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Golden 1 Credit Union Review 2022

Published February 2022 by Karen Bennett

AT A GLANCE
4.0

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

Free Checking

No monthly fees

Those who live or work in California and are looking for a reliable credit union with a solid branch footprint and low fees may find Golden 1 a good fit for their banking needs.

  • Checking
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    4.9
  • CDs
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    4.5
  • MMAs
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    2.9
  • Savings
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    2.7
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Bask Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.61 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    CIT Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.35 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    LendingClub

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.26 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Overall

    4.0

    Bankrate Score

    Golden 1 Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the U.S. and offers members a wide selection of products and services. Most accounts require a small amount to open and many also feature low or no monthly fees.

    What we like

    • There are no monthly service fees for basic accounts such as Free Checking and Regular Savings.

    • Members can access more than 30,000 in-network ATMs.

    • Membership requirements are easy for those living or working in California.

    What we don't

    • Yields are not as attractive as other top credit unions.

    • A fee is charged when over three in-branch savings account withdrawals take place in a month.

    Checking accounts

    4.9

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Citi

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    0.01 % APY

    $ 50,000

    To open

    $ 50000

    To avoid fees

    Golden 1 Credit Union offers five checking accounts. There’s the Free Checking account (the product evaluated for this review), Premium Checking, New Generation Checking, Freedom Checking and Student Checking. Golden 1 scores highly for access to the vast network of CO-OP ATMs. While there’s no minimum balance required, a $30 per item overdraft fee does apply. The credit union offers account holders access to online bill payment and Popmoney for peer-to-peer payments.

    What we like

    • There’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees on the Free Checking Account.

    • Members receive their first box of Golden 1 checks for free.

    What we don't

    • The Free Checking Account doesn’t earn interest.

    • There’s an $8 monthly maintenance fee on the Premium Checking Account, but getting the fee waived is fairly easy.

    • A $1,000 minimum balance in the premium account is required to earn dividends each month.

    CD rates

    4.5

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Capital One

    Member FDIC

    CD

    2.50 % APY

    18mo

    Term

    $ 0

    Min. deposit

    Golden 1 Credit Union offers CDs with terms in monthly increments ranging from three months to five years, which makes it easy for consumers to find a CD for their financial goals. You’ll need at least $500 to open a CD with Golden 1, but balances above $100,000 generally come with the highest annual percentage yields (APYs).

    What we like

    • You can get started with just a $500 opening deposit.

    • Golden 1 offers CD terms in monthly increments ranging from three months to five years, allowing customers to customize terms to their needs.

    • Monthly dividends can be added to the certificate balance or transferred to a different account without penalties.

    What we don't

    • There’s only a seven-calendar-day grace period after your CD matures, a few days less than some other banks.

    • Opening a CD with the $500 minimum balance won’t secure the highest APY Golden 1 has to offer.

    Money market accounts

    2.9

    Bankrate Score

    The Money Market Savings Account has four tiers. Each time you move to a higher balance tier you’re rewarded with a higher APY.

    What we like

    • Only $100 is required to open the Money Market Savings Account.

    What we don't

    • The account doesn’t offer check-writing privileges.

    • Account balances of under $10,000 earn a much lower APY.

    Savings accounts

    2.7

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Bask Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.61 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Golden 1 Credit Union offers a few savings accounts, and they all earn the same APY. Those with a larger bankroll who are looking for a higher APY may want to consider the credit union’s money market account instead.

    The Regular Savings Account may be good for members who are just getting started on their own since it requires only $1 to open an account and has no monthly service fee.

    What we like

    • The Regular Savings Account requires just $1 to open.

    • There’s no monthly maintenance fee with the Regular Savings Account.

    What we don't

    • You can find a higher APY than what’s offered on the Regular Savings Account at many online banks or other financial institutions.

    • Lobby withdrawals or transfers in excess of three during a calendar month will trigger an excessive withdrawal fee.

    Bank experience

    Golden 1 Credit Union has more than 70 branches in California. Member representatives are available 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on weekends, to answer questions or help with member accounts.

    The credit union’s mobile app is highly rated on iOS with a 4.7 rating, but it scores significantly lower among Android users, at 3.4 stars. The app includes Popmoney for making peer-to-peer payments, but P2P payments can also be made using online banking.

    About Golden 1 Credit Union

    Golden 1 Credit Union was founded in 1933 and has become one of the largest credit unions in the U.S., with more than 1 million members and over $18 billion in assets. Membership is open to those who live or work in California.

    The credit union offers checking accounts, savings accounts, a money market account, CDs and other financial products. Golden 1 is headquartered in Sacramento and has a network of more than 70 branches.

    Karen Bennett Twitter Created with Sketch. @

    Karen Bennett Twitter Created with Sketch. @

    Karen Bennett is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. She uses her finance writing background to help readers learn more about savings and checking accounts, CDs, and other financial matters. Karen brings decades of writing and reporting experience to the table, including the roles of credit cards writer for travel website Million Mile Secrets and money and career writer for The Cheat Sheet. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, Illinois Legal Times, and several Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. newspapers. In addition, she’s worked in the areas of marketing and business development, and she was product manager for a consumer money-saving website. When she’s not writing Bankrate articles, she can often be found cheering her kids on at soccer games, cooking and reading up on saving for retirement and other personal finance topics.