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Using my credit union's account I can do free ACH push or pull from both of my Bank of America or Wells Fargo checking accounts.

However, I was wondering why doesn't Bank of America or Wells Fargo have free ACH push or pull on their own online banking sites?

They only way to transfer money from or to these banks seem to be wiring of funds – and those do cost a pretty penny for multiple transfers.

I would also be interested to know whether there are mainstream banks with local branches that offer free ACH push or pull?

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    WF and many others allow you to transfer funds to accounts at other institutions, as long as they are in your name. – Tony the Pony Aug 24 '11 at 7:38
  • @Jen: WF transfers are not free, but they allow ACH from another bank (hopefully) – f1StudentInUS Aug 26 '11 at 21:40
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    Its interesting, I wonder if US is the only country where not all banks offer ACH transfers initiated by their customers. In Europe this is considered such a basic feature (I am talking about "push" only) that every single bank has it (excluding some CDs and prepaid debit card accounts), and any bank account not having this would be pretty useless and get no customers (unless its a high interest CD or a prepaid debit card account). – miernik Nov 8 '11 at 19:10
  • @miernik : are those accounts or ACH transfers free? – f1StudentInUS Nov 8 '11 at 19:33
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    @f1StudentInUS these ACH transfers are often free, and even where not free, the fee per transfer is something like 20 cents - not 20 dollars like for US wires. Many accounts are free, some have a fee in the range of 1 to 5 euros a month. These ACH transfers usually are delivered next-day, sometimes same day in a few hours, in the worst cases 2-3 days. We also have something similar to US wires, which reach much faster (in under an hour during daytime) and cost as much as US wires, but they are very rarely used by people - what for if you have a 100 times cheaper ACH transfers. – miernik Nov 8 '11 at 19:49
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Credit unions operate for the benefit of their depositors, who are the actual owners of the institution, whereas conventional banks operate for the benefit of their shareholders, who of course are not necessarily depositors. So credit unions will typically give a benefit or service for free if it is free or extremely cheap to them, whereas conventional banks will charge for it if they think it will not lose them depositors.

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    Yes, but is this the only reason? In other words,, are there mainstream banks with local branches that offer free ACH push or pull? – f1StudentInUS Aug 22 '11 at 23:47
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    @f1StudentInUS: I would think that there are. It depends on the individual bank's policy; they are free to offer such a service, or not. There's no obligation to make customers pay for money transfers between banks, they just do it because they know that customers will pay, even if they grumble about it first. – jprete Aug 22 '11 at 23:56
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    I would think this is the primary reason. Banks are for profit, credit unions are not. – JohnFx Aug 23 '11 at 3:21
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    Traditional banks will charge for something if they think they can make more by charging for it than they will lose in customers. Those fees can always be waived for big customers. – user4127 Aug 25 '11 at 20:50

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