Many banks have done away with Free Checking. We keep hearing reports of big banks charging big fees for simple services like checking – or raising the fees they were already charging. One big bank in particular, has decided to begin charging $7 a month to New Jersey residents just for the privilege of having a checking account or writing checks. The fee will decrease to $5 a month if the bank’s customers elect online statements.
If these bank customers want to pay $7 to write checks and receive e-statements, we wish them well. Here at First Financial Federal Credit Union, we’ve always believed it’s our privilege that you choose to be a member and that you choose to deposit your money here – whether for checking, savings, or any other purposes. We’re happy to provide you with a variety of checking services including Free Checking, to best meet your lifestyle. The very fact that you do your banking here is good for us and good for you!
Of course, it helps that we are owned by you – our members. You tend to do business in a more service-oriented manner when that’s the case. We also think that’s why more and more people are giving credit unions a fresh look. For us, it’s not all about squeezing every last dollar out of people in the form of fees and charges. It’s about serving the best interests of our members – period.
So if you’d like completely free checking*, come talk to us. If you’d like to be a member of an organization whose every decision is designed to meet your needs, we’re here for you! There are still places out there like this, and First Financial is proud to be one of them.
*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey.
Debit Cards vs. ATM Cards
A debit card and an ATM card are two completely different cards. Debit cards act exactly like cash or credit cards (without any interest since you are not “borrowing” money, but instead it comes from your checking account), while ATM cards are only used to withdraw money at an ATM. Here are some points to help you to better understand the differences between each:
- Are usually accepted anywhere a major credit card is – since they will have a VISA or Mastercard logo.
- Can replace check writing for purchases.
- Can be used for purchases online.
- Can be used to get cash back with purchases at grocery stores and some retailers.
- Can be used to withdraw money at an ATM.
- Can be used as a credit card (but is withdrawn from a checking account within 5 days).
- Can be used to withdraw money from an ATM, either from a checking or savings account.
- Has no monthly fee (at First Financial).*
- Can only be tied to a checking account.
- Only allow transactions made at ATMs.
- Cannot be used to make purchases.
- Is a card that is used only to withdraw money from a savings account.
- Has a $3 monthly fee (at First Financial).**
Which is for me?
If you like the convenience of cash but are not a fan of carrying it or of writing checks, we recommend a debit card. If access to your money at ATMs is a must, but you cannot open a checking account – an ATM card will be your only option.
Learn more about First Financial’s First Access Debit Card, with no monthly fees!
*Debit Cards are available for First Financial members with Checking Accounts only. A First Financial membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. View full Rewards First program details at firstffcu.com. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program. First Financial is Federally Insured by the NCUA.
**There is a $3 monthly fee for all ATM Cards and a non-First Financial ATM fee of $2 per transaction for the Silver tier of Rewards First.