 was $15.9 million saved in that category alone. Copper State Credit Union offers a free checking account that eliminates three of the most-hated fees, as shown below: 


Top 10 Most Unfair Fees-1


CashBack Checking Accounts a.k.a. cashback debit accounts come with a free MastercardTM debit card, access to a network of free ATMs, and it's completely free as long as you enroll in eStatements. However, if you do prefer a paper statement mailed to you each month, there's a $2 paper statement fee for members age 18-64. Up to you! 😉




2. The Best Service


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Credit unions care about their members and treat them as people, not numbers or potential profits.

We're governed by a volunteer board of directors and volunteer supervisory committee. They ensure that we're always keeping our members' best interests at the forefront and providing excellent member service - both in the branches and online.

Numbers don't lie... 98% of our members were happy with their loan experience on this quarter's surveys, and 89% of members were happy with the account opening experience



3. Membership Means Saving On Loans 


Paying to Borrow

If you get a free checking account with a credit union, you'll be a member-owner, which makes you eligible to receive their better rates. You want interest rates on loans to be as low as possible, so that you're paying less to borrow money.

A CUNA report comparing average rates between Arizona credit unions and Arizona banks as of March 2022 found the comparisons almost always come out in favor of credit unions, particularly for auto loans and credit cards. In real dollars, they found that a $30,000 car loan would end up costing you over $800 more if you went with a bank rather than a credit union, based on a 5 year term with the rates below. And now that rates are even higher, per the Fed's continuing rate hikes, that difference is even more pronounced. 


Arizona Average Interest Rates



4. Cash



Untitled design (3)-1One myth that persists about credit unions is that members won't get the same cash back rewards as they would at a bank. 🙄

Expect -at least with us- to get cashback rewards on everyday purchases. For example, with the Copper State CU Mastercard debit card, you can earn cash back on most transactions with the CardCash program.

Credit unions also offer a variety of credit cards - from secured cards that help build credit, to consolidation cards that offer 0% APR intro periods, to awesome rewards cards - whatever fits your needs. 




5. Locked Down



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While no one is 100% immune to financial security hacks, credit unions prioritize excellent security measures to protect your identity and your assets.

  • You can sign up for text and email alerts that will notify you if there is any suspicious-looking activity on your account. This not only helps prevent fraud, but also promotes simpler money management (keeping your account balance on track.)

  • Copper State Credit Union also offers two-factor authentication and biometric options (FaceID, touch ID, etc.) for login to the mobile app as well as in branch with PalmScan technology.

  • Free credit score is a complimentary tool embedded in our online banking portal that provides free credit monitoring and daily score updates as well as security alerts.

  • All of the above are available via the mobile app - known widely by financial security techs to be generally more secure than visiting a browser for your online banking needs.

  • When it comes to insurance, let us assure you - credit unions are fully insured. We're insured by the NCUA - National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency who fully backs your deposits to at least $250,000. Banks are insured by a similar organization, the FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. I'm sure you've heard of the latter in the news lately...

    Both organizations have the full protection of the U.S. Government so that American banks and credit unions can remain stable in times of economic hardship.  Rest assured that in the event a financial crisis strikes, your funds will be safe.  


6. Extras


Here are a variety of additional features a credit union like Copper State CU is going to provide:


  • Way More Free ATMs

    55,000+ Surcharge-Free ATMs through Allpoint ATM Network - which nationally adds up to more than any of the leading big banks have individually.

  • Online Banking + Mobile App

    Ours is easy to use and beautifully designed (in our non-biased opinion) 


  • Shared Branching

    Copper State CU partners with CO-OP Shared Branch Network to provide you access to your accounts through over 5,000 participating branch locations across the United States.
    ^^Just click the link and check the box for Shared Branch Locations to view your nearby location options. 😉

  • Direct Deposit

    Paycheck sent directly to my checking account early!?4 Yes please. Info here.

  • Automated Bill Pay

    Paying all of your bills each month can be a chore. Bill Pay allows you to add payees and schedule payments with ease - either one-time or recurring.

  • Electronic Statements

    Paper statements are a thing of the past. As mail theft is on the rise, people are turning to eStatements to keep their account info locked up behind an online banking username and password. Plus, with Copper State CU, enrolling in eStatements saves you $2 a month.

    eStatements image


  • Zelle®

    We now offer person to person digital payments with Zelle®, trusted by over 1,500 credit unions and banks nationwide. Send and receive money safely between friends and family, even if they bank somewhere different than you. Check out our post for more info: What Is Zelle®? 4 Fast Facts for Newbies

  • Remote Check Deposit

    Our staff's #1 favorite feature = snap a photo of your check and deposit it into your account without stepping foot into a branch! You just need the app.


Click for your free budgeting eBook download



7. Community Engagement and Financial Education


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Community Engagement


Copper State Credit Union is dedicated to strengthening Arizona families through financial empowerment. Credit unions across Arizona all have an arm around their communities, because our communities are what makes credit unions exist. Here are some examples of Copper State CU's outreaches:

Banzai - free financial education game simulations in 18 schools across Arizona, reaching over 1,200 students annually.

Arizona Helping Hands - We partner with this nonprofit to help support families caring for children in foster care. Our biggest event of the year is the annual diaper drive. 

Phoenix Children's Hospital - Each year we donate to Phoenix Children's to help families who are fighting childhood cancer.

We also volunteer and/or donate with Future Business Leaders of America, Junior Achievement, RVN3 in Payson, ElevateED AZ and many other local events throughout the year. 


Financial Education

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Financial education is a priority for credit unions, which is why they'll likely offer a variety of articles, downloads, and much more for free, in addition to a free checking account.

For example, if you wanted to create a monthly budget, you could download our free budget plan and get started right away.

Or, you could download our free budgeting template.

The Debt Relief Bundle is a great option if you're trying to tackle debt.

We have a whole library of financial calculators you can check out, as well as tons of articles, checklists, and other resources you can filter through by topic within our resource center.

 Whether you become a member of Copper State Credit Union or another Arizona credit union, we hope you take advantage of all the benefits a free checking account with a credit union has to offer.


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1All loans subject to approval. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness, qualifications and collateral conditions.
2 Interest is paid to CashBack Checking Accounts for those that maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 or more. If interest is accrued, payment will be reflected in member’s monthly statements.
3Terms and conditions apply, click here for details.
4Access to direct deposit funds depends on the submission timing of the payment file from the payer.

This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only.

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