All banks can trim fees if they want.
- OneUnited Bank now gives customers access to an empowering network of over 100,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
- No surcharge applies to all withdrawals.
- The bank has also launched OneUnited Card Command, allowing customers to control their debit cards.
OneUnited Bank is not only the largest black-owned bank in the United States, but also one of the most innovative. When bank customers began asking for more access and control over their money, bank leadership responded.
Terry Williams, president and COO of OneUnited, explains, “We’re really down to earth. When customers tell us what they want, we try to find creative ways to meet those needs.”
The result of that creative thinking has helped pave the way for the bank’s newly empowered network with more surcharge-free ATMs than any other bank in the country.
What customers want
OneUnited customers live primarily in urban communities, areas of the city that rarely become home to a new bank.
According to Williams, even if a community member keeps their money in a national bank, there’s a good chance they’ll have to go out of their way to use that bank’s ATM. Unless they’re willing to go out of their way, they’re likely to be stuck with out-of-network surcharges.
“It increases the cost of community banking,” Williams said.
When accessing their money began to feel problematic, OneUnited customers let those powers know.
Two amazing companions
OneUnited now has more than 100,000 surcharge-free ATMs, including all Chase Bank and Citibank branches.
“I have to give them credit,” Williams said of the two big banks. “They reached out to black banks to learn how they could partner with us.”
OneUnited has expanded its ATM network by allowing customers to make surcharge-free ATM withdrawals at retailers such as 7-Eleven, Costco, CVS, Target, and Walgreens.
The ability to make free withdrawals while shopping at Target or stopping by Walgreens for a prescription helps OneUnited customers keep their hard-earned cash.
Answer to other complaints
In response to customers asking OneUnited to help them gain more control over their bank accounts, the bank launched OneUnited Card Command. Now, customers can close their bank debit cards instantly. They also receive real-time transaction notifications, add their debit cards to their digital wallets, make travel plans before leaving home and set spending limits to control their budget.
“Frankly, we’re elevating the BankBlack movement by providing best-in-class service and cutting-edge technology to better meet customer needs,” Williams said.
How to save money yourself
Out-of-network ATM fees, on average, run between $2 and $3 per use. While that doesn’t sound like a fortune, it’s a painful reality for anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck. And according to Vox, charging fees is profitable for banks Due to bank fees, American banks earned $279.1 billion in 2021 That’s $132 billion more than the previous year
Here are two ways to find a bank that will let you pay less and keep more money in your account
- Bank with OneUnited (or a bank of its caliber). You don’t have to be a minority to be part of a minority-owned bank.
- Go through your last bank statement with a fine-toothed comb, looking for fees. If your bank charges any fees, consider closing that account and opening a new one at another bank or credit union. Many credit unions charge no monthly maintenance fees and offer a network of ATMs available through partner credit unions.
The challenge of letting go
Fees that generate billions for banks each year make offering a vast network of surcharge-free ATMs a bit of a financial sacrifice.
Asked if OneUnited is going to miss out on revenue it used to receive thanks to ATM fees, Williams replied, “It’s costing us. No question. But we recognize that having access is important to our community. The value outweighs the convenience to our customers. .”
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