Bank of America reduced its total number of ATMs nationwide by 9% in the past year, and the mega-bank plans on closing 750 of its 5,594 branches. However, Bank of America still has over 16,000 ATMs nationwide, making it the second-largest bank ATM network in the United States.
A TD Bank Poll showed that 45% of customers cited convenient ATMs as one of the most valuable elements of a financial institution. NerdWallet recently studied the data to see if big banks were really more convenient than credit unions. We found that credit unions may be much more accessible than you think, and even more accessible than the biggest banks.
What credit unions offer
Credit unions often have more surcharge-free ATMs than banks because they often participate in large ATM networks. The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Vice President of Economics and Statistics stated that 97% of credit unions offer online banking, 47% offer mobile banking and 71% belong to a surcharge-free ATM network. These surcharge-free ATM networks can be much larger than banks’ ATM networks.
NerdWallet lays out these ATM networks and the number of surcharge-free ATMs available to members of participating credit unions and customers of participating banks. Credit union networks are shown in bold.
|Network||Number of ATMs|
|Credit Union 24||70,000|
|Bank of America||16,220|
Credit unions that participate in the Credit Union 24 or CO-OP networks (which partners with the SHAZAM ATM network) have more surcharge-free ATMs nationwide than Bank of America and all other major banks.
CO-OP and Credit Union 24 ATMs are located in many retail locations, including most 7-Elevens, Costco and Walgreens. Bank ATMs tend to be located alongside branches or near landmarks, like stadiums and malls.
NerdWallet’s student checking comparison tool found that across more than 80 universities, university credit unions were more accessible than banks. 72% of credit unions researched had a branch on campus, while only 54% of banks had the same. Credit unions averaged 7 on-campus ATMs, compared to only 4 for banks.
Interested in finding a local credit union? Use our credit union tool to locate one you can join.