I was an account-holder with US Bank for eighteen years. I paid an $8 “service charge” every month, as well as many other fees. Worst of all, I had to put up with truly awful customer service. Many people have similar experiences with US Bank. Yesterday, The Consumerist posted a story of one man’s encounter with US Bank customer service ineptitude. It’s typical of stories I hear.

I finally switched my accounts to a local credit union last May. I delayed making the switch for years because I thought I had too many automatic transactions that interacted with my US Bank account. Here’s how I finally made the switch:

  • I withdrew several hundred dollars from US Bank and used this money to open an account at the credit union.
  • One-by-one I transferred any automatic transactions to the new account.
  • When I was sure that everything was working as intended, I went in and spoke to a banker. I took all my money in cash and then immediately deposited it into my credit union account.

The process was easy.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why I waited so long to switch. At the credit union, there are no fees for anything. (Well, there’s a $1 fee if I overdraw my checking account and they need to use money from my savings account to cover the draft.) The only drawback I’ve found is that the credit union ATMs aren’t as ubiquitous as the US Bank ATMS, but this is actually very easy to plan around.

Even the credit union’s on-line banking services are superior. That’s right: a four-branch credit union has better on-line capabilities than one of the largest banks in the nation.

This simple change has saved me at least $96 a year in bank fees, and has actually made dealing with a financial institution a pleasant experience.

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