Golden 1 Credit Union Review of Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Rates

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Updated on Thursday, October 1, 2020

Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Checking account

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Free Checking account is its bare bones, no-fee/no-interest checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Free Checking account is a basic, free checking account. The account charges no fees unless you overdraw the account without a backup savings or loan account, or if you use a non-network ATM. However, 240 Golden 1 Credit Union and 30,000 CO-OP ATMs are available to use surcharge-free. The account does offer some limited additional features, including:

  • Online, mobile and text banking services
  • Free first box of Golden 1 Credit Union custom image checks
  • Debit card
  • Mobile deposit
  • Online bill payment service
  • Popmoney® personal payment service

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Student Checking

Student Checking is a free account designed for students age 17 years and older.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Student Checking account is essentially the same account as the credit union’s Free Checking option, with slight differences. In fact, after five years, the Student Checking account automatically converts into a Free Checking account.

The Student Checking account offers the same benefits as the Free Checking account, including mobile, online and text banking, mobile deposit and online bill pay. Customers also receive one free order of checks and a debit card. Like the Free Checking account, the Student Checking account doesn’t pay interest.

To qualify for a Student Checking account, applicants must provide proof of enrollment, acceptance or attendance at any college or university.

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Freedom Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Freedom Checking account is another free, non-interest-bearing account targeted toward youths ages 16-17 with better-than-average grades.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Limited to students ages 16 or 17, the Freedom Checking account also requires a B-grade average or higher. The account allows youths the ability to withdraw and deposit funds without the oversight of a parent or legal guardian. Additional features are similar to the credit union’s other free checking accounts, including online and mobile banking access, mobile deposit, online bill pay and a debit card. When the account holder reaches age 18, the account automatically converts to a Free Checking account.

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New Generation Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union’s New Generation Checking account is the credit union’s third youth-based, free checking account. This one is for minors ages 13 to 17 who have a parent or legal guardian as a joint owner.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

As with the credit union’s other free checking accounts, the New Generation account comes with the same basic features, from online and mobile banking to debit card access and online bill pay. However, one twist with the New Generation checking account is that ATM access is limited. For youths between ages 13 and 15, daily ATM withdrawals are capped at $40. For those between ages 16 to 17, the daily ATM limit is capped at $100. The account pays no interest.

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Premium Checking

Premium Checking is Golden 1 Credit Union’s flagship checking account, and the only one that pays interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; can be waived with direct deposit of a recurring retirement or pay check, the maintenance of a $1,000 balance in the account, an aggregate daily savings balance of $5,000, or enrollment in the credit union’s Golden Prestige program
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Beyond the name, and the opening and maintenance requirements, Golden 1 Credit Union’s Premium Checking is similar to the credit union’s Free Checking account. In exchange for earning interest, the Premium Checking account drops the benefit of a free first box of checks.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Golden PrestigeSM package is available to qualifying clients age 62 or older. Direct deposit of a recurring check, or $5,000 on deposit in any combination of savings accounts at the credit union, are enough to qualify, along with the age requirement.

How to open Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking accounts

As noted earlier, Golden 1 Credit Union has an online application for its Free Checking and Premium Checking accounts. Customers looking to open a Student, New Generation or Freedom Checking accounts can visit a branch or call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Although the Golden 1 Credit Union checking account roster is broad, it is not deep. While offering five types of checking accounts, three of those accounts are youth-focused twists on the credit union’s Free Checking account. Only the Premium Checking account pays interest, and the rate is low, falling well below the national average.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Premium Checking account has opening and maintenance requirements that the credit union’s free checking accounts do not carry, and although those hurdles are not too high to clear, the rate paid may not justify the effort for many prospective customers. When compared with the best national checking rates offered by competitors, Golden 1 Credit Union comes up well short.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings account

The Regular Savings account is Golden 1 Credit Union’s traditional savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

A $1 deposit into a Golden 1 Credit Union Regular Savings account is a mandatory requirement for membership in the credit union, in addition to the California regional requirement. A deposit of $100 is enough to trigger dividend payments.

Although the account offers unlimited ATM withdrawals, there is an excess withdrawal fee of $3 attached to in-branch cash withdrawals or transfers exceeding three per month. The account can be used as a basis for overdraft protection on the credit union’s checking accounts, and there are no monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees. In line with Federal Reserve regulations, there is a limit of six withdrawals/transfers a month with savings accounts. If you exceed the limit, it can lead to account closure.

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FlexSavings account

The FlexSavings account is designed to help customers save for a particular goal, such as a wedding or a vacation.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.08%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20, or $5 with automatic transfer from another Golden 1 Credit Union account or payroll deduction
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s FlexSavings account is similar to holiday savings accounts at other financial institutions. After a small minimum opening deposit, the account pays interest on all balances until a date specified by the account holder. At that point, the money in the FlexSavings account is paid out to the member’s Regular Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union. Payouts are on the first day of any month up to 20 years in the future. Withdrawals made before the specified date will result in the closure of the account.

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Youth Savings account

The Youth Savings account is designed to help those under age 18 learn how to handle their own money, although it must be opened with a joint account owner.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.08%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

The Youth Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union allows minors to make withdrawals and deposits in their own savings account. The credit union will charge $3 per transaction for every in-branch withdrawal or transfer beyond three each month, Per Regulation D, six withdrawals/transfers is the limit per month. If you go over that, you may face account closure by the credit union.

Transactions can be made without the presence of a co-signer, although the account must have an adult joint owner until the youth reaches age 18. The account carries no monthly fee and pays dividends on all balances.

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Santa Saver account

The Santa Saver account at Golden 1 Credit Union is the FlexSavings account dressed up in a Christmas wrapper.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.08%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20, or $5 with automatic transfer from another Golden 1 Credit Union account or payroll deduction
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Santa Saver account has the same requirements as the credit union’s FlexSavings account, with one specific difference: Santa Savers are required to take a distribution every year on Nov. 1. Other withdrawals or transfers are not allowed. This account also renews automatically every year.

How to open Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts

Golden 1 Credit Union’s online application is available for all of the credit union’s savings accounts, if members have an online banking password. New members can sign up for the Regular Savings and Santa Savers account by joining the credit union online. Members can also open additional regular savings accounts as they wish using the online application process. Other options are to visit a branch or to call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts all pay the same rate, and it’s a rate below the national average. The bank’s flagship savings account is its membership account, as the other savings accounts are variations of holiday or youth accounts. While many other banks and credit unions offer additional high-yield savings accounts, Golden 1 Credit Union does not. As a result, its rates are well below those customers can get from competitors that pay the highest online savings rates available. On the plus side, none of Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts charge monthly maintenance fees.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates

Term-Savings Certificate account

The Term-Savings Certificate account offers only standard rates; no promotional rates are currently available.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3-5 months0.20%
$1,000
3-5 months0.20%
$10,000
3-5 months0.25%
$25,000
3-5 months0.25%
$50,000
3-5 months0.30%
$100,000
6-11 months0.35%
$1,000
6-11 months0.35%
$10,000
6-11 months0.35%
$25,000
6-11 months0.35%
$50,000
6-11 months0.40%
$100,000
12-17 months0.55%
$1,000
12-17 months0.55%
$10,000
12-17 months0.55%
$25,000
12-17 months0.55%
$50,000
12-17 months0.60%
$100,000
18-23 months0.55%
$1,000
18-23 months0.55%
$10,000
18-23 months0.55%
$25,000
18-23 months0.55%
$50,000
18-23 months0.60%
$100,000
24-35 months0.85%
$1,000
24-35 months0.85%
$10,000
24-35 months0.85%
$25,000
24-35 months0.85%
$50,000
24-35 months0.90%
$100,000
36-47 months1.20%
$1,000
36-47 months1.20%
$10,000
36-47 months1.20%
$25,000
36-47 months1.20%
$50,000
36-47 months1.25%
$100,000
48-59 months1.10%
$1,000
48-59 months1.10%
$10,000
48-59 months1.10%
$25,000
48-59 months1.10%
$50,000
48-59 months1.15%
$100,000
60 months1.20%
$1,000
60 months1.20%
$10,000
60 months1.20%
$25,000
60 months1.20%
$50,000
60 months1.30%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of 3 months to 11 months, 90 days’ dividends; for terms of 12 through 23 months, 180 days’ dividends; for terms of 24 months or greater, 365 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union’s CDs range in maturity from 3 months to 5 years. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly. Rates are tiered, with balances of $100,000 or more earning the highest APY. The early withdrawal of CD deposits triggers an early withdrawal penalty of between 90 and 365 days of dividends. Golden 1 Credit Union’s CDs automatically renew, although there is a seven-day grace period after maturity during which account holders can withdraw their funds without a fee.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates

Current members of Golden 1 Credit Union can open certificate accounts online by logging in to their account and clicking on the “Open an Account” tab. Non-members can either join the credit union and apply online, in-person at a branch, via the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361, or by mailing in a paper application.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates compare

CD rates at Golden 1 Credit Union are well above the credit union’s savings rates but can’t compare with the best CD rates available from other banks. For all maturities, Golden 1’s CDs are also below the national average rates. Rates are tiered, but they don’t increase until deposits hit the $100,000 figure, and then only by a small amount. Early withdrawal penalties can also be significant.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market account

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Money Market savings account is a traditional money market account, which is something of a hybrid between a checking account and a savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$0
0.20%
$10,000
0%
$50,000
0%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, $0 with monthly balance of $2,500+
  • ATM fee: $0; access at Golden 1 Credit Union ATMs only
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

Larger deposits into Golden 1 Credit Union’s Money Market pay a higher rate than the credit union’s savings account. The highest APY is paid on balances of $100,000 or more. The account has ATM access, but only at Golden 1 Credit Union ATMs.

Dividends are compounded monthly and are variable. Account holders are restricted to six withdrawals per month; otherwise, the account may be closed. Although dividends are paid on any amount, balances below $2,500 are assessed a monthly fee.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account

As noted earlier, Golden 1 Credit Union has one online application for most account types, and the Money Market savings account qualifies for an online application for existing members with an online banking password. New members will have to join the credit union first before being offered online access to the money market account application. Otherwise, customers can visit a branch or call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account compares

Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account rates are middle-of-the-road. Balances above $50,000 pay more than the national average money market rate, while smaller deposits earn below-average rates. The highest available money market rates at other banks are much higher than even Golden 1 Credit Union’s best rates, while minimum deposit levels are much lower at most of the best-paying banks.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA rates

Regular IRA CDs

TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3-5 months0.20%
$500
3-5 months0.20%
$10,000
3-5 months0.25%
$25,000
3-5 months0.25%
$50,000
3-5 months0.30%
$100,000
6-11 months0.35%
$500
6-11 months0.35%
$10,000
6-11 months0.35%
$25,000
6-11 months0.35%
$50,000
6-11 months0.40%
$100,000
12-17 months0.55%
$500
12-17 months0.55%
$10,000
12-17 months0.55%
$25,000
12-17 months0.55%
$50,000
12-17 months0.60%
$100,000
18-23 months0.55%
$500
18-23 months0.55%
$10,000
18-23 months0.55%
$25,000
18-23 months0.55%
$50,000
18-23 months0.60%
$100,000
24-35 months0.85%
$500
24-35 months0.85%
$10,000
24-35 months0.85%
$25,000
24-35 months0.85%
$50,000
24-35 months0.90%
$100,000
36-47 months0.95%
$500
36-47 months0.95%
$10,000
36-47 months0.95%
$25,000
36-47 months0.95%
$50,000
36-47 months1.00%
$100,000
48-59 months1.10%
$500
48-59 months1.10%
$10,000
48-59 months1.10%
$25,000
48-59 months1.10%
$50,000
48-59 months1.15%
$100,000
60 months1.20%
$500
60 months1.20%
$10,000
60 months1.20%
$25,000
60 months1.20%
$50,000
60 months1.30%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of 3 months to 11 months, 90 days’ dividends; for terms of 12 through 23 months, 180 days’ dividends; for terms of 24 months or greater, 365 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CDs follow the same maturity range and pay the same rates as the credit union’s non-IRA CDs, with the exception of the special offered on the 12 month CDs. Minimum deposits are $500, but rates are tiered, so deposits of $100,000 or more pay a higher APY. Early withdrawal penalties apply and can be significant.

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12 Month IRA Certificates

TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 months0.55%
$25
12 months0%
$10,000
12 months0%
$25,000
12 months0%
$50,000
12 months0%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union offers a special 12 month IRA certificate for account holders with smaller initial deposits. As opposed to the credit union’s traditional $500 IRA CD minimum, the special 12 month CD carries a minimum opening deposit of just $25. As with the credit union’s other CDs, rates are tiered, and a slightly higher rate is offered for deposits of at least $100,000. The early withdrawal penalty, if triggered, is significant.

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IRA Savings account

The IRA Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union is essentially a holding place for funds until they can be invested elsewhere for retirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

The IRA Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union is an interest-bearing account for cash deposits. There are no interest rate tiers, so all deposits earn the same rate. The account carries no monthly maintenance fees.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA rates

IRA products at Golden 1 Credit Union are available to members only. However, new customers can join online, enroll in online banking and use the same online application available for other Golden 1 Credit Union accounts, as noted earlier. Applicants can also choose the mail-in option by obtaining a paper application from the credit union’s website. Applicants for IRA products can also call (877) 465-3361 or visit a branch.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Like their non-IRA counterparts, Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CD rates are disappointing. There is no significant boost in yield for making larger deposits, and the rates paid on the CDs are below both the national averages and the best IRA CD rates available from competitor institutions.

To be sure, the 12 month CD is unique in that it has a lower minimum balance requirement, but the rate is not much different than those available in the credit union’s regular CD schedule. The credit union’s IRA Savings account pays a moderate amount of interest but is more of a waiting place for funds until they can be invested in higher-rate options.

Overall review of Golden 1 Credit Union’s banking products

Golden 1 Credit Union has a broad range of products, from checking and savings accounts to a money market account and CDs. However, none of the individual accounts stand out as being particularly attractive. Fees are generally quite low, except for the possibility of overdraft charges, but the rates paid on the credit union’s entire roster of products, from checking and savings through to money market and CD accounts, is average at best, and in many cases, low. Without any noteworthy additional features or benefits offered by Golden 1 Credit Union’s accounts, customers can likely find better choices elsewhere.

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