My Credit Union Started Charging a Monthly Fee

The National Bank, Oamaru, built 1871: a prost...
The National Bank, Oamaru, built 1871: a prostyle Palladian portico on a neoclassical facade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in July 2010 my credit union began charging a monthly fee.  They would charge $5 and credit my account $2 so the final cost was $3.  This went on for about a year and then they always charged me $5 each month.

I should have put in a call to them to ask about the monthly fee when they first began charging me but I figured it was only $3 a month (but $36/year!) so I didn’t bother.  I was disappointed that my credit union was charging me a monthly fee, but I figured it was just a sign of the times.

Last week I realized that my monthly savings disbursement from my paycheck was not in my savings account.  It’s not that much, only $20 but I do need to use that money every so often when I run short so I noticed the account had not risen and wondered where my money had gone.  I am the one at my job that types the savings disbursement check and I looked online to our checking account and saw that the check had passed through the business account.

So where was my $20?

I called the credit union to ask them directly. The guy I talked to explained to me that he didn’t see any deposits for $20 and advised me to contact the people who had deposited the money into my account.  Uh… that would be my employer, I explained to him, and I was the one who cuts the check, etc., etc.  At that point he realized that he needed to put me through to the branch that accepted the check to find where it had gone.

Once there, I learned that a new teller had place the $960 disbursement check into a general account.  So that means that none of the savings disbursements were applied to anyone’s accounts.  They were able to figure out where the money had gone, and assured me that they would place the money into the correct accounts.

Since I had them on the phone I decided to ask them about the $5 monthly charge.  I had also noticed it was only $3 in the last month.  I asked why it fluctuated?  Why was it usually $5, but sometimes $3.  I learned that is because on the months I have a direct deposit (such as when my income tax refunds came through) they only charge $3.

And then the guy told me I could waive that fee altogether!  Really?!  He said if I agreed to stop my paper statements and make on Bill Payment each month, the fee would be automatically waived.

I never know what to do with the paper statements.  I never use them because I use the online statements to reconcile my account, and I make two to three Bill Payments through the account each month.  Agh!  If I only I had called sooner to ask if there was an option.  I could have saved myself $104 over the past couple of years.

The moral of this story: When an institution begins charging you when previously the account was free, call to see if there is anything you can do to negotiate the price.

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10 thoughts on “My Credit Union Started Charging a Monthly Fee

  1. Which CU?

    Arizona State Credit Union gouged me $10 because the balance in a money market savings account dropped below a threshold…but that fee wasn’t anything new. It’s just that my emergency savings have never been quite so effectively raped as they were this summer. So far they’re not gouging for regular checking or savings accounts.

    They haven’t tried to ding me yet for paper statements. However, since I’ve learned how to export a set of transactions covering a specific date range directly into Excel — and have it come out as an intelligible spreadsheet! — I probably could do without the statements.
    Funny about Money recently posted..Summoned by Sheriff JoeMy Profile


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    First Credit Union. They used to have a branch in the main post office and it was ultra convenient for me when I didn’t have a car as I could walk or ride my bike there. I believe all the banks and credit unions have online statements, so instead of getting it mailed you just need to go online, log in and download/print. I love it. I have never been good with keeping track of paper so this works out great for me.


  2. Well that sucks. It’s good you figure dit all out, but it sucks. My wife and I have noticed that a number of companies will waive fees or cut us a break…but we have to call. And I guess that’s how they make their money — they add in little charges and most people just shrug or can’t find the time to call. So my wife and I try hard to call companies when we need to so we don’t give companies more profit than they already get off our money! No matter how small the charge!
    TB at BlueCollarWorkman recently posted..Tips From a Former Car Thief on How to Protect Your CarMy Profile


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    TB, yes I think companies are starting to think they can add little monthly recurring amounts and they think no one will notice. It’s too bad, and bad business in my opinion! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  3. Sorry your CU is charging stupid fees too. I was charged a $20 fee a couple of months ago and ran in to the branch to figure out why. Apparently when Chase took over Washington Mutual, they made some changes and I didn’t catch it in the loads of letters that they sent. I have to start keeping a $1500 balance instead of $500 or my “free” checking isn’t free anymore. I was able to get them to waive the charge thankfully, but now I am constantly monitoring my dumb account to make sure it is well padded…
    Crystal recently posted..Weird Writers’ Rituals Part 1: What’s your Strange Routine?My Profile


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    That’s awful! I would be paying fees since I wouldn’t be able to keep a $1500 balance – I’d be changing banks.


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