Starting September 23rd, HSBC is raising some of their monthly fees. Choice Checking customers will see their monthly service fee almost double – it’s going up from $8 per month to $15 per month. Plus Checking customers will face a $20 monthly fee, up from $15. The minimum balance to avoid both fees is still the same: $1,500 for Choice Checking and $15,000 for Plus Checking. Although other HSBC fees are changing for the better, many of them won’t affect regular customers. If you’re not regularly receiving wire transfers or exchanging currency, you probably won’t even notice. Here’s the big question: is an HSBC checking account still worth it? Not if you want free checking, that’s for sure.
Want a better account? Join a credit union
Why bother worrying about fees or minimum balance requirements when you can just open an account at your local credit union? Many credit unions have truly free checking. With shared branching and ATM network partnerships, many of them have more free ATMs than HSBC, too, at least in the United States. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of credit unions in the same cities as HSBC branches (or as close as possible).
New recommendations for a better banking experience
We recently put together a list of alternatives in states where HSBC has the highest number of branches. This new list includes recommendations for the states with a smaller HSBC presence that we originally left out. It also includes two additional recommendations for their biggest markets: California and New York. If you live in Washington, Florida or Virginia, or just want more choices for California and New York, be sure to check our other list of HSBC alternatives.
Las Vegas, Nevada – SCE Federal Credit Union
SCE Federal Credit Union’s free checking account comes with online banking and bill pay, and fraud monitoring protection. If you can maintain a monthly direct deposit of at least $500 and sign up for e-statements, consider opening a Green Checking account, which earns dividends and offers a debit rewards program. SCE Federal Credit Union has additional Nevada branches in North Las Vegas and Henderson, and Southern California branches in Duarte, Ontario, Irwindale and Lynwood. Anyone can join.
Portland, Oregon – Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union
Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union offers a free Kasasa Cash account that pays 3.00% APY on your balance and refunds all ATM fees when you meet the minimum monthly requirements. You’ll need to make at least 10 debit card payments, set up direct deposit, and sign up for e-statements. If you miss the requirements one month, your account’s still free, and you’ll still earn a small amount of interest. Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union has 1 branch in Portland. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works or attends school in the central city neighborhoods of Portland, and members of local select employee groups. Visit their membership for complete details.
Wilton, Connecticut – Mutual Security Credit Union
Mutual Security Credit Union offers a free checking account with free online banking and bill pay, online and mobile banking, plus a debit rewards program. If you’d like to earn interest on your balance, consider signing up for their Advantage Checking account, which requires direct deposit or a $400 average monthly balance to avoid a $3 monthly fee. Mutual Security Credit Union has branches in Stratford, Danbury, Watertown, Norwalk and Cheshire. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fairfield, Litchfield or New Haven counties. Affiliates of select employee groups and family of current members may also join. Please see their Who Can Join page for complete details.
Chicago, Illinois – Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union’s free checking account is very flexible. If you choose, you can earn a high interest rate by using e-statements and setting up a regular electronic deposit. Regardless, your account is free, easy to maintain, and it even includes a free first box of checks. It also comes with online banking and bill pay, mobile banking, and mobile deposit apps. Members have access to 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Membership is open to anyone who becomes a member of Foster Care to Success. You may also qualify based on where you live or whom you work for. See their membership eligibility page for complete details.
Washington, D.C. – IDB IIC Federal Credit Union
IDB IIC Federal Credit Union’s free checking account comes with online banking, e-statements and unlimited check writing. Their main branch is located on New York Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C. To qualify for membership, you must be affiliated with Inter-American Development Bank, or the Inter-American Investment Corporation. Family of eligible members may also join. Please see their membership page for complete details.
San Francisco, California – Spectrum Federal Credit Union
Spectrum Federal Credit Union’s Free Spirit Checking account comes with online banking and bill pay, unlimited check writing, e-statements and a direct deposit option. In addition to their San Francisco branch on Beale Street, Spectrum Federal Credit Union also has branches in Houston, Texas and Frederick, Maryland. You probably qualify for membership if you live near a branch or work for an eligible select employee group. Please see their Field of Membership page for complete details.
New York, New York – Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union
Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union offers a free checking account with online and telephone banking, and unlimited check transactions. Be sure to take advantage of their free financial advisor, who’s available for appointments five days a week. They also offer free financial management classes. Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union has 3 branch locations in the city. Individuals who live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school or belong to an organization located in the Lower East Side or Central Harlem are eligible for membership. All New York City residents who earn less than $38,000 annually may also join. Please see their How Do I Join? page for a complete list of ways to qualify.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin – Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union’s Xtraordinary Checking account offers an impressive interest rate of 1.75% APY on any balance up to $25,000. To qualify, you’ll need to meet a few minimum monthly requirements: sign up for e-statements, have 1 direct deposit and 1 online bill payment, and make at least 15 debit card purchases. If you don’t meet them one month, your account’s still free, and earns a competitive interest rate. Connexus Credit Union has branches in Wausau and Weston, and several additional branches in New Hampshire. Although Connexus doesn’t have a location in Eau Claire, you can still make most of your transactions via online banking. Membership is open to anyone who joins the Connexus Association. Please see their membership page for additional ways to qualify.
Did we miss anyone?
Know a great credit union checking account in a town where HSBC dominates? Tell us about them!
Use our tool to find the best checking account for your financial needs.