Fees are frustrating. We get that, which is why DECU tries to be as transparent as possible about the fees associated with our services. You don't want to pay fees and, believe it or not, we don't want you to either! We want to make your finances as easy and fee-free as possible, so here is an explanation of why we sometimes charge a fee with our debit cards and how to avoid it.
The dreaded fee
All members receive five free PIN transactions a month. So what does this mean? Well, members can accrue a fee if they run their DECU VISA cards as debit more than five times a month. This includes both ATM transactions and use in stores. That may seem like a small number, but there are so many ways around it that it shouldn't be a problem to avoid this fee. But first, why does it exist in the first place?
Why are there fees?
DECU pays for each transaction you make on your DECU debit card when you use your PIN. This is called a transaction fee. Every time a debit card is used with a PIN fees are charged to help cover the cost of the transaction in the network. Earthmover is willing to help cover those costs by allowing you 5 free PIN transactions a month.
When you use your DECU debit card, you typically have two options: run it as debit and enter a PIN or run it as credit and sign the receipt. Because of the cost difference we try to encourage members to choose credit over debit. One way to do this is by charging a fee if a member chooses debit more often than not. When in doubt, remember: sign you save, pin you pay.
Withdrawals from ATMs have similar transaction fees. When our members use an ATM that is not in our network, we are charged a fee. And, on top of that, you may be charged a fee from the ATM owner. We want to prevent both fees from happening, which is why we try to limit the use of foreign ATMs.
Quick tip: if you need to withdraw cash and are near a DECU branch, all of our branches have a least one drive-up ATM.
Okay, but can't DECU just cover the fees?
As a credit union, we are a not-for-profit organization. Instead of for-profit businesses, like banks, we pay our profits back to our members. We do this through lower loan rates, lesser fees, and higher savings rates. Without this small fee, we can't keep our rates low, etc. The good news is that the fee is totally preventable. If you run your card as credit and use one of the over 30 no surcharge ATMs, you should be able to live fee-free! ...at least when it comes to us.
You know what's even cooler than preventing fees? The fact that when you use our services, like our ATMs and debit cards, we have more wealth to share with you! We're most effective at serving our membership when our membership uses us and our services. After all, teamwork makes the dream work, right?