Use a credit union? Switching banks? Read this.

I’ve been a member at Amplify Federal Credit Union for over 10 years now (I joined back when it was still IBM Federal Credit Union), and I love it. When B and I moved from Austin to Denver we opened up an account at a WAMU, now Chase, for our day-to-day banking needs (ATMs, depositing checks, etc).

Recently, due to enhanced minimum balance requirements at Chase and philosophical issues, I began researching local credit unions with the intent of closing my Chase account. This only solved half my problem as I would still maintain two separate checking accounts. Then through happenstance I stumbled across CU Service Centers and discovered that not only can I access my Amplify accounts through local credit union ATMs without fees, but that I can also do other in-branch actions like depositing checks!

Today I walked into Prevail Credit Union here in Seattle and deposited a check into my Amplify checking account. I went expecting it to be an ordeal — I was armed with routing numbers and Amplify contact information. To my surprise, it was a breeze needing only my ID and my account number!

This solidifies my plans to close my Chase account and transfer those funds to Amplify. For the first time in a decade I’ll have just one checking account. The ability to access my account at local credit unions is, hands down, the best financial services find all year.

Credit unions: this feature is a huge selling point and needs to be advertised more! Particularly with the current feeling towards large banks. This feature was maddeningly undersold on the Amplify website (I’ve just sent Amplify an email with my story and suggested they fix it).

Credit union members: you have many more ATMs and branch locations available to you than you think. If your credit union is a part of the CU Service Centers network (BECU, Prevail, Puget Sound, and Salal all are), you can find a network ATM or branch here. They have an iPhone app too. As with anything else, some caveats apply for some services.

Switching banks? Give a credit union a shot. They’re obviously not just local anymore.