Navy Federal Credit Union Review 2020 | Bankrate

Navy Federal Credit Union Review 2020

Published February 2020 by Amanda Dixon

AT A GLANCE
3.7

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

24/7 Customer Service

ATM fee refunds

Free Checking

Navy Federal Credit Union is a great option for families nationwide with ties to the military. It’s a good fit for anyone looking for a brand known for providing a good customer service experience and offering a branch network. If you’re hoping to earn the highest savings yield or you have no connection to the armed forces, it’s best to consider other banking options.

  • CDs
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    4.8
  • Savings
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    3.3
  • Checking
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    • start icon
    3.2
  • 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
    American Express National Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.60 % APY

    $ 1

    Min. balance for APY

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    0.65 % APY

    1yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Overall

    3.7

    Bankrate Score

    Navy Federal Credit Union is the world’s largest credit union serving millions of military members and their loved ones.

    What we like

    • Members have access to more than 300 branches, including international locations.

    • Access is available to thousands of free in-network ATMs.

    • Navy Federal has been recognized for offering high-quality customer service.

    • Multiple share certificate options allow savers the chance to earn a relatively competitive yield.

    What we don't

    • Money market and savings account yields are relatively low.

    • Membership is only available to those with a military affiliation.

    • Few product options for savers not interested in share certificates.

    CD rates

    4.8

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    0.65 % APY

    1yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Navy Federal offers a handful of options to members interested in share certificates. There are standard certificates with terms ranging from three months to seven years. It also offers a 3-year variable rate certificate with a yield that automatically adjusts annually.

    Other certificates include the SaveFirst Account and EasyStart Certificate that help members grow their savings within a period of time. There is also a Special EasyStart Certificate, which pays a competitive yield and allows savers to add funds at any time.

    What we like

    • Low minimum deposit requirements.

    • Special share certificates are available.

    • Share certificates are offered across all standard terms.

    What we don't

    • Yields for some products are less competitive.

    • You’ll need $100,000 to earn the highest yields.

    Savings accounts

    3.3

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    American Express National Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.60 % APY

    $ 1

    Min. balance for APY

    Every Navy Federal member begins with a Basic Savings account. Just $5 is needed to open the account and it pays a little bit of interest. Currently, it offers 0.25 percent APY.

    Navy Federal members also have the option of opening an Education Savings Account (ESA) if they have a relative or child in school in need of financial support. Total contributions per beneficiary, however, are capped at $2,000 per year.

    What we like

    • Low minimum deposit needed to open an account.

    • Low minimum balance required to keep the Basic Savings account open.

    • No monthly service fees apply.

    What we don't

    • Few savings account options available.

    • Savings account yields are low.

    • Interest is compounded monthly, rather than daily.

    Checking accounts

    3.2

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Monifi

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    0.50 % APY

    $ 0

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Navy Federal members can choose from several different checking accounts catering to different types of members. As its name suggests, the Free Active Duty Checking account, for example, is designed to suit active military members. There is also a campus checking account for students, ages 14-24.

    Members who aren’t in school or in the military can opt for a free checking account or a premier account that pays more interest than the other accounts.

    What we like

    • All checking accounts earn interest.

    • Account options are available for multiple types of members.

    What we don't

    • Higher yields are available at other banks and credit unions.

    • Interest is compounded on a monthly basis, not daily.

    • A $10 monthly service fee applies for the Flagship Checking account unless you maintain a $1,500 balance.

    Money market accounts

    3.4

    Bankrate Score

    Navy Federal offers a traditional money market account and an IRA Money Market Savings account. Unlike the Basic Savings account, the Money Market Savings account pays a different yield depending on the size of your deposit.

    With the Money Market Savings account, the minimum deposit you need to earn interest is also a bit higher than it is for Basic Savings account holders.

    What we like

    • Savers with bigger balances earn higher yields.

    • Minimum daily balance requirement is not too high.

    • Money Market Savings account offers a higher yield than the Basic Savings account.

    What we don't

    • Interest is compounded on a monthly basis, not daily.

    • Yields are low relative to what others offer.

    Bank experience

    Globally, Navy Federal members have access to 335 branches and more than 30,000 free ATMs. Members can also use any of the 9,000 CO-OP ATMs  for free. Fees for using Visa/PLUS System ATMs may be reimbursed depending on the kind of checking account you have. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, you’ll also have access to free Cash Points' ATMs. Branch hours vary by location.

    Navy Federal has a mobile app that’s available for both Apple and Android users. Members can sign into the app using face recognition technology and deposit checks and pay bills. Apple Pay and Google Pay are options for account holders looking for a mobile wallet. There is also a Navy Federal app for Kindle Fire users.

    Representatives are available in the U.S. to speak with members over the phone 24/7. Members who have questions can also access an online live chat. Those who are looking for tools to help them manage their finances can use several different calculators, including a retirement calculator and a total-home-buying budget.

    About Navy Federal Credit Union

    Navy Federal Credit Union was founded in 1933. While it began with just seven members, the credit union now serves more than 8 million members across the globe. It’s headquartered in Vienna, Virginia.

    The credit union primarily strives to support military members, veterans and their families. Membership is open to Department of Defense employees, retirees, veterans and active duty service members in any branch of the armed forces.

    Members have access to credit cards, loans and deposit accounts in addition to special discounts and offers for their affiliation with the credit union.

    Amanda Dixon Twitter Created with Sketch. @AMANDAADIXON

    Amanda Dixon Twitter Created with Sketch. @AMANDAADIXON

    Amanda Dixon is a senior banking reporter for Bankrate. Prior to joining Bankrate, she served as a writer and editor for SmartAsset, a New York-based fintech startup. Originally from the metro Atlanta area, she's a University of Georgia alum. She enjoys providing an inside look into what banks and credit unions are up to and offering tips and tricks to help consumers save money and build wealth at every stage of their financial lives. Follow her on Twitter: @amandaadixon.