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Stacking it up: 10 ways Arsenal’s checking accounts beat the competition

Stacking it up: 10 ways Arsenal’s checking accounts beat the competition

We stacked our checking account options up against the competition. Here are 10 ways ours offer you more value and save you money.

Checking account fees are bad. Having more money is good. Earning interest is awesome. At Arsenal, we wholeheartedly agree with these statements.

When you use us for your checking needs, here’s what you get:

1. Our Totally Free Checking account doesn’t come with unreasonable requirements.

If a bank still offers free checking accounts (which many don’t) they usually make you jump through hoops to avoid a monthly fee. At Arsenal, our Totally Free Checking account has no minimum balance requirement and no other requirements for you to keep it that way.

How we stack up against big banks

Finding a free checking account at a big bank is harder to find than Waldo in a candy cane shop. Among the big, national banks in St. Louis:

  • U.S. Bank has options for $4.95, $6.95 and $14.95 a month. The fee on the $4.95 option cannot be waived, and the fee on the $6.95 can only be waived with a combined $1,000 monthly deposit or an average account balance of $1,500. The $14.95 a month fee can only be waived if the customer has a personal loan, line of credit, credit card or mortgage. None of these accounts earn interest.
  • Bank of America offers options with $4.95 and $12.00 a month fees. The fee on the $4.95 account can be waived by joining a rewards program, but it doesn’t offer access to paper checks or overdraft protection. To avoid the fee on the $12.00 option, you must either join the rewards program, have at least one direct deposit of $250 or more or keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500.
  • PNC Bank has two options: A Standard Checking account that charges you $7.00 unless you have a $500 average monthly balance or $500 in direct deposits and a Foundation Checking account that charges $7.00 a month with no opportunity to waive the fee.

How we stack up against other credit unions

Being consumer-friendly is part of the mission of a credit union. Banks attach more fees to their accounts to increase profits please shareholders. As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions, like Arsenal, are designed to serve you.

One large credit union in the St. Louis area charges a fee ($5.00 a month) on accounts that don’t meet its aggregate balance fee – if the aggregate sum of daily deposit, loan and credit card balances falls below $2,000.

2. Earning interest on our Value Checking account is free.


If you’re looking to earn some interest, Value Checking lets you do just that. All you need to do is keep an average daily balance (ADB) of $500. If you don’t meet the ADB, it’s only $4.00 a month. See how much interest our Value Checking and Advantage Plus options are earning now.

How we stack up against big banks

  • U.S. Bank has one checking account that earns interest. It charges a $24.95 monthly service fee unless the customer has $25,000 in combined personal deposits, card balances and/or investments with the bank. The customer can also avoid the fee with a trust relationship with one of the bank’s wealth managers.
  • The Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account has a $25.00 per month fee. This can be waived if the customer maintains a combined balance of $10,000 or more during each statement cycle.
  • PNC Bank has three different tiers of interest-earning checking accounts that charge $13.00, $15.00 and $25.00, respectively. As the fees increase, each account has a higher average monthly balance or more stringent requirements.

How we stack up against other credit unions

Again, credit unions are here to help, not hurt members who don’t meet strict checking account requirements. Many interest-earning accounts available at credit unions in the area are comparable to ours. However, one will charge $10.00 if your minimum balance requirement falls below $2,500 and another $5.00 if you don’t meet the direct deposit requirement. Another credit union will charge $15.00 if your account falls below the minimum balance.

3. Our Advantage Plus account is super affordable.

Don’t want to worry about a minimum balance requirement? The monthly service charge on our Advantage Plus account is only $4.00.

This account has a higher annual percentage yield than Value Checking and comes with a free package of checks per year. We’ll also waive the fee on our Visa TravelMoney prepaid cards – a $6.95 savings!

4. No fee to switch between our checking programs.

Sometimes a Totally Free Checking account works for your current situation. Other times, Value Checking is your best choice. No matter which one you need, you can switch between them for free. Another local credit union charges $10.00 for a conversion between their checking programs.

5. We have a lower overdraft transfer (from savings account) fee than other financial institutions.


If you overdraw your checking account, we will transfer money from your savings account to cover your purchase. To do this, we charge a nominal $4.00 fee.

Bank of America and Commerce Bank both charge $12.00 for this service, while Regions Bank charges $15.00. There is another local credit union that charges $15.00 for each transfer from savings to cover insufficient funds.

6. Our non-sufficient funds/Courtesy Pay fee is lower.

Don’t have enough in your account to cover a purchase? Don’t have any money in savings or an overdraft line of credit to back you up? Courtesy Pay may cover you.

We charge $28 for this service. First Bank, Bank of America and Simmons bank charge $35. U.S. Bank, Regions Bank, PNC Bank and BMO Harris Bank all charge $36.

7. Credit union members have access to more free ATMs.


Did you know you can use your Arsenal Visa® debit card for free at 250+ ATMs in the St. Louis area and nearly 30,000 nationwide? The owners of these ATMs – other credit unions in the CO-OP Network – won’t tack on a surcharge for you, and we won’t charge you anything, either.  Just look for the CO-OP logo. You can also find CO-OP Network ATMs at Costco locations and 7-Eleven stores.

8. Credit union members also have access to shared branches.

Need to do person-to-person business at a credit union branch, such as using the money in your checking account for a money order or to pay your loan balance? Use 5,600+ credit union shared branches across the country, including more than 50 in St. Louis.

9. When you have a checking account, you can earn rewards points on purchases.

Most banks and other credit unions don’t offer this. When you use your Arsenal Visa® debit card at a retailer and run it as “signature” or “credit,” you earn rewards points for merchandise, gift cards, etc.

You can also earn exclusive cash-back offers at the places you use your card the most by using Purchase Rewards within our online and mobile banking services.

10. Deposit checks any time using our mobile app.

Woman giving an employee a check

Most people don’t think of checks when they think of their checking accounts – they think of using their debit card. That’s fine, but a lot of people still use checks. In fact, if you ever get one to deposit, you don’t have to visit a branch or an ATM. Instead, you can use mobile check deposit on the Arsenal app.