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Credit Unions with Non-Profit Checking Accounts: NerdWallet’s Picks

Dec. 10, 2012
Personal Finance
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Just like any business, a non-profit organization needs a good checking account to manage everyday purchases, payroll and more. Unlike a regular business, however, nonprofits typically don’t have the same resources with which to pay the fees most business checking accounts come with. Many credit unions have business checking accounts just for non-profits that are far more affordable, so you can keep doing your important work without worrying about your money every month. You’ve got enough to worry about as it is! Plus, when you bank with a credit union, you support another not-for-profit organization, which is pretty cool, too.

Non-profit checking accounts in a nutshell

As we’ve previously discussed on the NerdWallet banking blog, business checking fees are a bit more complicated than personal checking fees. They’re also harder to avoid, as you’re generally charged based on the number of transactions you make. Non-profit checking accounts have a similar fee structure, but they’re more likely to waive them, and they may offer extra benefits like interest on your balance, free checks or payroll assistance. Look for a non-profit checking account that has no minimum balance requirement and no account maintenance fee. If they do charge for transactions, make sure they only do so when you pass a certain threshold (100+, for example). To help you get started on your search, here are NerdWallet’s picks for non-profit checking accounts at credit unions across America.

Altana Federal Credit Union (Billings, MT)

Altana Federal Credit Union’s non-profit business checking account has no monthly maintenance fee. It comes with online banking, bill pay and e-statements so you don’t even need to leave the office to get most of your banking done. Night drop is available if you need to make a deposit after hours. When you open an account, you’re also eligible for free account balancing assistance during the first statement period. Altana Federal Credit Union has branches in Billings, Columbus, Laurel and Red Lodge. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or owns a business in Yellowstone, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland, Golden Valley or Musselshell counties. Immediate family of eligible members may also join.

Community First Credit Union (Appleton, WI)

Community First Credit Union’s non-profit checking account has no monthly service fee. You can make up to 200 free deposits and 100 free withdrawals each month. The account also comes with online and telephone banking, and online bill pay. Other perks include night depository service, free coin counting and currency service, and integrated access to Quicken, QuickBooks and MS Money. Community First Credit Union has branches in Appleton, Greenville, Neenah, Oshkosh, Manitowoc, Waupaca, New London, Nichols, De Pere and Green Bay. They also have non-traditional branches at local schools and retirement communities. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Manitowoc, Waupaca, Brown, Fond du Lac, Green Lake Oconto, Shawano, Sheboygan or Waushara counties.

Ascentra Credit Union (Bettendorf, IA)

Ascentra’s Simply Non-Profit Checking account is free when you sign up for e-statements. You’ll get 100 free deposits and 30 free check clearings each month. If you maintain an average daily balance of $2,000 or more, you’ll also earn interest on your balance. We also like that Ascentra lists all the forms you need to open your account right on the checking page, just to help you stay organized. Ascentra Credit Union has branches in Bettendorf, Moline, Muscatine, Davenport, LeClaire and Clinton. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in an eligible county near the border of Iowa and Illinois. Family of current members, and employees and retirees of select employee groups may also join. Please visit their Membership Eligibility page for complete details.

Bayport Credit Union (Newport News, VA)

Bayport Credit Union’s non-profit business checking account comes with 150 free transactions and up to $5,000 in free cash deposits per month. You’ll also get access to Bayport’s 24-hour online eBusiness account services and earned tired dividends on your balance. Bayport Credit Union has branches in Chesapeake, Hampton, Hayes, Newport News, Smithfield, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Yorktown. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, attends school or conducts business in Gloucester, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Surry, James or York counties, and eligible cities.

Lutheran Credit Union of America (Brea, CA)

Lutheran Credit Union of America’s non-profit business checking account is completely free. There’s no per-check charge and no fee to make deposits. That’s in addition to no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement. If you can maintain a minimum balance of $6,000 or more, you’ll even earn dividends. It’s a great fit for your Lutheran church, school or business. Lutheran Credit Union of America’s main branch is located in Brea. If you are affiliated with a Lutheran church, school, business or organization, you’re probably eligible for membership. Please see their membership page for a complete list of ways to join.

TBA Credit Union (Traverse City, MI)

TBA Credit Union’s non-profit checking account is another great, truly free account with interest, no-minimum balance requirements and no transaction restrictions. It also comes with free mobile and text banking, free access to 30,000+ ATMs nationwide, online banking and monthly e-statements. And, for every friend and employee you refer to the credit union, you’ll get $50. TBA Credit Union has multiple branches in Traverse City. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works or worships in Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Antrim, Benzie or Leelanau counties.

Brotherhood Credit Union (Lynn, MA)

Brotherhood Credit Union offers a great business checking account that’s fee-free for non-profit organizations. It comes with free online banking and unlimited bill pay, telephone banking, unlimited transactions, e-statements and mobile banking. Plus, your first 50 checks are free! Brotherhood Credit Union has branches in Lynn and Marblehead. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk or Suffolk counties.

Valley First Credit Union (Modesto, CA)

Valley First Credit Union’s non-profit checking account has no monthly fee. They’ll even waive the credit union membership fee when you sign up. Valley First Credit Union has branches in Ceres, Modesto, Fresno, Madera, Oakdale, Stockton, Tracy, Turlock and Yosemite. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus or Tuolumne counties. Immediate family of members and members of select employer groups may also join.

Hiway Federal Credit Union (Saint Paul, MN)

Hiway Federal Credit Union’s club and non-profit checking account comes with the same benefits you’d expect from your personal checking account: no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee, free online banking and bill pay, and e-statements. Hiway Federal Credit Union has full-service branches in Saint Paul and Minneapolis (Fort Snelling). If you live, work, worship or attend school in the Metro Community Area, you’re automatically eligible for membership. Please see their membership page for a complete list of ways to qualify.

Michigan Catholic Credit Union (Troy, MI)

Intended for churches, Michigan Catholic Credit Union’s Parish Advantage Checking account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, and no per-item fees. You’ll also have access to free online bill pay, e-statements and a $50 credit on your first order of checks. Michigan Catholic Credit Union has branches in Troy, West Bloomfield, Sterling Heights, Lake Orion, Ann Arbor and Rochester. Membership is open to affiliates of the catholic community within a 25-mile radius of any credit union branch. Please see their membership page for details and additional ways to qualify.