First Tech Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Dividend Rewards Checking

Use this account as your everyday checking account to earn a stellar interest rate and ATM fee refunds.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.50%
$0.01-$10,000 (if you meet requirements)
1.50%
Over $10,000 (if you meet requirements)
*A lower APY will be applied if you don’t meet the qualifications for the rates above.
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM use, plus ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: If you meet the qualifications each month, all First Tech Federal Credit Union ATM fees and ATM surcharge fees will be refunded. If you do not meet qualifications, no ATM fees will be refunded.
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

This account has two different modes, depending on whether you meet certain requirements each month: Qualifying and Not Qualifying. To qualify, you’ll need to tick each of these check marks each month:

  • Have at least 12 debit purchases
  • Have at least one direct deposit or automated clearing house (ACH) withdrawal
  • Be signed up for electronic statements

Keep in mind that it can take up to three days for debit purchases to post to your account, so it’d be wise to make sure you get them all in at least a week before the month is over.

If you do qualify, you’ll earn the higher-level interest rates and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. If you don’t qualify, no worries: It’ll still be a free checking account, but you just won’t earn the higher interest rates or ATM fee refunds for that month. If you go long enough — six months — without qualifying, First Tech Federal Credit Union will convert this checking account into one that permanently earns the low rate, unless you later requalify for this account.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Dividend Rewards Checking account

If you’re eligible for membership, you can easily apply for this account online. You’ll need your Social Security number, state ID and contact information handy. You’ll also need to fund a Membership Savings account with at least $5 to establish your membership.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Carefree Checking

This free checking account doesn’t earn any interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM use, plus ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

If keeping up with monthly checking account requirements isn’t your style, perhaps this account would be a better fit. There are no monthly requirements and no monthly fees, but that flexibility comes at a price: You won’t earn any interest on the account.

Just about the only likely way you would pay a fee with this account would be on an overdraft. To avoid that, link up a backup account for overdraft protection. The credit union will instead transfer money over in $100 increments to cover the overdraft charge — for free. It beats paying a $28 charge for each overdraft fee if you haven’t linked up a backup account.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Carefree Checking account

It only takes a few minutes to apply for this account online. You can also apply by visiting a local First Tech Federal Credit Union branch. Remember to bring your state-issued ID (such as a driver’s license), since you’ll need it when you apply for membership.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How First Tech Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Frankly, we’re blown away by the high rates offered on First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Dividend Rewards Checking account — if you meet account requirements. We’re normally a bit annoyed at these type of requirements, but in this case, they’re not that bad. Most people who make a typical number of purchases should be able to meet these requirements each month. This account compares with these other top-yielding checking accounts, some of which offer lower interest rates but don’t have a list of monthly requirements.

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Membership Savings

This is the one account to rule them all — but it offers a pretty poor interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM use, plus ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

There’s no getting around it: To open any other account at First Tech Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to open this one first with at least $5 to establish your membership. As long as $5 stays in the account, your membership remains active.

Other than that, this is a pretty plain-Jane savings account. There are no other special features associated with it. You put money in, it earns a wee bit of interest and then you take it out later. Other savings accounts at First Tech Federal Credit Union earn a higher interest rate, but each comes with special requirements (which we’ll detail below). It would be well worth your time to consider placing the bulk of your savings in one of these accounts instead.

As with all savings accounts, you are allowed up to six certain withdrawals in a given month because of restrictions imposed by Federal Reserve Regulation D. ATM withdrawals, withdrawals made to pay credit union loans and in-person withdrawals don’t count toward this limit.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Membership Savings account

If you’re already a member of the credit union, then you already have this account since it’s the default account for all members. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to apply for membership first. You can do this in person or online. You’ll need to have your Social Security number and a state-issued ID or driver’s license handy to open an account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Carefree Savings

This Carefree Savings account is best for people who don’t care about the interest rate they earn.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM use, plus ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

If you don’t yet have $5,000 available to open First Tech Federal Credit Union’s premium account, the Carefree Savings account will be your best bet for earning a higher interest on your savings. It offers twice the interest rate of the Membership Savings account, but a poor interest rate doubled is still a poor interest rate.

One thing to keep in mind with this account is that you allowed to make up to six withdrawals per month. This is because of federal restrictions, not any internal bank limitations. But a few types of transactions — such as withdrawals made to pay First Tech Federal Credit Union loans, ATM withdrawals and in-person withdrawals — don’t count toward this limit.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Carefree Savings account

If you have a few spare minutes, you can apply for membership and then open this account online. A fair warning: Even though you’re applying for this account, you’ll need to open up a Membership Savings account and fund it with at least $5 in addition to this one to establish your membership in the credit union.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Instant Access Savings

This is the highest-earning savings account at First Tech Federal Credit Union.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01-$2,499.99
0.10%
$2,500-$9,999.99
0.10%
$10,000-$24,999.99
0.15%
$25,000-$99,999.99
0.15%
$100,000-$249,999.99
0.20%
$250,000-$499,999.99
0.20%
$500,000-$749,999.99
0.20%
Over $750,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 for each out-of-network ATM use, plus ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

If you don’t want to lock your money away in a CD for an extended period but still want to earn the highest interest rate possible at this credit union, the Instant Access Savings account is probably your best bet. It’s a savings account with eight interest tiers.

The interest rates offered on the higher tiers aren’t too bad, but we’d caution you in keeping this much money in the account. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insurance doesn’t cover balances above $250,000. In the unlikely event that the credit union would ever go under, you could lose the remaining balance on your account.

Finally, as with the rest of the savings accounts at the credit union, you’re subject to the regulatory limit of up to six monthly withdrawals (not including ATM, in-person or credit union loan withdrawals).

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Instant Access Savings account

It’s pretty easy to sign up for this account online or at a branch if you’re already a member. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll first need to apply for membership. This entails opening a Membership Savings account with at least $5, after which you can open any First Tech Federal Credit Union accounts.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How First Tech Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

People working in the technology industry have a reputation for being micro-analyzers and optimizers. That’s why we’re so surprised by the interest rates offered on these accounts. They’re not very high at all. In fact, if you were looking to optimize how much interest you earn on your savings account, you’d do far better with one of these online savings accounts instead.

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Share Certificate

First Tech Federal Credit Union offers a handful of regular Share Certificates, and one Bump Up Share Certificate.
TermAPY
6 months0.25%
12 months0.35%
13-month Bump Up0.30%
24 months0.45%
36 months0.55%
60 months0.65%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the money within the first six days after opening the account or after another partial withdrawal, you’ll pay seven days’ worth of interest. After that, it’ll depend on your CD’s term length:
    • For the six- and 12-month CDs, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For all other CDs, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest

If you can commit your savings to stay put for a certain amount of time, these CD accounts are probably your best option for earning the highest interest rates possible at First Tech Federal Credit Union. You can still withdraw the interest earned at any point without paying penalties, although you may earn less than the advertised APY if you do so.

If you opt for the Bump Up CD, you’ll get a choice once per term of bumping up your interest rate if they begin to rise after you open your account. You can also make one additional deposit into the account, but this is limited to however much you initially opened the account with. For example, if you deposited $4,000 into the CD to open it up, you can make one additional deposit of up to $4,000 during its term.

These CDs will automatically renew at maturity for another term. If you decide to withdraw the money from the account or make any changes to the CD, you have a brief 10-day grace period after each renewal where you can do this penalty-free.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Share Certificates

If you’re not already a member of the credit union, you’ll need to apply for membership first and then fund a Membership Savings account with at least $5. After that, you can easily open this account online or at a local branch, depending on whichever you prefer.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How First Tech Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

The rates that First Tech Federal Credit Union offers on its CDs aren’t completely terrible. They’re better than most big-name banks, after all. But they’re a far cry from being the best interest rates out there. In fact, these top CD accounts are offering up to three times or more what First Tech Federal Credit Union doles out for its CDs.

It is nice that the credit union offers a bump-up option. It’s strange that it’s only offered on one term length, however, when it might be more beneficial to folks to offer it on a variety of lengths.

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA Share Certificate rates

You can contribute to these IRA CDs at any time, even after the account is already open.
TermAPY
6 months0.25%
12 months0.35%
13-month Bump Up0.30%
24 months0.45%
36 months0.55%
60 months0.65%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the money within the first six days after opening the account or after another partial withdrawal, you’ll pay seven days’ worth of interest. After that, it’ll depend on your CD’s term length:
    • For the six- and 12-month CDs, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For all other CDs, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest

You can open these IRA CDs as either a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, depending on what’s best for your financial situation. What’s really unique about these IRA CDs is that except for the 13-month Bump Up IRA CD, you can make contributions at any time, even after you’ve already opened the account. The 13-month Bump Up IRA CD option allows you the option of one rate increase per term if interest rates rise.

Since these are IRA CDs, you’re allowed to make penalty-free withdrawals after you’re 70½ if they are a part of your required minimum distributions. When these IRA CDs mature, they’ll automatically renew for another term with a 10-day grace period to withdraw the money penalty-free.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA Share Certificates

You’ll first need to apply for membership with the credit union if you’re not already a member. You can do this online in just a few minutes, and you’ll need your Social Security number and driver’s license or other state-issued ID. Then, you’ll need to open a Membership Savings account and deposit at least $5 in it. After that’s complete, you can open these IRA Share Certificates.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates fall near the middle of the pack as far as interest rates go. They’re not the worst, but they’re also far from the best rates out there. For the best rates, you’d need to consider one of these IRA CD accounts instead.

But we do like that you’re able to continue to add money to the IRA CD, even after it’s open. We haven’t seen this feature among a lot (or any, really) IRA CD accounts before. It’s handy because IRA CDs are the best way to save for retirement at credit unions and banks. But if you’re saving money steadily away with each paycheck (as you should), you won’t get to deposit that money in an IRA CD until you’ve amassed quite a bit of cash. You’d also be losing out on interest rate gains during this entire process. These IRA CDs allow you to shortcut that whole process and stash money away so you can maximize your (underwhelming) returns.

IRA Savings

This is the account you’ll need to start with if you’re just starting to save for retirement, but you’ll want to transfer the money out of here once you qualify for higher-yielding IRA accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

The highest-yielding IRA accounts at First Tech Federal Credit Union require either $500 or $5,000 to open. If you’re not yet at the point where you’ve got that much cash, this account is your only option for starting your IRA savings at this credit union. Unfortunately, these interest rates are pretty dismal. Once you have enough saved up to make the minimum opening deposit for a better IRA account, you’ll want to take it.

You have two different choices for which type of IRA to open this account as: a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. This account does not come with an ATM card.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA Savings account

Members can open this account online or at a branch. Nonmembers will first need to apply for membership (also either online or at a branch) and deposit a minimum of $5 in a regular savings account before they can open these IRA Savings accounts.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

IRA Instant Access Savings

This account offers a better interest rate than the regular IRA Savings account, but you’ll need a much larger opening deposit amount.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01-$2,499.99
0.10%
$2,500-$9,999.99
0.10%
$10,000-$24,999.99
0.15%
$25,000-$99,999.99
0.15%
$100,000-$249,999.99
0.20%
$250,000-$499,999.99
0.20%
$500,000-$749,999.99
0.20%
Over $750,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28. If you link a backup account for overdraft protection, transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

If you’re already well on your retirement savings journey and have a bit saved up already, this IRA Instant Access Savings account might work for you if you don’t want to commit to an IRA CD. The minimum opening deposit on this account is $5,000.

If you’re transferring money over from another IRA account, this might not be of consequence to you. But if you’re depositing that amount from scratch, that’s just about your entire yearly allowable IRA contribution limit of $5,500 (or $6,500, if you’re 50 years old or older). Keep in mind that this account does not have ATM access.

Again, you can earn the highest interest rate on balances above $750,000 with this account, but we’d caution you against keeping that much in this account. It’s better to max out your deposit amount at any given bank or credit union to just $250,000 since this is the limit of NCUA insurance. You can actually lose your deposit above these limits in the rare event that the bank goes under. Nothing would be worse than losing a good chunk of your retirement savings.

How to get First Tech Federal Credit Union’s IRA Instant Access Savings account

You can open this account after you’ve successfully applied to become a member of this credit union. You’ll need to deposit at least $5 in a Membership Savings account to become a member. After you’ve done this, you can open this account online or at any First Tech Federal Credit Union branch.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Technology Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Overall review of First Tech Federal Credit Union’s banking products

First Tech Federal Credit Union offers a few good products. We like the high interest rate offered on its Dividend Rewards Checking account, and the ability to make deposits at any time to IRA CDs.

But on the whole, this bank doesn’t offer anything too stellar for its deposit accounts. If you’re trying to maximize the interest rates on each of your accounts with reputable banks and credit unions, you can find better options out there for each of these accounts.

That said, there still are some reasons why you might want to bank here. If you’re a foreign national coming into the U.S. for a high-paid tech job, the credit union’s relocation program might very well be worth it for you through its eligible products and services. Or maybe you just live near a branch and want to be able to bank with someone in person. There certainly are worse banks and credit unions you could choose if that’s the case. But again, if you’re an interest rate optimizer, skip this one for a credit union or bank that offers better rates.

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