University Credit Union vs. Bank - Which is Better for Students?

Santa Clara University Edition

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NerdWallet pits your university credit union against the big bank on campus and tells you who comes out on top.
Accessibility and Convenience
Bonus Perks
Mission City Federal Credit Union
Bank of America

Overall Winner: Mission City Federal Union beats Bank of America in all three rounds of this match. The big bank didn't stand a chance against the credit union's completely free checking, no overdraft or out-of-network ATM fees, and accessible Co-op ATMs. Students should check out this credit union--they'll have enough savings to reward themselves for their killer financial planning skills with a burger at the Bronco.

Round 1: Fees

Mission City Federal Credit Union: CheckingBank of America: eBanking
Monthly Fee$0$8.95, waived if you choose online statements and never go to a teller. If you go to a teller, you are charged $8.95 for that month
Fee for Out-of-Network ATM Withdrawal$0$2
Overdraft Fee$0 overdraft transfer fee, and credit union does not allow customers to overdraft$35
Category Winner

Round 1 Winner: Mission City Federal Credit Union wins this round by a landslide by charging no fees whatsoever. If a customer overdrafts, money will be transferred from a savings account at no charge, and if the savings account is empty, the merchant will reject the transaction. The credit union also charges no fee for using an out-of-network ATM, although the ATM itself may charge a fee. This is an incredibly customer-friendly account.

Round 2: Accessibility and Convenience

Mission City Federal Credit Union: CheckingBank of America: eBanking
Branch LocationOff-campusOff-campus
Number of ATMs Within 1 Mile of Campus82
Category Winner

Round 2 Winner: Mission City Federal Credit Union has an ATM in the Benson Memorial Center, and they participate in the Co-op network, allowing members to withdraw from any Co-op ATM for no surcharge. Although both financial institutions have off-campus branches, they are less than a mile away.

Round 3: Bonus Perks

Mission City Federal Credit Union: CheckingBank of America: eBanking
BonusesThis account can earn interest if you can keep a $300 daily minimum balanceNone
Category Winner

Round 3 Winner: Mission City Federal CU has an interest-bearing checking option in which customers are charged a $3 monthly fee, which is waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $300.

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