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

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Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

University Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Checking

The bottom rung of University Federal Credit Union’s three-tier checking account ladder is the most accessible to the average customer.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

University Federal Credit Union’s Free Checking account lives up to its name, being the credit union’s only non-youth checking account that never has a monthly maintenance fee. As with all of the credit union’s checking accounts, the Free Checking account comes with the following features and benefits free of charge:

  • Online and mobile banking, with account alerts
  • Online bill pay
  • e-statements
  • Visa debit/check card, allowing free access to over 300 University Federal Credit Union and Credit Union Alliance ATMs

Daily cash withdrawals are limited to $1,000 with this account, and daily point-of-sale purchases have a $2,000 limit. The Courtesy Pay provision on the Free Checking account is limited to overdrafts of up to $400; however, while Courtesy Pay will cover the overdraft, it comes with an additional charge, on top of the already-high overdraft fee.

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Plus Checking

Plus Checking offers additional services and interest, in exchange for higher requirements.
APY Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500 in combined balances
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10; $0 with combined balances of at least $2,500
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Plus Checking carries a moderately high monthly fee, but the minimum balance required to open the account is the same as the amount needed to avoid the monthly fee. In addition to the standard benefits that come with all University Federal Credit Union checking accounts, such as online and mobile banking, e-statements, bill pay and free in-network ATM withdrawals, Plus Checking comes with these additional features:

  • Free money orders
  • Free cashier’s checks
  • Free custom checks
  • A line of credit

Additionally, this account earns interest on all balances of at least $1,000. The daily ATM withdrawal limit for Plus Checking is the same as with Free Checking, at $1,000, but the daily point-of-sale purchase limit jumps to $5,000. The overdraft fee remains high, with Courtesy Pay transactions costing an additional fee.

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Premium Checking

As the name implies, Premium Checking is a more upscale version of University Federal Credit Union’s Plus Checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$2,500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15; $0 with average daily balance of at least $10,000
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Premium Checking has a high monthly fee and a high minimum opening deposit requirement. However, those who maintain the $10,000 required to open the account can avoid the monthly maintenance fee. As with the other accounts in the University Federal Credit Union checking lineup, Premium Checking comes with free online and mobile access, bill pay, e-statements and in-network ATM transactions. Premium Checking also copies some benefits of the Plus Checking account, offering free money orders, free custom checks, a line of credit and free cashier’s checks. The ATM daily cash limit on Premium Checking is $1,500, while the daily point-of-sale purchase maximum tops out at $7,500. Courtesy Pay transfers still don’t reduce the high overdraft fee, but overdrafts up to $1,000 are covered.

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Teen Checking

Teen Checking is a decent starter account for kids aged 13 to 17.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.50%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Older customers might be envious that they aren’t allowed to open a Teen Checking account because it pays by far the best interest rates of any University Federal Credit Union checking account. This bonus rate is only paid on the first $500 deposited, however. Larger deposits don’t earn any interest at all. Beyond that, this checking account is much like the other checking accounts at University Federal Credit Union, including online and mobile access, e-statements, bill pay and free in-network ATM access. The daily cash limit for ATM withdrawals on this account is $500, and the debit card daily purchase limit is $2,000. Overdraft transfers are limited to $400 via Courtesy Pay, with the high overdraft fee and per-transaction fees applying to this account as well.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts

With the exception of the Teen Checking account, which you’ll have to open in a branch, you can open all University Federal Credit Union accounts online. As mentioned above, accounts are limited to U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old with a valid U.S. address. You’ll also have to provide a Social Security number, valid ID and information on your funding source, such as a checking account routing number. Customers must become members before opening a University Federal Credit Union checking account.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Compared with the national averages, both the Plus Checking and the Premium Checking account pay woefully low rates. The standout account in terms of yield is the Teen Checking account, with a yield that tops those offered by most of the best checking accounts in the nation. However, interest is only earned on the first $500, and the account is limited to younger teenagers. As a whole, the checking accounts provide a decent amount of free features, although their overall appeal is hurt a bit by the very high overdraft fee, which cannot be avoided.

University Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Savings

This account is a traditional, straightforward savings account without any fancy add-ons.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$100
0.05%$2.500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay overdraft transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

There’s not much to the University Federal Credit Union Savings account. The account charges no fees and has a modest $5 opening deposit requirement, although an additional $1 membership fee is required at the time of account opening. The ATM fee structure is the same as with the credit union’s checking accounts, with a small fee attached to out-of-network ATM transactions. Dividends are paid quarterly in a two-tier structure; the highest rates are paid on balances of less than $2,500. In-person deposits and withdrawals are unlimited, but certain withdrawals and transfers have a cap of six transactions per month. The Savings account is burdened by the same high overdraft fee as with the checking account lineup.

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Teen Savings

The Teen Savings account is a no-fee savings account designed to help teenagers ages 13 to 17 build a financial history.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

For the most part, this account functions just like a regular Savings account at the credit union, with a $1 charge for non-network ATM withdrawals and the same high overdraft fee. One important distinction is that interest is earned starting at just $5, and there is no reduction in interest paid once the balance hits $2,500, as there is in the regular Savings account.

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Kidz Savings

The Kidz Savings account is a carbon copy of the Teen Savings account, but for kids under age 13 rather than for teenagers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: 0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

Both accounts have the same $1 charge for non-network ATM withdrawals and the same high overdraft fee. One As with the Teen Savings account, interest is earned starting at just $5, and the same rate applies to all additional deposits.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts

Savings accounts at University Federal Credit Union can be opened online. In fact, the basic Savings account is one of the requirements for membership, in addition to being affiliated with a qualifying university, company, an association or family member. Applicants must also have a U.S. address and be a U.S. citizen or resident alien at least 18 years old. Additional required documentation includes a Social Security number, valid ID and funding information.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

On the whole, University Federal Credit Union’s savings account are not particularly noteworthy. It’s a plus that none of the savings accounts carry monthly fees, but the interest rates paid are low. The top-tier rate on the basic Savings account is just about at the national average, while the Teen and Kidz rates are below average. None of the accounts offered here are real competitors with the best available savings accounts.

University Federal Credit Union’s CD account options

Fixed-Rate Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

University Federal Credit Union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates of Deposit are the institution’s standard CD line.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%$1,000 3 months
0.20%$100,000 3 months
0.15%$1,000 6 months
0.35%$100,000 6 months
0.20%$1,000 12 months
1.35%$100,000 12 months
0.30%$1,000 24 months
1.30%$100,000 24 months
0.35%$1,000 36 months
1.60%$100,000 36 months
0.45%$1,000 48 months
1.70%$100,000 48 months
0.65%$1,000 60 months
2.10%$100,000 60 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

University Federal Credit Union offers a traditional lineup of CDs, with maturities from 3 months to 60 months and minimum opening deposits of $1,000. Those seeking higher yields can opt instead for the $100,000-minimum jumbo CD offerings, which pay an additional 0.25%. Dividends are compounded and paid monthly, and early withdrawal penalties apply. Currently, rates show a dramatic jump for maturities of at least 12 months. CDs at University Federal Credit Union auto-renew, with a seven-day grace period.

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Step-Up Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Step-Up CDs offer customers the option to adjust their rate one time during the CD term.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.15%$1,00024 months
1.30%$100,00024 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

Step-Up CDs come in a single, 24 month maturity and start with a lower APY than the credit union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates. However, customers have the option of raising the rate to the then-current 24 month CD rate one time during the original CD term. Additional funds can also be added at the time of the step-up election. Standard early withdrawal penalties still apply to this CD.

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Variable-Rate Early Saver Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

This CD account is designed for kids aged 17 or younger.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
1.50%$10012 months
0.25%$20,000.0112 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

The Early Saver Certificate is for kids 17 years or younger who also have a Teen or Kidz Savings account. This CD has a smaller opening deposit requirement and single, 12 month term. As with the Teen and Kidz Savings accounts, a very high bonus rate is paid on smaller deposits, although in the case of the Early Saver CD, the first $20,000 benefits from this enhanced rate. Dividends are compounded and paid monthly, and additional deposits are allowed at any time, although only one CD is permitted per Social Security number. Standard early withdrawal penalties apply.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts

As mentioned above, you’ll have to visit a branch to open a University Federal Credit Union CD account. Customers must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens at least 18 years old with a U.S. mailing address, meaning a parent or guardian is needed to open youth CD accounts. Account holders need a Social Security number, valid ID and a funding source. Customers must become members before opening a CD account.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts compare

Rates on University Federal Credit Union CDs are a tale of two cities. On the very short end, CD rates fall well below the national average CD rates. However, beginning from 12 months on, rates are considerably above the national average rates, in some cases nearly double. The rate on the Early Savers CD for deposits of up to $20,000 is one of the best CD rates in the country.

University Federal Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market

This Money Market account offers traditional features, including check writing and ATM access.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

The Money Market account at University Federal Credit Union is functionally very similar to the credit union’s savings accounts, with the addition of check-writing capabilities. Both accounts have the same ATM access with free in-network withdrawals and $1 non-network charges, and both carry the same high overdraft fee. Although the minimum opening deposit is $2,500, all balances earn dividends, which are compounded and paid monthly. Pre-authorized withdrawals and transfers are limited to six per month, with a $25 fee for each additional transaction per month imposted by the credit union. Over-the-counter transactions are unlimited.

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Money Market with Member Rewards

The Member Rewards program offers a better yield in exchange for certain qualifying transactions monthly.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$0.01
0.25%$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0; $1 for non-UFCU/non-Austin or Galveston Alliance ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $40; Courtesy Pay Overdraft Transfers cost an additional $3 per transaction

The Money Market with Member Rewards account at University Federal Credit Union is an enhanced version of the credit union’s standard Money Market account. Both accounts have the same overall structure, with the same ATM fees, overdraft fees, excess activity fees and minimum deposit size. Both accounts also come free of any monthly maintenance fees and they share the same minimum deposit size. However, this account pays a higher interest rate on deposits of up to $250,000. To qualify for this premium rate, customers must make at least 10 qualifying transactions per month from the following list:

  • Debit card purchase
  • Bill pay transaction
  • Direct deposit of a payroll check
  • Make any type of deposit
  • Write a check
  • Transfer money into or out of account
  • ATM deposit or withdrawal
  • Pay a bill

Otherwise, the two money market accounts are identical.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts

As described above, you can open University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts online. Customers must become members before opening additional accounts, which are open to U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old with a U.S. mailing address. A driver’s license or state ID, Social Security number and funding source are required.

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How University Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Both University Federal Credit Union money market accounts score points for having no monthly service fee. However, the yields offered by both accounts are low. Even with the enhanced yield offered by the Member Rewards version, rates are below the national average and not at all comparable with what you can get with the best available money market accounts.

University Federal Credit Union’s IRA options

Variable-Rate IRA

The Variable-Rate IRA account is simply a savings account for uninvested IRA funds.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Variable-Rate IRA is a parking place for loose cash in a University Federal Credit Union IRA. Although a $100 minimum is required, all balances that meet or exceed that level earn interest. There are no monthly fees associated with this account. As it is in an IRA, there is no ATM access, and overdrafts are prevented.

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Fixed-Rate IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

University Federal Credit Union’s IRA CDs mirror those in the credit union’s taxable accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.10%$1,000 3 months
0.20%$100,000 3 months
0.15%$1,000 6 months
0.35%$100,000 6 months
0.20%$1,000 12 months
1.35%$100,000 12 months
0.30%$1,000 24 months
1.45%$100,000 24 months
0.35%$1,000 36 months
1.60%$100,000 36 months
0.45%$1,000 48 months
1.70%$100,000 48 months
0.65%$1,000 60 months
2.10%$100,000 60 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for terms of less than 1 year; 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

University Federal Credit Union offers the same CDs in its IRAs that it does in its non-IRA accounts. Terms range from 3 months to 60 months, and minimums are either $1,000 for standard CDs or $100,000 for jumbo CDs, which pay an additional 0.25% in interest. IRA CDs auto-renew at University Federal Credit Union, with a seven-day grace period.

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Step-Up Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Step-Up CDs offer customers the option to adjust their rate one time during the CD term.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
0.15%$1,00024 months
1.30%$100,00024 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000/$100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000/$100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest for terms of 1 year or more

The same Step-Up CDs available in regular accounts at University Federal Credit Union are also available in the credit union’s IRA accounts. These CDs come in a single, 24 month maturity, offering a lower rate than the credit union’s Fixed-Rate Certificates. Customers can raise this rate one time during the original CD term to the then-current rate. Funds can be added at any time. Standard early withdrawal penalties apply to this CD.

How to get University Federal Credit Union’s IRA products

As mentioned above, you can’t open a University Federal Credit Union IRA online. You’ll have to contact or visit a branch. Accounts are limited to members that are U.S. citizens or resident aliens who are at least 18 years old. In addition to having a valid U.S. address, you’ll need your Social Security and a valid ID to open an IRA, along with a source of funds.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on University Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How University Federal Credit Union’s IRA products compare

Overall, rates on University Federal Credit Union IRA CDs are very high. With the exception of the 3 and 6 month maturities, APYs are well above the national average IRA CD rates, at times nearly doubling the average. Jumbo IRA CD rates at University Federal Credit Union are among the very best IRA CD rates in the country.

Overall review of University Federal Credit Union’s products

University Federal Credit Union’s line of consumer accounts is a mixed bag. On the plus side, most credit union offer all of the standard types of accounts customers might expect, and most of those accounts can be maintained with no monthly fees. Additionally, some of the credit union’s accounts pay remarkable yields. On the downside, most of the accounts are fairly ordinary when it comes to features, and many pay below-market interest rates.

Overall, the credit union’s checking and savings accounts are lackluster. With the exception of the Teen Checking account, which pays one of the highest rates in the nation for deposits up to $500, the remaining checking and savings accounts are below average in terms of yield. The same is true of the credit union’s money market accounts, including the “enhanced” Money Market with Member Rewards account.

Things completely turn around when it comes to the credit union’s lineup of CDs, however. With the exception of very short-term CDs, under one year in maturity, University Federal Credit Union’s entire line of regular and IRA CDs tops the national averages by large amounts. Its Early Savers CD, for children under 18, has one of the highest yields in the country, on deposits of up to $20,000.

Net-net, there are some outstanding yields available with University Federal Credit Union deposit accounts. However, there are also some duds. Customers would be well-served to dig deep into the account roster to find good options to suit their needs.