Golden 1 Credit Union Review 2021

Published January 2021 by Brian Beers

AT A GLANCE
4.1

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

No monthly fees

If you’re a resident of California or even just work in the Golden State, then Golden 1 may be a good choice when looking for a reliable credit union with a solid branch footprint and low fees.

  • CDs
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    5.0
  • Savings
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    2.4
  • Checking
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    4.8
  • MMAs
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    3.4
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    American Express National Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 1

    Min. balance for APY

    Axos Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.25 % APY

    $ 50

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Overall

    4.1

    Bankrate Score

    Golden 1 Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the United States and offers its members a wide selection of products and services. You’ll only need a little bit of money to open most of their accounts, and many of them come with low-to-no monthly fees.

    What we like

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

    • Credit union 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.

    • Interest is compounded monthly.

    • Look out for the excessive savings withdrawal fee.

    CD rates

    5.0

    Bankrate Score

    Golden 1 Credit Union has CDs ranging from three months to five years. These terms should help most people 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, or APYs. As we were conducting our review, Golden 1 had a promotional certificate that offered one of the best APYs nationwide; that offer no longer appears to be available as of publish.

    What we like

    • There’s no minimum balance fee.

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

    • Golden 1 offers flexible CD terms ranging from three months to five years.

    • 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. This is a few days shorter than some other banks.

    • Even though you only need $500 to open a CD, you likely won’t get the highest APY with that balance.

    Savings accounts

    2.4

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Golden 1 Credit Union has a few savings accounts and they tend to have similar APYs. Those with a larger bankroll that 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 it doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

    What we like

    • The Regular Savings Account only requires $1 to open it.

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

    What we don't

    • You can find a higher APY than the Regular Savings Account at online banks or other financial institutions.

    • Lobby withdrawals or transfers in excess of three during a calendar month will lead to an excessive withdrawal fee being charged.

    Checking accounts

    4.8

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Axos Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.25 % APY

    $ 50

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Golden 1 Credit Union offers five different checking accounts. There’s the Free Checking account, Premium Checking, New Generation Checking, Freedom Checking and Student Checking. Golden 1 scores highly for access to their vast co-op network of ATMs. While there’s no minimum balance required, customers will get charged nearly $30 in fees for an overdraft. The credit union offers account holders access to online bill payment and Popmoney for person-to-person (P2P) payments.

    What we like

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

    • Those with a Free Checking Account won’t get hit with any monthly service fees.

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

    What we don't

    • The Free Checking Account is non-interest bearing.

    • There’s an $8 monthly maintenance fee on the Premium Checking Account, but there are a number of fairly easy ways to get the fee waived.

    • You’ll need to have at least $1,000 in your premium account in order to earn dividends each month.

    Money market accounts

    3.4

    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.

    • Those savers with a balance of $250,000 or more can earn the highest available rates.

    What we don't

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

    • Those with less money to put in their account will receive a much lower APY.

    Bank experience

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

    The bank offers Popmoney for making P2P payments, but could use some additional digital payment options for their customers. Meanwhile, the mobile app is highly rated on iOS with a 4.8 rating and comes in with a 4.6 rating for the Android version.

    About Golden 1 Credit Union

    Golden 1 Credit Union was founded in 1933 and has become one of the largest credit unions in the United States. Membership is open to all those who live or work in California. The credit union has grown to serve more than a million members, and offers checking accounts, savings accounts, a money market account, CDs and other financial products.

    Golden 1 is headquartered in Sacramento, California, and has a network of more than 70 branches for customers to take care of their banking needs.

    Brian Beers Twitter Created with Sketch. @BRIAN_BEERS

    Brian Beers Twitter Created with Sketch. @BRIAN_BEERS

    Brian Beers is the senior banking editor at Bankrate. He oversees editorial coverage of banking, investing, the economy and all things money. Previously, he was the director of editorial production for CNBC Digital where he received an Emmy-nomination for the long-form digital feature "Boom, Bust and Blame: The Inside Story of America's Economic Crisis." Brian is driven to help people learn more about their money and investments knowing that it could end up positively impacting them in a real-life financial decision someday. His work has been published on CNBC, Investopedia, MagnifyMoney, NBC Sports, The Drive and Yahoo. He also spent a number of years as the lead digital producer of SportsBiz with Darren Rovell. Brian holds a B.S. in finance from Syracuse University and lives in New York with his family.