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Online vs. Traditional Banking: Which one is right for you?

When it comes to deciding between traditional (or physical) banks and credit unions or online-only banking, it can feel a little overwhelming with so many different options. From services to interest rates to ATMs, EFCU Financial is here to help you navigate finding the right type of account to meet your financial needs.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Banking

While traditional banks and credit unions operate with physical branches that you can visit in-person or via drive-thru, many offer online banking service options as well. This means you can manage your accounts with your branch’s tellers or with a computer or a mobile device. Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of traditional banking:


Local Branches
Having access to a brick-and-mortar location gives you the opportunity to build personal relationships with the people who are directly managing your accounts. This makes it easier to handle any problems with your account in the future.

Large ATM network
Physical banks and credit unions offer broader access to ATMs, so you won’t encounter many withdrawal or deposit limitations, in-network fees or ATM fees.

Online Banking Options
In addition to traditional services, most brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions offer all the same benefits of online-only banking, including mobile transfers, check deposits and more. 

Robust Customer Support
At traditional banks and credit unions, you have the option of face-to-face interactions, or online and phone service to help you with your banking needs.

More Account Options
Functioning as a one-stop-shop, traditional banks and credit unions offer a variety of account options including savings, checking and business accounts, so you can handle all your banking needs under one institution.


More Account Fees
Traditional banking is normally associated with higher account fees. Some banks and credit unions may require a minimum deposit or balance to respectively open and maintain checking accounts.

Open Accounts In-Branch
You may be required to provide documentation at your local branch to open your first account at a physical bank.

Lower interest rates
Traditional banks and credit unions typically offer lower APYs, aligned with or below the national average of 0.04%, on savings accounts.

Pros and Cons of Online-Only Banking

Online-only banks operate without branches, which means you’ll be managing your accounts primarily with a mobile device or a computer, and you’ll never meet a teller or banker in-person. Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of online-only banking:


Lower Account Fees
Since they don’t have to maintain the expenses of traditional banks and credit unions, many online-only banks don’t charge monthly service fees.

Better Interest Rates
If you’re looking to earn more interest, online-only banks typically offer higher APYs (around 0.5%) when compared to the national average.

Online Convenience
With online-only banking, many processes, such as opening an account, are expedited, and you’re guaranteed constant access to your accounts.


No Physical Locations
You can expect minimal personalization with little to no in-person customer service at an online-only bank. That means dealing with chat bots and scrolling through support forums when you need help.

Limited ATM Access
If your online-only  bank  isn’t associated with a well-connected ATM network, you may encounter ATM cash withdrawal fees.

Cash Deposits Can be a Hassle
Without a local branch, depositing cash into your online-only bank can be a difficult task. If your online-only bank doesn’t have deposit-accepting ATMs, you may need to utilize other resources, like transferring from a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union.

Limited Account Options
Some online-only banks may offer great savings accounts with high interest rates, but you can’t always find a checking account to match. This may result in having to open accounts at various institutions.

Bank like a Boss

Where you decide to bank affects your financial needs. That’s why EFCU Financial has a variety of account access options to help you bank like a pro. With all the personalization of traditional banking combined with the convenience of online banking, you get the best of both worlds here. When you bank with EFCU Financial you can expect:

Personal Service

As a member of EFCU Financial, you have access to 8 branches in the Greater Baton Rouge Area, as well as a co-op shared branch network of more than 5,000 credit unions and 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. where you can conduct your EFCU Financial transactions for service anywhere.

Affordable Account Options

Designed to simplify your financial life and make money management easier, our checking and savings accounts offer no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fees. Our Rewards Checking account gives you the choice of cash back or high yield with easy-to-meet qualifications.

Convenient Online Banking

All of the electronic services you want and need are right here. When you enroll in online and mobile banking, you have secure account access to view your balance, transfer funds, make deposits and more.

Accounts Under One Roof

From personal checking to savings to loan options at competitive rates, you can manage all of your finances at one institution.

Become a member of EFCU Financial or learn more about the added benefits of banking at a credit union!