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SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Review 2024

Updated January 5, 2024
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At a glance

4.2
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Caret Down

CDs

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Checking

Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5

Savings

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

MMA

Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

About Bankrate Score

Overview

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is a good option for any California school employee or family member, particularly those who want to do their banking with minimal fees. Yields can be hit or miss depending on the account. For example, while the union’s savings account offers a paltry yield, most CDs offer competitive rates.

Highlights

  • Low Fees
  • Free Checking
  • Low Min Balance
Compare offers
Info
Bank logo
Member FDIC.
Savings Account
5.25
%
APY
APY
Info
As of 4/15/2024
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
$0
Min. balance for APY
View offer Arrow Right
Promoted offer: No fees. Easy deposits and quick withdrawals.
Bank logo
Member FDIC
Savings Account
4.30
%
APY
APY
Info
As of 4/15/2024
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
$1
Min. balance for APY
View offer Arrow Right
Promoted offer:
Bank logo
Member FDIC
Savings Account
5.00
%
APY
APY
Info
As of 4/15/2024
Rating: 4.9 stars out of 5
$0
Min. balance for APY
View offer Arrow Right
Promoted offer: Plus, no monthly fees and unlimited free external transfers

Overall

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is California’s largest credit union. It has low minimum balances and most SchoolsFirst accounts come without a monthly fee. A large ATM network makes it easy to access your cash, even if you’re traveling outside of California.

Pros

  • Checkmark

    There are no fees or low fees on most types of accounts.

  • Checkmark

    Members have access to over 30,000 fee-free ATMs.

  • Checkmark

    SchoolsFirst offers online bill pay and mobile banking tools such as check deposit.

Cons

  • Branches are limited to California.

  • Membership is limited to those who work in or have a connection to California’s educational system.

  • Higher yields can be found at other financial institutions.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union banking products

3.0
/5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
See methodology Compare savings rates
SCORE BREAKDOWN
APY offering:
0.10%
Rating: 1 stars out of 5
1/5
Info
Minimum balance to earn interest:
$5.00
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5/5
Info
Monthly service fee:
$0.00
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5/5
Info
Minimum balance to avoid fee:
$0.00
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5/5
Info
Access to funds:
Great
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5/5
Info
FEATURES
Invest Rate
0.10% APY
Info
Loan
$5 minimum deposit to open

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union savings overview

A Share Savings account is required for membership at the credit union. It can be opened with as little as $5, and the $5 minimum must be maintained to remain a member. The account features unlimited deposits and withdrawals. The account balance earns interest, but the rate on the credit union’s savings is below the national average.

Pros

  • Checkmark

    The Share Savings account has no monthly fees.

  • Checkmark

    There is no limit on deposits and withdrawals.

  • Checkmark

    The minimum balance requirement is only $5.

Cons

  • You can easily find higher rates at other credit unions and online banks.

  • See how rates for this account have changed over time. Interact with the trend lines to view APY by date.

    SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
    APY
    APY
    Info
    National average APY
    How do we get this data?
    Info
Compare Offer
Info
Bank logo
Member FDIC.
Savings Account
5.25
%
APY
APY
Info
As of 4/15/2024
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Info
$0
Min balance for APY
View offer Arrow Right
Promoted offer: No fees. Easy deposits and quick withdrawals.

Bank fees

Fee Charges
Overdraft fee $22
Non-sufficient funds fee $22
Monthly maintenance fee None
Out-of-network ATM fee $1
Excessive transaction fee None

About SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union was founded as Orange County Teachers Credit Union in 1934. At the time, 126 school employees came together to help support each other during the Great Depression. In 2008, Orange County Teachers Credit Union became SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, which provides financial products and services to California school employees and their families.

SchoolsFirst is headquartered in Southern California. It also supports the communities it serves through donations, scholarships, fundraising events and financial literacy programs.

Customer experience

Customer service. SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union has more than 70 branches and more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs through SchoolsFirst and Co-op ATM networks. Members who want to get in touch with a representative can send a message through the live online chat, contact the credit union by phone or mail, or visit a branch. Representatives can be reached by phone 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday.

Mobile app. SchoolsFirst’s mobile app is highly rated on the Google Play Store and highly rated on the Apple App Store. Members can send and receive money via Zelle, online bill pay, account alerts and mobile check deposit.

Financial services. SchoolsFirst Credit union also provides access to financial workshops and offers online tools and calculators to help members pay off credit card debt, reach savings goals and determine how much they need to save for retirement.

How does SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union compare with other banks?

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union vs. Golden 1 Credit Union

Both SchoolsFirst and Golden 1 are credit unions located in California and have about the same amount of branches. Moreover, both unions offer a wide range of deposit products, ranging all the way from CDs to money market accounts.

Those similarities noted, SchoolsFirst tends to offer higher yields on various deposit products, including its CDs and savings accounts. The money market accounts at both unions offer about the same yields.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union FAQs

Review methodology

With so many financial institutions to choose from, it can be hard to know who to trust. Bankrate’s ever-growing list of bank and credit union reviews is updated regularly. Our editorial team analyzes and reviews each institution across deposit products such as savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and money market accounts (MMAs). Banks are rated by important factors such as offered interest rates, fees, minimum balance requirements, access to funds and more.

We assign a score to each type of account and its features, weigh them carefully based on importance to account holders and determine an overall score. Read our full review methodology.