Desert Financial Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Desert Financial Credit Union’s checking account options

Free checking

There are no monthly maintenance fees with this account, but you don’t earn any interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: none
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: Up to two free withdrawals at a CO-OP or Visa ATM. Afterwards, it’s $2 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Desert Financial Credit Union’s free checking account doesn’t earn any interest and is best for those looking for a simple everyday account to conduct transactions. You get a Visa debit card, online and mobile banking. With the mobile app, you can make check deposits, do bill pay, view statements and use either Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

The credit union offers a Relationship Rewards program where members can get added perks such as rate discounts, ATM refunds and free custom checks. The program is based on a points system, where you earn points for having certain products and higher deposit amounts as well as on the number of transactions you make. If you reach the Achieve or Prosper level, you may qualify for cashback bonuses.

How to get Desert Financial Credit Union’s checking account

You can open an account by filling out an application form online. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and qualify to become a member by proving you live, work or attend school in an approved county. The form will first ask you for your full name and ema il address, then you’ll need to agree to open a Membership savings account to establish membership. The form will also ask you for other details such as your Social Security number and a way to fund the account.

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on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

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How Desert Financial Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

We’re disappointed that the only checking account offered doesn’t earn you any interest. Other competitors offer interest-bearing accounts, no monthly fees and ATM refunds. Considering Desert Financial Credit Union has restrictive membership requirements – including the fact that you need to open a savings account – you might be better off looking elsewhere. You may consider our list of the best online checking accounts.

Desert Financial Credit Union’s savings account options

Membership savings

All members need to open this account to establish membership.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10% $25
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: You can get up to two free withdrawals through the CO-OP and Visa network. Afterwards you’ll need to pay $2 for out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

We’re not loving the rate for this account, but anyone who wants to become a member of Desert Financial Credit Union needs to open one. One advantage is that you do get ATM access – free transactions at Financial Credit Union ATMs and up to two free ATM withdrawals a month through the CO-OP and Visa network. You also get free electronic statements, online and mobile banking.

There is a monthly maintenance fee but it can be waived if you have a checking or titled loan account, are under 22 or you’ve achieved either the Grow, Achieve or Prosper level with the credit union’s Relationship Rewards program.

You can also open a secondary savings account which gives you online and mobile banking access. This account doesn’t require a minimum balance nor does it have a monthly maintenance fee. For both types of savings accounts, you’re limited up to six certain withdrawals a month because of Regulation D or else you’ll be charged $5 in excessive withdrawal fees.

How to get Desert Financial Credit Union’s Membership savings account

Applying for membership and opening a savings account can take as little as 10 minutes when you fill out an online application form. After entering your full name and email address, you’ll need to show how you qualify for membership. Finish the application by providing additional details such as your Social Security number and a way you’ll fund your new account.

If you want to open a secondary savings account, you’ll need to open a Membership savings account to establish membership and then head to the nearest branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Holiday savings

There isn’t much of a difference between this and other savings accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: none
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Holiday savings account is meant to help you set aside money for a specific purpose – whether it’s specifically for the holidays or other big ticket items you’re saving for. According to Desert Financial Credit Union, you can open the account at any time of the year and you can take out money whenever you want. However, Regulation D limits you up to six certain withdrawals a month, so you’ll need to pay a $5 excess transaction if you go over that amount.

There is no ATM access – only online and mobile banking. This may be useful if you don’t want to be tempted to use the money you set aside since you may not be able to access your cash immediately.

How to get the Holiday savings account

You can open a Holiday savings account at any one of Desert Financial Credit Union’s branches. Don’t forget to provide a government-issued ID and your Social Security as you’ll need these to open an account. If you’re not a member, you’ll need to open a membership savings account as well.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Desert Financial Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Sadly, these rates are extremely low compared to some of the best accounts out there. Many other online savings accounts, like the ones on our list, offer much higher rates, no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. We do like that you get ATM access with Desert Financial Credit Union’s savings accounts, but these low rates aren’t worth it.

Desert Financial Credit Union’s CD rates

Savings certificate

Both the regular and jumbo CDs don’t offer the most competitive rates.
Regular rates
TermAPY With Minimum $1,000 Opening Deposit
6 months0.50%
1 year0.65%
18 months0.75%
2 years0.85%
3 years0.95%
4 years1.05%
5 years1.15%
Jumbo rates
TermAPY With Minimum $100,000 Opening Deposit
6 months0.55%
1 year0.70%
18 months0.80%
2 years0.90%
3 years1.00%
4 years1.10%
5 years1.20%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $100,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term
    • Up to and including one year – $25 or 90 days interest, whichever is higher
    • More than one year – $25 or 180 days interest, whichever is higher

These are fixed-rate CDs which are great for those who want to know the interest rate is locked for the entire agreed term. All interested is compounded monthly, starting when your deposit goes into your account and it’ll be credited each month to your account. You can log into your account online anytime to check your electronic statements or by calling customer service at 1-602-433-7000.

Desert Financial Credit Union will send you a notice 30 days before your account matures. The CD will automatically renew upon maturity unless you decide to make changes within the 10-day grace period.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

College savings certificate

You can help your child set aside savings for when they graduate high school.
TermAPY
1 year0.70%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days interest or $25, whichever is higher. Penalty waived if you can provide proof your child reached 18 years old or is graduating high school.

This CD is meant to help parents or guardians save for their child’s education. The account will be opened in the child’s name with you as the joint owner. Unlike the regular CD, you’ll need to make a deposit of at least $25 each month. If you make a $5,000 opening deposit, or when your CD has a $5,000 balance, you can stop these transfers. All interest earned is compounded and credited to monthly to the account.

If your child is under 18 years old upon account maturity, the CD will be automatically renewed at the current jumbo CD rate. If you want to make changes like make additional deposits or withdrawals, you’ll need to do so during the 10-day grace period.

Once your child turns 18, Desert Financial Credit Union will help you make arrangements to transfer the funds into another account.

How to get Desert Financial Credit Union’s CDs

You can open these CDs at a branch – bring your government-issued ID and Social Security number. If you’re opening the college savings CD, you’ll need to provide both your Social Security numbers. If you’re not an existing member, you’ll need to open a Membership savings account to qualify to open a CD.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Desert Financial Credit Union’s CD rates compare

The rates for Desert Financial Credit Union’s CDs aren’t anything to write home about. Their minimum opening deposit is right around what other places require but their competitors offer slightly higher rates. We like that there is a CD that is specifically for college savings, but you can use a regular CD for that purpose as well if you time it right.

To maximize your savings, you may be better off going with one of these options on our list of the best CD rates.

Desert Financial Credit Union’s money market account options

Money market

This account offers ATM access and limited check writing capabilities.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$2,000
0.20%$10,000
0.25%$25,000
0.35%$50,000
0.50%$100,000
0.60%$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee:

This money market is great if you’re looking for a higher APY than what the savings account offers and you want better access to your cash. You’ll get a Visa debit card and limited check writing capabilities. Be careful – if you make more than six transactions a month, you’re looking at a $10 excess transaction fee.

To waive the monthly fee, all you have do is maintain a $2,000 minimum daily balance.

How to get Desert Financial Credit Union’s money market account

You need to be a member of the credit union to open a money money market. You can open both online in around 10 minutes when you fill out an online application form. You’ll need to provide your full name and email address, then chose the account you want to open. After entering more details such as your Social Security number, you’ll need to fund both accounts.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Desert Financial Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

The highest-tiered rate is comparable to some of the best money markets out there. However, you need an extremely high minimum balance – $250,000 to be exact – to qualify for that rate. Many competitors offer higher rates with lower minimum balance requirements. Frankly, you’re better off looking elsewhere, such as at the ones on our list of the best money market accounts.

Desert Financial Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA certificate

The rates and terms are the same as the regular CDs.
TermAPY
6 months0.50%
1 year0.65%
18 months0.75%
2 years0.85%
3 years0.95%
4 years1.05%
5 years1.15%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term
    • Up to and including one year – $25 or 90 days interest, whichever is higher
    • More than one year – $25 or 180 days interest, whichever is higher

These IRA CDs are essentially the same as the regular CDs except you can’t get the jumbo rates. You can choose between opening a traditional or Roth IRA CD and you’ll earn a fixed rate of return. Any interest you earn is compounded and credited to your account monthly. You can check your account anytime you want by logging in online or via your mobile device.

Once your account matures, Desert Financial Credit Union will automatically renew your CD unless you decide to roll it into another type of IRA account. If that’s the case, you can do so during the 10-day grace period. You can make other changes such as make additional deposits and renewing your IRA CD for a different term.

How to get Desert Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs

You can open an account in person at any of Desert Federal Credit Union locations. Don’t forget that you’ll be asked to provide your Social Security number and state-issued ID, plus a way to fund the account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Desert Financial Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

These rates are low when compared side by side with other competitors. Other places like the ones on our list of the best IRA CD rates also offer lower minimum opening deposit amounts, making them the more affordable choice if you don’t have a lot of cash to set aside for savings. That, plus the fact that there are restrictive membership requirements, means we give these IRA CDs a hard pass.

IRA savings account

You’re not going to earn much with this account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.35%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: none
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This account is a good option if you’re looking for a place to put your IRA funds where you can access it anytime. It’s a more flexible option than an IRA CD where you’re locked into a specific amount of time. There is no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees is a nice touch.

Since there is no ATM access, the only way to access your funds is to initiate a transfer through the credit union. Keep in mind you may face IRS penalties if you make withdrawals before 59 1/2 years old.

How to get Desert Financial Credit Union’s IRA savings account

Head to the nearest Desert Financial Credit Union branch to open an account in person. You’ll need your Social Security number and government-issued ID to do so.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Desert Financial Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Overall review of Desert Financial Credit Union’s banking products

We’re not excited about any of the products Desert Financial Credit Union offers. The CD rates are comparable to some of the best ones out there, but you have to become a member to open an account – it’s got pretty restrictive requirements. Both the checking and savings accounts offer really low rates, if any at all. While the money market account has a fairly high rate, you need to have a ton of cash on deposit to qualify.

We appreciate the incentives the credit union offers to recruit loyal members via their Relationship Rewards program, but given how these products aren’t anything to write home about, we think you might be off with another financial institution.

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