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

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Direct Federal Credit Union checking account options

Direct Federal Credit Union Hub Checking Account

The Hub Checking account doesn’t earn interest but is otherwise excellent, thanks to its low fees and bank benefits.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $20 per month
  • Overdraft fees: $30

Direct Federal Credit Union does not require an opening deposit for the Hub Checking account. You can set one up for any amount or for no deposit at all. However, to qualify for this account you need to sign up for e-statements and set up a direct deposit.

Direct Federal Credit Union waives these requirements, though, if you are 65 and older or under age 25. If you don’t meet these requirements, they downgrade you a non-Hub Checking account, covered below.

The Hub account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee; it also does not pay interest. However, it comes with several bank benefits. You receive free checks, official checks and traveler’s checks. You also receive a free credit report each year. And if you ever request a stop payment, there is also no fee.

With the debit card, you can make withdrawals from any ATM and Direct Federal Credit Union will not charge a fee, even for out-of-network transactions. In addition, they will refund up to $20 per month in fees from out-of-network ATM owners.

To open a Hub Checking account, you need to be a member of the Direct Federal Credit Union. If you haven’t joined yet, you can set up this account as part of your new membership application, using the same information.

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Direct Federal Non-Hub Checking Account

A downgraded account for customers who don’t meet the Hub Checking account requirements. It has much higher fees and fewer benefits.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (waived for the first three months.)
  • ATM fees: None at Direct Federal Credit Union, NYCE®, CIRRUS, SUM and certain ATMs in Publix supermarkets. $2 per transaction at other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $30

If you don’t meet the Hub Checking account requirements (e-statements and a direct deposit), Direct Federal Credit Union will switch you to a Non-Hub Checking account. This account also does not earn interest and does not have a minimum opening deposit requirement — however, the fees are higher.

First, this account charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee. It’s waived for the first three months, but after that there’s no way to avoid it — unless you re-qualify for Hub Checking. The Non-Hub Checking account also charges a $2 fee when you use out-of-network ATMs. Finally, there is no refund for out-of-network ATM charges on this account.

The Non-Hub Checking account also does not include other bank benefits, like free checks.

You do not sign up for the Non-Hub Checking account directly; it’s not an option on their application form. Instead, Direct Federal Credit Union tracks whether you meet the requirements after signing up for Hub Checking and if you don’t, they’ll switch you to this account.

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How Direct Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

When it comes to delivering the essentials, these checking account does an excellent job. There’s no monthly fee, it comes with free checks and a credit report, and Direct Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge anything for out-of-network ATM transactions. They also refund up to $20 per month in fees from out-of-network ATM owners for those with The Hub Checking account.

Now, you’ll need to qualify for the Hub Checking account or else they’ll downgrade you to a non-Hub Checking account with much higher fees. But it’s very easy — all it takes is setting up e-statements and a direct deposit.

We do have one complaint about their checking account: It doesn’t earn interest. If you could get all these banking benefits while also earning a nice return on your money, why not take the upgrade? These top checking accounts offer many of the same perks as Direct Federal Credit Union while paying spectacular interest rates.

Direct Federal Credit Union savings account options

Direct Federal Credit Union Savings Account

Not a bad savings account. There’s no monthly fee and it earns an above average rate.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.10%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None at Direct Federal Credit Union, NYCE®, CIRRUS, SUM and certain ATMs in Publix supermarkets. $1 per transaction at other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $30

You need to deposit at least $5 to open a Savings account and keep at least this much in your account to earn interest. However, this account does not charge a monthly fee regardless of how low your balance gets.

Direct Federal Credit Union’s savings rate is above average; it’s the same for all balances, so you cannot earn more for depositing more.

With the account debit card, you can make free withdrawals from Direct Federal Credit Union, NYCE®, CIRRUS, SUM and certain ATMs in Publix supermarkets. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Direct Federal Credit Union will charge $1 and they will not refund any fees from the ATM owner.

Certain transactions, like transfers, checks and bill payments, are limited up to six per statement cycle due to Regulation D.

You can open this Savings account online or at their branch. If you aren’t a member yet, you can apply for this account while setting up your membership. You’ll use the same info, and will just need to make your deposit of $5.

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How Direct Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

You could do worse than this savings account. It has no monthly fee, only takes $5 to open and earns an above average interest rate. It’s a huge step-up compared to what you’d get at a larger national bank, with their non-existent returns.

Still, if you put in a little research, there are even better options out there. Take a look at our rankings of of the best savings accounts. You’ll see that these options also have low fees and pay more than triple the rate at Direct Federal Credit Union. Your savings will grow much more quickly with one of these choices instead.

Direct Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Direct Federal Credit Union Certificates

In between mostly average CD rates, Direct Federal Credit Union has some hidden gems.
TermAPY ($250)APY ($100,000)
3 months0.25%0.30%
6 months0.70%0.75%
7 months0.50%0.55%
8 months0.50%0.55%
9 months0.40%0.45%
11 months0.75%0.80%
12 months0.40%0.45%
15 months0.45%0.50%
18 months0.45%0.50%
21 months0.60%0.65%
24 months0.60%0.65%
30 months0.70%0.75%
36 months0.95%1.00%
48 months1.00%1.05%
60 months1.00%1.05%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $250 ($100,000 for Jumbo).
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $250 ($100,000 for Jumbo).
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms less than one year, the penalty is 30 days of dividends on the entire principal balance. For terms of one year and longer, the penalty is 90 days of dividends on the entire principal balance.

Direct Federal Credit Union’s Certificate range from as short as 3 months all the way up to 60 months. They have six certificates with terms less than one year, so there’s lot of variety for short-term CDs.

You only need to deposit $250 to open a regular certificate and keep this much in the account to earn the APY. They also offer slightly higher jumbo rates for deposits of at least $100,000.

The majority of Direct Federal Credit Union’s Certificate rates are just average, but they do have some terrific offers. As of December 2018, their best rates were for their 7 month, 11 month, 18 month and 30 month Certificates.

If you take money out of your certificate before the maturity date, Direct Federal Credit Union will charge a penalty:

  • For terms less than one year, the penalty is 30 days of dividends on the entire principal balance.
  • For terms of one year and longer, the penalty is 90 days of dividends on the entire principal balance.

You can open any of these Certificates online or at their branch. If you aren’t a member yet, you can set these certificates up along with your membership. You’ll just need to make your deposit of at least $250 along with your application.

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How Direct Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

For the most part, Direct Federal Credit Union’s Certificate rates are average to below average. However, they have a few hidden gems mixed between everything — their 7 month, 11 month and 30 month Certificates pay rates that are as good as anyone else out there.

Pay attention when you sign up — a longer term doesn’t always mean a higher rate. For example, their 30 month Certificate pays nearly twice as much as the 60 month, despite tying up your money for a much shorter amount of time.

Besides the rates, we appreciate that Direct Federal Credit Union lets you open a certificate for just $250, much lower than the standard $1,000 minimum at most lenders. Also, their early withdrawal penalties are low, so they don’t ding you too badly for taking money out before the maturity date.

If one of the Direct Federal Credit Union’s top offers matches your savings goal, they are an excellent choice. But if the terms don’t fit your timeline or you just want to make sure you’re getting the best deal, you can compare against this list of the best CD rates in the country.

Direct Federal Credit Union money market account options

Direct Federal Credit Union Rate Riser Money Market Account

If you can cover this account’s $25,000 balance requirement, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
1.50%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None at Direct Federal Credit Union, NYCE®, CIRRUS, SUM and certain ATMs in Publix supermarkets. $1.00 per transaction at other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $30

The Rate Riser Money Market account requires an opening deposit of at least $500. Deposits into this account have to be new money only, meaning funds that aren’t already at Direct Federal Credit Union.

However, this account doesn’t start paying interest unless you have a minimum daily balance of $25,000. If you ever fall below that limit, you won’t earn interest for the month.

In exchange for this tough requirement, the Rate Riser Money Market account pays a fantastic interest rate. Direct Federal Credit Union also guarantees that they will add another 0.25% to the interest rate on Jan. 1, 2019; that rate will then be guaranteed until the end of March. After that, they could change it at their discretion.

You are only allowed to make six transfers or withdrawals out of the Riser Money Market account per month. If you go over the monthly limits, Direct Federal Credit Union charges $10 per excess transaction.

Like all Direct Federal Credit Union’s products, you can only open a Rate Riser Money Market account when you’re a member. This special account is listed on their new membership application, so you’re able to take care of that as you join.

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Direct Federal Credit Union Money Market Account

This is Direct Federal Credit Union’s regular money market account. It doesn’t outearn their savings account unless you have a huge balance.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.10%$0.01
0.10%$25,000
0.15%$50,000
0.15%$75,000
0.20%$100,000
0.30%$200,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None at Direct Federal Credit Union, NYCE®, CIRRUS, SUM and certain ATMs in Publix supermarkets. $1.00 per transaction at other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $30

Direct Federal Credit Union also offers a regular Money Market account. This account does not have an opening deposit requirement, so you can launch for any amount. It also does not charge a monthly maintenance fee.

The Money Market account earns interest on all balances. However, the rates aren’t great: you’ll need a balance of at least $75,000 before you earn more than Direct Federal Credit Union’s savings account.

The Money Market account limits you to only six transfers or withdrawals per month, including checks. If you make more than six, Direct Federal Credit Union charges you $10 for each excess transaction.

You can open a Direct Federal Credit Union Money Market account online or at a branch. It’s on the new membership application, so you can set this up at the same time as joining the credit union.

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How Direct Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

If you plan on keeping at least $25,000 in your money market account, Direct Federal Credit Union could be an excellent choice. Their Rate Riser already pays a phenomenal rate and it will only get better in 2019, when they increase by another 0.25%. The only catch is that if your balance ever falls below $25,000, even for a day, you won’t earn interest for the month.

Besides Rate Riser, Direct Federal Credit Union has a less-impressive standard Money Market account. While it has no monthly fee and pays interest on all balances, the rates aren’t great. You need to deposit $75,000 to outearn the savings account — and with that amount, you could easily qualify for the Rate Riser instead.

For large deposits, we strongly recommend the Direct Federal Credit Union Rate Riser account. If you plan on depositing less or want to see what else is out there, we highly recommend these money market accounts. They are competitive with Rate Riser and some of them can be opened for a lot less than $25,000.

Direct Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates

Direct Federal Credit Union Fixed Rate IRA Certificates

You can open any of the Certificates in an IRA. Pay attention to the rates when you sign up as some terms are much better than others.
TermAPY ($250)APY ($100,000)
3 months1.30%1.35%
6 months1.25%1.30%
7 months0.50%0.55%
8 months0.50%0.55%
9 months0.50%0.55%
11 months0.75%0.80%
12 months0.75%0.80%
15 months0.90%0.95%
18 months0.90%0.95%
21 months 1.00%1.05%
24 months1.00%1.05%
30 months1.10%1.15%
36 months1.10%1.15%
48 months1.25%1.30%
60 months 1.25%1.30%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $250 ($100,000 for Jumbo).
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $250 ($100,000 for Jumbo).
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms less than one year, the penalty is 30 days of dividends on the entire principal balance withdrawn. For terms of one year and longer, the penalty is 90 days of dividends on the entire principal balance withdrawn.

Direct Federal Credit Union lets you open any of their regular certificates as part of an IRA, for your retirement plan. The rates and terms are identical, ranging from 3 months up to 60 months.

You need to deposit at least $250 to open a regular Fixed Rate IRA Certificate. Direct Federal Credit Union also offers Jumbo IRA Certificates, with slightly higher rates, for a deposit of $100,000.

Most of the Fixed IRA CD rates are just average, but they do have a few extremely generous offers mixed in. As of December 2018, the best rates were for the 7 month, 11 month, 18 month and 30 month terms.

If you take money out of a Fixed Rate IRA CD before the maturity date, Direct Federal Credit Union charges an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty amount depends on your original maturity:

  • For terms less than one year, the penalty is 30 days of dividends on the entire principal balance withdrawn.
  • For terms of one year and longer, the penalty is 90 days of dividends on the entire principal balance withdrawn.

The IRA CDs are not presented as an option of Direct Federal Credit Union’s new membership application form. You’ll need to join as a member first and then you can set up these accounts, either at a branch or through your online banking portal.

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Direct Federal Credit Union Variable Rate IRA CD

Direct Federal Credit Union also has a variable rate IRA CD that lasts 24 months. You can open it up for a smaller amount of money and the rate can change over time.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Besides their Fixed IRA CDs, Direct Federal Credit Union has a 24 month Variable Rate IRA CD. You can open this account for a deposit of just $50. In addition, you can add more money after you open — it’s not a one-time deposit like for the IRA CDs.

Since this is a variable rate IRA CD, the amount you earn can go up and down each month, depending on market conditions. However, Direct Federal Credit Union did not publish this rate, so we could not compare it against the Fixed Rate IRA CDs.

After you open, you are supposed to keep your money in the Variable Rate IRA CD until the end of the 24 month term. If you take money out before then, Direct Federal Credit Union will charge a penalty worth 90 days of dividends on the amount you withdrew.

You can only open a Variable Rate IRA CD after you join the Direct Federal Credit Union as a member; and it does not feature on the new membership form. Once you’re signed up, though, you can apply for this account online or at their branch.

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Direct Federal Credit Union IRA Money Market Account

For more flexible access to your savings, you can set up an IRA Money Market account. The rates are lower than an IRA CD but there is no early withdrawal penalty.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.30%$0.01
0.30%$25,000
0.30%$50,000
0.40%$75,000
0.60%$100,000
0.70%$200,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Direct Federal Credit Union also offers their money market account for IRAs. You need to deposit at least $500 to open this account. You can also add money whenever you want after opening, unlike a Fixed Rate IRA CD.

This account earns interest on all balances, though the rates are significantly lower than the Fixed Rate IRA CDs. In exchange, you can take money out whenever you want without owing a penalty to Direct Federal Credit Union. Finally, the IRA Money Market account does not charge a monthly fee.

Like the other retirement plans, you can only open an IRA Money Market account after you become a member of the Direct Federal Credit Union. They don’t include IRAs on their new membership application. Join first and then you can apply for this account.

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on Direct Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Direct Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Direct Federal Credit Union offers all kinds of variety for your retirement plan. First, they have over a dozen terms available for Fixed Rate IRA CDs. You can find plenty of both short and long-term accounts. Direct Federal Credit Union also offers a Variable Rate account, which you can open for a smaller balance, and an IRA Money Market account, which lets you take money without an early withdrawal penalty.

If you ask us, it’s almost too much variety, since not all of the IRA CD rates are of the same quality. Some are exceptional, like the 7 month, 11 month and 30 month term; some are average, and a few are below average. Having choice is nice, but they might want to trim down their offerings to just the best products.

With that being said, if you focus on their best offers, Direct Federal Credit Union has some excellent IRA CDs. They are right up there with the very best IRA CDs nationwide.

Overall review of Direct Federal Credit Union’s banking products

No matter your financial goal, chances are you can find a quality fit at Direct Federal Credit Union. If you’re trying to earn a high return on your savings, they offer some excellent CD and IRA CD rates. They also have a money market special which pays one of the highest returns we’ve seen for this type of account.

The Hub Checking account also gets the job done for your banking needs because it has no monthly fee, up to $20 in refunds for ATM fees each month and benefits like free checks.

Nobody’s perfect, and even these great accounts have some minor issues. It would have been nice for their checking account to earn interest. In addition, their special Rate Riser Money Market account requires a $25,000 balance and you have to open it with new funds, money not already at Direct Federal Credit Union. Still, these are just minor issues.

Ultimately, our biggest complaint about Direct Federal Credit Union is that their products are only available for a small service area, for people in Norfolk or Middlesex counties in Massachusetts. If you happen to be in these areas, be sure to check this lender out. The rest of us are jealous.

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