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

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

SAFE Credit Union’s checking account options

Perfect Cents Checking

This checking account bears interest and charges a waivable monthly service fee.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.85%First $1,000
0.01%$1,000.01 and more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, can be waived
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Perfect Cents Checking account offers tiered, split-rate interest. The portion of your balance that falls in the first tier earns a higher interest rate, while the portion of your balance that exceeds that tier earns the lower interest rate. In order to earn dividends, you have to be actively enrolled in e-statements and have at least 10 debit or credit card purchases post on your monthly statement.

In order to waive the monthly fee that comes with this account, you must meet those same requirements, or you must have direct deposits of at least $500 coming into your account each month. If you’re under age 21, these requirements are waived.

We prefer accounts with no monthly fees. We also prefer checking accounts that offer ATM fee refunds, although with a network of 30,000 fee-free ATMs, it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid fees. Plus, you’ll earn a generous interest rate on your first $1,000 in this account as long as you meet the requirements. If you’re a fairly active account holder and know you’ll use your debit card more than 10 times each month, this checking account is a good offer.

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Prestige Checking

Earn interest at no monthly fee if you can maintain a high daily balance.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%Under $2,000
0.05%$2,000 - $9,999.99
0.10%$10,000 - $24,999.99
0.10%$25,000 - $49,999.99
0.15%$50,000 and over
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8, can be waived
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

Like the Perfect Cents Checking account, the Prestige Checking offers interest and comes with a monthly fee. You might be able to earn more interest with this account if you have a higher balance, but it also comes with a higher monthly service fee. Rather than waiving the monthly service fee by meeting a certain number of monthly transactions, you must maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,000. Alternatively, you can get the monthly fee waived if you have a combined deposit and loan balance of at least $5,000. Capitol Club and Premier Club members will have the monthly fee automatically waived.

This account comes with the same ATM fees and free CO-OP ATM usage as SAFE Credit Union’s other checking accounts. You’ll also get one box of free checks per calendar year.

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Capitol Checking

Earn the highest checking account interest rates SAFE Credit Union offers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.75%First $25,000
0.05%$25,000.01 and more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This checking account charges no monthly fee and receives the highest interest rate of any of SAFE Credit Union’s checking accounts. However, there are some requirements you must meet in order to open this account and receive interest.

The Capitol Checking account is exclusive to Capitol Club members. In order to be eligible to join the Capitol Club, you must have a checking account with SAFE Credit Union and hold a combined balance of $100,000 between deposit and loan balances. A minimum of $25,000 must be maintained in deposit accounts. Joining will give you access to this account, waive the monthly fee on one checking account and get you a range of other perks such as premium dividends on certificates, prioritized service and free checks.

In order to receive interest on this account, you must be actively enrolled in e-statements, have monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, and process at least 12 debit or credit purchase transactions on a monthly basis.

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Freedom Checking

A basic, no monthly fee checking account that doesn’t earn interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Freedom Checking account is great for folks who want a no-frills checking account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee. While this account doesn’t earn any interest, you’ll still get access to 30,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, and you don’t have to worry about maintaining a minimum balance or meeting a certain number of monthly transactions.

It’s worth noting that you won’t get any free checks with this account, and the price of check orders varies. However, if you don’t use checks regularly, free checks shouldn’t be a priority. Finally, if you want paper statements, you’ll be charged a $2 fee each month that you receive them.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s checking accounts

You can apply for a SAFE Credit Union checking account online by filling out a brief application form. If you’re already a member, simply log into your SAFE Credit Union account to open a new checking account. If not, you’ll have to select your membership eligibility and open up a Share Savings account along with the checking account of your choice.

The only checking account that can’t be opened online by new members is the Capitol Checking account, as it requires you to first become a Capitol Club member. To become a Capitol Club member, you’ll want to discuss your qualifications with a representative over the phone or in person.

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How SAFE Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

We like the variety of options offered by SAFE Credit Union’s checking accounts, from a basic, free checking account that doesn’t bear interest to premium accounts that earn a generous APY if you can keep a high enough balance.

That being said, many of the best online checking accounts come with no monthly fees and no ATM fees. On top of that, most of them bear interest with no minimum balance amount, and the rates are often equal to or higher than the highest APYs offered by SAFE Credit Union’s checking accounts.

SAFE Credit Union’s savings account options

Share Savings account

This interest-bearing savings account charges a waivable monthly fee and earns premium dividends if it’s linked to a Perfect Cents Checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.08%$0.01
APY for Perfect Cents Checking customersMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.85%First $1,000
0.08%Over $1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, can be waived
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

SAFE Credit Union’s savings accounts are flexible, give you immediate access to your funds when you need them, and earn interest. Although, in most cases, the interest you earn will be minimal. One unique and helpful feature of their Share Savings Account is the ability to open additional Special Share savings accounts with custom names under their “You Name It” feature. This allows you to categorize your funds based on different savings goals.

The main drawback of this account is that it charges a monthly service fee if you’re 21 years of age or older. While the fee is low and can be waived, it’s still easier to go with a fee-free savings account. The fee is waived for the first six months of your account. After that, you’ll need to either have a combined average daily balance of at least $300, an active loan, monthly direct deposits of at least $25, at least 10 purchase transactions per month or a non-dividend savings account. Alternatively, if you’re actively saving as part of their Perfect Cents Savings program, you can also have the monthly service fee waived.

The Perfect Cents Savings program is for customers with both a SAFE Credit Union debit card and a savings account. Each time you make a purchase with your debit card, your purchase will automatically be rounded up to the next dollar, and the spare change will be deposited in your savings account.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s savings accounts

You can apply for a SAFE Credit Union savings account online by filling out a brief application form. You’ll have to select your eligibility and the accounts you’d like to open, and then submit personal information, including a government-issued ID, address and Social Security number.

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How SAFE Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

SAFE Credit Union’s savings accounts offer great flexibility and also come with some useful programs for helping you save more money. They also bear interest, and if you pair the account with their Perfect Cents Checking, you’ll even get a boost in APY.

However, the credit union doesn’t offer any fee-free savings accounts. When you look at the best online savings accounts, not only do most of them not charge monthly fees, but they also offer significantly higher interest rates. You can even find a few that offer free ATMs nationwide or worldwide.

SAFE Credit Union’s CD rates

Certificates

These CDs come in a wide range of terms and include attractive certificate specials.
TermAPY for balances of $500 - $24,999.99APY for balances of $25,000 or more
3-5 months0.20%0.25%
6-11 months0.30%0.35%
12-23 months0.50%0.60%
24-35 months0.55%0.80%
34 month certificate special2.53%2.53%
36-47 months0.80%1.00%
48-59 months1.06%1.21%
60-72 months1.21%1.31%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 12 months or less, the penalty is 90 days’ of interest. More than 12 months, the penalty is 120 days’ of interest.

If you’re looking for a certificate of deposit with SAFE Credit Union, you have a wide range of options with a relatively low minimum opening deposit. Terms start at three months and go all the way up to six years. Interest is tiered and generally increases as the term increases, and you’ll also get a higher rate if you have an extra high balance.

One difference is their certificate specials. They currently offer a 34 month certificate special with an APY significantly higher than what’s on offer from the rest of their certificates.

You can also take advantage of their bump-up certificates, which are offered in 12 or 24 month terms. If you have one of these certificates and rates increase during your term, your rate will increase accordingly.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s Certificates

To open a certificate with SAFE Credit Union, you can call them over the phone, visit a branch in person, or take advantage of their live chat system. There is no online application for certificates.

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Add-On Certificates

These CDs offerings give you flexibility through two special products.
TermAPY
12 months0.40%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ of interest

Add-on certificates with SAFE Credit Union only come in 12 month terms and offer a lower interest rate. However, they give you the option to continually add funds throughout the term of your certificate. They also have a much lower minimum opening deposit than the credit union’s regular certificates.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s Add-On Certificates

You can get an add-on certificate by working with a representative either over the phone or in person. They also offer an online live chat service through which you can speak with a representative.

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How SAFE Credit Union’s Certificate rates compare

SAFE Credit Union offers some interest certificate options, including certificate specials with bonus rates, bump-up certificates that allow you to take advantage of rate increases and add-on certificates for folks looking for lower minimum deposits and the ability to continually add money to their CD. It’s worth noting that Capitol Club members may be eligible to receive a 0.25% rate increase on certificates at the time of opening.

While they offer variety and flexibility, SAFE Credit Union doesn’t offer a high APY on most of their certificates. Compared with the best CD rates, many of which have similar minimum opening deposit requirements, their 34 month certificate special is the only one that can come close to competing. The rest, unfortunately, offer less than half of what you could get elsewhere.

SAFE Credit Union’s money market account options

Capitol Access Money Market

A money market account with no monthly fee and tiered interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%Under $2,000
0.05%$2,000 - $9,999.99
0.10%$10,000 - $24,999.99
0.15%$25,000 - $49,999.99
0.15%$50,000 - $99,999.99
0.15%$100,000 - $199,999.99
0.20%$200,000 - $499,999.99
0.25%$500,000 and more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12, can be waived
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This money market account comes with a higher monthly service fee than the credit union’s other savings accounts. It can be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of $2,000 or more, and it’s automatically waived if you’re a Capitol Club member. All customers holding this account earn interest.

Interest is paid monthly on this account, and your APY depends on the balance you hold. You’ll also get check-writing ability with this account, however, because it is a savings account, you can only clear six checks per month.

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Preferred Money Market

This account has monthly requirements to earn interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
2.53%First $2,000
0.30%$2,000 - $49,999.99
0.55%$50,000 - $99,999.99
0.65%$100,000 - $199,999.99
0.75%$200,000 - $499,999.99
0.85%$500,000 and more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12, can be waived
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This money market account has the same monthly service fee as the Capitol Access account, and can also be waived by maintaining an average daily balance of at least $2,000 or joining the Capital Club. You also have the same check-writing abilities.

However, this money market offers significantly higher dividends compared with the first, and you’ll earn a particularly high rate on your first $2,000. In exchange for a higher rate, there are some requirements you need to meed in order to earn interest. You need to be actively enrolled in e-statements and have at least 10 monthly debit or credit card purchase transactions under your membership account.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s Money Market account

You can open a money market account online by logging into your SAFE Credit Union membership account or applying for membership through their online form. You’ll be asked to state your eligibility requirements, choose an account and provide personal information such as your government-issued ID and Social Security number. You can also open an account over the phone or in person.

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How SAFE Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Both of SAFE Credit Union’s money market accounts charge a monthly service fee, and although it is waivable, we prefer free money market accounts. The Capitol Access Money Market account makes it easy to earn interest with no minimum balance requirement, but the interest you would earn is negligible.

On the other hand, the Preferred Money Market account comes closer to competing with the best money market rates, especially considering the generous APY you can earn on your first $2,000. If your balance is below that amount, this account is one of the best rates you’ll find. However, there are other banks that will earn you more interest on higher balances, and many of those don’t have a monthly service fee or require you to complete a certain number of monthly transactions in order to earn interest.

SAFE Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

An IRA CD with a minimum opening deposit requirement.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 12 months or less: 90 days’ of interest; more than 12 months: 120 days’ of interest

Much like SAFE Credit Union’s regular certificates, their IRA certificates require a minimum opening deposit and charge penalty rates that vary based on term. Most of their certificates are available for traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs, and rates are similar to those published on regular certificates, according to a customer service representative. You’ll have to call the credit union for up-to-date information on rates and terms for IRA certificates.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s IRA Certificates

You must first join SAFE Credit Union as a member and open a savings account before you can open a certificate. Once you’ve joined, you can open your IRA certificate by calling the bank or visiting them in person.

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How SAFE Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

The best IRA CD rates offer high returns for low minimum deposit amounts and come in a variety of terms. You’ll have to contact SAFE Credit Union to see exactly how their IRA CD rates compare.

Accumulation IRA Savings account

This interest-earning IRA savings account has no minimum balance requirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%Under $100,000
0.30%$100,000.01 - $199,999.99
0.35% $200,000 or more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: No charge at 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. Each non-CO-OP ATM transaction will be charged a $2 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Accumulation IRA Savings account has a low minimum opening deposit and no balance requirement to earn interest. However, the interest earned on this account is fairly low. Many of the credit union’s other savings options, and even some of their checking options, will earn higher dividends than this IRA account.

How to get SAFE Credit Union’s IRA savings account

You must first join SAFE Credit Union as a member before you can open an IRA savings account. Once you’ve joined, you’ll be able to open an IRA savings account by calling the bank or visiting in person.

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Overall review of SAFE Credit Union’s banking products

This credit union has some great low-fee, high-rate personal banking products that would be useful to a variety of different customers. Their checking account offerings are particularly impressive, with many of them offering generous interest rates for a checking account. While most of these accounts have a monthly fee, the fee isn’t too difficult to waive, and they do offer a free checking account that doesn’t bear interest.

SAFE Credit Union’s savings options aren’t bad, but they are less impressive. Many of them don’t offer competitive rates. However, they do have a couple interesting and worthwhile certificate products.

If you’re looking to join a credit union and live within this one’s geographic footprint, it’s a great option. You should be able to find a product that fits your needs, and their customer service was extremely helpful when we contacted them. However, if you’re open to joining an online bank, there are other places where you’re likely to find better rates and lower fees.

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