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

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Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

Municipal Credit Union’s checking account options

FasTrack Checking

If you want the ability to make an unlimited number of transactions, this is the checking account you should choose at Municipal Credit Union.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

This will be the checking account that most people get at Municipal Credit Union. That’s because there’s only two accounts offered, and the other account has strict limitations on how many purchases you can make with it per month.

There’s not really anything special about this account, however. It doesn’t offer interest or any other free perks. But on the bright side, there’s also no balance requirements or monthly fees that come with this account. You put money in, spend as much of it or as little of it as you want, and repeat.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s FasTrack Checking account

You can apply for membership online or at a Municipal Credit Union branch if you meet the membership criteria. Make sure to bring (or provide online) a valid I.D. and proof of eligibility, such as a pay stub with your employer’s name on it. You’ll also need to open a Share savings account with at least $5 in order to establish your membership.

Basic Share Draft

It’s best to pass on this checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

You’ll want to avoid this account unless you aren’t able to be approved for any other accounts. That’s because this is a high-fee, low-feature account if there ever was one.

To start, there’s a $3 fee every month, with no way to get out of it. Then, you’ll need to make sure you keep your balance positive with at least $0.01. If your account dips below that and you incur overdraft fees, Municipal Credit Union reserves the right to close your account completely. If you make recurring deposits (like from a paycheck), you’ll also be required to set those up on direct deposit. Finally, even though this is a checking account, you can’t really use it that often. In fact, you can only make eight free withdrawals per month — i.e., eight purchases total — otherwise you’ll have to pay a $1 fee per withdrawal for the next six withdrawals you make.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Basic Share Draft account

To get this account, you can apply in person or online. You’ll need to be a resident of New York to open this account. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to apply for membership first and deposit at least $5 in a savings account to start your membership off.

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How Municipal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Rate-wise, it’s easy to compare Municipal Credit Union’s checking accounts with other ones. That’s because our top picks for best online checking accounts offer interest, while none of Municipal Credit Union’s accounts do. Thus, the verdict is thus clear: Skip Municipal Credit Union if you want to earn any interest at all from your checking account funds.

Aside from that, these checking accounts don’t really stand out in any way. There’s a good chance that Municipal Credit Union’s Basic Share Draft account is actually a second-chance checking account, designed for folks who aren’t able to be approved for traditional checking accounts. We certainly hope that’s the case, because no average person should be opening this account given the fees and limitations that come with it. Even if you do open the account, we recommend switching to a better account as soon as you’re able.

Municipal Credit Union’s savings account options

Share

This unusual share account charges a high monthly fee if you’re not able to meet certain requirements.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$500.00-$999.99
0.05%
$1,000.00-$3,999.99
0.07%
$4,000.00-$49,999.99
0.15%
Over $50,000.00
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $9, unless you meet the requirements to have it waived.
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

Every credit union has a share account, but this one’s a bit odd because it comes with a monthly fee, and a high one at that. Thankfully, there are several ways to get around it, but it still might be inconvenient for you. You can have the fee waived in any of the following ways:

  • Keep at least $500 in this account, or combined across your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts
  • Have at least $5 in combined balances on a secured loan, secured VISA card, or HELOC
  • Have at least $250 in combined balances on an unsecured loan or secured VISA card (not including overdraft or Step lines of credit)
  • Be under 21 years of age, or over age 62
  • If your account has only been open for less than a year
  • If you’re under age 25 and you opened the account under the Young Executive program, or the MCU2 program within the last five years

It’s important to note that you can only open one savings account (not including Holiday or Vacation Club accounts). Often, people open several savings accounts to “bin” their savings, such as having a separate account for new car savings, emergency fund savings, and so on … but you won’t be able to do that at Municipal Credit Union.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Share account

You’ll need to be eligible for membership to join the credit union in order to apply for this account. You can apply for membership (and this account) by visiting a local branch or applying online.

Smart Apple Savers

This account is available to children 12 years old and under.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

Municipal Credit Union’s Smart Apple Savers account doesn’t really offer much to it besides higher-than-average interest rates. Children with these accounts aren’t eligible to make withdrawals, and the account doesn’t come with an ATM card or online banking. Instead, you as the parent/guardian and joint owner on the account must make withdrawals for your child.

Dividends are earned quarterly on this account, which might make some kids (and even adults) impatient to see their interest piling up. You are also only allowed to make six withdrawals from this account per month.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Smart Apple Savers account

If you want to open this account for your child, you’ll need to open it as a joint owner with them. You’ll need to provide some sort of proof that you’re related to your child (such as a birth certificate or adoption papers) when opening this account. You can also open this account online or in person, but if you open it online, you’ll need to provide the correct paperwork within the first 15 days after you open the account.

Future Investors

This savings account is designed for young adults between ages 13 and 21.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

Not much changes once your child becomes eligible for the Future Investors account, honestly. About the only difference between the Smart Apple Savers and the Future Investors account is that the Future Investors account comes with an ATM card, online account access, and now your child can make their own withdrawals if they want.

Aside from that, the account still has the same limitations. They can only make six withdrawals per month, and any interest they earn on the account will be paid out once per quarter.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Future Investors account

If you want to open this account with your child, you’ll need to provide two documents: one that proves your relationship with your child, such as a birth certificate or proof of guardianship, and a proof of identity for your child. This can be a school I.D., learner’s permit, or a passport, for example.

Holiday Club

You can earn slightly higher rates if you save for the holidays with this account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

Holiday Club accounts are great ways to save for presents. Luckily, Municipal Credit Union offers slightly higher interest rates on these accounts in order to help you save just a bit more. It’s not much, but every little bit helps when the rates are this low to start.

You can open this savings account at any time during the year and set up automatic deposits if you wish. Each month, any interest you’ve earned will be credited to the account. Then, during the first week of November, the entire balance will be automatically cashed out and deposited into either your checking account, or your Share savings account (if you don’t have a checking account). If you have automatic deposits set up and you let them continue, or if you ask Municipal Credit Union to roll over your balance without cashing out, your account will automatically continue to the next year.

The account has specific policies in place that deter you from sticking your hand in the cookie jar too early, so to speak. You’re allowed to make one withdrawal at any time during the year, but that’s it. Once you make your second withdrawal, the account will be automatically closed down and the entire balance will be paid out. You also won’t be eligible to start up a Holiday Club account again until after the first week in November when the next cycle begins.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Holiday Club account

You can open this account at any time as long as you’re either already a member of the credit union, or are eligible for membership. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to apply first and deposit at least $5 in a Share account in order to establish your membership. You can do this either online, or at a local branch.

Vacation Club

This savings account can help you save for your next big trip as long as you can plan on having the money available in May.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

If you thought the Holiday Club savings account was a good idea, you may be interested in the Vacation Club savings account as well. Just like with the holiday club savings account, there aren’t any limitations on what you actually use the money for, but it’s assumed that it’s for a nice vacation.

This account works similarly to the Holiday Club account. You put money in, and it gets paid out to your checking or savings account once per year. The only difference with this account is that it’s paid out during the first week in May, so we hope you weren’t banking on this for a tropical winter getaway. You can still make one mid-cycle withdrawal without penalty, but the second closes the account.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Vacation Club account

Like all of Municipal Credit Union’s accounts, you can apply for this one online or in person at a branch. If you’re not already a credit union member, you’ll need to apply for membership first by providing your I.D., proof of eligibility (such as employment documents), and a $5 opening deposit into a Share savings account.

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How Municipal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

We like that the credit union offers options for holiday and vacation savings. It’d be even better if you could open however many Share accounts as you’d like, so you could separate your savings even further. These savings accounts would also be much better if they offered decent interest rates.

Sadly, Municipal Credit Union accounts are left in the dust when you compare them to the top online savings accounts out there today.

Municipal Credit Union’s CD rates

Share Certificates

These CDs are offering rates that are too low to be worth your trouble.
TermAPY
3 months0.10%
6 months0.10%
9 months0.20%
12 months0.15%
24 months0.25%
30 months0.50%
36 months0.40%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of interest for CDs under a year, or 180 days’ worth of interest for CDs equal to or greater than one year.

Municipal Credit Union doesn’t offer many standard CDs to choose from. The longest term you can get is 36 months, while most banks and credit unions offer CDs all the way out to 60 months at the least.

These CDs also have pretty restrictive policies. You aren’t allowed to make any withdrawals of principal at all without closing down the entire CD (and thus paying an early withdrawal penalty on the whole shebang). You are allowed, however, to withdraw the interest you’ve earned without having to pay the penalty.

If you open one of these CDs, you’ll receive a notice 20 days before the CD is due to mature so you can get ready to take action. Once it does mature, it’ll automatically renew for another CD of the same term length. You will have a short 10-day grace period to withdraw your money after it matures. Alternatively, you can give written instruction to the credit union 10 days before it matures to instruct them what to do with the CD when it does mature.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Share Certificates

First, you’ll need to check that you’re eligible to join the credit union. If you are, you can apply for membership and these CDs either online or at a branch location. You’ll need to provide your Social Security Number, proof of eligibility for membership, and a valid I.D. Finally, you’ll also be required to deposit $5 in a Share savings account to start your membership.

Deposit Plus Share Certificate

This CD lets you add more money during the term as you earn it.
TermAPY
18 months0.20%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $250
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ worth of interest

Normally, once you open a CD, you can’t add more money in until it matures and then renews. But if you opt for this CD, you get one big advantage: You can add more money at any time after the CD is open, with a few catches. First, you’ll need to make the deposit electronically or via automatic payroll deduction, rather than by writing a check or bringing cash to a branch location. Second, you can only make additional deposits if you’re depositing $50 or more (so, you can’t deposit just $25, for example). Finally, you must make at least one deposit per month.

Aside from that helpful quirk, this CD operates the same as Municipal Credit Union’s normal CDs. The account will automatically renew after it matures, with a 10-day window of opportunity to withdraw your money before it’s locked in for another term.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Deposit Plus Share Certificate

You can open this CD by visiting a Municipal Credit Union branch or by applying online. You’ll also need to apply for membership with the credit union in order to be eligible to open this CD.

Secured Visa Share Certificate

This unique CD can be used as collateral for a secured Visa card.
TermAPY
18 months0.20%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $300
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $300
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ worth of interest

One good way to build credit is by using a secured credit card if you’re not able to be approved for more traditional lines of credit or loans yet. You can actually use this CD as collateral to get a secured credit card from Municipal Credit Union.

There are some special rules about how withdrawals work with this CD. If you need to make a withdrawal, you’ll need to withdraw the whole thing and pay early withdrawal fees on it all as well. You’ll also need to close your secured credit account, and return your credit card to the credit union. Finally, Municipal Credit Union will deduct the early withdrawal penalty fees from your CD balance and as much money as is needed to pay your outstanding bill from your secured credit line. Anything left over will be paid out to you directly.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Secured Visa Share Certificate

If you’re eligible for membership with Municipal Credit Union, you can apply for one of these CDs online or in person. If you haven’t yet established your membership, you’ll need to do so by depositing at least $5 in a Share savings account.

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How Municipal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Save your time and money — these rates aren’t worth your trouble, especially considering that the accounts on our list of top-yielding CDs are offering rates that are 10 times higher than these ones. It’s nice that the credit union offers multiple different types of CDs for different purposes and with unique features, but if the rates aren’t good, they’re not good. It’s not enough compensation, especially when you could be earning way more money elsewhere.

Furthermore, we don’t like the fact that these CDs require you to close down the entire account and pay early withdrawal penalties on the full balance if you make any principal withdrawals. This policy just means even less money left in your pocket at the end of the day should you need to make any withdrawals at all.

Municipal Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market

You can earn slightly better interest rates with this account, but it still won’t earn much.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$2,500
0.15%
$10,000
0.20%
$25,000
0.25%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, unless you keep at least $2,500 in the account.
  • ATM fee: $3 per each out-of-network withdrawal, and $1 for each out-of-network balance inquiry, plus whatever ATM surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: If you have a combined balance of $2,000 across all of your Municipal Credit Union deposit accounts, the out-of-network fees are waived (except for the ATM surcharge fees).
  • Overdraft fee: $32 per item. You can set up an overdraft line of credit with an interest rate of 17.90%.

Money market accounts generally aren’t that much different from regular savings accounts these days, and that’s the case here as well. This account only earns a slightly higher interest rates compared to the Share savings account. You can also only make six withdrawals per month from this account, though that doesn’t include withdrawals made in person or by mail.

This money market account does come with checks and some different balance requirements. You’ll need at least $2,500 to open the account (that’s a bit higher than the $5 you need for Share savings), and if you don’t keep your balance up at least that high, you won’t earn any interest and you’ll also be charged a $5 monthly fee.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s Money Market account

Credit union members can open this account at any time online or in person. If you’re not yet a credit union member, you’ll need to apply for membership (assuming you are eligible). You’ll need to also deposit at least $5 in a Share savings account, as this is required to establish your membership.

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How Municipal Credit Union’s money market account compares

Once again, Municipal Credit Union offers very low interest rates on its accounts. The options on our list of the best money market accounts are currently offering rates that are several times higher than those of Municipal Credit Union. This account doesn’t really stick out in any other way.

Municipal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

You won’t be earning much on your retirement savings with these IRA CDs.
TermAPY
3 months0.10%
6 months0.10%
9 months0.20%
12 months0.15%
18 months0.20%
24 months0.25%
30 months0.50%
36 months0.40%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 for all IRA CDs except for the 18-month option. For the 18-month IRA CD, you’ll need just $100.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500 for all IRA CDs except for the 18-month option. For the 18-month IRA CD, you’ll need just $100.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For IRA CDs under a year, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest. For IRA CDs of a year or over, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of dividends.

Municipal Credit Union’s IRA CDs work in essentially the same way as its regular CDs, aside from the fact that these IRA CDs are held within IRA accounts. You can choose from two types of IRAs when you open these CDs: either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.

Municipal Credit Union does offer one unique option with its 18-month IRA CD. This IRA CD requires a smaller deposit — just $100 — to open and maintain. It’s also a variable-rate account, although it’s currently offering the same interest rate as the regular 18-month CDs. You can also add more money to this IRA CD at any time, but if you sign up for automatic payroll deduction, you’ll need to put in at least $5 per pay period.

These IRA CDs will continue to roll over into new IRA CDs after they mature, with a 10-day grace period to withdraw money, add more money in, change the IRA CD’s term length, or roll over your money into a different IRA.

How to get Municipal Credit Union’s IRA CDs

To open one of these IRA CDs, you’ll first need to establish membership with the credit union by depositing at least $5 in a Share savings account (assuming you’re eligible for membership). If you’re already a member, you can apply for this account directly online or in person.

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How Municipal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

IRA CDs can be an attractive way to save for your retirement if the potentially higher-yielding but more volatile stock market isn’t in the cards for you. But that doesn’t mean you need to settle for less. We’d say that Municipal Credit Union offers rather poor rates on these accounts.

If you’d like to earn as much money as possible for your retirement while still taking advantage of FDIC insurance, try looking at one of these accounts on our list of the best IRA CDs instead.

Overall review of Municipal Credit Union’s banking products

We’re really not that impressed with Municipal Credit Union, which is a shame considering its roots in providing a helping financial hand to New York City’s municipal workers. When it comes down to it, this credit union isn’t really that much different from a lot of the big banks which charge high fees and offer low interest rates in return.

It might be nice to work with a local credit union to do your banking, but we’d recommend looking elsewhere. Chances are there are better options nearby, especially if you live in a urban hub like New York City. If you’re willing to head online to do your banking, you’ll definitely be able to find much better options.