Free Checking Accounts
Free bank accounts are disappearing, but there are still a few out there. You just have to know where to look. While not all credit unions offer free accounts, many still do. Firstmark Credit Union (www.firstmarkcu.org) has one of the best free checking accounts I have ever seen. Firstmark is located in Texas, but anyone can join regardless of where they live or work. What makes a Firstmark Credit Union checking account even better than free? Customers who use their debit card earn 10 cents for every signature-based debit-card transaction. You can also earn $25 bonuses by receiving statements online, using their debit card, paying one bill with online bill pay and signing up for direct deposit. Do all four (use promo code GET100) and you can have $100 added to your balance. But there’s more: Firstmark’s free checking account pays 0.10 percent APY on your balance — not much, but better than nothing.
Firstmark offers 11 local branches in the San Antonio area, but anyone can join online. Go to www.firstmarkcu.org and click on “Open a Free Checking Account.” On the next page, look for “Become a Member.” In that list, select “Other Eligible Groups.” Use the pull-down menu and select “None of the above.”
Ready for another bonus? You can join Firstmark by becoming a member of the Friends of the Parks Foundation, a charitable group that supports the San Antonio Parks Foundation. Firstmark takes care of your first year’s dues, and you’re under no obligation to renew your membership for a second year. This means you qualify for membership at Firstmark by being a member of the Friends of the Parks Foundation. And the best part? Once you are a credit union member, you will enjoy “Once a Member, Always a Member.” You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of Firstmark Credit Union for the rest of your life, including free checks, too. Firstmark is part of the Allpoint network, which provides its members free use of 35,000 ATMs nationwide and 43,000 around the world. All of the ATMs in 7-Eleven, Target, Walgreens and Costco, for example, belong to Allpoint.