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Self-Help 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.

Self-Help Credit Union checking account option

Personal Checking account

A basic checking account that earns a small amount of interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
None
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, which can be waived if:
    • You are 65 or older, or 24 or younger;
    • Have monthly combined direct deposits of $500 or more into one or more Self-Help Credit Union accounts; or,
    • Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 or more across all your accounts with Self-Help Credit Union.
  • ATM fee: Six free withdrawals per month (at in-network or out-of-network ATMs); $1 thereafter. Other banks may charge additional fees.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25 each; $75 maximum per day

Although the monthly fee is comparatively low, if you’re not able to meet the requirements to waive it, you might be better off finding a checking account elsewhere with a better rate and no fees.

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How Self-Help Credit Union’s checking account compares

As we state in our roundup of the best online checking accounts, the greatest picks are those with no monthly fees and a decent interest rate. While it’s possible to waive the fee on this account, the requirements might be limiting for some people. And while this account does earn interest, the rate falls well below many of these better options.

Self-Help Credit Union’s savings account options

Basic Savings account

An interest-bearing savings account with no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
None
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Six free withdrawals per month (at in-network or out-of-network ATMs); $1 thereafter. Other banks or ATM owners may charge additional fees.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25 each; maximum of $75 per day

This account is a much better option than the checking account as it offers a higher rate and has no hoops for you to jump through to avoid a monthly fee. It also offers online and mobile banking services to allow you to manage your funds with ease. This account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals/transfers to six per month. Additional fees apply if you exceed this amount.

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Holiday Club and Custom Club accounts

Savings accounts that let you withdraw special funds at designated times.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
None
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25 each; maximum of $75 per day

These accounts allow you to save for a specific purpose or occasion, earn interest and then withdraw the money without penalty. If you designate it as a Holiday Club account, you will have access to your funds from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 of each year to put toward holiday expenses. There is a $10 early withdrawal penalty on the Holiday Club account if you choose to withdraw funds before this designated period. Otherwise, you can withdraw them at a time you determine when opening the Custom Club account, which is typically used to save for things like a vacation or a new car.

As with the regular savings account, these accounts also have online and mobile banking capabilities. Since they are savings accounts, they are subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions to six per month.

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How Self-Help Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

While Self-Help Credit Union’s savings account rates aren’t the highest compared with the best savings accounts out there, we can appreciate that they have no monthly fees or other hassles, and that the special savings accounts allow you to earn interest on money you’re socking away for occasions like the holidays. Still, we wouldn’t seek out Self-Help Credit Union specifically for a general savings account and advise that you hunt around for the best rate and better perks.

Self-Help Credit Union certificate rates

Term Certificates

Standard certificates in lengths from three months to five years.
TermAPYMinimum balance requirement
3 months0.25%
$500
6 months0.25%
$500
12 months2.12%
$500
18 months2.17%
$500
24 months2.22%
$500
36 months2.38%
$500
48 months2.43%
$500
60 months2.48%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of interest on terms of 12 months or less; 180 days’ worth of interest on terms longer than 12 months.

While these CDs don’t offer the highest rates out there, their minimum opening deposit is lower than many others. The early withdrawal penalty is pretty standard compared with others as well.

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How Self-Help Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Although the lower opening deposit requirement might appeal to some people, these rates really don’t compare with the best CDs available. We say consider some of the more competitive offerings on our best CDs list.

Self-Help Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market account

An interest-bearing money market account with minimal requirements.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.34%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None if minimum balance of $500 is maintained
  • ATM fee: $1 if you exceed six withdrawals per month
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25 each; maximum of $75 per day

This account also has minimal requirements and fees as you can easily avoid the monthly fee if you don’t withdraw funds and let your balance dip below the initial minimum deposit. It also comes with online and mobile banking capabilities and no additional fees on in-network ATMs. As with other savings accounts, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals and transfers to six per months. The credit union will impose a fee if you exceed that amount.

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How Self-Help Credit Union’s money market account compares

Self-Help Credit Union’s money market account is more than decent — it even made our list of the best money market rates available. Although it falls on the lower end of that roster, its lower minimum deposit requirement could still be a draw for many people.

Self-Help Credit Union IRAs

IRA CD rates

IRA Term Certificates

IRA certificates offering decent rates for terms ranging from one to five years.
TermAPYMinimum balance requirement
12 months2.12%
$500
18 months2.17%
$500
24 months2.22%
$500
36 months2.38%
$500
48 months2.43%
$500
60 months2.48%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of interest on terms of 12 months or less; 180 days’ worth of interest on terms longer than 12 months

Self-Help Credit Union’s IRA CDs allow members to put away funds for retirement in a low-risk certificate while earning a decent interest rate. These certificates also have a lower minimum deposit requirement than many other options available.

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How Self-Help Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

There’s no way around it: Self-Help Credit Union’s IRA CD rates are much lower than some of the best IRA CD rates out there. Even others with the same low deposit requirement still offer much better rates. We’d advise you to research other accounts to make sure you truly get the most out of your retirement savings.

IRA savings account

An interest-bearing IRA with a low minimum deposit.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
2.12%
None
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

If you’re on the hunt for a basic IRA savings account that allows you to earn interest, this could be a good option since it doesn’t have a monthly fee or any strict balance requirements. It’s available in both traditional and Roth versions, with the differences being their tax advantages. Since this is a savings account, it’s subject to Federal Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals and transfers to six per month.

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Overall review of Self-Help Credit Union’s banking products

Self-Help Credit Union’s Money Market account is its standout personal banking product, as it even made our best-of list for money market accounts. But on the whole, most of Self-Help Credit Union’s rates don’t beat out the competition. Many of the credit union’s products do have both minimal requirements and fees, so if you stand behind its mission of helping people and small businesses, and you meet one of the credit union’s eligibility requirements, you probably won’t regret becoming a member and supporting Self-Help Credit Union’s mission and causes.

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.

Emilia Benton
Emilia Benton |

Emilia Benton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emilia here

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Reviews

American Express Green Card Review

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 credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The iconic American Express® Green Card has undergone a fresh makeover. Thanks to a revamp that rolled out in October 2019, the American Express® Green Card is now a compelling choice for those who want rewards and perks for travel, but aren’t ready to shell out for a premium travel card with an annual fee in the $500 range. This card does charge a $150 annual fee, but if you take full advantage of the annual credits you get for having it, you can mitigate the cost of the annual fee.

Plus, the new card is made mostly out of plastic reclaimed from beaches, islands, and coastal communities — so it can be considered “green” both in color and environmentally.

Where the American Express® Green Card stands out

American Express® Green Card

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American Express® Green Card

Annual fee
$150
Rewards Rate
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent/Good

Rewards. Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours. This is an inclusive travel category, which gives you the chance to earn rewards in a lot of different ways.

CLEAR annual credit. CLEAR uses your eyes and fingerprints to confirm your identity. It can be used at a variety of airports, stadiums, and other venues. When you use this card to pay for your CLEAR membership, you can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year. However, because a CLEAR membership costs $179 a year (or $15 a month), note that you’ll still have to pay a portion of your membership costs out of pocket each year.

LoungeBuddy annual credit. When you use this card to purchase airport lounge access via LoungeBuddy, you can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year.

Additional benefits

Welcome offer. Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. If you use your points for flights through American Express Travel (a value of 1 cent per point), that’s worth $300.

Away credit. New cardmembers who apply by Jan. 15, 2020, can earn statement credits of up to $100 after making a purchase such as a suitcase or weekender bag from Away — a company that sells its travel gear online directly to consumers and aims to offer better prices than you might be able to find when shopping big-name brands in retail stores.

Baggage insurance plan. When you buy your ticket using this card, you can get coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage. Terms apply.

Where the American Express® Green Card falls short

Annual fee. The American Express® Green Card has an annual fee of $150. This is a bit more than many mid-level travel cards, which tend to charge annual fees of around $95. However, it’s worth noting that $150 annual fee for the American Express® Green Card is less expensive than premium travel cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, which charges an annual fee of $550.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee
$550
Rewards Rate
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Compare it with the American Express® Gold Card

Another American Express card that serves consumers who like to travel and dine out is the American Express® Gold Card. While the annual fee of $250 is a bit more costly than the American Express® Green Card, some cardholders might find the rewards and annual credits worth the expense. Here’s how the cards compare:

 American Express® Green CardAmerican Express® Gold Card
Welcome offerEarn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
RewardsEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Regular purchase APRSee Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
Annual fee$150$250
Foreign transaction feeNoneNone

For annual statement credits, the American Express® Gold Card offers the following:

Airline fee credit of up to $100. You can choose one qualifying airline per calendar year and receive up to $100 in statement credits to go toward incidental fees.

Dining credit of up to $120. You can earn up to $10 in statement credits each month for an annual savings of up to $120 when you pay with this card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations.

American Express® Gold Card

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American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Before factoring in the cards’ annual fees, you can save up to $220 each year from the American Express® Gold Card’s statement credits and up to $200 each year from the American Express® Green Card’s statement credits. Which one is better just depends whether you value credits that go toward incidental airline fees and dining purchases or credits that go toward airport security and airport lounge access. The statement credits effectively reduce the American Express® Gold Card’s annual fee to $30, while the American Express® Green Card’s statement credits can more than recoup the cost of the card’s annual fee, but leaves you to pay $79 a year to make up the yearly price of a CLEAR membership.

Read: Best Travel Credit Cards

When it comes to rewards, the American Express® Gold Card has a higher earning rate per $1 spent on dining than the American Express® Green Card. It also offers U.S. supermarkets as a rewards category, which the American Express® Green Card does not. However, the American Express® Green Card rewards a much broader category of travel purchases than the American Express® Gold Card.

The bottom line

So, is it worth having the American Express® Green Card? If you travel and dine out frequently, it’s a good choice. The annual fee is slightly more expensive than cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (with an annual fee of $95) and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (with an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that), but it offers strong value in its ongoing rewards and in its annual credits.

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.

Glen Luke Flanagan
Glen Luke Flanagan |

Glen Luke Flanagan is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Glen Luke here

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Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

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. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

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American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards® Points earned

Through Membership Rewards®, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards® Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards® will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards® site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards® or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fee.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards® site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards® since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

*The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here