Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Vibrant Checking

A checking account for young credit union members, aged 13 to 17.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $3 with overdraft protection

Vibrant Checking is a checking account for teenagers, but it still comes packed with additional features and benefits. In addition to the waived membership fee and the waived minimum share balance fee, the account comes with traditional checking benefits, a Visa debit card, 24/7 account access via mobile and online banking, bill pay, person-to-person transfers, and unlimited access to all Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs. A $500 secured Platinum credit card is also available, as long as a parent or guardian is willing to make the required security deposit.

Account holders can also participate in the Fun Bucks Savings program, which pays a 5.09% APY as of Dec. 6, 2018 on funds that can be held until the account holder turns 12, 15, or 18.

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Aspire Checking

A checking account specifically designed for college students.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: 4 fees refunded per month for foreign ATMs
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $3 with overdraft protection

Aspire Checking, designed for college students, is similar to the teen-oriented Vibrant Checking account, though with a few distinctions. Aspire Checking also comes with waived membership fees and waived minimum share balance fees, along with bill pay and person-to-person transfers.

However, the funding requirement for membership in the credit union — a $5 deposit in a Share Savings account — is funded by Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union itself, meaning no money is required at account opening.

This account also comes with 4 refunded monthly foreign ATM withdrawal fees. Account holders who complete an online financial literacy course become eligible to apply for a $500 partially secured Platinum credit card and a 0.15% auto loan rate discount.

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Choice Checking

Choice Checking is the credit union’s sole traditional checking account option.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0 (share membership required)
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7.50; $0 with an open line of credit with Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union; an active Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union credit card or loan; a $250 cumulative average daily balance in checking, savings, money market (or combined deposits); a direct deposit to savings or checking of at least $500 monthly, or if you are under age 23
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $3 with overdraft protection

Choice Checking is the standard checking account offered by Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union. It comes with common features, like the choice of check designs, online banking, bill pay, and person-to-person transfers. There’s a monthly fee with this account, but it can be waived through a variety of means.

Discounts of 0.10% for unsecured loans and 0.15% for auto loans are also available through this account; discounts can jump as high as 0.20% and 0.30%, respectively, if you have additional Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union loans and direct deposit.

Members aged 55 and older may also enjoy additional features through the credit union’s Heritage Benefits:

  • One free box of custom checks per year
  • A 25 percent discount on safe deposit box rentals
  • Free official checks
  • Free money orders
  • Participation in the SaveTopia Discount Program, which offers discounts at more than 80 local and national merchants via a mobile app

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Opportunity Checking

A second-chance checking account designed for those that need to rebuild or establish good credit.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0 (share membership required)
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $7.50; $0 with an open line of credit with Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, an active Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union credit card or loan, a $250 cumulative average daily balance in checking, savings, money market, or combined deposits; a direct deposit to savings or checking of at least $500 monthly, or if you are under age 23
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Those that may not have access to traditional checking accounts might need a credit-building account to start out. Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Opportunity Checking account fits this need.

The account offers traditional checking account products and services, but it also has some restrictions. There is no check writing with this account, and there is no courtesy pay option to handle overdrafts. There are no ATM deposit capabilities, no mobile check deposit and no shared branch access.

To graduate to a Choice Checking account, you’ll need to complete an online financial literacy course.

As with the Choice Checking account, credit union members aged 55 and older opening an Opportunity Checking account are entitled to the additional features offered by the credit union’s Heritage Benefits program, including a free order of checks, free money orders and official checks, a safe deposit box rental discount, and participation in the SaveTopia Discount Program.

How to get Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts

To open any type of account at Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to start by becoming a member. You can do this online by providing a valid government-issued ID, such as a passport, driver’s license or state ID, along with your complete physical address, email address and Social Security number.

To qualify for membership, you’ll have to pay a $10 membership fee and live, work, volunteer, worship, own a business or attend school in Orange, Seminole, Osceola or Lake counties. You must also open and deposit $5 into a share savings account via a credit card, check, or debit card. During that process, you can choose to add a Choice checking account. However, additional checking accounts cannot be opened online. You’ll need to visit a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union branch or call the credit union’s contact center at (407) 896-9411 within or Orlando or (800) 771-9411 from outside Orlando.

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How Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union offers a decent range of checking accounts, totaling four in all. However, there’s only one traditional checking account, with the other options being niche accounts for youths and those with bad or nonexistent credit. Furthermore, none of the accounts pay any interest, so there’s no comparison to be made either to the national checking averages or the best available checking account rates.

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Share Savings Account

Share Savings is the basic membership account at Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union; it is required before any other accounts are opened.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7.50; $0 with an open line of credit with Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, an active Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union credit card or loan, a $250 cumulative average daily balance in checking, savings, money market or combined deposits; a direct deposit to savings or checking of at least $500 monthly, or if you are under age 23
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $3 with overdraft protection

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Share Savings account is a standard savings account, but all Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union members must open one. In addition to the $5 minimum opening deposit, a one-time, $10 membership fee is also required.

The account allows for unlimited deposits and in-person withdrawals, although there’s a limit on certain transfers of six per month, per Regulation D. If you make certain transactions in excess of the limit, you’ll face account closure.

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Holiday and Summer Savings Account

These accounts are essentially secondary savings accounts, with a few minor modifications.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7.50; $0 with an open line of credit with Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, an active Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union credit card or loan, a $250 cumulative average daily balance in checking, savings, money market or combined deposits; a direct deposit to savings or checking of at least $500 monthly, or if you are under age 23
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

In most ways, Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Holiday & Summer Share accounts are identical to the bank’s traditional savings account. However, there is no minimum to open this account.

Unlike some club-type accounts found at other banks or credit unions, there is no mandatory distribution date for these accounts, nor is there a restriction on access. As long as you keep the minimum $50 balance in the account, you can continue earning interest.

You cannot access these accounts via an ATM; you must either visit a branch or move your money via online or mobile access. Certain transactions in excess of six per month will result in account closure.

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Youth Savings Account: Origin Savings

The Origin Savings account is a beginning savings account for kids aged 0 to 12 years old.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Origin Savings is a starter savings account that is similar to the credit union’s Share Savings account, but with some tweaks. As with Share Savings, there’s a $5 minimum deposit to open this account, but there is no monthly fee with Origin Savings. However, there is also no ATM access.

Origin Savings account holders have access to the credit union’s Fun Bucks Program, which allows for additional earnings at a high rate — 5.09% APY as of Dec. 6, 2018 — on deposits of at least $10. These funds must be kept in the account until at least age 12 or the earnings are forfeited.

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Youth Savings Account: Vibrant Savings

The counterpart to the Vibrant Checking account, Vibrant Savings is a youth-oriented savings account designed for teenagers 13 to 17 years old.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Vibrant Savings account is very similar to the Origin Savings account, with some modifications for its teenaged account holders. There’s still a $5 minimum opening deposit, and there are no monthly account fees or ATM access.

However, this account does have debit card access. A $500 secured credit card is also available with a deposit from a parent or guardian. Account holders have access to the credit union’s Fun Bucks Program, earning an APY of 5.09% as of Dec. 6, 2018, up until age 15; premature withdrawals forfeit earned interest.

Upon turning 18, account holders can switch their account to a Share Savings account.

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Health Savings account

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union offers a traditional Health Savings Account that pays interest at a higher rate than the credit union’s other savings accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Health Savings account has a small opening deposit and no monthly maintenance fee. It carries the same federal tax and eligibility restrictions as all health savings accounts do. To open this account, customers:

  • must participate in a valid high-deductible health insurance plan
  • cannot have additional first-dollar medical coverage (e.g. specific injury coverage, vision, dental, accident, disability, and long-term care insurance permitted)
  • cannot be enrolled in Medicare
  • cannot be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return

All HSA accounts carry tax benefits, but you should consult your tax advisor regarding the consequences of both contributions and withdrawals.

How to get Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts

The process for opening a savings account online at Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union is the same as with any type of account. First, you’ll need to become a member using the online process. You can do this with a valid government-issued ID, such as a passport, state ID, or driver’s license, along with your physical address, email address, and Social Security number.

Members must pay a $10 membership fee and live, volunteer, work, worship, own a business, or attend school in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, or Lake County. You’ll have to fund a share account with at least $5 via a credit card, check, or debit card.

Additional savings accounts cannot be opened online. For those, you’ll need to visit a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union branch or call the credit union’s contact center at (407) 896-9411 within or Orlando or (800) 771-9411 from outside Orlando.

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How Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union has a wide range of savings accounts, including two youth accounts, a health savings account, and a holiday club account, but it has just a single traditional option.

With the exception of the two youth accounts, all savings accounts pay interest, but the rate is below the national average in every instance. Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union is not a competitor when it comes to the best rates available on savings accounts nationwide.

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s CD account options

Term Share Certificates

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union offers three types of certificate accounts: standard term share certificates, a six-month Savings Builder CD, and a 10-month special rate certificate.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%
$1,0003 to 5 months
0.15%
$56-month Savings Builder Share Certificate
2.59%
$1,00010-month Fixed-Maturity Term Share Certificate
0.15%
$1,0006 to 11 months
0.20%
$1,00012 to 23 months
0.35%
$1,00024 to 29 months
0.35%
$1,00030 to 35 months
0.65%
$1,00036 to 47 months
0.85%
$1,00048 to 59 months
1.06%
$1,00060+ months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000; $5 for 6-month Savings Builder Share Certificate
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ dividends for terms of 12 months or less; 180 days’ dividends for terms greater than 12 but less than 25 months; 270 days’ dividends for terms greater than 25 months.

None of the certificates in the Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union CD lineup have any monthly service charges or fixed-rate dividends. The CDs all pay fixed-rate dividends that are compounded daily and credited monthly. All CDs require $1,000 to open, with the exception of the 6-month Savings Builder Share Certificate, which is also the only account that allows additional deposits. The 10-month CD offers a special rate. Early withdrawal penalties apply to all CDs.

How to get Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts

You cannot open a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union term certificate account online. You’ll need to visit a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union branch or call the credit union’s contact center at (407) 896-9411 within or Orlando or (800) 771-9411 from outside Orlando.

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How Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts compare

The standout CD from a yield perspective is the 10-month fixed-maturity term share certificate, with a yield more than double the national average and competitive with the best CD rates available around the country; the other rates don’t quite match up to the national average. If you don’t have enough cash to meet the $1,000 standard CD minimum, the share builder option, with a $5 opening balance requirement, is an alternate option.

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Insured Money Market Account

The Insured Money Market account is Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s sole money market account, with a tiered interest rate structure and better yields than the credit union’s savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1,000
0.10%
$10,000
0.10%
$25,000
0.15%
$50,000
0.20%
$100,000
0.35%
$1,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7.50; $0 with an open line of credit with Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, an active Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union credit card or loan, a $250 cumulative average daily balance in checking, savings, money market or combined deposits; a direct deposit to savings or checking of at least $500 monthly, or if you are under age 23
  • ATM fee: $0; $1.75 at non-Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $3 with overdraft protection

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s Insured Money Market is designed to be a short-term investment account that still allows easy access to funds. Rates are tiered and vary according to current market conditions, with deposits of $1,000,000 and more earning the highest yields.

Deposits and in-person withdrawals are unlimited, but other specific transfers are limited to six per month, in line with federal Regulation D. Dividends are calculated from the date of deposit to the date of withdrawal; dividends are compounded daily and paid monthly.

How to get Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts

You cannot open a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union money market account online. You’ll need to visit a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union branch or call the credit union’s contact center at (407) 896-9411 within or Orlando or (800) 771-9411 from outside Orlando.

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How Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s money market account compares

Deposits of $1 million or more are paid higher-than-average interest rates, but most deposits into the Insured Money Market account earn less-than-average rates. None of the money market rates paid at Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union are near the best available money market rates in the nation. Feature-wise, there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the Insured Money Market account, as it provides standard money market features.

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s IRA options

IRA Savings Account

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s IRA Savings Account pays a respectable yield for an account that is essentially a slush fund.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Customers that have money in a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA that is not destined for a true investment account can find a decent holding place in the credit union’s IRA Savings Account. There’s no minimum balance to earn the savings account yield, and money can be transferred at any time to a different investment, such as a CD.

There is no ATM access with this account. Although the savings account itself is liquid, as an IRA, there are IRS restrictions to taking money out of the account entirely. Withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax and a possible penalty if account holders are below the age of 59.5.

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IRA Certificate accounts (CDs)

The certificates available in a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA are the same as in the credit union’s taxable accounts, both in terms of maturity, minimum balance, and APY, with one exception.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%
$1,0003 to 5 months
0.15%
$56-month Savings Builder Share Certificate
0.15%
$1,0006 to 11 months
0.20%
$1,00012 to 23 months
0.35%
$1,00024 to 29 months
0.35%
$1,00030 to 35 months
0.65%
$1,00036 to 47 months
0.85%
$1,00048 to 59 months
1.06%
$1,00060+ months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000; $5 for 6-month Savings Builder Share Certificate
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ dividends for terms of 12 months or less; 180 days’ dividends for terms greater than 12 but less than 25 months; 270 days’ dividends for terms greater than 25 months.

The CDs available in a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA are not a distinct product line from those in the credit union’s taxable accounts. You’ll find standard CDs from three months to 60 months in a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA, with the same $1,000 minimum. The one difference is that there is no promotional 10-month, Fixed-Maturity Term Share Certificate available in Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA accounts. The six-month, $5 minimum Savings Builder Share Certificate, however, is still available in IRA form. Early withdrawal penalties remain the same. These CDs do come in an IRA wrapper, so you’ll potentially face IRS taxes and penalties if you take money out of the IRA as a whole.

How to get Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s IRA products

You cannot open a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union IRA account online. You’ll need to visit a Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union branch or call the credit union’s contact center at (407) 896-9411 within or Orlando or (800) 771-9411 from outside Orlando.

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How Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s IRA products compare

As with the credit union’s non-IRA CDs, rates for Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs are slightly below average across the board and can’t keep up with the best available IRA CD rates. Lacking the 10-month fixed-maturity term share certificate that’s available in the credit union’s taxable accounts, there is no standout IRA CD from a yield perspective.

If you don’t have enough cash to meet the $1,000 standard CD minimum, the share builder option, with a $5 opening balance requirement, is an alternate option.

Overall review of Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union’s products

Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of accounts, but none of the checking accounts pay interest, and the credit union’s savings accounts all pay below-market interest rates.

However, the credit union does offer a noteworthy CD account from a yield perspective, in the form of the 10-month fixed-maturity term share certificate; that yield is among the best you can find in the country.

If you’re looking for a money market account, you’ll need a huge deposit to earn even an above-average interest rate, and you still won’t approach the best rates you can find elsewhere. IRA accounts, meanwhile, have a decent basic savings option, but the CD rates don’t standout.

Overall, you’ll find no shortage of accounts to open at Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, and you can avoid monthly fees on most accounts with a little effort. However, if you’re searching for a high yield, you’ll likely find that most of the offerings come up short compared to what’s available in the competitive market place.

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