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

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Updated on Saturday, August 1, 2020

Eastman Credit Union’s checking account options

ECU Beyond Free Checking

A tiered checking account with very few fees.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0
0.10%
$10,000
0.15%
$25,000
0.20%
$50,000
0.25%
$100,000
0.30%
$200,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 or $30

The ECU Beyond Free Checking is not a bad account. It has no minimum balance requirements, no minimum opening deposit and won’t sock you with ATM fees when you use an out-of-network ATM unless they’re charged by the ATM owner.

The APY on this Eastman Credit Union account isn’t the best, but sometimes it can be exciting that a checking account offers dividends at all. Typically, you hold money in a checking account only to spend it throughout the month, so while you can find special deals and great rates outside of Eastman Credit Union, you will also find some financial institutions offering 0.00% APY on their checking accounts. The credit union’s rates are fairly standard though not the highest on the market.

Overdraft fees on all accounts at Eastman Credit Union are either $5 or $30. If you sign up for overdraft protection, you will be charged $5 every time the credit union has to pull funds from your savings account to cover your purchase. If you sign up for overdraft protection plus, you will be charged $30 every time you overdraw, but the credit union will allow you to make purchases until your account is -$500. Not that the $30 fee will reduce the amount available ($500) to pay other items. If you don’t sign up for any of these protections, you will be charged $30 every time you overdraw, and on top of it, Eastman will not allow the purchase to go through.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Beyond Free Checking

You can apply for Beyond Free Checking online or by visiting your local branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Eastman Credit Union’s checking account compares

The ECU Beyond Free Checking does not offer the best rates on the market, but they’re not the worst either. Aided by no minimum balance requirements and limited fees, this account is worthy of your consideration as you compare other checking accounts.

Eastman Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

This account is required to establish your membership at Eastman Credit Union.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 or $30

Eastman Credit Union’s Regular Savings account doesn’t offer even close to the highest APY on the market, but that’s not the real reason to open one of these accounts. In order to establish membership at the credit union, you must have a savings account to access any of their other accounts, making things like lackluster APY and relatively low fees a moot point.

Because it is a savings account, certain terms are dictated by federal regulation. Specifically, Fed Regulation D says that you can make up to six certain withdrawals/transfers from a savings account per month. If you do go over, Eastman Credit Union will charge you an $8 excessive withdrawal fee for any transaction over six in any given month. You also risk having your account shut down, which could result in a loss of membership with this particular account.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Regular Savings Account

You can open this account online or in person.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Christmas Club Account

An account that empowers you to save for the holidays but recognizes you might need cash for early shopping.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Early withdrawal fee: $10, if you withdraw before September
  • Overdraft fee: $5 or $30

Saving for the holidays? It’s really easy to dip into that savings pot when something like a big back-to-school sale or an opportunity to take a long weekend trip pops up. The Christmas Club Account is built specifically with this situation in mind.

You can stash money in your Christmas Club Account all year, and then during the first week of November, everything you’ve saved will be disbursed to your regular savings account. To encourage you to keep money in your account throughout the year, you will be charged a $10 fee when you withdraw. The only exceptions are withdrawals made in September and October, for which there are no fees.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Christmas Club Account

You can open a Christmas Club Account online or at your local branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Stash Your Cash Account

A club account that allows you to save for more than just the holidays.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 or $30

The Stash Your Cash Account is similar to the Christmas Club Account, except that you can use the money you’re saving for any purpose, whether that be vacation or a wedding. You can also set the date that your funds will be released to your Regular Savings, making the account flexible to match your individual financial goals.

Remember that both this account and the Christmas Club Account are still savings accounts, so if you do have to make early withdrawals/transfers, make sure you’re planning ahead to avoid making more than six per month.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Stash Your Cash Account

You can open this account by visiting your local branch. If there is no branch local to you, call (800) 999-2328.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Health Savings Account

A tax-sheltered account for your health care costs.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 or $30

If you have a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), you can put up to $3,450 into a Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2018 — $6,900 if your HDHP offers family coverage.

These contributions are tax-deductible, and earnings are tax-free when you take the money out for qualified health expenses. You can also enjoy tax-free withdrawals if you are disabled or at least the age of 65.

The fact that the credit union offers this type of account is fairly unique. If you have an HDHP and no other insurance, it’s a good way to shelter the dollars you spend on health care costs from the IRS, and since the money is carried over from year to year, it can also serve as an extremely tax-effective retirement account if you don’t end up needing the money for health-related expenses. Granted, if you open it with Eastman Credit Union, the dividends won’t be enough to keep your money from losing value to inflation.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Health Savings Account

To get the process of opening an HSA started, call (800) 999-2328.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Eastman Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Eastman Credit Union offers a pittance of an APY when compared with the best savings accounts on the market, yet each account it does offer serves a very unique purpose that may put it beyond dividend comparisons.

The Regular Savings account is required to open any type of account at Eastman Credit Union, whether or not you’re a fan of the APY. Christmas Club and special savings accounts exist to enforce self-discipline rather than to rake in extra money through dividends, and HSAs are a way to become more tax efficient with your health care spending.

Rather than comparing these accounts with those with the highest savings rates, you’ll be better off digging in deep and comparing them with accounts at other financial institutions that help you achieve the same goals.

Eastman Credit Union’s CD rates

Investment Certificates

Fairly competitive certificates with an opportunity to increase your APY.
TermAPYMinimum Opening Deposit
1-3 Months0.30%
$2,500
3-6 Months0.50%
$2,500
6-12 Months0.65%
$2,500
9 Months2.25%
$2,500
12-24 Months1.05%
$1,000
18-19 Months2.40%
$1,000
24-36 Months1.10%
$1,000
36-48 Months1.15%
$1,000
48-60 Months1.20%
$1,000
60 Months1.25%
$1,000
72 Months1.30%
$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: Varies based on desired term and APY
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Same as minimum opening deposit
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • The greater of 7 days’ worth of dividends or all dividends earned to date on certificates with terms of up to 6 months;
    • 90 days’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms between 6 and 23 months;
    • 180 days’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms between 24 and 60 months;
    • 1 years’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms of 72 months.

The dividend rates on Eastman Credit Union’s Investment Certificates — which are the equivalent of certificates of deposit or CDs — are fairly competitive. It should be noted that this is especially true as you extend the term; the 72 month certificates are far more competitive than the 12 month CDs.  Further, you can add 0.05% APY to your certificate to make it a jumbo certificate with all the same terms save a minimum balance requirement of $100,000.

Also know that if you make a withdrawal that brings you below your minimum opening deposit, you’ll not only incur an early withdrawal penalty, but you’ll also see your certificate shut down. You cannot keep this account open without earning APY, and you can’t continue to earn APY without keeping your minimum opening deposit intact. The only exception to this is jumbo certificates. If you fall below the $100,000 minimum balance threshold, your certificate will just revert to normal rates.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s CDs

You can open your investment certificate online or in person.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Lifeline Savers Certificate

A low-yield certificate with an extremely low barrier to entry.
TermAPY
1 Year0.55%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of dividends

In addition to the Investment Certificate, Eastman Credit Union also offers the Lifeline Savers Certificate. One unique feature compared with Eastman’s other certificate products is that you can add to the balance of this certificate at any time — even midterm. Your rate will be lower than with an Investment Certificate, but the barrier to entry is also far lower with only a $100 required deposit and balance.

That doesn’t mean that this account is competitive overall, though. At this term tier, you can find certificates from other financial institutions offering rates nearly five times higher requiring only about $400 more for a minimum opening deposit.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Lifeline Savers Certificate

You can open this account in person or via the online application.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Eastman Credit Union’s CD rates compare

At lower rate tiers, Eastman’s certificates are barely competitive. However, as you move up through the ranks of longer term periods, its certificates rival some of the best rates out there. Those should be considered as a viable option as you compare other CDs.

Eastman Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market

A somewhat standard money market account with high minimum balance requirements for unsatisfying dividends.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$0
0.30%
$10,000
0.35%
$25,000
0.40%
$50,000
0.45%
$100,000
0.55%
$200,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0; $10,000; $25,000; $50,000; $100,000; or $200,000 depending on desired rate
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5-$30

The idea behind a credit union money market account is to pull more in from dividends than you would on your typical savings account. Traditionally, this has meant that there are larger minimum balance requirements in order to earn the higher APY.

Eastman Credit Union’s money market account does raise dividend rates as its tiered minimum balance requirements increase, but those rates are extremely low. If you have under $10,000 in your account, you’d be earning less APY than if you kept your money in a savings account at the credit union. But even at higher minimum balance requirements, the APY offered by Eastman Credit Union falls far short when compared with other options on the market.

Money market accounts are regulated by the federal government in the fashion of savings accounts, so remember that if you make more than six certain withdrawals/transfers from this account, you could be facing an $8 excessive withdrawal fee from the credit union per each instance. Beyond that, your account could even be shut down all together.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Insured Money Market account

You can open an Insured Money Market Account in person or via the online application.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Eastman Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

As mentioned above, traditionally money market accounts have required higher minimum balances in order to earn a higher APY. However, with the advent of online-only banks, we have seen a shift in this practice. Now, many internet banks offer a high APY on money market accounts with low or even no minimum balance requirements, rendering accounts like the one offered by Eastman Credit Union fairly obsolete.

To earn a dramatically higher APY with lower minimum balance requirements, be sure to check out the best money market accounts on the web.

Eastman Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

IRA Investment Certificate

Same rates as a certificate outside of an IRA make this account uncompetitive.
TermAPYMinimum Opening Deposit
1-3 Months0.30%
$2,500
3-6 Months0.50%
$2,500
6-12 Months0.65%
$2,500
9 Months2.25%
$2,500
12-24 Months1.05%
$1,000
18-19 Months2.50%
$1,000
24-36 Months1.10%
$1,000
36-48 Months1.15%
$1,000
48-60 Months1.20%
$1,000
60 Months1.25%
$1,000
72 Months1.30%
$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $2,500 depending on term
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Same as minimum opening deposit
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • All dividends on 1-month certificates;
    • 7 days’ worth of dividends on 3-month certificates;
    • 90 days’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms between 6 and 23 months;
    • 180 days’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms between 24 and 60 months;
    • 1 years’ worth of dividends on certificates with terms of 72 months.

Many financial institutions increase the interest rates offered on certificates when they are held within an IRA, though Eastman Credit Union keeps them static. If you have over $100,000 in an Investment Certificate, it turns into a jumbo certificate and you’ll see a rate hike of 0.05%, but it’s still not enough to compensate for the higher rates offered for lower minimum balances elsewhere.

While the early withdrawal penalties charged by Eastman Credit Union are listed above, remember that any time you take money out of an IRA, you could also owe penalties to the IRS, as well.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s IRA CDs

You cannot open IRA products with Eastman Credit Union online. Instead, you’ll have to open this account by visiting your local branch. If there is no branch local to you, call (800) 999-2328.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Accumulation Account

A competitive savings account within your IRA meant to be used before you retire.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$5.00
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Accumulation Account is a savings account inside your IRA and is meant to be used before your reach retirement age. Eastman Credit Union’s offered rates are not competitive for a portfolio holding of this class. You can find rates more than six times higher elsewhere.

Because you have to come in to fill out paperwork and make withdrawals, you will not be able to accidentally overdraw this account. You should also be aware that with few exceptions, should you make withdrawals from an IRA prior to reaching retirement age, you will have to pay penalties and fees.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Accumulation Account

Because Eastman’s IRA products are not available online, you will have to either call (800) 999-2328 to set up your account, or visit your local branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Access Account

A savings account within your IRA meant to be used in retirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Access Account is very similar to the Accumulation Account in its intent. It is a savings account within an IRA, though it is meant to be used as you approach retirement. When you reach retirement age, you will be able to take money out of this account — hence the name “access.”

There are higher minimum opening and balance requirements with this account, but that is because you are closer to retirement and will likely want to keep more of your retirement savings in more conservative accounts. The APY is also a little lower than the Accumulation Account, which obviously means this account does not offer a competitive APY either.

How to get Eastman Credit Union’s Access Account

To open any type of product within an IRA, you’ll have to either visit a branch or call (800) 999-2328.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Eastman Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Eastman Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

You can do better with your IRA certificate than accepting the low rates offered by Eastman Credit Union. Look for financial institutions that up their APY when offering certificates inside an IRA rather than keeping them static. Even if you have more than $100,000 to open a jumbo certificate and get the rate hike, the APY offered by the competitors still dwarfs the credit union’s offerings.

Overall review of Eastman Credit Union’s banking products

At the end of the day, with the potential exception of certain certificate tiers outside of an IRA, Eastman Credit Union’s products simply aren’t competitive with the best options on the market. To be sure, its savings accounts do offer a wide range of services that may help you reach your financial goals outside of APY earnings. For all other products, it’s more likely in your favor to look elsewhere.

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