Community Impact | March 15, 2024

UFCU Erases NSF Fees and Other Barriers to Banking

In 2023, about 6% of Texans did not have a checking or savings account1. Another 18% use costly non-banking alternatives, such as payday loan merchants, for check cashing and credit. These statistics are worrisome because they mean too many people in our communities lack access to the protections, advantages, and services at UFCU.

These are the biggest obstacles people say prevent them from opening a bank account:

  1. Costly fees
  2. Lack of resources to meet opening balance requirements
  3. Difficulties with debt and/or credit

These are real challenges, and UFCU is serious about tackling them.

Making Banking Accessible, Free, and Easy

  • Across all accounts, we’ve eliminated fees for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF), also called overdraft fees, saving UFCU Members more than $2.7 million annually. This is an advantage for everyone, but it is especially important for people who maintain a near-zero balance and might otherwise pay penalties of hundreds of dollars each year.

  • To make checking services accessible to everyone, we introduced our totally free Simply U™ checking account, which requires no initial deposit and can be opened 100% online. The account covers complete basic checking with no monthly fees. Members spend only what they deposit, so they maintain control.

  • Difficulty managing debt and credit is a widespread problem. Our own membership shows a trend toward increasing debt — UFCU found that at the end of 2023, Members’ credit card balances were up 16%, while Members’ savings balances were down by about 14% year-over-year.

    UFCU has launched Credit Coach in direct response to Members’ requests for help understanding and managing their credit. This free service is delivered in partnership with Credit Mountain and will provide tools to fix negative credit factors like missed payments and inefficient credit usage. We aim to break the cycle of poor credit that can prevent Members from accessing favorable terms with us and other lenders.

We’re making good on our commitment to provide honest, affordable, and excellent banking services and to increase opportunities for all Central Texans. UFCU will continue to remove barriers and introduce new programs and services to give everyone the tools they need to achieve financial success.

1 Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022 - May 2023