Members of many credit unions can apply for free checking accounts, according to Allison Ross for Bankrate. As of 2014, 72 percent of U.S. credit unions offered some version of free checking, while others had options to help customers avoid fees if they met certain conditions.
Conditions that credit unions impose as a requirement of free checking accounts include making direct deposits into the account, maintaining a minimum balance or receiving electronic statements. The credit unions with these requirements combine with the credit unions already offering free checking to total 96 percent of U.S credit unions, explains Ross. In comparison, only 38 percent of banks offered free checking as of 2013.