DFCU Financial Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Saturday, August 1, 2020

DFCU Financial checking account options

DFCU Financial Interest Checking Plus account

This checking account has a high balance requirement, a steep monthly fee and a low interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.01%$0.01
0.01%$2,500
0.01%$10,000
0.01%$25,000
0.05%$50,000
0.05%$75,000
0.05%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (waived if you meet certain requirements, covered below.)
  • ATM fees: Free at DFCU Financial and CO-OP ATMs. $1.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

This account earns interest on all balances. However, the rate is very low, even if you qualify for the higher tiers by having a balance of at least $50,000.You only need to deposit $20 to open an  Interest Checking Plus account, but this account charges a $10 monthly fee unless you have a minimum average daily balance of at least $10,000 throughout DFCU Financial deposit accounts. This includes checking, savings, money market and certificate accounts.

Besides interest, this account comes with a few other perks. First, you receive two free orders of checks per year. You also receive free money orders and cashier’s checks. When you have this account, you receive a 0.25% discount on the interest rate for select loans with automatic payments at DFCU Financial.

Finally, deposits in this account are eligible for DFCU Financial’s cashback program. To qualify, you need an average yearly balance throughout DFCU Financial loans and deposit accounts. The minimum depends on your age:

  • At least $100 if you are 17 or younger.
  • At least $1,000 if you are between 18 and 25.
  • At least $5,000 if you are 26 and older.

If you meet the requirements, you receive the greater of $50 or 0.5% of your combined balance in January.

To open an Interest Plus Checking account, you need to be a member of DFCU Financial. You can apply for this account while setting your membership up online or at a branch. You’ll use the same information and just need to make your deposit of at least $20.

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on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

DFCU Financial Free Checking account

A free checking account with no minimum balance or monthly fee — and no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: Free at DFCU Financial and CO-OP ATMs. $1.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

If you are worried about monthly fees, DFCU Financial also offers a Free Checking account that does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. You need to deposit at least $20 to open it, but after that, there’s no minimum balance requirement.

This account does not earn interest. However, it is eligible for the cashback program where you can earn the greater of $50 or 0.5% of your combined deposit and loan balance at DFCU Financial. To qualify, your average yearly balance across loan and deposit accounts must be at least the following:

  • $100 if you are 17 or younger.
  • $1,000 if you are between 18 and 25.
  • $5,000 if you are 26 and older.

With the Free Checking account, you can make free withdrawals from DFCU Financial ATMs as well as ATMs in the CO-OP network. If you use another ATM, DFCU Financial charges $1.50 per transaction. They also will not refund any fees from the ATM owner.

If you’d like to open a Free Checking account, you need to join DFCU Financial as a member first. You can apply online or at a branch. During the application, there’s a part where you can open accounts, like Free Checking, so you can take care of this at the same time.

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on DFCU Financial’s secure website

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How DFCU Financial’s checking accounts compare

DFCU Financial’s checking accounts have their pros and cons. We really like their cashback rewards program. If you meet the deposit requirements, you receive the greater of $50 or 0.5% of your total loan and deposit balance annually at DFCU Financial.

This might end up being more than a year of interest on your typical checking account. The checking accounts also have a low opening deposit requirement and come with other bank perks, like a discount on loans and free checks.

On the other hand, DFCU Financial doesn’t pay much interest. They don’t pay anything for Free Checking, and the rates on Interest Checking Plus are very low. The $10 monthly fee on Interest Checking Plus is also quite high, especially since you need a $10,000 balance to avoid it. Finally, neither account refunds ATM fees and they charge $1.50 for out-of-network transactions.

The cashback program is generous enough that these accounts could be worth using if you’re close to DFCU Financial’s in-network ATMs. But if you’re worried about the fees, these top online checking accounts include ATM refunds so you can make withdrawals for free anywhere. They also pay superb interest rates that could outearn DFCU Financial’s bonus program.

DFCU Financial savings account options

DFCU Financial Savings Account

If you want to grow your savings, you won’t get too far with this account.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3 (waived if you meet certain requirements, covered below.)
  • ATM fees: Free at DFCU Financial and CO-OP ATMs. $1.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

You can open a Savings account with a deposit of just $5, which represents your share in the credit union. The account earns interest and there is no minimum balance to qualify for the APY. Unfortunately, the rate is very low for a savings account. It always stays the same, so you can’t earn more by depositing more.

The Savings account requires that you keep a combined minimum average balance of at least $200 throughout all deposit accounts at DFCU Financial, including checking, savings, money market accounts and certificates. If you fall below, this account charges a $3 monthly fee.

Since this is a savings account, federal Regulation D limits how often you can make certain withdrawals/transfers to only six per statement cycle. If you ever exceed these limits, DFCU Financial will not charge a fee but they could restrict your ability to take money out or they could close your savings account.

You can open a savings account online or at one of the DFCU Financial branches. If you aren’t a member of the credit union, you’ll need to join first. You can set up your Savings account with your application while making your initial deposit of at least $5.

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on DFCU Financial’s secure website

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DFCU Financial Holiday and Special Savings Account

Nearly identical to the regular savings account, except you put money aside for a specific date in the future.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: Free at DFCU Financial and CO-OP ATMs. $1.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

If you are putting money aside for a specific goal, like holiday gifts or a vacation, DFCU Financial also offers Holiday and Special Savings accounts.

These accounts earn interest on all balances. It’s the exact same rate as the regular Savings account, which is very low. You can open a Holiday or Special Savings account for a deposit of just $1, a little lower than the $5 required for a Savings Account. After you open, you can take money whenever you want, even if it’s before your goal. DFCU FInancial does not charge an early withdrawal penalty on these accounts.

Before you can open a Holiday or Special Savings account, you need to join DFCU Financial. If you aren’t a member yet, do that first and then you can apply for these accounts.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How DFCU Financial’s savings accounts compare

If you want a savings account, DFCU Financial is not a great choice. They pay barely any interest at all. The base rate is low, and it does not increase for larger balances. Their savings account rate is even lower than a decent checking account, despite having extra restrictions on how often you can take out money.

We also noticed that they could charge a $3 monthly maintenance fee. While that’s not too costly and you can avoid it with a $200 minimum balance, we really don’t think DFCU Financial should be charging a fee given their ultra-low interest rate.

If you want to grow your savings, don’t settle for DFCU Financial’s weak return. These top savings accounts pay rates that are a massive upgrade, in some cases more than 40 times as much interest as you’d get from DFCU Financial.

DFCU Financial’s CD rates

DFCU Financial Share Certificates

These certificate rates are below average, even with their rate bump.
TermAPY ($1,000)APY ($25,000)APY ($100,000)
3 months0.15%0.20%0.25%
6 months0.20%0.25%0.30%
1 year 0.25%0.30%0.35%
2 years0.35%0.40%0.50%
3 years0.40%0.45%0.60%
5 years0.70%0.85%1.00%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ of dividends for terms of 1 year or less, 180 days’ of dividends for terms over 1 year.

DFCU Financial offers Share Certificates that range from as short as three months all the way up to five years. You need to deposit at least $1,000 to open a Share Certificate and keep this much in the account to earn the APY. DFCU Financial also has higher rates for larger deposits. One category starts at $25,000 and the top category starts with a deposit of $100,000.

DFCU Financial’s Share Certificate rates are well below average. While the rates are a little better for the top category with a minimum balance of $100,000, they are still not that competitive.

If you take money out of your Share Certificate before the maturity date, DFCU Financial will charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty is based on your original term:

  • For maturities of one year or less, the penalty is 90 days’ of dividends.
  • For maturities over one year, the penalty is 180 days’ of dividends.

Only members of DFCU Financial can use a Share Certificate. If you aren’t a member yet, you will need to apply first, either online or at a branch. While setting up your membership, you can also open a Share Certificate so long as you make your deposit of at least $1,000.

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on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How DFCU Financial’s CD rates compare

When you sign up for a CD, you’re locking up your money for a set period of time because early withdrawals lead to a penalty. For this arrangement to make sense, you should be earning a respectable return. That won’t happen with the options at DFCU Financial.

Their Share Certificates pay rates that are well below average. They are similar to what you’d get from a large national bank, with their ultra-low returns. While you can earn more with DFCU Financial’s certificates by depositing more, even their best rates for accounts of at least $100,000 are still not that great.

You can do a whole lot better elsewhere. These are the very best CDs available today for every term. Whether you want a short- or long-term commitment, you can find a great match in this list.

DFCU Financial money market account options

DFCU Financial Insured Money Market Account

DFCU Financial’s money market account doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but that doesn’t make up for their extremely low rates.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
0.05%$2,500
0.05%$10,000
0.10%$25,000
0.10%$50,000
0.10%$75,000
0.20%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: Free at DFCU Financial and CO-OP ATMs. $1.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

You need to deposit at least $2,500 to open an Insured Money Market account. After that, there is no minimum balance requirement. If your balance falls below $2,500, you earn a lower rate, but that’s it. There’s no monthly fee.

However, the Insured Money Market account rates are very low. While you gradually earn more for larger balances, even the top tier starting at $100,000 doesn’t pay anywhere close to a decent money market rate.

Since this is a money market account, it limits how often you can take money out. You can only write six checks per month. DFCU Financial also limits other certain withdrawals/transfers out of the account under Regulation D., up to six per month. If you go over the transaction limits, they could close your account or block your ability to make future transfers.

You need to be a member of the credit union before you apply for their Insured Money Market account. If you aren’t already a member, you can set this account up while applying. If you’re already a member, you can log into your online banking to open your Insured Money Market account.

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on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How DFCU Financial’s money market accounts compare

Money market accounts typically come with high balance requirements and steep monthly fees so we were excited to see that DFCU Financial offers a free version. But that excitement didn’t last after seeing their rates.

Their money market rates are extremely low. Even if you qualify for the very highest tier, with a balance of $100,000, you are still nowhere near a competitive money market return. These accounts are supposed to pay much higher rates than normal checking or savings account, but DFCU Financial doesn’t deliver.

While the account is free, you still need to deposit at least $2,500 to start and that’s too much for their low rates. We would recommend using one of these money market accounts instead. Their rates are light years ahead of what’s available at DFCU Financial.

DFCU Financial’s IRA CD rates

DFCU Financial IRA Share Certificates

All the Share Certificates are available through an IRA. The rates are still mediocre.
TermAPY ($1,000)APY ($25,000)APY ($100,000)
3 months0.15%0.20%0.25%
6 months0.20%0.25%0.30%
1 year0.25%0.30%0.35%
2 years0.35%0.40%0.50%
3 years0.40%0.45%0.60%
5 years0.70%0.85%1.00%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ of dividends for terms of one year or less, 180 days’ of dividends for terms over one year.

You can open any of the regular Share Certificates through an IRA. The rates and terms are identical. You need at least $1,000 to open an IRA Certificate and keep this much to earn the APY.

DFCU Financial also pays higher rates for larger deposits. One category starts for a deposit of at least $25,000 and the best rates apply for balances of at least $100,000. The IRA Certificate rates aren’t great though, even for the best category with $100,000.

If you take money out of an IRA Certificate before the maturity date, DFCU Financial will charge a penalty. It’s 90 days’ dividends for maturities of one year or less and 180 days’ of dividends for maturities over one year. They will waive the penalty though if the withdrawal is needed to satisfy required minimum distributions for an IRA.

You can only open an IRA Certificate after you’re a member of DFCU Financial. Once you’ve joined, they ask you to visit a branch or to call their customer service line to set up these accounts. There is no online application for the IRA Certificates.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

DFCU Financial IRA Savings account

This account gives you more flexible access to your retirement savings, but the interest rate is dismal.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Besides their IRA Certificates, DFCU Financial also offers an IRA Savings account. With this account, you are not committing to a set amount of time. Instead, you can take money out at your convenience without owing an early withdrawal penalty to DFCU Financial.

In exchange, the interest rate is much lower. It’s extremely low, even by the standards of these more flexible retirement accounts. There is no minimum balance requirement to earn interest though.

The IRA Savings account also does not charge a monthly fee. You can open this account for a deposit of just $5.

The IRA Savings account is only available for members of DFCU Financial. If you aren’t a member yet, you should sign up first at a branch or online. After that, you can apply for this account at a branch or over the phone with customer service.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on DFCU Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How DFCU Financial’s IRA CD rates compare

These IRA accounts do not bring enough firepower for your retirement plan. Their rates are just too low. While they offer a nice variety of IRA CD terms, none of them earn a competitive rate. There’s a rate upgrade for larger balances but even with $100,000, you still aren’t earning much.

At least with the IRA CDs though, you earn some amount of interest. Their flexible-access IRA Savings account is even worse. It earns so little, the rate may as well be nothing.

Overall, the IRA accounts will not get you to your retirement goals. But these top-performing IRA CDs are another story. They currently pay the very highest rates for these types of retirement plans.

Overall review of DFCU Financial’s banking products

For the most part, these banking products leave a lot to be desired. None of their accounts pay what we would consider a reasonable interest rate. They also charge a monthly fee on their interest-earning checking account and savings account. Finally, none of their accounts refund out-of-network ATM fees.

There is one unique feature, though, that we really liked at DFCU Financial: their cashback program. To qualify, your average yearly balance throughout all your deposit and loan accounts must be at least $5,000 for customers 26 and older, $1,000 for customers between 18 and 25 and $100 for customers under 18.

If you meet this cutoff, each year, you’ll receive a bonus worth the greater of $50 or 0.50% of your entire loan and deposit balance. That’s on top of any interest you earn and is a great reward for loyal customers. While it’s not enough to make up for DFCU Financial’s weak interest rates, it’s at least a step in the right direction.

If you happen to live near a branch, they could be worth a shot for a basic checking or savings account, especially if you think you can qualify for their annual cashback bonus. But if your goal is to earn a generous interest rate on your money, that won’t happen with any of their other products.

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