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

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Virginia Credit Union’s checking account options

Regular Checking

A basic checking account with no real points of interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 once you’ve exceeded 4 withdrawals from non-VACU owned ATMs per month; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: Yes, up to $8 per month, if you meet certain requirements
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to 6 days if your account remains overdrawn

Since the regular checking account doesn’t earn any interest, this account seems to be more of a placeholder than a lucrative or beneficial checking account. It does the job without charging a monthly fee (which works for people interested in a no-frills account). But it also doesn’t reward you like checking accounts from online-only banks might, so it isn’t a great option for those who want to maximize their banking dividends. Those who get this account should be aware that you can save money on the costlier overdraft fees by signing up for overdraft protection. The ATM fee refund can be useful if you plan on using out-of-union ATMs on occasion.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s regular checking account

For members, opening a regular checking account can be accomplished online. Others, however, will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

Extra Credit Checking

An option for young and underage bankers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1
0.25%
$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2 once you’ve exceeded 4 withdrawals from non-VACU owned ATMs per month; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz
  • ATM fee refund: Yes, up to $8 per month, if you meet certain requirements
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

The extra credit checking account is designated for people ages 13 to 22. The custodian, or parent, would designate when the account would transfer to the child (either at 18 or 21), and would be the one who is empowered to withdraw money, make deposits or close the account.

Though it carries the same low minimum opening balance requirement as the credit union’s other personal checking accounts, the rate leaves something to be desired when compared with rates from online banks. That’s especially true for people who don’t yet have $5,000 to spare. As with the other accounts, extra credit checking account holders can save money on the costlier overdraft fees by signing up for overdraft protection.

It’s worth noting, however, that the custodial option is also available for other accounts: Regular savings, money market savings, CDs, regular checking, checking plus and enhanced benefit checking. So people who are interested should compare rates and requirements of those accounts as well to ensure they select the right account for them and their child.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s extra credit checking account:

For members, opening an extra credit checking account is easily accomplished online. (Applicants under 15 must have a joint owner on this account.) Others, however, will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Checking Plus

A minor upgrade on the basic account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1
0.25%
$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2 once you’ve exceeded 4 withdrawals from non-VACU owned ATMs per month; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: Yes, up to $8 per month, if you meet certain requirements
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

Compared with the credit union’s regular checking account, the checking plus has one obvious draw: It earns interest, making it a better option for people interested in rewards-based banking. That benefit, however, isn’t particularly enticing when compared with rates from online-only banks, and it does come with a price (in the form of a monthly fee). Those who can maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,000, however, can avoid that monthly fee, making the account slightly more appealing. And, as is true of the credit union’s other accounts, you can save money on the costlier overdraft fees by signing up for overdraft protection.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s checking plus account:

For members, opening a checking plus account can be done online. Others, however, will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Enhanced Benefit Checking

Checking Plus with a monthly fee and few extra benefits.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$1
0.25%
$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 (can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2 once you’ve exceeded 4 withdrawals from non-VACU owned ATMs per month; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz
  • ATM fee refund: Yes, up to $8 per month, if you meet certain requirements
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

In many ways, this account is the same as the Checking Plus option: It earns the same interest for the same balance tiers, comes with ATM fee refunds on qualified transactions and has a low minimum opening deposit. Plus, as is true of the credit union’s other checking accounts, you can save money on the costlier overdraft fees by signing up for overdraft protection. This account, however, also requires you to maintain a steep minimum monthly average combined deposits total of $25,000 or more to avoid the monthly fee, which isn’t substantial but could easily be avoided by looking at accounts elsewhere.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s enhanced checking account:

Unlike the regular or checking plus accounts, the enhanced checking account cannot be opened online. Instead, members will have to apply by visiting a local branch. Non-members will also have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Encore Checking

An zero-interest account for people in financial-rebuilding mode.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $9.95
  • ATM fee: $2 once you’ve exceeded 4 withdrawals from non-VACU owned ATMs per month; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: Yes, up to $8 per month, if you meet certain requirements
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

Since account approval is at the credit union’s discretion, people who can’t get approved for a free checking option are able to use the Encore account to access checking services, regain good standing and get back on track. However, that privilege will cost you: The monthly fee is unavoidable, and the account does not earn interest. As with the credit union’s other checking accounts, you can, however, save money on the costlier overdraft fees by signing up for overdraft protection.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s encore checking account:

Unlike the regular or checking plus accounts, the encore checking account cannot be opened online. Instead, members will have to apply by visiting a local branch. Non-members will also have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

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How Virginia Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Overall, Virginia Credit Union’s checking account options are somewhat lacking. The personal accounts offer members low returns, especially when compared with some of the best checking accounts out there. For people who plan on frequently using non-Virginia Credit Union ATMs, the fees can add up fast, though there are refunds available for qualified transactions. In general, though, there are better options which also provide that perk while delivering better rates.

Virginia Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

A low-rate option with minimal perks.
APY Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$100
0.20%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 from non-VACU owned ATMs; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz
  • ATM fee refund: No
  • Overdraft fee: $20 for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

For people who want to gain entry into Virginia Credit Union and start saving money, this account is one option. The interest tiers are generously close, offering a comparatively substantial rate hike for those who can build up to $500. For savers under 23, there is no minimum to earn the first APY tier. There’s also no monthly fee associated and a very low minimum required to open this account. Even so, the rates are relatively low when compared with savings accounts from other banks. You’ll also need to open another account (within a year), and be sure to have at least $100 saved, to avoid the $5 savings-only fee. As per federal Regulation D, this account may be subject to a fee imposed by the credit union, closure or conversion to checking account in the event of excess withdrawals of six per month.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s regular savings account:

For members, opening a regular savings account is easily accomplished online. Others will have to first apply for membership with Virginia Credit Union, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact the credit union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A somewhat lacking account designed to help pay for medical expenses.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 from non-VACU owned ATMs; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: No
  • Overdraft fee: $20 for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

For people with a high insurance deductible and anticipated medical costs, an HSA can be a great option since earnings on those are tax-deferred and tax-free when used to pay for qualified medical expenses. The Virginia Credit Union HSA comes as two accounts: an HSA savings account and an HSA checking account. So when you write a check to use some of your HSA funds, that amount is automatically transferred from your savings to the HSA checking account. There is, however, an annual service fee of $25 for this account. You can save money on the costlier overdraft fees associated with this account by signing up for overdraft protection. In accordance with federal Regulation D, this account may be subject to a fee from the credit union, closure or conversion to checking account in the event of excess withdrawals of six per month.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s health savings account:

To be eligible for a health savings account, you have to be covered, exclusively, by a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and you can’t be enrolled in Medicare or be claimed as a dependent on someone’s tax return. Unlike the regular savings account, the health savings account cannot be opened online. Instead, qualified members should apply by visiting a local branch. Non-members will also have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Virginia Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Compared with the best online savings accounts, Virginia Credit Union’s offerings leave much to be desired. Part of that is due to the minimum balance requirement, which, although pretty low, could be avoided by opening an account elsewhere. But the primary failing in these accounts is the low rates, which seem to echo the paltry offerings of savings accounts from five or ten years ago than living up to the best rates available now — and those rates oftentimes don’t come with the membership requirement that you’ll find in a credit union.

Virginia Credit Union’s CD rates

Savings Certificate

A so-so option for long-term savers with a lot of cash to stash.
Term APY Minimum opening deposit
 6 months0.40%
 $500
6 months0.40%
 $25,000
6 months0.50%
 $50,000
12 months0.60%
 $500
12 months0.60%
 $25,000
12 months0.70%
 $50,000
24 months0.65%
 $500
24 months0.65%
 $25,000
24 months0.75%
 $50,000
36 months0.80%
 $500
36 months0.80%
 $25,000
36 months0.90%
 $50,000
48 months0.90%
 $500
48 months0.90%
 $25,000
48 months1.00%
 $50,000
60 months0.95%
 $500
60 months0.95%
 $25,000
60 months1.05%
 $50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: The lowest tier option is $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Depends on the tier, which starts at $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Either half of the dividends that would have been earned for the days remaining on your CD, or $20, whichever is greater.

Like most CDs, the rates associated with Virginia Credit Union’s CDs tend to favor those who can afford to invest their money for a longer term and who have more money to save. There is, however, the option to get in for just $500, which is not that easy to find. These CDs come with a 10-day grace period following maturity, during which the account holder has the option to either cash out without penalty or automatically renew their CD. For those with a 6 or 12 month CD at Virginia Credit Union of at least $25,000, there is an add-on option to the original CD.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s CDs:

For members, opening a CD can be done online. Others will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information about this account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Virginia Credit Union’s CD rates compare

For people who can afford to save large sums of money for five years, the rates for Virginia Credit Union CDs are fairly decent. However, for people who are willing to look elsewhere for a better CD, there are more options with higher rates and with fewer barriers to entry.

Virginia Credit Union’s money market account options

Premier Money Market Savings

A slight advantage for people with a small nest egg to build up.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$100
0.35%
$10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: N/A
  • ATM fee: $1 from non-VACU owned ATMs; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: No
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

As is true for most money market accounts, there is a higher minimum opening deposit requirement than you might find with a savings account. In exchange for that, savers can snag a slightly higher interest rate than they would with the credit union’s regular savings account. Unlike those accounts, the Premier Money Market account comes with automatic overdraft protection as well. But this isn’t a good option for people who plan on using their cash any time soon, or who think they might dip below the $10,000 mark, since that would drop them to a significantly lower rate-tier. In accordance with federal Regulation D, this account may be subject to a fee from the credit union, closure or conversion to checking account in the event of excess withdrawals of six per month.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s premier money market account:

For members, opening a premier money market account is easily accomplished online. Others, however, will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information.

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on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Premier Plus Money Market Savings

Subpar interest rates for big-time savers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$100
0.45%
$25,000
0.50%
$50,000
0.65%
$100,000
0.75%
$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Depends on the tier
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: N/A
  • ATM fee: $1 from non-VACU owned ATMs; the fee is not applicable at ATMs at Wawa and Sheetz in Virginia
  • ATM fee refund: No
  • Overdraft fee: For accounts overdrawn by more than $5, there’s a $20 fee for the first item of the year, then $35 for each additional occurrence and $5 a day for up to six days if your account remains overdrawn

Like the credit union’s basic money market account, this account provides somewhat established savers with the chance to earn higher rates than they would with the regular savings account. But the premium version comes with more tiers, and higher potentials for dividends. Most of the rate tiers require double the minimum of the previous tier, meaning it’s increasingly more difficult to earn a higher rate if you’re starting at or near the bottom. So it’s really best for those who can afford to begin with a very substantial lump sum. This account also comes with automatic overdraft protection for checking. In accordance with federal Regulation D, this account may be subject to a fee imposed by the credit union, closure or conversion to checking account in the event of excess withdrawals of six per month.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s premier plus money market account:

Members can open a premier plus money market account online. Others will have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact Virginia Credit Union for more information.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Virginia Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Like many other money market accounts, the best rates are available for those who can afford to maintain a high minimum balance. Although Virginia Credit Union does offer a few options for money market accounts, when compared with the best money market rates, these rates are well below the offerings available from other banks. They’re not rock bottom, but they are close to it.

Virginia Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

Individual Retirement Account CD
A decent option with a low barrier to entry for IRA investors.
TermAPYMinimum Opening Deposit
 12 month0.60%
$100
12 month0.60%
$25,000
12 month0.70%
$50,000
18 month (variable)0.80%
$100
18 month (variable)0.80%
$25,000
18 month (variable)0.90%
$50,000
24 month0.65%
$100
24 month0.65%
$25,000
24 month0.75%
$50,000
36 month0.80%
$100
36 month0.80%
$25,000
36 month0.90%
$50,000
48 month0.90%
$100
48 month0.90%
$25,000
48 month1.00%
$50,000
60 month0.95%
$100
60 month0.95%
$25,000
60 month1.05%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100, $25,000 or $50,000, depending on the tier
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100, $25,000 or $50,000, depending on the tier
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Either half of the dividends that would have been earned for the days remaining on your CD, or $20, whichever is greater, plus penalties assessed by the IRS

For people who can afford to invest in one of the longest-term, top-tier IRA CDs, the rates on these certificates can be above average. The low introductory tier means that even beginning investors can build a CD ladder, thereby creating a steady stream of returns on a shorter term while taking advantage of those higher rates.

But the steep difference in minimum-deposit tiers, plus the tendency for lower rates for short-term options, can be tricky for those who plan on retiring soon and who don’t yet have a hefty, established nest egg to invest. Customers who opt for the 18 month IRA CD should be aware that the rate is variable, so it will change with the market. That’s useful if rates increase, but could harm you if the market declines. IRA CDs, like the traditional CDs, come with a 10-day grace period following maturing, during which the account holder has the option to either cash out without penalty or automatically renew their CD.

How to get Virginia Credit Union’s IRA CDs

To get an IRA CD, you must also open an IRA (Virginia Credit Union offers both Roth and traditional IRAs). Unlike the credit union’s regular CDs, members cannot open an IRA CD online. Instead, they will have to call or visit a local branch for assistance. Non-members will also have to first apply for membership, which comes with the requirements listed at the beginning of this review. Those who are interested should contact the credit union for more information.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Virginia Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Virginia Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

For people who are willing to invest a large sum and still have many years before retirement, Virginia Credit Union’s offerings are almost on par with the best IRA CD offerings out there, though they do have slightly lower rates and higher minimum-deposit requirements to earn the top rates than you might find elsewhere. If you’re interested in shorter-term options, are nearing retirement or you want to maximize your earnings, you might be better served by looking outside of the credit union for savings certificates.

Overall review of Virginia Credit Union’s banking products

For people who qualify for membership, Virginia Credit Union offers a wide array of banking products. But overall, the accounts are underwhelming, with a few exceptions. The money market, checking and savings accounts, for example, have subpar rates and somewhat restricting requirements. But for those who are looking for a long-term investment option and have a lot of money to invest, the IRA CDs and regular CDs can be quite decent when compared with the best options.

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