Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union Review 2020

Published June 2020 by Amanda Dixon

AT A GLANCE
3.6
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Bankrate Score

bank-logo
Checkbook

Free Checking

Money

No monthly fees

RBFCU could be an ideal choice for Texans looking for a full-service credit union with several options for savers and a relatively fee-free checking account. If you don’t live in the state or have no ties to it or certain affiliated organizations, you’ll have to open an account elsewhere.

  • CDs
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    2.9
  • Savings
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    3.8
  • Checking
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    4.0
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    3.7
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.05 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Overall

    3.6

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    Bankrate Score

    Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union is one of America’s best credit unions and one of the largest in the state of Texas.

    What we like

    • Deposit account holders don’t pay monthly maintenance fees.

    • Balance requirements are on the lower end or are nonexistent.

    • Members have access to nearly 30,000 ATMs within the CO-OP network.

    • Checking account holders will earn some interest.

    • Digital wallet access, early direct deposit, free bill pay and account alerts are available.

    What we don't

    • Membership is primarily limited to local residents, students, employees and worshippers and people affiliated with the U.S. armed forces and certain organizations.

    • All physical branch locations are located in Texas.

    • Yields aren’t as high as those offered by other credit unions and online banks.

    • Person-to-person payment platforms like Zelle are not available.

    CD rates

    2.9

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Certificate terms at RBFCU range from six months to seven years. Annual percentage yields depend on the size of the deposit, though they’re currently the same across all balance tiers and only vary depending on the length of the term.

    Certificate terms are listed in ranges, such as six to 11 months and 12 to 23 months. Besides the standard certificates, there’s an 18-month SuperSaver Certificate paying a relatively higher yield across all balances.

    Early withdrawals reduce earnings. Penalties for cashing out early vary by term and the amount withdrawn. For 12-23 month certificates, the penalty is 60 days of interest.

    What we like

    • Relatively low minimum balance required to open a certificate.

    • Almost all standard certificate terms are available.

    • Interest can be credited to other accounts within the credit union.

    What we don't

    • Higher yields are not offered for higher balance tiers.

    • Interest is compounded monthly, rather than daily.

    • Few special certificates are available outside of the SuperSaver Certificate.

    • Other banks and credit unions offer higher yields.

    • Dividend-payment options can’t be changed once they’re selected.

    Savings accounts

    3.8

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.05 % APY

    $ 0

    Min. balance for APY

    Just $1 is needed to open a regular savings account with RBFCU. That’s the amount that must be in the account in order for it to be kept open. Keeping this account open is required to maintain membership at the credit union. If needed, it can also be used as an overdraft protection if there’s not enough money in your checking account.

    While the account is a low-cost savings option, the yield savers earn is not high. In addition to the regular savings account, there is an IRA savings option.

    What we like

    • Low minimum opening deposit required.

    • No monthly service fees.

    • Interest is credited on a monthly basis.

    What we don't

    • You can find higher yields elsewhere.

    Checking accounts

    4.0

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    Bankrate Score

    RBFCU’s Really Free Checking Account is a low-cost account that pays some interest. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly charges for keeping the account open. Standard checks when ordered online are free.

    Through the credit union’s direct deposit system, members can get paid up to two days early and you’ll be able to access the money as soon as it’s made available. A few overdraft protection options are available and overdraft fees are below the national average.

    What we like

    • No monthly maintenance fees.

    • No minimum balance is required.

    • There’s an opportunity to earn a bit of interest.

    • Early direct deposit is available.

    • Overdraft fee is below average.

    What we don't

    • The interest account holders earn is low.

    • Only one checking account option is available.

    • No ATM fee refunds.

    Money market accounts

    3.7

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    Bankrate Score

    RBFCU offers two types of money market accounts: the Classic Money Market account and the Choice Money Market account. For the former, a flat rate is offered depending on the balance in the account. With the Choice Money Market account, a blended rate structure applies.

    The yields that are offered are higher than those for regular savings account holders. In exchange for a higher yield, however, a larger minimum balance is required. When accounts fall below the minimum balance threshold, a savings account rate automatically applies. instead of the appropriate money market account yield.

    What we like

    • No monthly service fees for either account.

    • The minimum balance requirement is on the lower end of the spectrum.

    • A relatively low balance is needed to earn the top yield.

    What we don't

    • The top yield is low relative to what other banks and credit unions offer.

    • No check writing is available.

    Bank experience

    Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union has 59 branch locations. All physical locations are located in Texas and a photo ID must be presented before completing any transactions. There’s surcharge-free access to all ATMs (nearly 30,000) within the CO-OP network.

    Members hoping to get in touch with the bank can call and contact a member service representative or send an email. Different phone numbers are listed on the website depending on the product or service you need assistance with.

    While there’s no access to person-to-person payment platforms like Zelle, RBFCU members with cards can use mobile wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. There’s free online and mobile bill pay, remote check deposit and email and text alerts. A mobile app is available as well for Android and iPhone users.

    Financial resources for members include free and inexpensive online seminars and free classes offered by the credit union’s financial education team. There are also many calculators available for members who need loans or help budgeting and figuring out how much to save for retirement and college.

    About Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union

    It’s been nearly 70 years since Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952. What began as a financial institution for members of the military and their loved ones is now one of the largest credit unions in the state of Texas.

    RBFCU today provides services to more than 800,000 members. In 2020, Bankrate ranks it as one of America’s best credit unions. The credit union is based in Live Oak, Texas. Its website says its coverage area includes San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

    Membership in the credit union depends on whether you live, work, attend school or worship within the field of membership. You may also be eligible to join based on your affiliation with a certain organization and the armed forces. Having an immediate family member who’s a member of the credit union is another way to qualify for membership.

    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.