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Acorns Spend Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Acorns Spend is the third product offered by popular micro-investing tool Acorns. Spend is a checking account integrated with the firm’s two existing products, Acorns Core and Acorns Later. Combined, the three products are designed to get people saving and investing on an automatic basis.

Acorns Spend has all the features of a traditional checking account, including a debit card and ATM access. The Acorns twist is that purchases made using the account are rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the excess money being invested in six different exchange-traded funds, or ETFs.

When you pay the $3 monthly fee for Acorns Spend, you’re automatically enrolled in Acorns Core and Acorns Later, although you’re not required to fund or use these products.

If you’re curious about Acorns Spend, we’ll take a look at the features and benefits of the account, along with its associated fees and drawbacks to see if its a good fit for you.

Account features

No minimum balance or overdraft fees. You don’t have to fund an Acorns Spend account to open it, and you don’t have to worry about ever overdrawing the account.

Includes Acorns Core and Acorns Laterfor no additional fee. Although some online checking accounts don’t charge a monthly fee at all, the Acorns Spend account is part of a financial universe that rounds up your money and invests it for you; the $3 monthly fee also includes IRA services through the Acorns Later program.

Unlimited free or reimbursed ATM withdrawals nationwide. With out-of-network ATM fees often topping $2.50, unlimited fee reimbursements alone may make the $3 monthly charge for Acorns Spend a bargain.

A host of mobile banking services. The account includes free bank-to-bank transfers, digital direct deposit, mobile check deposit, and check sending.

Found Money rewards program. When you shop with specific merchants, they will credit your Acorns account with rewards cash within 90 to 120 days after your purchase.

Integrated with the Acorns ecosystem. Acorns Core already has over 3 million customers, meaning its being used by lots of people. Acorns Spend is an easy add-on service for those already familiar with how Acorns works.

Money invested according to Modern Portfolio Theory.Your spare change is invested in one of five ETF-based portfolios that Acorns has developed in line with Modern Portfolio Theory, which aims to generate the highest possible returns with the lowest possible risk.

Fees and fine print

Acorns is pretty transparent when it comes to its fees and pricing structure. With no overdraft, ATM or minimum balance fees, your monthly service charge is the only fee you’ll have to worry about. This account is the most expensive product available from Acorns, but the fee remains modest.

Pricing

The original Acorns product, now named Acorns Core, charges $1 per month. If you add on the IRA services of Acorns Later, that fee jumps to $2. Acorns Spend, which includes all three products, is $3 per month.

There are a few small twists in the pricing structure. Students do not have to pay the $1 fee for using Acorns Core, so they can access the complete Acorns Core + Acorns Later + Acorns Spend package for just $2. If you’re a millionaire, the fee structure jumps quite a bit, with Acorns charging $100 per million invested.

Other fees and fine print

Although fees for this account are low, they are flat; this means that customers with lower balances can see a significant percentage of their balances eaten away by the monthly fee. For example, if you have just $100 invested via Acorns Spend, the $3 monthly fee amounts to 3% of your balance every month.

ATM fees$0, with unlimited nationwide reimbursements of any non-preferred ATM fees
Withdrawal limits$500 per day
Overdraft fees$0
Card replacement fee$0

Pros and cons

The main pro of the Acorns Spend account is that it “forces” you to save and invest. Like the Acorns Core account, your purchases using the Spend debit card are rounded up and placed into an investment portfolio matching your investment objectives and risk tolerance. The idea behind Acorns Spend – and indeed, the entire Acorns investment philosophy – is that while you’re not likely to miss the additional $0.23 you’ll be charged on your $3.77 cup of coffee, over time, those $0.23 deposits add up.

Another prime benefit of Acorns Spend is its low cost. Yes, there’s a $3 monthly fee, but you are getting a lot for that cost. While some checking accounts charge fees just to provide basic services, the account automatically invests your money for you; not only that, but Acorns Spend invests your money for you in small increments. When was the last time you called your broker and asked him to buy $0.23 of an ETF? At most firms, that’s not even possible, and if it is, commissions will likely eat a large portion of your investment.

The unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement is another significant feature of the Acorns Spend account. Although some firms, such as Charles Schwab, offer unlimited international ATM fee reimbursements, many banks charge their own additional fees for out-of-network ATM transactions, on top of the fees that are imposed by ATM operators themselves.

There aren’t a lot of obvious “cons” to this account; ironically, the same features that are “pros” for many customers can end up being “cons” for others.

For example, some customers may not enjoy the “forced savings” method that Acorns employs; these customers may prefer to choose their own investments and may not like the portfolios that Acorns creates for customers. After all, Acorns only has five investment options, and they are categorized generically as “Conservative,” “Moderately Conservative,” “Moderate,” “Moderately Aggressive,” and “Aggressive” — and all five portfolios use the same six ETFs, in varying measure.

Another “pro” that may end up being a “con” for some customers is the $3 monthly fee. For those integrated into the Acorns ecosystem, paying this fee makes sense. For those that aren’t interested in the Acorns investment philosophy, or for those who don’t make a lot of reimbursable ATM transactions, the $3 fee could outweigh the benefits, especially when considering that plenty of online banks, from Discover to Capital One, offer no-fee checking accounts.

Overall, this account is a bit different than some of its major competitors, such as the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® and the Venmo debit card.

The Acorns Spend account is primarily focused on saving and investing, with round-ups automatically finding their way to predetermined investment portfolios. The Venmo and PayPal cards, on the other hand, are primarily focused on money transfer/access to and from Venmo and PayPal accounts, respectively, although they also operate as debit cards for purchases.

The Acorns Spend account has another advantage over these cards in that it is a fully functioning checking account, rather than just a money transfer or investment portal.

However, things are changing a bit in the competitive landscape, and PayPal and Acorns have recently formed a financial partnership. Now, you can use your PayPal account to open an Acorns account and begin funding your investments, starting with as little as $5.

How to open an Acorns Spend account

Log in to your existing Acorns account. The fastest way to sign up for Acorns Spend is if you are already an Acorns customer. If you log in to your account, you can pre-order the Acorns Spend debit card in a few clicks. The first 100,000 Acorns Spend debit cards sold out in four days, but the company is still accepting pre-orders for additional cards as of February 8, 2019.
Open an Acorns account online. If you’re not already a customer, you’ll have to sign up for an Acorns account to access Acorns Spend. You can access the application at this link. Once there, click “Don’t Have an Account?” You’ll need to provide your email address and create a password to open an account.

To finish opening your account, you’ll need to connect your spending cards, such as your debit and credit cards, so that Acorns can set up the “round-up” portion of the process. Next, you’ll provide personal information, such as your address and Social Security number. The last step of the process is to choose your investment allocation.

Overall review of Acorns Spend

Acorns Spend was a smart idea for Acorns itself because it’s something of a no-brainer for its existing three million-plus strong customer base. For those that already have Acorns Core and Acorns Later, Acorns Spend is just an additional $1 per month, and it provides access to a feature-packed checking account. For existing customers, Acorns Spend is another easy way to keep rounding up purchases into an investment account.

For potentially new customers, whether or not to switch from an existing checking account to Acorns Spend is an open question. On the plus side, Acorns Spend combines the key benefits of the best online checking accounts, such as mobile check deposit and no minimum deposit requirements, to the low fee structure most customers want, with no ATM fees, overdraft fees or card replacement fees.

One of the few outright negatives of the Acorns Spend account is the $3 monthly fee; although it’s lower than what many traditional, national banks charge, it’s $36 more per year than the $0 charged by many online banks.

For many customers, the unlimited ATM fee rebates will more than compensate for the monthly fee. However, for customers that have limited a need for out-of-network ATM withdrawals, or for those that aren’t interested in the Acorns ecosystem, this may not be the right product for them.

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Review of E*TRADE Bank’s Checking and Savings Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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E*TRADE Bank’s checking account options

Max-Rate Checking

The Max-Rate Checking account pays interest and carries a high, but waivable, monthly maintenance fee.

Deposit

APY

$0 - $4,999.99

0.05%

$5,000 - $49,999.99

0.05%

$50,000+

0.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15; can be waived with a direct deposit of $200 or more per month; a $50,000 balance in combined E*TRADE bank deposits; the execution of 30 or more stock or option trades per quarter; or a combined balance of $50,000 or more in linked E*TRADE Securities, E*TRADE Bank accounts and employee stock plan accounts.
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: Unlimited ATM fee rebates nationwide
  • Overdraft fee: $25; customers can sign up for the bank’s Coverdraft Protection, which transfers money from a linked account to cover overdrafts and costs $5 per transfer.

The Max-Rate Checking account is the bank’s primary checking account for customers seeking a more traditional checking account. The monthly maintenance fee is high but can be waived easily by most customers. The Max-Rate Checking account offers a number of free services, from mobile and online banking to eStatements and a debit card. This checking account pays interest all the way down to the first penny deposited. There are no ATM fees with this account, but if an ATM owner outside of E*TRADE’s ATM network does happen to charge you a fee, you’ll also be reimbursed nationwide, with no limit.

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E*TRADE Checking

This account is the most basic offering at E*TRADE Bank. It charges no fees but pays no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25; customers can sign up for the bank’s Coverdraft Protection, which transfers money from a linked account to cover overdrafts and costs $5 per transfer.

This checking account is a simple, no-frills account designed for those who want to avoid monthly fees. Even as a basic account, this checking account includes the following features:

  • Free, unlimited online bill payments
  • Free ATM/Visa debit card
  • Free initial checkbook order
  • Optional Coverdraft overdraft protection
  • Unlimited debit and check transactions
  • Online images of cleared and deposited checks

 

How to open E*TRADE Bank’s checking accounts

All E*TRADE accounts can be opened online, over the phone or through mail. As the bank is primarily internet-based, the online application process is fast and intuitive. To open an account online, pick the type of account you’d like and then follow the instructions on the secure online application form. You can fund your account instantly online, or you can mail in a check after you open your account.

To open an account by phone, call E*TRADE at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331).

To open an account by mail, you can download an application from the firm’s website.

For all types of applications, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • Residential street address
  • Government-issued ID or military ID
  • Social Security number

For online applications, you also must certify that you are not subject to backup withholding by the IRS. If you are, you must download and complete a paper application.

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How E*TRADE’s checking accounts compare

E*TRADE Bank has a limited number of checking account options that essentially fall into “basic” and “standard” categories. The no-frills E*TRADE Checking account is an acceptable option for those looking for a no-cost, low-service account, as it still provides online and mobile services and ATM access.

Customers looking for an interest-bearing checking account will have to select the Max-Rate Checking account, which could subject them to a fairly hefty monthly fee. However, that fee can be easily sidestepped.

One of the main benefits of the Max-Rate Checking account is its ATM fee structure. In addition to charging no ATM fees of its own, the bank reimburses Max-Rate customers an unlimited number of times for ATM fees charged by other operators nationwide.

The one downside of the Max-Rate Checking account is that it doesn’t pay max rates. In fact, even at the highest interest rate tier, Max-Rate checking pays about a third of the national average rate. When compared with the top checking account rates available nationwide, Max-Rate Checking isn’t anywhere close.

E*TRADE Bank’s savings account options

E*TRADE Premium Savings Account

This is a simple, straightforward online savings account with high rates.

Deposit

APY

$0 - $4,999.99

0.05%

$5,000 - $49,999.99

0.05%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

0.05%

$100,000 - $499,999.99

0.05%

$500,000+

0.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25; no Coverdraft Protection available

While the E*TRADE Premium Savings account is the only savings account offered by the bank, it packs its best rates. Although the bank divides the account into five interest-paying tiers, currently all tiers pay the same rate, right down to the smallest deposits.

In addition to high rates paid at every interest tier, the account has no minimum opening deposit and no ATM charges.

As a savings account, the Premium Savings account is subject to the same federal restrictions as every other savings or money market account; specifically, you’re limited to six transfers or withdrawals every calendar month. If you exceed this limit, the bank may convert your savings account into a checking account, close the account or limit your ability to make transfers or withdrawals.

Savings accounts offer free online transfers between external or internal accounts.

How to open an E*TRADE savings account

All E*TRADE accounts can be opened online, via phone or via mail. As the bank is primarily internet-based, the online application process is fast and intuitive. To open an account online, pick the type of account you’d like and then follow the instructions on the secure online application form. You can fund your account instantly online, or you can mail in a check after you open your account.

To open an account by phone, call E*TRADE at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331).

To open an account by mail, you can download an application from the firm’s website.

For all types of applications, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • Residential street address
  • Government-issued ID or military ID
  • Social Security number

For online applications, you must also certify that you are not subject to backup withholding by the IRS. If you are, you must download and complete a paper application.

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How E*TRADE’s savings account compares

E*TRADE’s Premium Savings lives up to its name, paying a very high interest rate. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better rate at nearly any major bank. However, the Premium Savings Account offers a rate that is lower than the nation’s top-paying online savings accounts.

A key benefit of the savings account is that it pays its high rate on all balances, meaning you don’t need to be a wealthy customer to earn the bank’s best rates.

Overall review of E*TRADE Bank’s products

If you’re looking for a diverse product line, E*TRADE Bank is probably not your best option. However, the bank does offer the basics when it comes to both savings and checking accounts. This is in line with the bank’s stated mission to service the basic banking needs of its brokerage customers.

The standout in the limited banking lineup is the firm’s Max-Rate Savings product. Although held back by a moderately high fee that can take a little doing to avoid, the rate it pays is worth the effort. You’ll get far more in interest with the Max-Rate Savings account than you will at the average bank, and the rate approaches the best available national rate as well. For existing E*TRADE customers, that makes the Max-Rate Savings account a no-brainer for those needing easy access to a high-rate savings account. Other customers may want to seek a bank with more features and benefits or a more diversified product line.

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University Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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University Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Checking

The bottom rung of University Federal Credit Union’s three-tier checking account ladder is the most accessible to the average customer.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

University Federal Credit Union’s Free Checking account lives up to its name, being the credit union’s only non-youth checking account that never has a monthly maintenance fee. As with all of the credit union’s checking accounts, the Free Checking account comes with the following features and benefits free of charge:

  • Online and mobile banking, with account alerts
  • Online bill pay
  • e-statements
  • Visa debit/check card, allowing free access to over 300 University Federal Credit Union and Credit Union Alliance ATMs

Daily cash withdrawals are limited to $1,000 with this account, and daily point-of-sale purchases have a $2,000 limit. The Courtesy Pay provision on the Free Checking account is limited to overdrafts of up to $400; however, while Courtesy Pay will cover the overdraft, it comes with an additional charge, on top of the already-high overdraft fee.

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Plus Checking

Plus Checking offers additional services and interest, in exchange for higher requirements.
APY Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500 in combined balances
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10; $0 with combined balances of at least $2,500
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Plus Checking carries a moderately high monthly fee, but the minimum balance required to open the account is the same as the amount needed to avoid the monthly fee. In addition to the standard benefits that come with all University Federal Credit Union checking accounts, such as online and mobile banking, e-statements, bill pay and free in-network ATM withdrawals, Plus Checking comes with these additional features:

  • Free money orders
  • Free cashier’s checks
  • Free custom checks
  • A line of credit

Additionally, this account earns interest on all balances of at least $1,000. The daily ATM withdrawal limit for Plus Checking is the same as with Free Checking, at $1,000, but the daily point-of-sale purchase limit jumps to $5,000. The overdraft fee remains high, with Courtesy Pay transactions costing an additional fee.

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Premium Checking

As the name implies, Premium Checking is a more upscale version of University Federal Credit Union’s Plus Checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$2,500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15; $0 with average daily balance of at least $10,000
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Premium Checking has a high monthly fee and a high minimum opening deposit requirement. However, those who maintain the $10,000 required to open the account can avoid the monthly maintenance fee. As with the other accounts in the University Federal Credit Union checking lineup, Premium Checking comes with free online and mobile access, bill pay, e-statements and in-network ATM transactions. Premium Checking also copies some benefits of the Plus Checking account, offering free money orders, free custom checks, a line of credit and free cashier’s checks. The ATM daily cash limit on Premium Checking is $1,500, while the daily point-of-sale purchase maximum tops out at $7,500. Courtesy Pay transfers still don’t reduce the high overdraft fee, but overdrafts up to $1,000 are covered.

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Teen Checking

Teen Checking is a decent starter account for kids aged 13 to 17.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.50%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Older customers might be envious that they aren’t allowed to open a Teen Checking account because it pays by far the best interest rates of any University Federal Credit Union checking account. This bonus rate is only paid on the first $500 deposited, however. Larger deposits don’t earn any interest at all. Beyond that, this checking account is much like the other checking accounts at University Federal Credit Union, including online and mobile access, e-statements, bill pay and free in-network ATM access. The daily cash limit for ATM withdrawals on this account is $500, and the debit card daily purchase limit is $2,000. Overdraft transfers are limited to $400 via Courtesy Pay, with the high overdraft fee and per-transaction fees applying to this account as well.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts

With the exception of the Teen Checking account, which you’ll have to open in a branch, you can open all University Federal Credit Union accounts online. As mentioned above, accounts are limited to U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old with a valid U.S. address. You’ll also have to provide a Social Security number, valid ID and information on your funding source, such as a checking account routing number. Customers must become members before opening a University Federal Credit Union checking account.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Compared with the national averages, both the Plus Checking and the Premium Checking account pay woefully low rates. The standout account in terms of yield is the Teen Checking account, with a yield that tops those offered by most of the best checking accounts in the nation. However, interest is only earned on the first $500, and the account is limited to younger teenagers. As a whole, the checking accounts provide a decent amount of free features, although their overall appeal is hurt a bit by the very high overdraft fee, which cannot be avoided.

University Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Savings

This account is a traditional, straightforward savings account without any fancy add-ons.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$100
0.05%$2.500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

There’s not much to the University Federal Credit Union Savings account. The account charges no fees and has a modest $5 opening deposit requirement, although an additional $1 membership fee is required at the time of account opening. The ATM fee structure is the same as with the credit union’s checking accounts, with a small fee attached to out-of-network ATM transactions. Dividends are paid quarterly in a two-tier structure; the highest rates are paid on balances of less than $2,500. In-person deposits and withdrawals are unlimited, but certain withdrawals and transfers have a cap of six transactions per month. The Savings account is burdened by the same high overdraft fee as with the checking account lineup.

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Teen Savings

The Teen Savings account is a no-fee savings account designed to help teenagers ages 13 to 17 build a financial history.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

For the most part, this account functions just like a regular Savings account at the credit union, with a $1 charge for non-network ATM withdrawals and the same high overdraft fee. One important distinction is that interest is earned starting at just $5, and there is no reduction in interest paid once the balance hits $2,500, as there is in the regular Savings account.

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Kidz Savings

The Kidz Savings account is a carbon copy of the Teen Savings account, but for kids under age 13 rather than for teenagers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Both accounts have the same $1 charge for non-network ATM withdrawals and the same high overdraft fee. One As with the Teen Savings account, interest is earned starting at just $5, and the same rate applies to all additional deposits.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts

Savings accounts at University Federal Credit Union can be opened online. In fact, the basic Savings account is one of the requirements for membership, in addition to being affiliated with a qualifying university, company, an association or family member. Applicants must also have a U.S. address and be a U.S. citizen or resident alien at least 18 years old. Additional required documentation includes a Social Security number, valid ID and funding information.

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NCUA Insured

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How University Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

On the whole, University Federal Credit Union’s savings account are not particularly noteworthy. It’s a plus that none of the savings accounts carry monthly fees, but the interest rates paid are low. The top-tier rate on the basic Savings account is just about at the national average, while the Teen and Kidz rates are below average. None of the accounts offered here are real competitors with the best available savings accounts.

University Federal Credit Union’s CD account options

Fixed-Rate Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

University Federal Credit Union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates of Deposit are the institution’s standard CD line.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%$1,000 3 months
0.20%$100,000 3 months
0.15%$1,000 6 months
0.35%$100,000 6 months
0.20%$1,000 12 months
1.35%$100,000 12 months
0.30%$1,000 24 months
1.30%$100,000 24 months
0.35%$1,000 36 months
1.60%$100,000 36 months
0.45%$1,000 48 months
1.70%$100,000 48 months
0.65%$1,000 60 months
2.10%$100,000 60 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

University Federal Credit Union offers a traditional lineup of CDs, with maturities from 3 months to 60 months and minimum opening deposits of $1,000. Those seeking higher yields can opt instead for the $100,000-minimum jumbo CD offerings, which pay an additional 0.25%. Dividends are compounded and paid monthly, and early withdrawal penalties apply. Currently, rates show a dramatic jump for maturities of at least 12 months. CDs at University Federal Credit Union auto-renew, with a seven-day grace period.

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Step-Up Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Step-Up CDs offer customers the option to adjust their rate one time during the CD term.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.15%$1,00024 months
1.30%$100,00024 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

Step-Up CDs come in a single, 24 month maturity and start with a lower APY than the credit union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates. However, customers have the option of raising the rate to the then-current 24 month CD rate one time during the original CD term. Additional funds can also be added at the time of the step-up election. Standard early withdrawal penalties still apply to this CD.

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NCUA Insured

Variable-Rate Early Saver Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

This CD account is designed for kids aged 17 or younger.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
1.50%$10012 months
0.25%$20,000.0112 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

The Early Saver Certificate is for kids 17 years or younger who also have a Teen or Kidz Savings account. This CD has a smaller opening deposit requirement and single, 12 month term. As with the Teen and Kidz Savings accounts, a very high bonus rate is paid on smaller deposits, although in the case of the Early Saver CD, the first $20,000 benefits from this enhanced rate. Dividends are compounded and paid monthly, and additional deposits are allowed at any time, although only one CD is permitted per Social Security number. Standard early withdrawal penalties apply.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts

As mentioned above, you’ll have to visit a branch to open a University Federal Credit Union CD account. Customers must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens at least 18 years old with a U.S. mailing address, meaning a parent or guardian is needed to open youth CD accounts. Account holders need a Social Security number, valid ID and a funding source. Customers must become members before opening a CD account.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts compare

Rates on University Federal Credit Union CDs are a tale of two cities. On the very short end, CD rates fall well below the national average CD rates. However, beginning from 12 months on, rates are considerably above the national average rates, in some cases nearly double. The rate on the Early Savers CD for deposits of up to $20,000 is one of the best CD rates in the country.

University Federal Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market

This Money Market account offers traditional features, including check writing and ATM access.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

The Money Market account at University Federal Credit Union is functionally very similar to the credit union’s savings accounts, with the addition of check-writing capabilities. Both accounts have the same ATM access with free in-network withdrawals and $1 non-network charges, and both carry the same high overdraft fee. Although the minimum opening deposit is $2,500, all balances earn dividends, which are compounded and paid monthly. Pre-authorized withdrawals and transfers are limited to six per month, with a $25 fee for each additional transaction per month imposted by the credit union. Over-the-counter transactions are unlimited.

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Money Market with Member Rewards

The Member Rewards program offers a better yield in exchange for certain qualifying transactions monthly.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$0.01
0.25%$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

The Money Market with Member Rewards account at University Federal Credit Union is an enhanced version of the credit union’s standard Money Market account. Both accounts have the same overall structure, with the same ATM fees, overdraft fees, excess activity fees and minimum deposit size. Both accounts also come free of any monthly maintenance fees and they share the same minimum deposit size. However, this account pays a higher interest rate on deposits of up to $250,000. To qualify for this premium rate, customers must make at least 10 qualifying transactions per month from the following list:

  • Debit card purchase
  • Bill pay transaction
  • Direct deposit of a payroll check
  • Make any type of deposit
  • Write a check
  • Transfer money into or out of account
  • ATM deposit or withdrawal
  • Pay a bill

Otherwise, the two money market accounts are identical.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts

As described above, you can open University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts online. Customers must become members before opening additional accounts, which are open to U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old with a U.S. mailing address. A driver’s license or state ID, Social Security number and funding source are required.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Both University Federal Credit Union money market accounts score points for having no monthly service fee. However, the yields offered by both accounts are low. Even with the enhanced yield offered by the Member Rewards version, rates are below the national average and not at all comparable with what you can get with the best available money market accounts.

University Federal Credit Union’s IRA options

Variable-Rate IRA

The Variable-Rate IRA account is simply a savings account for uninvested IRA funds.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Variable-Rate IRA is a parking place for loose cash in a University Federal Credit Union IRA. Although a $100 minimum is required, all balances that meet or exceed that level earn interest. There are no monthly fees associated with this account. As it is in an IRA, there is no ATM access, and overdrafts are prevented.

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Fixed-Rate IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

University Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs mirror those in the credit union’s taxable accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%$1,000 3 months
0.20%$100,000 3 months
0.15%$1,000 6 months
0.35%$100,000 6 months
0.20%$1,000 12 months
1.35%$100,000 12 months
0.30%$1,000 24 months
1.45%$100,000 24 months
0.35%$1,000 36 months
1.60%$100,000 36 months
0.45%$1,000 48 months
1.70%$100,000 48 months
0.65%$1,000 60 months
2.10%$100,000 60 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

University Federal Credit Union offers the same CDs in its IRAs that it does in its non-IRA accounts. Terms range from 3 months to 60 months, and minimums are either $1,000 for standard CDs or $100,000 for jumbo CDs, which pay an additional 0.25% in interest. IRA CDs auto-renew at University Federal Credit Union, with a seven-day grace period.

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Step-Up Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Step-Up CDs offer customers the option to adjust their rate one time during the CD term.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.15%$1,00024 months
1.30%$100,00024 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

The same Step-Up CDs available in regular accounts at University Federal Credit Union are also available in the credit union’s IRA accounts. These CDs come in a single, 24 month maturity, offering a lower rate than the credit union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates. Customers can raise this rate one time during the original CD term to the then-current rate. Funds can be added at any time. Standard early withdrawal penalties apply to this CD.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s IRA products

As mentioned above, you can’t open a University Federal Credit Union IRA online. You’ll have to contact or visit a branch. Accounts are limited to members that are U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old. In addition to having a valid U.S. address, you’ll need your Social Security and a valid ID to open an IRA, along with a source of funds.

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on University Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How University Federal Credit Union’s IRA products compare

Overall, rates on University Federal Credit Union IRA CDs are very high. With the exception of the 3 and 6 month maturities, APYs are well above the national average IRA CD rates, at times nearly doubling the average. Jumbo IRA CD rates at University Federal Credit Union are among the very best IRA CD rates in the country.

Overall review of University Federal Credit Union’s products

University Federal Credit Union’s line of consumer accounts is a mixed bag. On the plus side, most credit union offer all of the standard types of accounts customers might expect, and most of those accounts can be maintained with no monthly fees. Additionally, some of the credit union’s accounts pay remarkable yields. On the downside, most of the accounts are fairly ordinary when it comes to features, and many pay below-market interest rates.

Overall, the credit union’s checking and savings accounts are lackluster. With the exception of the Teen Checking account, which pays one of the highest rates in the nation for deposits up to $500, the remaining checking and savings accounts are below average in terms of yield. The same is true of the credit union’s money market accounts, including the “enhanced” Money Market with Member Rewards account.

Things completely turn around when it comes to the credit union’s lineup of CDs, however. With the exception of very short-term CDs, under one year in maturity, University Federal Credit Union’s entire line of regular and IRA CDs tops the national averages by large amounts. Its Early Savers CD, for children under 18, has one of the highest yields in the country, on deposits of up to $20,000.

Net-net, there are some outstanding yields available with University Federal Credit Union deposit accounts. However, there are also some duds. Customers would be well-served to dig deep into the account roster to find good options to suit their needs.