Free checking is alive and well at credit unions

Credit unions offer free checking
Credit unions offer free checking

If you're looking to open a new bank account and want free checking, you might want to start your search by taking a look at Bankrate.com's new survey of credit unions to see which ones offer it. Of the 50 largest credit unions in the country, 39 of them have free checking.

Which isn't to say that free checking accounts have disappeared from conventional banks -- if you have one, you know they still exist. Still, some banking experts have predicted that free checking may start to become much more rare by the end of the year.

And why might free checking become harder to find? Starting July 1, when a consumer opens a new checking account, the bank has to ask you if you'd like to opt into overdraft protection for debit card purchases. By Aug. 15, unless you've opted in, banks have to stop debit card overdraft protection for existing accounts.