Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Cut your bank fees

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Free checking at your bank may be a thing of the past soon. If you're tired of changing rules, higher fees and stricter requirements, you don't have to take it anymore.

Find an alternative.

Online banks are a better deal than their brick-and-mortar counterparts by most measures. They generally have lower fees and smaller minimum balance requirements. And interest rates can be a lot higher, especially on Internet-only banks.

Recently, Consumer Reports rated seven of the largest online banks. They include ING Direct, HSBC Direct, Citibank and Capital One. Just make sure that the bank you choose is a member of the FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This way you know your money is insured up to $250,000.

Credit Unions offer another popular alternative to large banks. Credit unions may have marginally better interest rates and rates on CDs, savings accounts and money markets.

Becoming a member of a credit union is usually based on where you live, who you work for, what you do for a living, or what religious community you belong to. Credit unions service those in the military, teachers, firefighters, policeman and people who work for specific companies.

To find out if you're eligible to join a credit union, go to creditunion.coop. And make sure the credit union is insured by the National Credit Union Administration -- that's the credit union's equivalent of the FDIC. Your money is insured up to the same limits as with a traditional bank.

Talkback: Would you use an online bank for your checking account? To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%3.96%
15 yr fixed3.14%3.12%
5/1 ARM3.15%3.08%
30 yr refi4.05%3.99%
15 yr refi3.16%3.14%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,624.05 4.28 0.02%
Nasdaq 5,838.58 23.68 0.41%
S&P 500 2,351.16 0.00 0.00%
Treasuries 2.42 -0.02 -1.02%
Data as of 3:36pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.52 -0.06 -0.24%
Pfizer Inc 33.62 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 33.74 0.14 0.42%
Kraft Heinz Co 96.65 9.37 10.74%
Mondelez Internation... 42.50 -0.70 -1.62%
Data as of Feb 17

Sections

Kraft Heinz has abandoned its more than $140 billion bid for food and personal care products giant Unilever. But the company, which has Buffett as its largest investor, could still be interested in buying another big supermarket staple. More

It's still not clear whether millions of European Union migrants living in the U.K. will be permitted to stay in the country. More

Some Silicon Valley workers are going public with how their lives are changing under the new President as part of a new project from photographer and oral historian Helena Price called "Banned." More

Pay yourself first; donate stuff you don't need to charity and remember to claim deductions; finally, cut your recurring expenses. More