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Andrews 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 has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Andrews Federal Credit Union checking account options

Andrews Federal Credit Union Free Checking account

A free checking account that only offers the basics. It doesn’t earn interest or refund out-of-network ATM fees — two serious downsides in our opinion.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

The Free Checking account only comes with basic banking services like a debit card, online banking and online bill payment. This account does not earn interest or offer rewards for when you spend on the debit card.

In exchange, this account is completely free. There’s no minimum balance requirement and it never charges a monthly fee. There’s also no minimum opening deposit, so you can set one up for any amount or even without adding money.

With the debit card, you can make free withdrawals from Andrews Federal Credit Union ATMs. Since Andrews Federal Credit Union is a member of the CO-OP network, a national group of credit unions which share branches, you can also make free withdrawals from CO-OP ATMs. If you make a withdrawal anywhere else, Andrews Federal Credit Union will not charge a fee, but they also will not refund any charges from the ATM owner.

Before you can open a Free Checking account, you’ll need to join the Andrews Federal Credit Union. You can sign up online or at one of their branches. While you’re applying for membership, you can open your Free Checking account using the same information.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Advantage Checking account

This account pays interest but only if you have at least $1,500. If you ever fall below, not only do you stop earning interest, you’ll also get hit with a monthly fee.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$1,500
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (can be waived)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

For customers who want interest, Andrews Federal Credit Union offers the Advantage Checking account. It earns interest so long as your balance is at least $1,500. The rate is average and always stays the same; you don’t earn more by depositing more.

There is no minimum opening deposit requirement to set up an Advantage Checking account. However, this account charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee whenever your balance is less than $1,500.

If you want to take money out, you can make free withdrawals from Andrews Federal Credit Union ATMs as well as ATMs in the CO-OP network. For out-of-network transactions, Andrews Federal Credit Union will not charge a fee. However, they will not refund any charges from the ATM owners.

If you aren’t currently a member of the Andrews Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to sign up first before you can apply for an Advantage Checking account. This account is listed on their membership application form so you can open it at the same time as joining the credit union.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Second Chance Checking account

If you can’t qualify for a standard checking account because of past financial trouble, Andrews Federal Credit Union offers a Second Chance account to let you rebuild your track record.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (waived with direct deposit)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

The Second Chance checking account is meant for applicants who can’t qualify for a standard checking account because of past credit or banking difficulties. If you aren’t accepted for the other Andrews Federal Credit Union checking accounts, you could use this account to rebuild your financial record.

This account charges a $10 monthly fee but you can get it waived just by making a monthly direct deposit. The Second Chance Checking account does not have a minimum balance requirement.

Like with the other checking accounts, the debit card lets you make free withdrawals from both Andrews Federal Credit Union and CO-OP network ATMs. Andrews Federal Credit Union also does not charge out-of-network ATM fees. However, they do not refund fees from out-of-network ATM owners on this account.

This account apparently cannot be opened online, so you’ll need to visit a branch in person or contact the bank by phone for more details. Before you can open a Second Chance Checking account, you first need to become a member of the Andrews Federal Credit Union. This account is not an option on the membership application so you need to join first and then you can set up Second Chance Checking.

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How Andrews Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

If you just want a simple checking account, you could do worse than what’s available at Andrews Federal Credit Union. You only need $1,500 to avoid the monthly fee on their interest-earning account and it pays an average return. It’s much better than what you’d get at a large national bank but doesn’t quite match the top online checking accounts. They also offer a free account with no minimum balance requirement, though it doesn’t earn interest.

The biggest drawback about the Andrews Federal Credit Union checking accounts is that they don’t refund out-of-network ATM fees. They are members of the CO-OP network, which opens up free ATMs across the country. However, if you go anywhere else, you’ll owe a fee to the ATM owner. This could be an expensive nuisance when you can’t find a CO-OP branch.

Because of their lack of ATM refunds and only average interest rate, the Andrews Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts are not top-tier options in our eyes. To see what an awesome checking account can deliver, check out these online checking options instead. They combine sky-high interest rates, low fees and generous ATM refunds altogether.

Andrews Federal Credit Union savings account options

Andrews Federal Credit Union Base Share Savings account

If you want to join the Andrews Federal Credit Union, you need to open this account for at least $5. Fortunately, the account’s good enough that you can use it even if it wasn’t mandatory.
APY Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

Andrews Federal Credit Union requires all new customers to open a Base Share Savings account as part of their membership application. This account needs an opening deposit of at least $5 and you have to at least keep this much in the account to maintain your membership.

The Base Share Savings account does not charge a monthly fee. It earns interest but only if you have a balance of $100 or more. The APY is above average for a savings account. You earn the same rate for all balances; you won’t earn more by depositing more.

Since this is a savings account, there’s a government limit to how often you can make certain transfers/withdrawals out of your balance. Each statement cycle, you can make no more than six of the following: checks, debit card purchases, drafts, bill payments and phone, online or automatic transfers. However, there’s no limit to ATM or bank withdrawals.

If you make more than six of the restricted transactions, Andrews Federal Credit Union will not charge a fee but they could deny the transaction, transfer funds from another of your accounts to cover the transaction and/or they could eventually close your savings account.

Before you can open a Base Share Savings account, you’ll need to join the Andrews Federal Credit Union. Part of the application process will be opening a Base Share Savings account for at least $5. At this time, you can open other Andrews Federal Credit Union deposit accounts using the same information.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Planners Savings account

A free savings account with the same interest rate as the required Base Share Savings. This side account is useful if you want to keep money separate for different goals.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.31%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

The Planners Savings account is nearly identical to their Base Share Savings account. It pays the same interest rate and also doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

The main difference is there’s no minimum opening deposit requirement for the Planners Savings account. You could use this extra account to split up your money for different goals. For example, you use Base Share for day-to-day saving and Planners Savings specifically to save for a new car.

Since this is a savings account, Regulation D limits apply. You are allowed to make up to six certain transfers/withdrawals out of your balance per month including: checks, debit card purchases, drafts and transfers to other accounts. If you end up going over the limit, Andrews Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge a fee but they could deny the transaction, transfer money from one of your other accounts to cover the funds and/or eventually close your savings accounts.

The Planners Savings account is only available for members of the Andrews Federal Credit Union. When you sign up, you’ll need to open a Base Share Savings account for $5. At that point, you can decide whether to add a Planners Savings account as well to go along with the mandatory Base Share Savings.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Holiday/Vacation Club Savings accounts

These accounts earn a higher interest rate than the regular Andrews Federal Credit Union savings accounts, but if you take money out before the target deadline, you’ll owe a penalty. We don’t think the extra interest is worth the risk.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.40%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

Andrews Federal Credit Union offers both Holiday and Vacation Club accounts. With these accounts, you put money aside for a set target during the year: May 1st for the Vacation Club and November 1st for the Holiday Club. When you reach this date, Andrews Federal Credit Union pays out all the money to your Share Savings account.

If you want to take out money before the target goal, you can but Andrews Federal Credit Union charges a massive $25 fee for each early withdrawal.

The Club accounts earn a higher rate than the regular savings accounts and there’s no minimum balance to earn interest. These accounts also do not have a minimum opening deposit and do not charge a monthly fee.

Like all the Andrews Federal Credit Union banking products, the Holiday/Vacation Club accounts are only available for members. If you haven’t joined yet, you can open these accounts while setting up your credit union membership; they are listed on the initial application.

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How Andrews Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

There’s a lot to like about the Andrews Federal Credit Union savings accounts. They never charge a monthly fee, their interest rates are above average and you earn their top rate just for a balance of $100.

We also noticed that their Club accounts pay a higher rate than their normal Savings account. At most other lenders, the rate is usually the same. This creates more of an incentive to use Andrews Federal Credit Union’s Club accounts, but we would still be very cautious because of the early withdrawal penalty. Just one early withdrawal would wipe out any benefit from the Club account’s higher rate.

Overall, while the Andrews Federal Credit Union savings accounts are good, they still don’t pay quite enough interest to be considered great. These online savings accounts pay rates that are even better than the Andrews Federal Credit Union Club accounts and they don’t come with early withdrawal penalties.

Andrews Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Andrews Federal Credit Union Share Certificates

Andrews Federal Credit Union’s regular Share Certificate rates are OK, but nothing to get excited about. If you deposit at least $10,000, you get a small increase with Jumbo rates.
Standard Share Certificates
TermAPY ($1,000)
6 months0.55%
12 months1.41%
24 months1.45%
36 months1.50%
48 months1.61%
60 months1.91%
84 months2.20%
Jumbo Share Certificates
TermAPY ($10,000)
6 months0.60%
12 months1.45%
24 months1.50%
36 months1.55%
48 months1.76%
60 months2.02%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 ($10,000 for Jumbo.)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 ($10,000 for Jumbo.)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends. For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

Andrews Federal Credit Union offers regular Share Certificates which range from six months up to 84 months. You need to deposit at least $1,000 to open a regular Share Certificate and earn the APY. Their regular Share Certificate rates are about average.

They also offer Jumbo Certificates which require $10,000 to open and earn the APY. The longest Jumbo Certificate term is 60 months, not 84 months. You get a small rate increase for using a Jumbo Certificate.

If you take money out of a Share Certificate before the maturity date, they’ll charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty depends on your Certificate’s original term:

  • For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends.
  • For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

The Share Certificates are for members of the Andrews Federal Credit Union only. If you aren’t already a member, you can sign up online or at one of the branches. You can also open any of the Share Certificates at the same time as they are listed on the new membership application.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Special Share Certificates

These special Share Certificates pay much higher rates than the standard offers. Andrews Federal Credit Union customers can only use each promotion once.
TermAPY
9 months2.75%
17 months2.25%
30 months2.55%
55 months2.60%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends. For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

As of Nov. 6, 2018, Andrews Federal Credit Union offered a number of Special Share Certificates. They state that these promotions are only around for a limited time only and rates/conditions could change.

You need to deposit at least $1,000 to open a Special Share Certificate and keep this much in the account to earn the APY. The Special Certificate rates are excellent, much better than the regular Share Certificates.

Andrews Federal Credit Union charges an early withdrawal penalty if you take money out of your Special Certificate before the maturity date:

  • For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends.
  • For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends

At the end of the Special Certificate term, Andrews Federal Credit Union will automatically renew you into one of their regular Share Certificates, unless you tell them not to. You have a grace period of 10 days after the maturity date to take money out or transfer to another Certificate without penalty.

The Special Certificates are listed on Andrews Federal Credit Union’s new membership form. If you aren’t a member, you can launch your Special Certificate at the same time as creating your membership, using the same information. You will also need to make your opening deposit of at least $1,000 for the Special Certificate.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union The Generator Share Certificates

The Generator is a hybrid of a savings account and a Share Certificate. The rates are lower but you can open one up for just $50 and deposit more money throughout the term.
TermAPY
12 months0.40%
24 months0.45%
36 months0.55%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $50
  • Early withdrawal penalty: $25 per withdrawal

Andrews Federal Credit Union’s The Generator Share Certificate is a unique account. It combines features of a savings account with a CD. When you sign up, your pick a set amount of time to deposit your money like a CD. The terms range from 12 months up to 36 months.

You can open “The Generator” with a deposit of just $50 and that’s all you need to keep in the account to earn the APY. That’s much lower than the typical CD. You can also deposit more money whenever you want while your Share Certificate is in force. Most certificates only let you deposit money when you open.

Finally, the early withdrawal penalty on this account is much lower. You just owe $25 per withdrawal, rather than several months of interest. In exchange for this flexibility, The Generator earns less interest than the regular Share Certificates.

You can sign up for a Generator Share Certificate online or at one of the Andrews Federal Credit Union branches. If you aren’t a member yet, you will need to sign up first. You can open a Generator Share Certificate at the same time as submitting your membership application.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union Bump It Up Share Certificates

These Certificates pay a lower starting rate than the regular Share Certificates, but give you a one-time option to “Bump It Up” to a higher rate during your term.
TermAPY
24 months1.00%
36 months1.26%
48 months1.46%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends. For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

If you are worried about interest rates going up after you sign up, you could go for a Bump It Up Certificate. This account has terms ranging from 24 months to 48 months.

If Andrews Federal Credit Union starts paying a higher rate for their regular Share Certificates, you have a one-time option to increase your Bump Up Certificate payment to their new rate. For example, if you sign up for the 24 month Bump Up Certificate, you can switch to the regular 24 month Share Certificate rate at any time. This only includes the regular Share Certificates, not the Specials.

In exchange for this option, these Certificates pay a lower starting rate compared with the other Share Certificates at Andrews Federal Credit Union.

Like all the other Certificates, the Bump It Share Certificate is available online or at a branch. You can set these up while joining as a new member or you can open one at any point after you’ve become a member.

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How Andrews Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Andrews Federal Credit Union has put a lot of thought and creativity in their Share Certificates. On top of their standard Certificates, they also offer special promotions, bump up certificates and a hybrid account that’s a mix of a CD and a savings account called The Generator. It’s nice to see a lender go beyond just offering plain vanilla certificates for their customers.

As far as their rates go, their promotions are fantastic, as good as anything else on the market. However, at the end of the Certificate term, they’ll auto-renew you to the standard rates, which are much less impressive. Keep an eye on your maturity date so you don’t get stuck in a lower paying Certificate. Their special products (Bump It Up and The Generator) do not pay a competitive rate. Unfortunately, you’re giving up some earning power to use their unique features.

If you want to keep it simple and just earn the best return on your money, you should stick with the Special Share Certificates. Or as an alternative, you could also check out this list of the best CDs in the country where we found the highest-paying option for every single term.

Andrews Federal Credit Union money market account options

Andrews Federal Credit Union Money Market account

The Money Market account pays a little more interest than their savings account, but not much more. The slightly higher rates don’t make up for the larger fee and balance requirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$0.01
0.35%
$1,000
0.40%
$10,000
0.40%
$25,000
0.50%
$50,000
0.50%
$75,000
0.60%
$100,000
0.60%
$150,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (can be waived)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

You need to deposit at least $1,000 to open an Money Market account. If your balance falls below $1,000 after you open, the account charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee. It’s free so long as you stay above the limit.

The Money Market account pays interest on all balances. The rates are not much better than their savings accounts unless you have more than $50,000. The rates gradually get better as you deposit more but still aren’t that high for a money market account, even at the top tier with $150,000.

Since this is a money market account, there’s a government limit to how often you can make certain transfers/withdrawals out of the account. Each statement cycle you can make no more than six total withdrawals, transfers or check transactions. If you make more than six, Andrews Federal Credit Union will charge a $10 fee for each excess transaction.

If you want to open a Money Market account, you’ll need to join the Andrews Federal Credit Union first. You can apply online or at one of their branches. If you’d like to launch a Money Market account while creating your membership, you can. You just need to submit your initial deposit along with the membership application.While you’re applying for membership, you can open your Money Market account using the same information.

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How Andrews Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

The money market account isn’t a bad choice but it’s nowhere near a quality option either. The rates are about average and an improvement over the large national banks. You also only need $1,000 to avoid the account’s monthly fee and even if you fall below the balance requirement, you’ll still earn interest.

Still, the interest rates are not high enough to make up for the restrictions of using a money market account. You could earn almost as much using the Share Savings account except that account never charges a monthly fee whereas the Money Market can cost $10 per month.

If you’re going to deal with the high balance requirements of a money market account, make sure you’re earning enough for the trouble. These options are well worth the effort because they pay some of the highest money market rates in the country.

Andrews Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates

Andrews Federal Credit Union IRA Certificates

The IRA Certificates offer all kinds of terms and pay a respectable return for your retirement plan. Unfortunately, the top-paying Special Certificates aren’t available for the IRA.
Standard IRA Certificates
TermAPY ($1,000)
6 months0.55%
12 months1.41%
24 months1.45%
36 months1.50%
48 months1.61%
60 months1.91%
72 months2.10%
84 months2.20%
Jumbo IRA Certificates
TermAPY ($10,000)
6 months0.60%
12 months1.45%
24 months1.50%
36 months1.55%
48 months1.76%
60 months2.02%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 ($10,000 for Jumbo)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 ($10,000 for Jumbo)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends. For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

You can open any of the regular Share Certificates through an IRA, so you can save for retirement. They also include an extra term, 72 months, that is not available for the regular Share Certificates.

You must deposit at least $1,000 to open an IRA Certificate and keep this much in the account to earn the APY. The rates are respectable for this type of retirement plan. You can also open a Jumbo IRA Certificate by depositing at least $10,000 and keeping this much in the account to earn the APY. If you meet the Jumbo requirements, you receive a small rate bump.

The IRA Certificates charge the same early withdrawal penalties as the regular Certificate when you take money out before the maturity date. The penalty depends on your IRA CD term:

  • For maturities less than 24 months, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends.
  • For maturities of 24 months or longer, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

You can only open an IRA Certificate after you’ve set up your Andrews Federal Credit Union membership. They aren’t available through the new member application form. Instead, after you join, you can log into online banking and apply for an IRA Certificate that way, or you can go to a branch.

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Andrews Federal Credit Union IRA Money Market account

If you want more access to your retirement savings, you can make up to six withdrawals per month from the IRA money market account. In exchange, it pays less than the IRA Certificates.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$0.01
0.35%
$1,000
0.40%
$10,000
0.40%
$25,000
0.50%
$50,000
0.50%
$75,000
0.60%
$100,000
0.60%
$150,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Besides their IRA Certificates, Andrews Federal Credit Union also offers an IRA Money Market account. With this account, you aren’t committing to a set amount of time like on a CD. Instead, you have the flexibility to take money out when you want without incurring an early withdrawal penalty.

You can make up to six free withdrawals/transfers out of the IRA Money Market account per month. If you make more than six, Andrews Federal Credit Union charges $10 per excess transaction. Still, that’s much more access than an IRA Certificate.

In exchange for this flexibility, the IRA Money Market account earns a lower interest rate. It’s respectable for this type of retirement account and you earn more by depositing more, before maxing out with a balance of $150,000.

You must deposit at least $1,000 to open an IRA Money Market account. After that, there is no minimum balance requirement and this account does not charge a monthly fee.

You can open an IRA Money Market account after you’re a member through online banking or at a branch. If you aren’t an Andrews Federal Credit Union member yet, take care of that first and then you can set up the IRA Money Market account.

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How Andrews Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

There are some solid choices for your retirement plan at Andrews Federal Credit Union. They offer a huge range of short- and long-term IRA Certificates and the rates are decent for each term. Their IRA Money Market account also pays an above average rate for an account with more flexible access.

Our only complaint is that you can’t use the promotional Share Certificates through an IRA. These are by far the highest-paying offers at Andrews Federal Credit Union but your retirement plan won’t be able to take advantage.

That’s why while Andrews Federal Credit Union is good, we think you can do even better. These IRA CDs pay the very highest rates today and are better than anything at Andrews Federal Credit Union.

Overall review of Andrews Federal Credit Union’s banking products

Andrews Federal Credit Union does a lot well. Nearly all their banking products pay above-average interest rates and do a reasonable job keeping fees low. Our favorite accounts are their Promotional Share Certificates as they pay rates that are as high as anything else in the country.

The rest of their accounts have lots of positives. They offer two serviceable checking accounts (one free and one with interest) as well as free savings accounts with solid interest rates. Their IRA accounts also get the job done. The only product we would skip is their money market account because it pays barely more than their savings accounts, despite having higher fees and balance requirements.

In the end, while we liked many of the Andrews Federal Credit Union deposit accounts, the only ones we would go out of our way to open are their Promotional Share Certificates. This seems standard for a regional credit union. Their accounts are good enough to be quality contenders in the mid-Atlantic, but they aren’t making waves in the national marketplace.

In other words, they’re a good choice if you happen to live around the corner from a branch. Otherwise, you can pass.

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David Rodeck
David Rodeck |

David Rodeck is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email David here

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Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

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

Some banks don’t like giving second chances to customers who have less-than-stellar financial histories, especially since it could expose them to expensive risks. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts could easily lock you out of the conveniences of modern banking.

Fortunately, banks also like making money, and some offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risk while allowing consumers to stay in the banking system. A second chance bank account gives customers with troubled records a fresh opportunity to demonstrate they can bank responsibly.

When it comes to a second chance account, fees are an unfortunate reality. But some accounts offer customers a better deal than others, and we’ve researched our database to find the second chance accounts with the most reasonable fee structures, while also factoring in whether they provide online and mobile banking, and how accessible accounts are throughout the country.

Account Name

Monthly Fee

Minimum to open

Availability

Chime$0$0Nationwide
Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking$4.95 $30Nationwide
GoBank Checking Account$8.95, can be waived if you meet requirements$20Nationwide
Radius Essential Checking$0$10Nationwide
Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts$10, can be waived if you meet requirements$2539 states (plus Washington D.C.) that have a Wells Fargo location.
BBVA Easy Checking$13.95$25Nationwide, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii
Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking$9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit; $11.95 without a direct deposit$25Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Second chance account basics

With a second chance bank account, customers shut out of traditional bank accounts get the opportunity to win their way back into a bank’s good graces. Similar to credit bureaus, financial services company ChexSystems maintains records of consumers’ banking histories. Bounced checks, overdrawn accounts or instances of fraud can all end up on your ChexSystems record; if you accumulate enough black marks on ChexSystems, banks could deny your application to open a new account.

Because second chance accounts are meant for customers who have demonstrated bad banking behavior, some lack features of traditional accounts, such as overdraft protection. In the eyes of the bank, you represent too much of a risk for them to extend you such courtesies.

Nobody likes paying fees, and we generally advise consumers to avoid needless banking fees due to the many fee-free banking options available. But fees are the price you pay for access to banking when you have a poor record. Plus, the second chance accounts listed below give you access to online and mobile banking, which is always a plus.

The 7 best second chance bank accounts

1. Chime

Chime

Fintech app developer Chime is not a bank, however their online checking account product is open to everybody no matter how bad your record is with ChexSystems. Chime does not check on applicants with ChexSystems, plus they offer lots of non-traditional features to help you get your financial life back on track. Best of all is the fact that they charge no fees at all, and require neither a minimum opening deposit or a minimum balance.

Chime account features:

  • No opening balance or minimum balance requirements.
  • Set up direct deposit for your paycheck, and the funds from each pay period will be deposited as soon as the transaction is initiated, giving you access to your pay up to two days earlier than conventional checking accounts.
  • Automatic savings features to help you save in your connected Chime Savings account.
  • The app sends you daily bank account balance notifications, and sends transaction alerts every time you use your debit card.
  • You can disable the debit card from the app.
  • Send 15 fee-free “friend transfers” P2P payments each month.
  • Nominal 0.01% APY on all deposits.

Fees to watch out for:

  • Chime’s service is almost entirely fee-free: No monthly charges, no ACH transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees if you withdraw funds from MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance network ATMs.
  • If you make an ATM withdrawal outside of these networks, there is a $2.50 fee.
  • Overdrafts are not permitted, so there is never an overdraft fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chime’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

Peoples Bank Cash Solutions

This Texas-based bank offers a second chance bank account that is available nationwide, and so long as you don’t have a record of bank or checking fraud on your record, you should be approved for this account. You’ll need to deposit at least $30 before the bank activates your account and provides you with checks and a debit card.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $4.95 monthly maintenance fee
  • $27.50 overdraft fee
  • $27.50 nonsufficient funds fee
  • $3.95 printed statement fee (which can be avoided with electronic statements)
  • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank
  • $25 stop payment fee
  • $20 account closure fee (if within 90 days of opening account)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Peoples Bank Cash Solutions’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. GoBank Checking Account

GoBank

A brand of Green Dot Bank, GoBank does not run a background check for new checking customers on ChexSystems, and it does not require a credit check. The account comes with a free debit card and fee-free access to a large network of ATMs, although be warned that out-of-network ATM withdrawals carry a $3 fee, on top of whatever the ATM operator charges. GoBank’s $8.95 monthly fee is high. However, this fee can be avoided with a monthly $500 direct deposit.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Simple budgeting and spending tracker tools
  • Mobile check deposits

Fees to watch out for:

  • $2.95 sign-up fee, waived if you set up your account online
  • $8.95 monthly maintenance fee, waived each month your account receives payroll or government direct deposits totaling at least $500
  • Fees of up to $4.95 charged by retailers to make cash deposits
  • $3 out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee
  • $5 card replacement fee
  • Foreign transaction fee is 3% total transaction

LEARN MORE Secured

on GoBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. Radius Essential Checking

Radius Bank

Products from online bank Radius are available to customers nationwide, and accessibility is a strong point in its favor. This second chance bank account only requires customers to deposit $10 to open an Essential Checking account, which is lower than some other accounts on this list.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Access to Radius’s budgeting and personal finance tracking apps
  • Eligibility to upgrade to Radius’s Reward Checking account after 12 months of positive banking history

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 per item non-sufficient funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
  • $5 daily overdraft fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts are tailor-made for folks with a lackluster credit or banking history. With a $25 opening deposit, you’ll get access to a second chance bank account that offers most of the bells and whistles of a traditional bank account. The account does come with a monthly fee, although it’s possible to waive it if you meet a few requirements (see below).

Account features:

  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free transfers are available between Opportunity Checking and Savings accounts
  • You can choose to opt into overdraft protection
  • Free access to bill pay
  • “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” is available if you want to pay extra attention to where your money is going
  • Free debit card with access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs throughout the country

Fees to watch out for:

  • $10 monthly service fee, waived if any of the following are true:
    • You make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments
    • You keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in the account
    • You receive $500 total in direct deposits each statement cycle
  • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
  • $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • $15 fee for excess activity (exceeding withdrawals from your savings account)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee with your debit card
  • $5 for money orders
  • $31 for stop payments

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. BBVA Easy Checking

BBVA
BBVA’s Easy Checking product is available as a second chance account to customers in the Lower 48 (sorry, residents of Alaska and Hawaii, you’ll have to look elsewhere). Note that you must open the account at one of the bank’s branch locations, or by phone outside of the branch network footprint; you cannot open this account via their website. There is a $13.95 monthly service charge to maintain the account. You can request that BBVA upgrade your account one of their regular checking products after 12 months — and ditch that high monthly fee — so long as the Easy Checking account remains active and has a positive balance.

BBVA Easy Checking features::

  • Online and mobile banking, customized alerts, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free BBVA ATM withdrawals

Fees to watch out for:

  • $3 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop payment fee made over the phone or in person ($30 in California); $25 if made online
  • No fee for closing your account within 180 days of opening

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank has a checking account aptly named Second Chance Checking, to help people rejected by other banks access — provided they live in one of the 17 states where a physical branch exists and can meet the $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit (or $11.95 without a direct deposit), $3.00 monthly paper statement fee (which can be avoided if you sign up for electronic statements)
  • $9 one-time account set-up fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when used at a non-Woodforest network ATM
  • $15 debit card set-up fee
  • $29 overdraft fee (for each charge)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alternatives to a second chance bank account

Get a prepaid debit card

Tired of the traditional banking experience? You could opt for a prepaid debit card instead. With a prepaid card, you can load money onto it and spend at merchants that accept major credit and debit cards. But if you try and spend more money than what’s on the card, the transaction is declined — although this prevents you from accruing any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. This is useful if you feel you may still have trouble managing your spending and need an extra layer of security to prevent you from getting into trouble.

Some prepaid cards offer extra perks like advance direct deposit and free ATMs so long as you stay in their network.

Open a secured credit card

You may also have better luck applying for a secured credit card if your credit score is in good enough shape. Usually, this requires depositing cash with the lender, who then gives you the credit card for the same amount. Each month that you make on-time payments, the bank will report that good behavior to the credit bureaus, helping you boost your credit score. At the end of the payment period (generally 12 months, though it varies by banks), you’ll get the full deposit back.

Secured cards can come with high interest rates and many don’t feature the enticing rewards other high-end cards do, but they get the basic job done for consumers who don’t need a card with a high credit limit.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be 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 financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews, Strategies to Save

American Express® Personal Savings Account Review: A Solid Choice for Online Banking

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

American Express Personal Savings Account

This account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate without the withdrawal restrictions that come with a CD.

APY (%)

1.90% Variable

Minimum Deposit Amount to Open Account

$0

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

$1

Permitted Monthly Withdrawals

6

Annual Fee

$0

FDIC Insured?

Yes

Mobile App?

No

Transfer Time

Deposits will be available within five business days.
Transfers from savings to a checking account
take one to three business days.

In an American Express® Personal Savings account, your money earns 1.90% variable APY. It’s currently one of the best rates you can earn from an online savings account. The account does not have a monthly fee and they don’t require a minimum deposit, which makes it an affordable account to open. You will have to fund your account within 60 days of applying, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to full legal limit.

How the American Express Personal Savings account works

The American Express savings account compounds daily at a variable 1.90% APY, and interest earned is credited to your account on your monthly cycle date. The rate is variable, so American Express can raise or lower the interest rate at any time without notice to you before or after the savings account is opened.

Account holders must fund the account within 60 days, which you can do by setting up a bank transfer or direct deposit to the savings account, as well as by sending a check.

What we like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • High interest rate The 1.90% variable APY is better than what you would earn putting your money in the accounts most brick-and-mortar banks offer. While there are higher rates to be had, American Express has a good offer.
  • Automatic savings It’s easy to make saving automatic when you have an online savings account. With the American Express Personal Savings account, you can easily set up a recurring deposit to pull funds from an external savings or checking account. To make it even easier to resist touching your savings, you can even have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited to the account.
  • Discourages spending With your money in an online account like the American Express Personal Savings account, you can only get your cash after making a transfer to an external checking account to which you have debit card access. The inconvenience makes it that much more difficult to spend your savings.

What we don’t like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • No ATM card Not having card access is great when you need to prevent yourself from spending your savings, but the hassle of setting up and making an ACH transfer from your online American Express Personal Savings account can be problematic in a pinch. (American Express says transfers will take one to three business days for funds to become available in your checking account.) If you’re worried about this, you can instead turn to an online bank like Synchrony Bank that makes it easier to access your savings by issuing an ATM card tied to your high yield savings account.
  • Variable interest rate The annual yield rate American Express is offering on this savings account is high at 1.90%, but the bank can change that rate at any time for any reason, as the rate is variable. If you’re looking for a more predictable rate of return, consider a certificate of deposit.
  • Limited withdrawals Because this is a high yield savings account, banks are limited by Federal Reserve Board Regulation D to a maximum of six withdrawals and/or transfers from your online savings account per statement cycle without penalty. With that in mind, before you decide how much you’ll put away each month, make sure it’s not more than you can afford to, so you aren’t repeatedly reaching into your savings.

How the American Express Personal Savings account compares

As indicated earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account offer is strong, but how does it compare to other savings accounts?

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
American Express National Bank
High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank

1.90%

$1

LEARN MORE Secured

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

Synchrony Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Synchrony Bank
High Yield Savings from Synchrony Bank

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Synchrony Bank and there are no monthly fees.

Savings accounts through Synchrony interest is compounded daily and is credited to the account monthly. An ATM card is offered through this account and you can still easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 1.90% APY* and $0 minimum to open

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Goldman Sachs Bank USA
High-yield Online Savings Account from Goldman Sachs Bank USA

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC


Goldman Sachs Bank USA currently offers an APY of 1.90% on their Marcus Online Savings Account. You don’t need to deposit a minimum amount to open the account, but you will need to have a minimum balance amount of $1* to earn the APY. Interest on the Marcus Savings Account starts accruing the business day you deposit funds into the account. Goldman Sachs Bank USA doesn’t apply any service charges to their savings accounts.

Barclays Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Barclays
Online Savings Account from Barclays

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC


With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Barclays. While there are no monthly fees, an account that has a balance that is less than $1 for 180 days or more may be closed by Barclays. Savings accounts through Barlcays will start accruing interest the day your initial deposit posts to your account, and interest is compounded daily. While an ATM card is not offered through this account, you can easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online through your account.

American Express CD Rates

These CDs are great for those who don’t have a lot of money to deposit, but the rates are slightly lower than the best CD rates available.

Term

APY

6 months

0.40%

12 months

0.55%

18 months

1.90%

24 months

2.00%

36 months

2.05%

48 months

2.10%

60 months

2.15%

CDs from American Express do not come with a minimum deposit amount. You’re free to deposit as little or as much as you want to begin earning interest on any of its CD terms. This is great for individuals who don’t have a lot of money to deposit in CDs offered by other online banks. The downside is that you won’t be receiving as high of an APY as you could at other online banks. While the rates aren’t terribly low, they just don’t compare to most of the best CD rates currently available.

How CDs offered by American Express work

American Express offers terms spanning from 6 months to 5 years. Interested is credited on a monthly basis and compounds until it matures. You can choose to have the interest transferred out of the CD and into the American Express Personal Savings Account on a monthy basis, transferred into a linked account, or mailed to you monthly, quarterly, or annually via a check. If you touch the principal, however, you’ll incur an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty is based on your CDs term:

  • For CDs with a term of less than 12 months: 90 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 12 months, but less than 48 months: 270 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 48 months: 365 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 60 months: 540 days worth of interest

If you’re able to keep your principal and interest within the CD, you’ll receive notice, either by mail or email, that your CD is about to mature in ten days. If you don’t tell American Express that you do not wish to renew your CD, they’ll automatically renew the CD with the same term unless they no longer offer that term. You can call American Express any time before your maturity date to tell them that you do not wish to have your CD automatically renewed.

Online banks vs. brick-and-mortar banks

Online banks have been having a moment not only because of the rise in mobile banking among consumers, but also because they can simply offer consumers more benefits because they don’t have to worry about as many overhead expenses as brick-and-mortar banks. An August 2017 study by DepositAccounts.com, another subsidiary of LendingTree, shows the annual percentage yield internet banks offer on savings accounts is more than four times what brick-and-mortar banks or credit unions offer. The same analysis shows annual percentage yields on internet bank savings accounts have surged 29 percent since January 2016.

Simply put, the main benefit of putting your money in an online savings account is your money does more for you. To show this, DepositAccounts provided an example, based on the average APYs in those savings categories: If a saver were to put $100,000 in a savings account and leave it alone for 10 years, they would earn $8,338.79 at an online bank versus $1,747.04 in a brick-and-mortar bank and $1,895.28 in a credit union, assuming a fixed APY.

Overall Review of the American Express Personal Savings Account and CDs

Overall, the American Express Personal Savings Account is a solid online savings option. The interest rate they offer is high and the features of the account are comparable to other online banks’ savings accounts. While there are certain aspects of the Personal Savings account that could use improvement, other online banks present the same obstacles. As was mentioned earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account is one of the best options available.

The CDs American Express offers, on the other hand, aren’t quite as good. The 6 and 12-month CDs are nowhere near the best rates offered by other online banks and the 18 – 60-month CDs fall short of the other rates offered. The only feature that makes American Express stand out from most of the other online banks is that this bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account or start earning interest. If you’re not quite ready to deposit a huge chunk of money into a locked account, you may want to start out with on of the CDs offered by American Express.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be 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 financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]