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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Blue Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Extreme Checking

This account offers some fantastic benefits, but you’ll need to meet some requirements each month to get them.
QualificationsAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
Sapphire Member4.00%
$0.01 to $15,000
Gold Member3.00%
$0.01 to $15,000
Silver Member2.00%
$0.01 to $15,000
Balances over $15,0000.10%
$15,000.01+
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Blue Federal Credit Union will refund up to $21 in domestic ATM surcharge fees (the fees that out-of-network ATMs themselves charge) if you meet the monthly requirements for this account. Each individual ATM surcharge fee reimbursement is limited to just $3.
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit; if you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

This is a pretty confusing checking account at first glance, but if you can meet the requirements, it will be worth it. First things first: There are two different sets of criteria that dictate what you’ll get out of this account.

First is Blue Federal Credit Union’s Rewards program. This program offers higher interest rates on certain accounts (like this one) based on various factors: this includes how long you’ve been with Blue Federal Credit Union, how many accounts you have, and others.

There are three levels of rewards: Sapphire, Gold, and Silver. Each one offers different interest rates, which you can see in the interest table above. The good news is that anyone can get at least Silver membership just by having even one account open, so by default you qualify for at least the lowest-tier rates (which are still excellent).

Second are the requirements that come with this account specifically. Each month, in order to earn any interest at all, you’ll need to meet each of these three requirements:

  • Have at least one direct deposit, ACH deposit or withdrawal, or online bill payment post to your account
  • Be signed up for eStatements (with a valid email address)
  • Have at least 10 debit card transactions (not including ATM transactions) post to your account

If you can meet all of these requirements, you’ll not only earn great interest rates on balances up to $15,000, but you’ll also be eligible for reimbursement of up to $21 in domestic ATM surcharge fees per month. Each individual surcharge fee must be $3 or under — if you make an ATM withdrawal for $4.50, for example, you’ll still only be reimbursed for $3.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Extreme Checking account

You can apply for membership and open this account at a local branch or online. You’ll also need to be at least 18 years old, with a Social Security number and a valid government ID. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account to establish your membership first.

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Earn Five Checking

This account offers nickel-back rewards. No, not the crappy band — real cashback money.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

Blue Federal Credit Union has a wide ATM network. Still, if you use ATMs frequently and don’t happen to live near one, this might be one account to avoid — it doesn’t offer ATM surcharge fee reimbursements like with the Extreme Checking account.

But if that’s not as important to you (or you do live near a convenient ATM cluster), this account might work better for you. This account doesn’t offer interest, but there are other ways to make this account pay off. Specifically, you can get $0.05 back with each debit card purchase (after the 5th) if you meet the following requirements each month:

  • sign up for eStatements
  • make at least six debit card purchases
  • have at least one automatic deposit or credit per month (like direct deposit or bill pay)

You can earn up to $25 from these rewards — that means you theoretically would need to make 506 debit card purchases per month to max out your rewards — quite a feat. Each month your rewards will be tallied up and deposited into your account just like it was an interest payment. You can even specify which account you want the rewards deposited into, so you could specify a savings account if you wanted.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Earn Five Checking account

If you’re not a Blue Federal Credit Union member yet, you’ll first need to apply for membership, either online or at a branch. You’ll need to provide all the usual things like your Social Security Number, driver’s license, address, current bank’s routing number, etc… You’ll also need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account. After this is done, you can open an Earn Five Checking account.

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Basic Checking

This is a good baseline checking account if all you want to do is write checks.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

You’ve seen that some of Blue Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts, while good, can be a little complicated. If that turns you off and all you want to do is just write checks, this account might be a better option for you. That’s because this account doesn’t offer any interest or any rewards, but it’s free and you can use it to write checks.

This account also comes with all the normal things that each bank account offers, like bill pay, online banking, a debit card and ATM access.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Basic Checking account

Anyone can join Blue Federal Credit Union by going through the application process and depositing at least $5 in a Share Savings account. You’ll need to provide your Social Security Number, government ID, address, and current bank routing information to apply and open this account.

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uAccount Checking

This special checking account is designed for people age 23 and under.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. Blue Federal Credit Union does not allow you to set up a backup overdraft savings account with this checking account.

It’s a good idea to let kids and young adults try out checking accounts before you release them into the world as a newly-fledged adult — that’s where this account comes into play.

Any child or teen under age 18 can open this account as long as they have a parent or guardian agree to be a joint owner on the account (someone has to steer the reigns, after all). People aged 18 to 23 are also eligible for this free checking account, and they won’t need a parental joint owner if they don’t want.

This account doesn’t come with overdraft protection, so unfortunately you won’t be able to link up a savings account in order to get free overdraft transfers. This means that any overdrafts will incur a high $30 fee.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s uAccount Checking

If you’re opening this account with a child who’s under age 18, you’ll need to provide your child’s birth certificate as proof of identity. You will also need to provide your Social Security number and a government-issued ID. You’ll also need to open an account in person — online applications are not accepted, unfortunately.

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How Blue Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Blue Federal Credit Union only offers interest on one of its checking accounts. But for that one account, it offers a fantastic rate, especially if you can qualify for one of the higher tiers through its Rewards program. In fact, the interest rate offered on this account is right on par with our current picks for best online checking accounts.

Even better, each of these accounts has a good fee structure. There’s no monthly fee on any of these accounts (even as they offer some very good interest rates and rewards on the Extreme Checking and Earn Five Checking accounts). The overdraft fee is high, but if you link up another account for overdraft protection, transfers are completely free (many banks charge a transfer fee for this service).

Overall, we give Blue Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts a thumbs-up.

Blue Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Membership Share Savings

This is a required account for all Blue Federal Credit Union members, but you can also open “Supplemental Savings” accounts for specific purposes.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0%
$25
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

There’s no getting around it: If you want to open any account at Blue Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to open this account first to establish your membership. It only takes $5 to open this account, but if you want to earn any interest, you’ll need to put in at least $25.

Other than that, it’s a pretty typical basic savings account. You can also open “Supplemental Savings” accounts, which are essentially just multiple Share Savings accounts. This is handy if you want to parse out all your different savings goals. You could have one Supplemental Savings account each for car savings and one for vacation savings, for example. Each Supplemental Savings account doesn’t require a minimum deposit, so you can get started saving right away.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Membership Share Savings account

This is the account that everyone starts with at Blue Federal Credit Union. To apply, you’ll need to provide your Social Security Number, address, valid ID, and the routing number for your current bank.

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Sky High Savings

This account offers a simple, no-strings-attached way to earn a good interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.30%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

This unique account proclaims to offer an easy way to earn a high interest rate with no catch, and from what we can tell, there really aren’t any catches. You can put in as much as you want, with no minimum or maximum balance amounts. There are no monthly fees either.

About the only thing limited on this account are your withdrawals. You’re limited up to six certain withdrawals per month — to be fair, these limits are imposed by federal regulations and apply to all savings and money market accounts. You can get around these limits by making withdrawals in person, to pay a Blue Federal Credit Union loan, by mail, or by ATM, because these types of withdrawals are unlimited.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Sky High Savings account

You can apply for this account after you become a member. To become a member, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account (so, you’ll need to open at least two savings accounts to complete the process).

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Accelerated Savings

This savings account offers an ultra-high interest rate — but only on the first $1,000.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
5.00%
$25 to $1,000
0.10%
Over $1,000.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

You can earn a very high interest rate with this savings account, but there’s only one catch: That high interest rate is limited to just the first $1,000 in the account. Still, it’s an especially good account for people just getting started with their savings, because you’ll see interest compound a lot faster than with a normal savings account.

There are a few requirements to earn the interest rate, however. First, you’ll need to have at least $25 in the account; balances under $25 don’t earn anything. Second, you’ll need to set up a monthly deposit into the account of at least $5 per month (and no, the interest payments don’t count toward this).

If you can maintain these two requirements each month, your interest payment will be deposited into your account on a monthly basis; if you don’t meet the requirements, you won’t earn any interest at all. You’re also limited up to six certain withdrawals per month as per federal Regulation D, but withdrawals made by ATM, by mail, in person, or to pay a Blue Federal Credit Union loan don’t count towards this limit.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Accelerated Savings account

You can sign up for this account if you’re already a member of Blue Federal Credit Union. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll first need to apply for membership. To seal the deal, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account. After that, you can open this account.

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Christmas Club Savings

For a Christmas Club account, this offers a very good interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.25%
$25-$5,000
0.10%
Over $5,000.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

Going into debt over the holidays is about as American as apple pie — but it doesn’t have to be. This account can help you save up for the holidays so you don’t go into debt. The idea is that you open it early so you can save throughout the year. Then in mid-October — on International Credit Union Day, celebrated on the third Thursday in October — the full balance is paid out into your Share Savings account. You can then transfer it into your checking account just in time to spend it over the holiday shopping season.

Lest you be tempted to pull the money out too early, the credit union imposes a pretty stiff penalty. If you make any withdrawals at all, the entire account will be closed and you’ll forfeit the most recent interest payment. You also won’t be eligible to open another Christmas Club Savings account in the same year.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Christmas Club Savings account

You can open this account at any time by applying online or at a local Blue Federal Credit Union branch, if you happen to live in Cheyenne, Laramie, or northern Colorado. You’ll need to provide the credit union with your address, Social Security Number, and a valid ID in order to open an account. You’ll also need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account.

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How Blue Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

The savings accounts offered at Blue Federal Credit Union are a bit yin-and-yang. Unsurprisingly, its mainstay Share Savings account doesn’t offer a very good interest rate. In fact, we’d say it’s downright poor.

But its Christmas Club and Accelerated Savings accounts do offer out-of-this-world rates, with a catch: That high interest rate only applies up to a certain balance amount. Its Sky High Savings account does offer a good all-around rate on all balance levels, but it’s still possible to find even higher interest rates (like with one of these online savings accounts). But as far as credit unions go, it’s actually quite a good rate.

Overall, we’d say that if you prefer to bank with a local credit union, these savings accounts are excellent choices (especially compared to many big-name banks that operate branches on every street corner). But again, you can always find higher-earning accounts elsewhere.

Blue Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Term Shares

These interest rates aren’t really that great, even if you qualify for the top-tier levels.
TermSilver Members APYGold Members APYSapphire Members APY
6 months0.90%
0.80%
1.05%
12 months1.35%
1.05%
1.30%
24 months1.75%
1.50%
1.75%
30 months expandable1.85%
1.30%
1.55%
36 month1.95%
1.55%
1.80%
48 month2.10%
1.70%
1.95%
60 month2.25%
2.00%
2.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your CD’s term length:
    • If you have a 6-month or 12-month CD, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • If you have a 24-month or 36-month CD, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • If you have a 48-month or 60-month CD, you’ll pay 240 days’ worth of interest

You can earn one of three different levels of interest rates with these CDs, depending on which Rewards program you fall into: as mentioned earlier, Blue Federal Credit Union awards you points for things like how long you’ve had your account open and how many accounts you have. Everyone by default has at least one point since your membership comes with a Share Savings account, so you’ll at least qualify for the lowest-tier interest rates.

Once you open your CD, you generally won’t be able to make any additional deposits, unless you have the 30-month expandable CD. This one allows you to make as many deposits as you want, but you’ll still need to wait until the CD matures before you can withdraw any money penalty-free.

Unlike many CDs, these ones don’t automatically renew when they mature. Instead, Blue Federal Credit Union will contact you in advance of your CD maturing to find out what you want to do. You can either have the CD deposited into another account, or set it up to open into a new CD once it matures.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Term Shares

Unlike many of its accounts, Blue Federal Credit Union doesn’t support online applications for its CDs. Instead, you’ll have to contact the credit union directly to sign up for an account.

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How Blue Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

This credit union may offer good rates on its checking and savings accounts, but it falls short in the interest rate department for its CDs. The current best CD accounts are offering rates two to three times higher than Blue Federal Credit Union. Even if you qualify for the highest Rewards tier, the interest rates offered on other CDs are much, much better than with these accounts.

One important point we’d like to make is about Blue Federal Credit Union’s 30-month expandable CD. At first glance it sounds like a good deal because you can keep depositing money into it whenever you want. But compare the interest rate of this CD to Blue Federal Credit Union’s Sky High Savings — that savings account has an even higher interest rate, and you’re not limited to making a withdrawal to once every 30 months. We’d instead steer you to that account if the expandable CD sounds like something you’d be interested in.

Blue Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market

This money market account offers lower rates than on many of Blue Federal Credit Union’s other accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$1,000-$14,999.99
0.20%
$15,000-$24,999.99
0.25%
$25,000-$74,999.99
0.35%
$75,000-$99,999.99
0.45%
Over $100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

Given that Blue Federal Credit Union’s Sky High Savings account offers a much, much better rate than this money market account (and on all balance amounts, not just high ones), we’re not really sure why you’d want to open this money market savings account. About the only thing it offers that’s different from a savings account is the ability to write checks directly from the money market account.

Still, this isn’t a full-fledged checking account: it still falls under the rules of federal Regulation D, so you are allowed to make up to six certain withdrawals in a month (including by check). You can, however, make an unlimited number of withdrawals by mail, in person, at an ATM, or to pay a Blue Federal Credit Union loan.

Blue Federal Credit Union says that you do need to keep at least $1,000 in the account in order to earn the interest rates associated with this money market account; you can drop your balance below that level, but then the credit union will pay you the Share Savings rates instead. Since the Share Savings rates are currently the same as the lowest tier on this money market account, that means there’s essentially no minimum balance needed to earn interest. Feel free to drop the balance as low as you like.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Money Market account

If you do decide you want this account, you can apply online in just a few minutes. You can also apply in person at a branch if you happen to live near one. Remember to bring your driver’s license or government ID, since you’ll need it to open an account. You’ll also need to deposit at least $5 in a Share Savings account to complete setting up your membership.

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Ultra Money Market

Getting warmer, rate-wise — but still way off.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$2,500-$99,999.99
0.55%
Over $100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 per item. You can also designate an overdraft protection account or line of credit. If you do this, any transfers to cover overdrafts are free.

Again, we’ve noticed a trend with this account: it’s supposed to pay a higher interest rate (and it does), but it’s still far below even Blue Federal Credit Union’s own Sky High Savings account. So unless you really want to be able to write checks from your savings-type account and are willing to sacrifice higher interest payments for it, we suggest opening the Sky High Savings account instead.

This account also says you need to keep at least $2,500 packed away, lest you be relegated to earning the lowly Share Savings rates. But since those poor rates are the same that this account currently offers (unless you have a huge whopping balance of at least $100,000), that means there’s essentially no penalty for keeping however much you want in here.

That means this account is probably best for folks who a) keep a balance larger than $100,000, and b) want to be able to write checks from the account. You can only write a limited number of checks, however, since federal Regulation D rules limit this account up to six certain withdrawals per month. Still, you can get around these limits by making your withdrawals in person, by ATM, by mail, or to pay a Blue Federal Credit Union loan, since these don’t fall under Regulation D.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s Ultra Money Market account

Before you can open an Ultra Money Market account, you’ll need to apply for membership. This entails depositing at least $5 in a Share Savings account and completing an application. You’ll need to provide details like your Social Security Number, address, a government ID and the routing number for your current bank (that’s one hefty transfer to make to open the account, after all).

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How Blue Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Money market accounts are another product category that Blue Federal Credit Union doesn’t do that well. Its money market accounts are currently paying out around four times less than many of the best money market accounts available today.

Blue Federal Credit Union offers much better interest rates on its own savings accounts. Normally it’s the other way around — money market accounts offer higher interest rates than savings accounts — but not at this credit union. That’s why we suggest looking elsewhere for a money market account, or at least opening one of Blue Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts instead if you’re looking to earn higher interest rates.

Blue Federal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD

We don’t recommend Blue Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs because they come with extra fees.
TermSilver Members APYGold Members APYSapphire Members APY
6 months0.90%
0.80%
1.05%
12 months1.35%
1.05%
1.30%
24 months1.75%
1.50%
1.75%
36 month1.95%
1.55%
1.80%
48 month 2.10%
1.70%
1.95%
60 month2.25%
2.00%
2.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your IRA CD’s term length:
    • If you have a 6-month or 12-month CD, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • If you have a 24-month or 36-month CD, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • If you have a 48-month or 60-month CD, you’ll pay 240 days’ worth of interest

Blue Federal Credit Union offers IRA CDs for those interested in saving up for retirement within an NCUA-insured account. One of the nice things about these IRA CDs is that you can make deposits at any time into the IRA CD. This essentially makes it just a high-interest savings account that you can only withdraw from once the term length is up. Most banks don’t allow you to deposit money into IRA CDs after it’s open, so this is definitely a pro for this account.

But balancing out that pro, there’s a con. Unlike at most banks, this IRA CD comes with an annual fee: $10, to be exact. And if you ever want to roll over the money in your IRA to another bank or investment institution, there’ll be a $25 transfer fee.

Blue Federal Credit Union will contact you before your IRA CD matures to see what you want to do with it. You can opt to transfer it to another IRA at that point (be mindful of the $25 transfer fee), or you can open another IRA CD. It does not automatically renew like most IRA CDs, meaning that this is a more hands-on IRA CD than most — you can’t just set it and forget it.

How to get Blue Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs

If you still choose to open a Blue Federal Credit Union IRA CD, despite the high fees, you’ll need to either head to a local Blue Federal Credit Union branch or contact them by phone. The credit union does not support online applications for these accounts, unfortunately.

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How Blue Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Just like with its regular CDs, Blue Federal Credit Union falls behind in the interest rate department with its IRA CDs. This is unfortunate, since it’s already hard for most folks to save enough for retirement; offering subpar interest rates doesn’t help that situation out much.

Instead, we recommend these IRA CDs because they offer much higher interest rates that will help you save even more for retirement.

Another reason to skip Blue Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs is because they come with unavoidable fees. This is something we haven’t seen with many (or any, really) banks or credit unions before — IRA annual and transfer fees are commonplace with equity investments like stocks and index funds, but not with regular ol’ bank accounts.

Overall review of Blue Federal Credit Union’s products

We really like Blue Federal Credit Union for a few of its accounts — namely, its checking and savings accounts generally do offer very good interest rates and low fees. We especially like that the credit union doesn’t charge ATM fees (and even reimburses fees that other ATMs charge in some cases), it offers a fee-free way to get around overdrafts by linking up an overdraft transfer account and carries no monthly fees on these accounts.

What it doesn’t do so well is its money market, CD, and IRA CD accounts. In terms of the money market accounts — you can do much better with Blue Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts, so why bother? Its CDs and IRA CDs also offer subpar interest rates, and that’s even further compounded with annual and transfer fees that come along with each IRA CD. Save your time and take your business elsewhere for these products.

All in all, Blue Federal Credit Union is a great choice for your everyday banking needs. But for longer-term savings accounts, we suggest opening an account at a higher-yielding institution. They won’t be hard to find, especially if you look online.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Checking

You don’t need to pay any monthly maintenance fee, but the low rates aren’t worth it.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1,500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $1 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $27.50

The Free Checking account doesn’t offer much in the way of interest, but you get perks such as no monthly maintenance fees, a Visa debit card, and online and mobile banking. If you’re 60 or older, you may qualify for the Senior Account which has the same features as the Free Checking account, but you also get two boxes of custom checks each year and money orders for free.

You can enroll in overdraft protection by linking your savings and checking accounts together. Austin Telco Federal Credit Union will make transfers in $50 increments and charge you $5 each time for this service. The bill pay feature lets you pay up to 15 bills each month, and then it’ll cost you $0.35 each afterwards.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s Free Checking Account

You can apply for a Free Checking account in person or by completing an online application form. First, indicate how you’re eligible to become a member, then fill out personal details such as your name, address and Social Security number. After agreeing to open a Share Savings account to establish membership, you can then fund the account.

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How Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s checking account compares

There’s not much to say except that the rate earned on the Free Checking account is extremely low. You could also be paying a lot in ATM fees if you travel frequently and end up using a lot of out-of-network machines.

There are better alternatives among our list of checking accounts that offer higher rates, free checks and ATM refunds.

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

All members need to open this account to establish membership.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Also called a Share Savings account, opening this account is mandatory for all Austin Telco Federal Credit Union members. Your $25 minimum opening deposit needs to remain in the account as long as you’re a member — that represents your ownership share in Austin Telco Federal Credit Union.

There is no ATM access unless you decide to open a Free Checking account, and you can also link these two together for overdraft protection. Don’t forget that Federal Regulation D limits you up to six certain withdrawals a month. If you go over that amount — with the exception of in-person or ATM withdrawals — Austin Telco Federal Credit Union will deny the transaction.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s Regular Savings account

To open a Regular Savings account, head to your nearest branch or complete an online application form. After indicating how you qualify for membership, fill in details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Then provide a U.S. checking or savings account or a credit or debit card to fund the account.

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on Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s savings account compares

We like the low minimum opening balance and that there are no monthly maintenance fees, but the APY is a pittance compared to online competitors. That, plus this account requires a higher minimum balance to earn the advertised APY, whereas ones on our list of the best savings accounts don’t.

If you’re after a high-yield savings account, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Share Certificate

These CDs offer decent rates compared to other competitors
$1,000 minimum deposit
TermAPY
6 months1.11%
12 months1.51%
18 months1.56%
24 months1.71%
36 months1.81%
48 months1.86%
60 months1.91%
$95,000 minimum deposit (Jumbo Certificate)
TermAPY
6 months1.21%
12 months1.61%
18 months1.66%
24 months1.76%
36 months1.86%
48 months1.91%
60 months1.96%
$225,000 minimum deposit (Super Jumbo Certificate)
TermAPY
6 months1.31%
12 months1.76%
18 months1.81%
24 months1.86%
36 months1.96%
48 months2.02%
60 months2.07%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1000, $95,000 or $225,000, depending on the CD you wish to open.
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1000, $95,000 or $225,000 depending on the CD you have.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term
    • 12 months or less – 90 days interest
    • More than 12 months – 180 days interest

The current APYs on these CDs aren’t half bad — some are on par or just slightly lower than online competitors. Interest is compounded and credited quarterly.

Upon maturity, you’ll receive a 15-day grace period where you can make changes such as making additional deposits, withdrawals or renewing for another term. Otherwise, it’ll automatically be renewed after the grace period. It’s best to double check with Austin Telco Federal Credit Union first, but most of their CDs give you the option to either transfer interest earned into your Regular Savings or Free Checking account, paid via check or kept in the CD.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s CDs

Head to the nearest branch to open a CD. If you’re not a member, you’ll need to become one by opening a Regular Savings account with a $25 minimum opening deposit. Don’t forget to bring along important documentation such as your Social Security number, government-issued ID and a check to fund the account.

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on Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union makes up for their checking and savings accounts by offering decent CD rates. Depending on the term, they’re comparable to competitors, either on par or falling a few basis points lower.

The downside is that there are restrictive membership requirements, so if you don’t want to open a savings account or live near a branch then you have no choice but to pick an alternative like our top CD account picks.

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market

There is no ATM or check writing capabilities, plus the rate is low.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.35%
$2,000
0.40%
$25,000
0.45%
$75,000
0.55%
$125,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Money Market account isn’t meant to be an everyday account considering the only way to access funds is via telephone banking, online transfers or going to a local branch. You can’t link it to a checking account for ATM access, and there is no check writing option. On top of that, these rates are low if you compare them with online competitors.

There are no limits as to how many withdrawals you can make per month in person, but Regulation D limits you up to six certain transfers a month via preauthorized transfers, telephone or online banking. If you attempt to make more using either of those methods, Austin Telco Federal Credit Union will deny your transaction.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s Money Market account

You have two choices in opening these accounts: in person or online. If you choose to go the online route, go to their online application page and indicate how you qualify for membership. The rest of the application form will ask you to agree to open a Regular Savings account to establish membership ($25 minimum opening deposit) and for personal details such as your name, address, Social Security number. Once you complete this section, fund your new accounts.

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on Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

While it’s nice that you get a higher rate of return compared to the Share Savings or Free Checking account, we’re still not impressed. Other accounts we’ve reviewed offer much higher rates and some with lower minimum balance requirements. Many also offer ATM access and limited check writing capabilities.

Even if you’re using this account to stash away funds for a rainy day — meaning you don’t care about check writing and ATM access — you’re still better off finding another money market accounts, like these ones offering some of the best money market rates.

Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

IRA Share Certificate

The IRA CDs are essentially the same as the normal CDs, except there is no super jumbo option.
$1,000 minimum deposit
TermAPY
6 months1.11%
12 months1.51%
18 months1.56%
24 months1.71%
36 months1.81%
48 months1.86%
60 months1.91%
$95,000 minimum deposit (Jumbo Certificate)
TermAPY
6 months1.21%
12 months1.61%
18 months1.66%
24 months1.76%
36 months1.86%
48 months1.91%
60 months1.96%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $95,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $95,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term
    • 12 months or less – 90 days interest
    • More than 12 months – 180 days interest

These retirement accounts are a decent option to consider if you want something that offers a guaranteed rate of return. You can choose from either a Traditional or Roth IRA CD. Like the normal CDs, interest is compounded and credited quarterly.

Once your IRA CD matures, your account will automatically be renewed unless you make changes. There is a 15-day grace period in which to do so, whether it’s making additional deposits, withdrawals or moving your money to a different type of retirement account. There may be restrictions when it comes to how much more you can deposit into an IRA account, so check with the IRS for the latest regulations. You’ll also want to be careful when it comes to withdrawals because you may have to pay a penalty and/or taxes on money you take out before you’re 59 ½ years old.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs

You’ll need to open an IRA CD in person. Don’t forget to provide information such as your Social Security number and a method to fund your account. If you’re not an existing member of Austin Telco Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to establish membership by opening a Regular Savings account with a minimum $25 deposit.

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on Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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IRA Share Savings

This account offers a low minimum opening deposit and no monthly fees.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.40%
$25
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The IRA savings account can be a great option if you want some flexibility instead of tying up your money in an IRA CD. The low minimum opening amount makes it more accessible compared to the $1,000 minimum required for an IRA CD.

There is no ATM access but it doesn’t really make sense to make frequent withdrawals since this account is meant to help you stash retirement funds anyway. Remember that the IRS regulates how much you can deposit each year plus when you can make withdrawals, so check the current regulations before moving funds.

How to get Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s IRA savings account

To open an IRA savings account, head to the nearest branch. You’ll need to provide details like your Social Security number, government-issued ID and a way to fund the account. If you’re not an existing member, you’ll need to open a Regular Savings account to establish membership.

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on Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Unfortunately, these IRA CD rates fall short compared to the best IRA CD rates we’ve seen. As well, the minimum opening deposit is higher than other accounts we’ve reviewed. If you’re already a member of Austin Telco Federal Credit Union and do regular banking with them, it may make sense to open an IRA CD. For the rest, the restrictive membership requirements may not be worth it.

Overall review of Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s banking products

We think Austin Telco Federal Credit Union’s CDs are worth looking into as the rates are comparable to other places. However, the rest of their accounts leave much to be desired.

Sure, there are no monthly maintenance fees with their checking, savings and money market accounts, but the rates are a fraction of what you could be earning elsewhere. You’re also limited to a few hundred surcharge-free ATMs, making it hard to avoid fees if you want to use your debit card while traveling. If you want to open any account, you’re limited to strict membership requirements, including opening a savings account.

Overall, we’d give a pass on these products as there are better options elsewhere.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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Reviews

OneUnited Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

OneUnited Bank’s checking account options

UNITY E-Gold Checking

Be careful about this account’s monthly fee — it’s really high.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $20, unless you meet the requirements to waive the fee. If you opt for paper statements, you’ll be charged another $2 per month.
  • ATM fee: None. However, you may still have to pay a surcharge fee from the ATM owner.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $37 per item, on up to six items per day. However, the bank won’t charge you this fee unless your account is overdrawn by more than $10. If you set up a backup account for overdraft protection, you’ll instead pay $15 per transfer.

This is OneUnited Bank’s premium-level checking account. Unfortunately, this account does not allow you to use paper checks. You’ll have to do all of your transactions via debit card, ATM cash withdrawal or online transfer. If you need to deposit a check that someone’s written to you, however, you can still deposit it with the bank’s mobile app.

This checking account comes with a pretty steep monthly fee. You can get it waived in one of two ways, however. If you keep at least $5,000 in your checking account, you won’t have to pay the fee. Similarly, if you make at least 10 debit card transactions and receive a direct deposit, you won’t have to pay the fee for that month.

The main benefit of opening this checking account is that you can earn interest on your balance, as long as you have at least $100 in your account. There aren’t any other perks that come with this account, such as rewards or ATM surcharge fee reimbursements.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Gold Checking account

You can open the UNITY E-Gold Checking account online. You’ll need to be a U.S. citizen and send in a copy of your driver’s license to apply for an account.

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on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

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UNITY E-Style Checking

This checking account is cheaper than the bank’s UNITY E-Gold Checking account but doesn’t earn interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, unless you meet the requirements to waive the fee. If you opt for paper statements, you’ll be charged another $2 per month.
  • ATM fee: None. However, you may still have to pay a surcharge fee from the ATM owner.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $37 per item, on up to six items per day. However, the bank won’t charge you this fee unless your account is overdrawn by more than $10. If you set up a backup account for overdraft protection, you’ll instead pay $15 per transfer.

This checking account is a little bit cheaper, but it still ranks as an expensive account. You can get the fee waived if you keep at least $500 in the account, however, or if you make at least 10 debit card transactions and receive at least one direct deposit each month.

This checking account also comes with several limitations. It doesn’t earn any interest, and you won’t be able to write paper checks with this account. Again, you’ll have to make all of your transactions digitally, with a debit card or by withdrawing cash from an ATM — although if someone writes you a check, you can deposit it into your account through the bank’s mobile app.

Other than that, this account doesn’t offer anything special.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Style Checking account

You can apply for this account online. You’ll need to be a U.S. citizen and have a valid driver’s license that you can copy and send in to the bank to verify your identity. If you already have an account with OneUnited Bank, you can simply log into the online banking page and opening this account as well.

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on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

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U2 E-Checking

This is a second-chance account designed for people who’ve had problems being approved for a checking account in the past.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12, plus an extra $2 if you want your paper statement mailed to you each month.
  • ATM fee: None. However, you may still have to pay a surcharge fee from the ATM owner.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $37 per item, on up to six items per day. However, the bank won’t charge you this fee unless your account is overdrawn by more than $10. If you set up a backup account for overdraft protection, you’ll instead pay $15 per transfer.

Have you had trouble managing your checking account in the past, such as frequently overdrawing your account? If so, you might be surprised to find out that your checkered past can prevent you from getting another checking account in the future. If that’s the case, you may still be able to qualify for a second-chance checking account like this one at OneUnited Bank.

That’s not to say this is a nice account, however. It comes with a $12 monthly fee, and there’s no way to get the charge waived like you can with the bank’s other checking accounts. If you opt for this account, we suggest opening a fee-free checking account as soon as you’re able to qualify for one. Like the rest of OneUnited Bank’s online checking accounts, you won’t be issued any paper checks with this account. You must do all of your transactions entirely online, by debit card, or by withdrawing cash from an ATM.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s U2 E-Checking account

To open this account, you’ll need to apply online. You’ll also be required to send in a copy of your driver’s license to the bank so it can verify your I.D.

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on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

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How OneUnited Bank’s checking accounts compare

OneUnited Bank only offers one interest-bearing checking account. While this rate is higher than average, it’s still not that great of an interest rate.

Furthermore, all of these accounts come with very high fees and few other perks. The bank will argue that it is possible to get the monthly fee waived for these checking accounts (except for its second-chance checking account, that is). And while that is true, that also still conveniently leaves the door open for them to charge you fees later if you aren’t able to meet the requirements each month, every month. That’s also to say nothing of the inconvenience of not being able to write a physical, paper check if you need it.

Instead, if you’re willing to do your banking online, why not choose one of these on our list of the best online checking accounts instead? These banks and credit unions won’t charge high fees and will offer you higher interest payments.

OneUnited Bank’s savings account options

UNITY E-Gold Savings

OneUnited Bank asks for a lot of money in order to make this account worth your while.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$1,000-$24,999.99
0.40%
$25,000-$99,999.99
0.50%
Over $100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, unless you keep at least $2,500 in the account.
  • ATM fee: None. However, you may still have to pay a surcharge fee from the ATM owner.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $37 per item, on up to six items per day. However, the bank won’t charge you this fee unless your account is overdrawn by more than $10. If you set up a backup account for overdraft protection, you’ll instead pay $15 per transfer.

If you want to earn the highest rates possible on a savings account at OneUnited Bank, this account is your best bet. You’ll need to pack a lot of cash to open it, however. This account requires at least $1,000 to open the account, and you’ll need to keep at least that much in there to earn interest. We recommend waiting until you’ve got a larger amount of money saved up — at least $2,500 — because if you have anything less than this in your account, you’ll be charged a $5 monthly fee.

Like all savings accounts, this one is governed by federal rules that state you can only make six convenient (check, draft, debit card, telephone, internet, and preauthorized transfers) withdrawals per month from the account without penalty. You can make more than that, but you’ll be charged a $20 slap for each extra withdrawal beyond the sixth in a month. Cash withdrawals, however, are unlimited.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Gold Savings account

As long as you’re a U.S. citizen, you can apply for this account online. You’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license with the application.

LEARN MORE Secured

on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

UNITY E-Style Savings

This savings account is better for folks who don’t have a lot of money saved up yet.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%
$200
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $200
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, unless you receive at least one direct deposit into the account each month or have at least $200 in your account.
  • ATM fee: None. However, you may still have to pay a surcharge fee from the ATM owner.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $37 per item, on up to six items per day. However, the bank won’t charge you this fee unless your account is overdrawn by more than $10. If you set up a backup account for overdraft protection, you’ll instead pay $15 per transfer.

If you’re just starting out on your savings journey, you might not have the required $1,000 to open up a UNITY E-Gold Savings account. If that’s the case, this account might be a better fit for you. It only requires a $100 minimum opening deposit. But again, you may want to wait until you have a bit more saved. That’s because if you aren’t able to keep at least $200 in the account or receive at least one direct deposit, you’ll have to pay a $5 monthly fee. Given the low interest rate that this account offers, the monthly fees may eat away at your bank account balance over time.

You also are only allowed six certain transactions per month with this account due to federal Regulation D without penalty. If you need to make more than that, you’ll have to pay a $20 per withdrawal fee, which won’t be any fun. This doesn’t apply to cash withdrawals, however.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Style Savings account

If you already have another account with OneUnited Bank, opening this account is as simple as logging into the online banking page and opening this account as well. If you’re not yet a OneUnited Bank customer, you’ll need to apply for this account online.

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on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

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How OneUnited Bank’s savings accounts compare

OneUnited Bank’s savings accounts follow a similar pattern as its interest-bearing checking account. Its UNITY Gold Savings account offers a higher-than-average rate, but it’s still a long ways off from being what we’d really call a “good” interest rate. Its UNITY E-Style Savings account, on the other hand, currently offers a lower-than-average interest rate. If earning the highest interest rates are what’s important to you, then we’d recommend one of these on our list of the best online savings accounts instead.

Furthermore, we don’t like the fact that these accounts come with monthly fees that you’ll always need to be on the lookout for.

OneUnited Bank’s CD rates

UNITY Gold E-CDs

OneUnited Bank doesn’t give you very many choices or very good interest rates with these CDs.
TermAPY  Minimum Balance to Earn APY
120 days0.20%
$500
120 days0.20%
$250,000
1 year0.90%
$500
1 year0.90%
$250,000
2 years0.90%
$500
2 years0.95%
$250,000
4 years0.90%
$500
4 years1.00%
$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For the 120-day CD, you’ll pay three months’ worth of interest. For the one- and two-year CDs, you’ll pay six months’ worth of interest. For the four-year CD, you’ll pay one year’s worth of interest.

You get only four options for term lengths with OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Gold CDs. There are also two interest rate tiers depending on how much you deposit into the CD (with $250,000 as the dividing line), however both tiers are currently offering the same interest rate for each term length offered.

It’s also important to note that even if OneUnited Bank does ever offer a higher interest rate on its $250,000 and up CD, it’s generally not a good idea to keep that much money on deposit with any one bank. FDIC insurance only covers you up to a maximum $250,000. Banks can and do fail, and if you have more than the maximum insured on deposit, you could lose your money if OneUnited Bank ever goes under.

When your CD matures, OneUnited Bank will automatically renew it for another term. You will have the option of withdrawing the money during a short 10-day grace period after it matures, however.

How to get OneUnited Bank’s UNITY E-Gold CDs

You can open these CDs by applying for them online if you’re a U.S. citizen. You’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license so that the bank can verify your identity.

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on OneUnited Bank’s secure website

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How OneUnited Bank’s CD rates compare

We’re sad to report that the rates OneUnited Bank offers on its CDs are far below those of other banks. CDs can be a great way to save and earn higher rates long-term, but because you are setting money aside for the long run, we always recommend seeking out the highest interest rates possible. After all, you can’t move your money without paying penalties if you change your mind later.

That’s why we recommend these top-yielding CDs instead if you’re looking for a place to stash your cash long-term. You’ll earn far more money with these CDs, so you can reach your financial goals faster than you can with OneUnited Bank.

Overall review of OneUnited Bank’s banking products

OneUnited Bank makes a great promise: helping to provide financial services to the underserved African-American community.

But in terms of deposit products, this bank doesn’t appear too different than the big-name banks out there. Its bank accounts generally do provide higher-than-average rates, but just barely. And when you compare these rates to the top-yielding banks, OneUnited Bank is left in the dust by the competition.

Another strike against OneUnited Bank is the amount of fees it charges for its bank accounts. For example, its UNITY E-Gold Checking account comes with a $20 monthly fee. That’s a lot of cash to take away from customers.

At the end of the day, even though this bank has a noble mission, you need to know that it’s still privately owned. That means that the bank is still beholden primarily to its owners, and not to you.

Whether you decide to go along with OneUnited Bank’s low rates and high fees in support of its mission is up to you. We’ve provided you with the full picture for how this bank’s accounts work and how the bank operates, and now the ball’s in your court.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here