Tag: Credit Union

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Building Credit, Reviews

Community Secured Visa Card by Coastal FCU Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Community Secured Visa Card by Coastal FCU Review

The Community Secured Visa Card by Coastal Federal Credit Union is an ideal tool to begin establishing and rebuilding credit.

This card requires you to place a minimum deposit of $100 into a Coastal FCU savings account (which is available to anyone). This serves as your collateral since it’s a secured card. You can deposit up to $10,000.

Why a Secured Card is a Good Idea

If you’re trying to rebuild your credit history, then a secured card can help you.

Secured cards are different from regular credit cards, as you’re required to provide collateral in the form of a cash deposit. Your deposit is the amount of credit you can use on the card.

This insures the creditor against any losses in the event you don’t make a payment. They’ll simply use your deposit to cover the balance on your card.

Secured cards are also different from prepaid cards and debit cards. Debit cards are directly linked to your checking account, and your usage isn’t reported to the major credit bureaus since you’re not making monthly payments.

Similarly, your usage of prepaid cards isn’t reported to the credit bureaus. This is because they function similarly to gift cards – you put a certain amount of money on a prepaid card, and each time you pay with it, the balance goes down. When the balance reaches $0, you can no longer use the card.

In short, if you’re looking to rebuild your credit and establish a positive history, secured credit cards offer one of the best ways to do it.

Fees, Benefits, and Application Process

There’s no balance transfer fee with the Community Secured Visa Card, and there’s also no annual fee.

There’s a 13.50% variable APR across the board – for balance transfers, regular purchases, and cash advances. This makes it simple to keep track of, though the 13.50% APR is just slightly under the 15% average for most credit cards.

The Coastal FCU Community Secured card has regular Visa benefits, such as:

  • FraudBlock – protects you against forms of credit card fraud
  • Accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance

The application process is very straightforward. Once you’re a member of Coastal FCU, you can simply apply online. It takes around one to two business days for an approval to go through. You can apply for a savings account online as well.

Who’s Eligible to Apply?

To be eligible to sign up for this card, you must be a member of the Coastal Federal Credit Union. You qualify for membership depending on where you work, if you have a relative that’s a member, or if you’re a member of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association or The North Carolina Consumers Council.

If none of those currently apply, you can always join the latter two organizations for $18 – this membership fee is deducted when you open a savings account with Coastal FCU.

The Fine Print

There’s an 18% penalty APR that applies if you make a late payment past 60 days or have a payment returned. If you make six consecutive timely payments, your APR may be reduced, but the penalty APR can apply to new transactions indefinitely.

As you’re focusing on rebuilding your credit, you shouldn’t be taking any chances with late payments, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Late fees and returned payment fees are both $25.

If you need a copy of your statement (you can view your account details online), a $5 fee is charged. A document copy fee is also $15.

If you lose your card at any time, you’ll have to pay $10 to replace it. If you want to expedite the shipping, it’ll cost you $35.

Foreign transaction fees are 1% for multiple currency transaction and 0.80% for single currency transactions.

Rate Advantage Secured Visa by Coastal FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Coastal Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Other Cards to Consider

If you don’t want to open another savings account to qualify for this card, we have a few other alternatives you should consider.

If the $100 deposit seems steep, you may be able to qualify for a lower option with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

The security deposit for this card is $49, $99, or $200, depending on your creditworthiness. The variable purchase APR is 24.99%, and there’s no annual fee. The max credit line you can have is $3,000. This is great for those who don’t want the temptation of a larger credit limit, or don’t have as much money to put down for a deposit. A late payment incurs up to a $35 fee.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

You should also check with other credit unions closer to you if you’re not near North Carolina, as they tend to offer some of the best secured card choices with fewer fees. You can view our list of secured cards and compare them here.

What’s Best for Your Personal Situation?

Always consider what card is best suited for your personal situation. It’s important to look at all the factors involved, including fees and benefits, before applying for a credit card.

Some secured cards require a higher minimum deposit. It’s up to you to evaluate whether or not putting more of your money down is worth the higher limit. When trying to rebuild your credit, you don’t want to be tempted to make large purchases, so having a smaller minimum deposit might actually help you keep your spending in check. The best way to build your credit efficiently is to make one small purchase a month and automate your bill being paid. This way you have a low utilization and never miss paying on time and in full.

[Learn more about using a secured card here.]

Do your research and be your own advocate. Always check the fine print to make sure the offer is valid and that you’ll be able to take advantage of it properly.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews, Student Loan ReFi

Everence Student Loan Refinance Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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mortar board cash

Updated January 5, 2015

You made it through college, through all of those tough classes and all-nighters, and you finally have a degree you’re proud of. Six months later, though, your student loans have started to come due, and you realize that your interest rate and monthly payment is completely out of control.

Interest rates on student loans can be astronomical in some cases, and if you find yourself with large interest rates on your student loans, then refinancing them through a credit union such as Everence could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Eligibility

Everence is a credit union only open to members who have a relationship with a church or church organization that is Mennonite or an eligible Anabaptist-related church. You could also be eligible for membership through an employer, volunteer work in missions or study in a Mennonite or Anabaptist institution. You could be eligible if your spouse or guardian is a member. And lastly, “Share values with the stewardship principle that all I am and all I have are from God (Psalm 24). In response to God’s generosity, I practice stewardship of all my resources.”

The Offer

It offers student loan refinance options from $7,500 to $175,000 with competitive interest rates. Student loan refinance through Everence includes the following features:

  • Competitive Rates: Rates vary from 5.00% to 9.00% depending upon creditworthiness.
  • No Origination Fee: Everence does not charge origination fees for regular student loans or student loan refinances
  • Finance Up To $175,000: Everence will allow you to finance up to $125,000 in undergraduate loans and up to $175,000 in graduate loans.
  • Interest-Only Option: Qualified borrowers have the option to pay interest only for up to 4 years, followed by a level repayment for the remaining term.
  • Cosigner Release; A cosigner is initially required to refinance your student loans through Everence, unless you have “sufficient qualifications”, but after 24 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments, cosigner release is available. The borrower must meet non-cosigned credit and income requirements. The borrower must also request the cosigner be removed and the co-signer must complete and submit a cosigner release application.
  • 0.25% APR Reduction: Enrolling in automatic payments with Everence entitles you to a 0.25% APR reduction.
  • Loan Terms of Up To 20 Years

The Application Process

Everence’s loan application process is fairly straightforward and based upon credit history, employment, and income. Income requirement are very specific, although not very strict:

  • Borrower: Must have a reliable monthly gross income of at least $2,000
  • Cosigner: Must also have a reliable monthly gross income of at least $2,000

Pros

  • Rates as low as 5.00%
  • No origination fee
  • Maximum loan amount of $175,000
  • Cosigner release after 24 months
  • 25% APR reduction for automatic payments

Cons

  • Must be an Everence member
  • Variable APR
  • Failed or cancelled automatic payment will result in a rate increase of 0.25%
  • Maximum loan amount varies by lender (through LendKey)

The Fine Print

You must be a member of Everence Credit Union in order to refinance your student loans (see eligibility above). You can open and maintain an account with Everence for as little as $5, which will qualify you to apply for student loan refinance.

I spoke with a representative from LendKey who stated that the maximum loan amount varies depending upon the lender. Program lenders (through LendKey*) can lend up to $125,000 for undergraduate loans and up to $250,000 for graduate loans. Custom Lenders through LendKey could have maximum loan amounts that are larger or smaller, depending upon the lender.

It is also important to note that cosigner release is not guaranteed. In order for your cosigner to be released, you must make 24 on-time principal and interest payments. Once you have completed that requirement, Everence will evaluate your account to determine if it is willing to release your cosigner.

The APR on an Everence student loan is variable. Everence Credit Union’s student loan program operates through LendKey, which offers loan refinance options from more than 300 banks and credit unions. Very few lenders that operate through LendKey offer fixed rates.

Everence offers a 0.25% APR reduction for enrollment in automatic payments. However, if you cancel automatic payments at any time, or an automatic payment is denied, your rate will be raised by 0.25%.

How It Stacks Up

If saving money is your primary concern in refinancing your student loans, then Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is a good alternative. It offers variable rates as low as 2.75% and fixed rates as low as 3.25%. Similar to Everence, it offers loan terms of up to 20 years, but the maximum loan amount is $100,000.

SoFi

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on SoFi’s secure website

CommonBond is another lender that offers variable rates as low as 2.57% and fixed rates as low as 3.18%. It offers loan terms up to 20 years, and has no maximum loan amount.

Shop Around

If you are looking to save money on your student loans by refinancing, there are more competitive offers that you should pursue first. You can find the best places to refinance your student loans here. If, however, you are looking for an institution to refinance your student loans with that operates on a foundation of similar faith and values, then Everence Credit Union’s student loan refinance program may be a good fit for you.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at gretchen@magnifymoney.com

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College Students and Recent Grads, Pay Down My Debt, Reviews

UW Credit Union Student Loan Refinance Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.35.54 PM

Looking to refinance your student loans, and live in Wisconsin? You may have already heard that UW Credit Union can refinance your student loans for you. If simplifying your payments and possibly lowering your interest rates is what you’re looking for, read on to find out what UW Credit Union can offer you.

Refinancing Details

When you refinance with UW Credit Union, you can consolidate $5,000 to $150,000 of student loan debt – both federal and private. The repayment term is 15 years, and you have the option to make interest-only payments during the first 2 years of your loan.

There are two loan options: variable and fixed rate. The variable rate starting as low as 2.87% APR, though rates can change quarterly. UW Credit Union specifies the cap is 15%.

The fixed rate ranges starting from 3.99% APR.

If you borrow $20,000 at a fixed rate of 7.49% APR for 15 years, your monthly payment will be $185.29.

You can receive the typical 0.25% interest rate deduction if you enroll in automatic payments as well.

Your interest rate is determined by your credit score, credit history, and type of school you attended. You can have a cosigner if your credit isn’t up to par. There is a cosigner release after 36 consecutive timely payments.

Longer Repayment Terms

Keep in mind that while a longer repayment term lessens your monthly payment, it increases the amount you’ll ultimately pay over the life of the loan.

In our above example, borrowing $20,000 at 7.49% APR for 15 years gives you a monthly payment of $185.29. You’ll make 180 payments, which equals $33,352.20. That means you’re paying $13,352.20 in interest!

Of course, you can always pay extra on your loans – there’s no prepayment penalty associated with UW Credit Union’s student loan refinance program. Just keep that in mind before you fall for the lower monthly payment and are content to stick with it.

If you’re in a rough spot right now and need that lower monthly payment, that’s fine, but do your best to pay extra when your situation improves.

A Word on Refinancing Federal Student Loans

If you’re refinancing Federal student loans, you need to be aware you’ll lose some important benefits associated with federal loans. For example, deferment, forbearance, forgiveness, and any income based repayment plans typically go out the door when you refinance.

If you’re in the military, you also lose out on an interest rate deduction under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act for both Federal and private student loans taken out prior to enlisting.

In addition, most Federal student loans are fixed rate loans. While lower interest rates on variable rate options look attractive, know it means your payment could increase at any time. Fixed rates mean stability, even if they’re a tad higher.

Make sure refinancing your federal loans is worth the tradeoff. You can use UW Credit Union’s refinance savings calculator here to see what rates you’re eligible for, and how much you’ll save.

The Fine Print

As mentioned, there are no prepayment penalties with this loan, and there is also no origination fee.

If you’re late on a payment, you’ll have to pay 5% of the amount past due, or $10 – whichever is less.

If your payment fails to go through for any reason, you’ll have to pay a $15 fee.

UW Credit Union does receive an F for it’s lack of transparency and no soft pull to view rates before applying.

Eligibility

UW Credit Union has a list of eligibility requirements to look over before you apply to refinance with them:

  • You have to be a member of UW Credit Union to get your student loans refinanced
  • You must be age of majority in your state of resident when you apply (usually 18)
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security number
  • You need a yearly salary of $25,000 (variable rate only)
  • Your debt-to-income ratio should be “reasonable” (likely around 35%)
  • You should have built up at least 5 years of credit history (student loans excluded)

Wondering what’s needed to become a member? You have to be associated with the University of Wisconsin System (any of the 26 branches) or Madison College in some way, whether you’re a student, faculty, staff, or alumni. You can also live or work within 5 miles of a branch.

Documents Needed to Apply

Before you begin the application process with UW Credit Union, you’ll want to have the following documents and information handy:

  • Personal Information: You’ll need your Social Security number, the address of your school, your address, and driver’s license number.
  • Employment Information: You’ll be required to list your current employer, so have the address and phone number ready. You should also know your annual salary.
  • Contact Information for Nearest Relative: This relative can’t be your cosigner (if you apply with one), and he or she can’t live at the same address as you. Have his or her phone number and address ready.
  • Student Loan Information: You should have your most recent student loan statement scanned in (or have a PDF copy).
  • Cosigner Information: If you’re applying with a cosigner, you’ll need the same information for him or her as you need for yourself.

The application process takes place with Cology, a company partnered with UW Credit Union to process the student loan applications.

Be aware Cology uses a hard credit inquiry when you apply, so your credit score may be affected.

Additionally, UW Credit Union states it may take 2 – 4 weeks to complete the application process. It has an entire timeline you can view so you know what to expect.

Who Benefits the Most from Refinancing With UW Credit Union?

Unless you’re a member of UW Credit Union already, you’ll likely receive better rates elsewhere (and with less stringent eligibility requirements).

There are other online lenders who don’t require 5 years of credit history, and you won’t need a cosigner to apply with them, either.

These lenders are worth taking a look at even if you’re a member of UW Credit Union.

What Are the Other Alternatives?

SoFi can be a great option for eligible applicants – it has a specific list of schools and programs it services. The maximum repayment term is 20 years instead of 15, and there is no origination fee. Fixed rates range from 3.25% – 7.50% APR (UW’s starting rate is higher), and variable rates range from 2.75% – 6.84% APR. If you have more than $45,000 in student loan debt, you’ll be happy to know SoFi has no maximum loan amount.

SoFi

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on SoFi’s secure website

*referral link

Is your college not on SoFi’s list? Citizens Bank can be a good option for those not eligible for SoFi. It also has a maximum repayment term of 20 years, and its fixed rates range from 3.35% – 8.33% APR. Its variable rates range from 2.89% – 8.24% APR. The maximum loan amount is $90,000 for undergraduates and $170,000 for graduates. There’s no origination or prepayment penalty with Citizens Bank, either.

Look Out For Yourself

The number one thing to keep in mind when refinancing your student loans is to look out for yourself. You want to ensure you get the best rates available. As you can see, other lenders clearly have better terms than UW Credit Union, so don’t assume the first approval you get is the best (even if it’s from a credit union).

You should shop around to get the best rates available. Shopping around in the span of 30 days or less, or looking for lenders that initially use a soft pull of your credit, will do the least amount of damage to your score.

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*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Balance Transfer, Pay Down My Debt, Reviews

Visa Signature Balance Transfer From TruWest Credit Union

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Updated 12/13/2017

If you’re looking to transfer your credit card debt to a low interest rate, you’ve probably noticed there are many balance transfer promotions available on the market. With so many options you may be having trouble figuring out which one will help you pay off your debt the fastest and save you the most money over time.

Here we’re going to put one balance transfer, the TruWest Visa Signature Card, under a microscope to help you decide if it’ll work for you. We’ll examine the perks, fees and compare it to the competition to help you weigh it as a balance transfer solution for your credit card debt. 

The TruWest Visa Signature Card Balance Transfer At A Glance

A quick overview of the very basic terms and benefits of the TruWest balance transfer. 

  1. No annual fee
  2. 0% intro APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers
  3. 3% balance transfer fee of the amount of each balance transfer
  4. The APR range is a variable 8.90% to 9.90% after the 18 month introductory period. The standard APR will apply to new purchases and any unpaid balances that remain after the 18 month promotional period ends
  5. You can earn $100 for spending $100 within 90 days of opening the credit card account. It’ll be credited back on your credit card statement, but we don’t recommend spending on a balance transfer card. That’s how you get trapped into generating more debt
  6. As a cardholder you gain access to the TruRewards program to earn up to 1.5% cashback. Receive up to 1 point for every dollar that you spend. And earn up to 10 extra points per dollar for making qualifying purchases in the Get Extra Points Portal of TruRewards, but again we don’t recommend using this card for rewards 

Are you eligible for a TruWest Visa Signature Credit Card?

To apply for this balance transfer offer you must be a member of the TruWest Credit Union and a minimum deposit of $5 is required to become a member. There are a few eligibility options for joining. You can live, work or own a business in the following counties: 

  • Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Pinal County, Arizona
  • Travis County, Texas
  • Williamson County, Texas

If you’re a resident of or work at the Riata Apartment Community in Austin, Texas or The Shady Hollow Homeowners Association in Austin, TX you’re also eligible for membership. Some other ways to qualify include being related to a member or working for certain employers like Motorola or Compass Group PLC. To find out if you qualify check out the TruWest eligibility page. 

Fees and Gotchas

The most obvious fee you must calculate to decide if this balance transfer is worth your while is the 3% fee per transfer. This is especially important to note if you have multiple credit card balances to consolidate.

Other fees include penalties for late or returned payments. The fee for both late or returned payments is the amount of your minimum payment due, but no more than $25. There’s no fee for over-the-credit limit charges. The cash advance fee is 4% the amount of the cash you request. There’s also a foreign transaction fee of up to 1%.

This card does receive a C transparency score for its fine print.

Pros and Cons 

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of this balance transfer, let’s cover the pros and cons of transferring your balance to the TruWest Visa Signature Card. 

Pros 

  • There’s no annual fee for the credit card
  • The 0% introductory rate is for all new purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
  • You get cash back for purchases made without racking up interest within the 18 month promo period
  • The 0% interest introductory period of 18 months gives you a decent amount of time to pay off your credit card debt before interest kicks in 

Cons 

  • All balance transfers are charged a 3% fee, so if you have a lot of credit card debt to consolidate you should be mindful of how much it’ll cost you
  • Once the promotion period ends, standard interest applies to all unpaid balances including your transfers 
TruWest Visa® Signature Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

Balance Transfer Alternatives

You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with promotional 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

Who will benefit the most from this balance transfer?

This credit card will work well for you if you have few balances to transfer and you plan to make purchases and pay them off within the first 18 months. The 18 month interest free promotion for new purchases with rewards is a pretty good deal.

If you wish to transfer several balances the 3% fee on each transfer may become pricey. So calculate the money you save on interest vs the amount you’ll spend on fees to make the best decision for you

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Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Balance Transfer, Reviews

American Heritage FCU Preferred MasterCard Balance Transfer Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Updated 6/2/15

Credit card debt is a major financial concern for consumers. A 2014 MagnifyMoney survey found the average American family carried nearly $11,000 in credit card debt with an interest rate north of 15 percent. Fortunately, there can be a solution for digging out of debt faster.

When used properly a balance transfer card can be a great tool for reducing interest costs. These deals can be found from both banks and credit unions. American Heritage Federal Credit Union offers one of the most competitive balance transfer deals on the market with its Platinum Preferred MasterCard.

The Offer

The Platinum Preferred card balance transfer offer comes with no balance transfer fees and a 4.99% (previously 2.99%) introductory rate for the first 18 months. American Heritage provides a credit limit range from $300 to $40,000 depending on credit worthiness.

If you’re not approved for the Platinum Preferred card you might be offered one of the other two cards offered by American Heritage, the Platinum Classic MasterCard (12.90% APR) or the Platinum Secured MasterCard (15.90% APR). But neither of these would qualify as a decent balance transfer deal. Instead, you should look to apply for another balance transfer deal including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

The Platinum Preferred card is a rare “A” transparency score balance transfer option because it discloses fees upfront and uses very few traps to get you back into revolving debt while on your repayment journey.

How to Become Eligible

Credit unions are known for their commitment and ability to offer consumer (and wallet) friendly products. Some credit unions have strict requirements for membership but joining the American Heritage Federal Credit Union (American Heritage) is easy and detailed below. American Heritage subscribes to a “once a member, always a member” policy. Membership with the credit union is for life. If you change jobs, relocate, or retire, you still retain your membership, as long as your account remains active and in good standing.

Platinum Preferred Card Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • No balance transfer fee
  • Anyone on can join the credit union and the online application process is simple

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a 0% introductory APR option
  • You must be a member of the credit union and maintain a minimum balance of $15 in a share savings account to remain in good standing.
  • Does not offer 24 hour customer service

What do you need to qualify?

To apply for this you must be a credit union member in good standing. To be eligible for membership you must:

  • Be an employee of one of its partner companies. There are more than 800 companies, mostly located near Philadelphia.
  • Have a family member who is a member of the credit union, or
  • Indicate your support for Kids-N-Hope Foundation on the application form, with no donation required.

AmericanFCU applications

 Who Is It Best For?

This card is best for individuals who are looking to reduce their interest rates while paying off high interest debt. It offers rewards and a few additional perks such as $1 million in travelers insurance on purchases made entirely on the card but this is not a strong rewards card.

This card is also best for individuals with excellent credit.

The Fine Print Alerts

This is where it’s important to pay attention in order to get the more out of the card.

  • If you miss a minimum payment on this card you pay big time. According to its disclosure agreement, when your minimum monthly payment is late all balances, including those purchases, cash advances and balance transfers made during the introductory period, are subject to the non-introductory APR and $20 late fee.
  • Should you ever lose your card, the replacement card fee is up to $7.50 and if you need it in a hurry the rush card fee is $25.
  • Make sure to rollover your balance transfer within the first six billing cycles (we recommend just doing it in the first month).
  • The introductory APR for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances will only apply to transactions posted to your account during the first six billing cycles following the opening of your account. That means purchases or balance transfers must be made before the sixth billing cycle or they will be subject to the non-introductory APR rate of 9.99%. But you shouldn’t be using your balance transfer card for purchases anyway.
  • If you pay your credit card transfer balance off before the 18 months are over your introductory period will automatically conclude and the 9.99% APR will be implemented on any purchases.

Balance Transfer Card Alternatives?

You can search for a variety of other balance transfer options including ones with 0% interest and even ones offering 0% with no fee. Find our list of no fee balance transfer offers here.

If you’re still interested in considering other cards, which may have a longer duration but charge a fee, then explore our balance transfer marketplace here.

[Use this tool to calculate the difference with fees and interest.]

Overall an Excellent Option for Digging Out of Debt

While it the American Heritage Federal Credit Union Platinum Preferred card isn’t marketed for its balance transfer perks like its competitors, it’s definitely a card worth considering when used solely as a balance transfer card.

It doesn’t offer a 0% option, but its introductory period is longer than most other offers out there, so if you need more time to pay your debt off this might be a good card for you.

In order to get the most out of this offer, all balance transfers must be done before the sixth billing cycle. Also keep in mind that once if you pay the balance off entirely before the 18-month period is over you’re automatically subject to the 9.99% on all transactions going forward. But you also shouldn’t be carrying a balance again.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Tonya Rapley |

Tonya Rapley is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Tonya at tonya@magnifymoney.com

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Best of

Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Geeting advice on future investments

Credit Unions offer Americans alternatives to doing business with the big banks (or even local banks). Instead of answering to shareholders, a credit union must act in the best interest of its members — who also happen to be the customers. By joining a credit union, you own a share in the financial institution and thus have voting rights. Credit unions are often a slightly exclusive, with membership eligibility requirements being strict and often focused geographically.

Take one of these paths if you’re interested in joining a credit union:

  1. See if you’re eligible for a credit union because you live, work, worship, volunteer in its region or belong to an organization/work for an employer with membership privileges.
  2. If not, you can join any of the credit unions below by making a donation to join an organization with membership privileges or in some cases, by registering to volunteer or pledge support to a credit union approved organization.

A List Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to Affinity Plus Foundation

Agriculture Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by first becoming a member of The Friends of CityDance Association – $20 dues.

Air Force Federal Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to the Airman Heritage Museum

Alliant Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $10 or greater donation to Foster Care to Success (FCS)

Altra Federal Credit Union

  • You can become a member by joining the Altra Foundation with a one time $5 lifetime membership dues

America’s Christian Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time membership fee of $5, along with an initial deposit of $25 for individuals and $100 for Ministries and Businesses into your regular share savings account

American Heritage Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by depositing $15 into a share savings account and maintaining this minimum balance

America’s Credit Union

  • You can join with a minimum deposit of $25 to a Regular Savings account and a submission of notarized copy of your Washington State drivers license or outside the state of Washington, notarized copies of two forms of ID.

Andrews Federal Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Aspire Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by accepting the stipulations of the following agreement on the membership form: I agree to become a member of American Consumer Council through Aspire Federal Credit Union. There is no fee for ACC membership when I join Aspire Federal Credit Union. I further understand that the information above will be provided to ACC to establish my membership with their organization.

Capital Educators Federal Credit Union

  • To qualify for membership with CapEd you can join the Idaho CapEd Foundation as a Sustaining Member Volunteer. The Idaho CapEd Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds worthwhile educational endeavors that include the CapEd Teacher Grant Program. Minimum donations are $1 for students and $10 for non-students

Chartway Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $10 donation to Chartway Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic arm, the We Promise Foundation

Communitywide Federal Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union

Corporate America Family Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $5 donation to The Hope Group. You must also maintain $25 in your savings account.

Credit Union of New Jersey

  • Membership in one of over 200 groups makes you eligible. If you don’t fit into one of those groups, CUNJ offers to get in touch with them to see if they can find a way for you to be eligible. The application offers the ability to make a one time donation $5 to the CUNJ foundation

Digital Credit Union

  • You can join an organization with member privileges. Joining these organizations range in membership cost from $25 to $120. Once you join DCU, you have a lifelong membership, so you could cancel a membership with the other organization after joining.

First Flight Federal Credit Union

  • You can join one of the following associations with a small donation of $5-$10 to qualify for First Flight membership.  You can easily join one of these associations while you open your account online or at one of our financial center locations.
    • Capital Area Preservation Club
    • Holly Springs Arts Council
    • Beaufort Historical Society

First New England Federal Credit Union

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union

  • You might not have heard of this credit union, but anyone can join. You just need to pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council / Kentucky and you’re eligible.

Garden Savings Federal Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Great Lakes Credit Union

  • The online application system will automatically qualify you if you click “let us help”

GTE Financial Credit Union

  • CUSavers for a one-time $10 membership fee qualifies you for credit union membership.

Hanscom Federal Credit Union

HeritageWest Credit Union (division of Chartway)

Hughes Federal Credit Union

INOVA Federal Credit Union

Justice Federal Credit Union

  • One of the eligible associations for membership is the National Sheriff’s Association. It costs $38 to join the NSA as an auxiliary member or student. By joining the NSA first, anyone can then become a member of the Justice Federal Credit Union. This brings the cost of membership to $43.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union

  • You can join through the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica. Kinecta will process the enrollment into CCSSM for you. A $10 fee applies CCSSM.

Lake Michigan Credit Union

  • If you are a donor to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, West Michigan Chapter, you can be eligible to apple.

McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union

  • A one time minimum donation of $25 to become a member of the Voice Foundation

Melrose Credit Union

  • Regardless of where you live or how you earn a living, you may qualify for membership. There is a $1.00 one time membership fee and a minimum opening deposit of $25.00.

Money One Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligible simply by making a one-time donation to Gifts for Easter Seals. Use this Easter Seals Donation Form. However you do have to bring it to any Money One location to complete your application, which does make this credit union pretty regional specific.

NASA Federal Credit Union

  • A complimentary membership to the National Space Society (NSS) entitles you to join NASA FCU.

Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union

Northwest Federal Credit Union

  • You would select employer/organization: Financial Awareness Network. They will sponsor you for a onetime $10.00 fee.

Nusenda Credit Union

  • Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op, which costs $15 for three adults who share a kitchen.

NuVision Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Pen Air Credit Union

  • Become a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society by making a $3 donation to qualify for membership with Pen Air FCU.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union

  • Members of the National Military Family Association and Voices for America’s Troops are among those eligible for PenFed membership. PenFed makes it easy for you to join one of these associations, and subsequently join PenFed. You pay a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15.

People’s Trust Credit Union

  • You can become eligible with a $5 minimum donation to the People’s Trust Foundation

Pinnacle Federal Credit Union

  • You can join Pinnacle FCU by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council in which they will pay your membership fee of $5.00.

Premier America Credit Union

  • You can qualify for membership by joining the Alliance for the Arts From $50 – $1200

RTN Federal Credit Union

  • Membership in any one of the organizations listed below qualifies you for RTN membership. The Credit Union handles the process for you to join whichever organization you choose.
    • Amesbury Carriage Museum
    • Danvers Historical Society
    • Greater Boston Sickle Cell Association, Inc.
    • Gore Place
    • Tewksbury Historical Society
    • Waltham Historical Society
    • Wakefield Repertory Theatre

Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union

San Diego County Credit Union

  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member, click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.

SCE Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligibile with a $10 is a tax-deductible donation to the credit union’s non-profit Center for Financial Empowerment.

Sierra Point Credit Union

  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. You have to mail in or bring the form into a local branch. There is no online option.

Self-Help Credit Union

  • Apply for mission supportive membership by joining the credit union’s founding charitable sponsor, the Center for Community Self-Help, for a one-time $5 fee.

Signal Financial Federal Credit Union

South Division Credit Union

  • A Membership Share Savings Account with a minimum deposit balance of $50 is required to become a Member and open any other account type.

Southeast Financial Federal Credit Union

  • Make a $5.00 donation to the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee to automatically qualify for Southeast Financial membership.

Stanford Federal Credit Union

State Department Federal Credit Union

  • You are eligible to join the SDFCU if you’re an employee of the Department of State or one of the extensive organizations with ties to the credit union (all listed here under “who can join”). If you don’t work for the Department of State, you may also be eligible through the American Consumer Council. You can join the ACC for only $5 if you’ve used any major consumer product or service within the past 12 months

The Golden 1 Credit Union

  • You can apply by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member with an $8 fee. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member please click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.

Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union

  • Join the American Consumer Council through the website. Enter the promo code “consumer” to waive the membership fee. TFCU can also enroll you when it opens your account. Become a member of the Tobyhanna Army Depot Chapter of the Association of the United States Army: $14+ for military affiliation and $34 for civilians.

United States Senate Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligible through a contribution to the US Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) and you must open a primary savings account with a minimum of $5 and one-time-only membership fee of $1.

University Federal Credit Union

  • Join the University of Texas Longhorn Foundation for instant eligibility to join UFCU. A one-time $20 donation to The University of Texas is required to become a member.

Western Federal Credit Union

  • Western Federal Credit Union will allow potential members to join through a complimentary membership with a partnering nonprofit organization: Surfrider Foundation or Friends of Hobbs.

Xceed Financial Credit Union (online application)

XCEL Credit Union

  • Click associate member or volunteer when filling out the application to fulfill eligibility requirements.

Let’s keep in touch! Follow us on Twitter @Magnify_Money and on Facebook.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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Banking Apps, Best of, Consumer Watchdog

Best and Worst Mobile Banking Apps: From 100+ Banks and Credit Unions

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Overdraft_lg_mobile vs trad

Having a mobile banking app that works reliably is more important than ever as the number of consumers using mobile apps to deposit checks has grown over five times since 2011 according to a recent Pew study.

MagnifyMoney compiled the ratings of iOS and Android banking apps from over 100 of the biggest banks and credit unions, including the 50 largest banks and 50 largest credit unions along with a selection of top online direct banks.

The data, collected from iTunes and Google Play the week of November 20, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms.

The best and worst mobile banking apps include:

  • Best Big Bank App: Capital One (4.1)
  • Best Credit Union App: Eastman Credit Union, ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal, SEFCU, VyStar (tie: 4.7)
  • Best Regional Bank App: East West Bank (4.5)
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: Simple (4.6)
  • Worst Big Bank App: Citibank (3.1)
  • Worst App Overall: UMB Bank (2.5)

You can read more about the findings below these graphics…

10 Best and Worst across all banks and credit unions reviewed

MobileAppRatingsGraphic-SummaryAllSizes

 

Best and Worst among the 10 biggest banks and credit unions

MobileAppRatingsGraphic-LargestInstitutions

Credit unions top the ratings

8 of the 10 highest ranked apps were from credit unions. Five credit unions shared the very top average score of 4.7, including Eastman Credit Union, ESL, Redstone Credit Union, SEFCU, and VyStar Credit Union.

Simple was the only online direct bank in the top 10, while East West Bank was the only traditional bank in the top 10 with a 4.5 rating.

Of the 10 highest ranked apps, 9 of them used an interface from an external app developer, Digital Insight, including all 8 credit unions and East West Bank. This is in contrast to internal development favored by larger banks. The un-flashy Digital Insight interface (pictured below) was cited for simplicity and reliability by users.

DigitalInsightInterface

Bank apps have room for improvement

Across all institutions surveyed the average rating was 3.8 out of 5.0, with traditional banks averaging 3.7, online direct banks best at 4.0, and credit unions at 3.9.

Among the 10 lowest rated apps only two were from credit unions, while 7 were from traditional banks. Only one traditional bank’s app ranked among the top 10 highest rated.

Capital One has the best app among big banks, while Citibank lags.

Among the 10 largest banks in the country, the average rating ranged from a high of 4.1 for Capital One to a low of just 3.1 for Citibank. Capital One’s app was cited for its ‘Sureswipe’ feature and reliability.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.18.53 PM

Citibank’s app was cited for crashing during check deposits and a low limit for mobile deposits of just $1,000 per day. In comparison online direct bank Ally recently raised its mobile deposit limit to $50,000 per day.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.20.44 PM

The average for all traditional banks surveyed was 3.7.

SunTrust bank had the lowest rated iOS app among the 10 largest banks at 2.1, while PNC bank had the lowest rated Android app at 3.4.

Simple leads online direct banks.

Among the online direct banks reviewed, Simple had the highest rating at 4.6, while Ally had the lowest at 3.1. Ally’s app received complaints for mobile deposit issues following a recent update as well lacking more advanced login options.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.23.41 PM

UMB Bank takes the bottom.

The lowest rated app overall was from UMB Bank, with a 2.5 combined rating. The app has not been updated since 2011, lacks a mobile check deposit feature and is no longer compatible with the latest devices.

Untitled

Android users are more satisfied

Across banks, credit unions, and online direct institutions, Android users were significantly more satisfied, with an average 4.0 rating versus 3.1 for iOS users. iOS users tend to have more complaints about apps not leveraging the latest hardware capabilities.

Methodology

App ratings were recorded the week of November 20, 2014 in iTunes and the Google Play store and include ratings for all app versions. Overall ratings are a weighted average of iOS and Android ratings based on the number of reviews for each platform. Institutions with no mobile apps were excluded from ranking summaries.

The 50 largest banks are defined as those with the largest deposits per FDIC data June 2014 were examined. Banks with fewer than 200 app ratings were excluded, as were those that primarily target investment accounts.

Among credit unions, the 50 largest by assets according Bauer Financial, March 2013, were examined. For online direct banks, 10 of the largest Online Direct Banks were chosen by number of app ratings.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Magnify_Money and on Facebook.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at brian@magnifymoney.com

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About MagnifyMoney

Today the MagnifyMoney Team is Thankful For…

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Today, our team is taking time to spend the holiday with family and friends, but we’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we’re thankful for (related to financial products of course)!

Nick: Thankful for CFPB, Credit Unions and Startups

As you know, we launched MagnifyMoney in May of this year. Before launching the site, we spent countless hours reviewing financial products and tools to help people save money.

During the past year, a few things have really stood out for me:

  1. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Complaint Service. There are a lot of times when the government creates unnecessary bureaucracy or just wastes taxpayer money building bridges to nowhere. But the CFPB Complaint Service is a true public service. We have all been lost in the complex maze of a bank’s customer service department (even people who worked for banks are not immune to these service black holes). With the CFPB complaint service, you have the ability to get your complaint heard. Two members of the MagnifyMoney team had problems solved by the CFPB. It is truly a great service, and I am thankful it exists.
  2. Credit unions are looking to grow. Because of their unique structure (credit unions do not have shareholders), they can afford to charge much lower interest rates. Thankfully, over the past year, we have seen credit unions make it easier for people to join, and they have created truly incredible products to help people with credit card debt save money. Some of the great offers we have seen this year include 99% for the life of the balance with no balance transfer fee – which is amazing. I just hope the credit unions continue to invest in better digital experiences so that more people can take advantage of their offers.
  3. Startups are looking to make bank accounts cheaper and easier to use. I have learned the
    name of many small, Internet-only banks that are quietly looking to change the way we bank forever. They are innovating, eliminating unnecessary fees, paying 100x higher interest rates and creating amazing digital experiences.

I am hopeful that, over the next 12 months, we will see even better deals for consumers. And we look forward to sharing those deals with you at MagnifyMoney.

Erin: Thankful for Mobile Deposits and No ATM Fees

As an early adopter of online banking, I’ve been cashing checks with my smartphone since 2011. I probably would have tried earlier, but I was far from an early adopter to the smartphone.

I haven’t needed to step foot in a bank branch for personal deposits for years and I’m thankful I can save my time (and in some cases gas money) by depositing checks and handling my financial life from the comfort of my home, or office or wherever else I’m logged into a secured wireless network.

Speaking of Internet-only banking, I’m grateful for ATM fee reimbursement. It further nullifies the need to go into a bank branch, because I can use any (non-sketchy) ATM and ignore the obnoxious alert that I’ll be charged $3. I can ignore extra fees because my bank reimburses me! No need to fret about losing some of my money to a giant, monster, mega bank.

Just remember, loyalty doesn’t pay. Always be on the look out for the best deals. If your bank used to reimburse ATM fees, but plans to stop the practice — it’s time to switch. If your bank charges you $12 to move money from savings to check to cover an overdraft fee — it’s time to switch. If your bank only offers 0.01% interest on your savings account — get out of there! But probably not right now. Right now you should go enjoy turkey, pumpkin pie and time with your loved ones.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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