Still, credit unions only serve about 6 percent of US consumers, and this number has remained steady over the past few decades. Whether credit unions will take full advantage of Bank Transfer Day and the prevailing consumer dissatisfaction with mainstream banks will be a big test of CU smarts.
But even as they take advantage of the public's newfound interest in local banking, credit unions need to play their cards right. With consumers on the hunt for free debit cards and checking, CUs should watch their step as they promote these banking services. When it comes to banking services, too often free isn’t entirely accurate. With the current banking atmosphere of distrust and dissatisfaction, credit unions need to prioritize keeping new members’ trust by being open and upfront about minimum balance requirements, or limits on the number of free PIN-based debit card transactions per month.
For their part, consumers should be aware that not every credit union offers entirely free checking. As with opening any new bank account, asking questions and reading the fine print are requisites. And finally, if you’re just learning about Bank Transfer Day and think it sounds like a great idea, make sure that you’re smart about closing out your old account. It’ll likely take you longer than a few days to ensure that you and your old banking institution have completed and processed the necessary paperwork, but that’s no reason to pass up moving to a financial institution that will value both you and your community.