Navy Federal Credit Union Review 2024 (2024)

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Navy Federal Credit Union Account Basics

Checking

Navy Federal offers five different checking accounts for various types of needs and situations. All five of these checking accounts earn interest, which, in a credit union—since the account holder is a member—is referred to as earning dividends.

Here’s an overview of this credit union’s checking products:

  • Navy Federal Credit Union Free Active Duty Checking®. This checking account is designed for active duty or retired military personnel. It enables account holders to receive their military pay one day early with qualifying direct deposit. The account has no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement. It also provides personalized checks and up to $20 per statement period in third-party ATM fee rebates. This account pays dividends of .0.05% APY.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Free Easy Checking. This account pays 0.05% APY and offers up to $10 of third-party ATM fee rebates per statement cycle. There is no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement. To maintain eligibility for this account, you must set up direct deposit or make at least 20 transactions with a Navy Federal debit card per statement cycle.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Free EveryDay Checking. This checking account also pays dividends but at a lower rate of 0.01% APY. There is no monthly service fee, no minimum balance requirement and no minimum opening deposit.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Free Campus Checking. Designed for students and younger adults (ages 14 to 24), this account pays 0.05% APY, provides up to $10 of ATM fee rebates per statement cycle and has no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Flagship Checking. If you can maintain a higher balance in your checking account, this checking account has three earning tiers: 0.35% APY for balances of $0 to $9,999, 0.40% APY for balances of $10,000 to $24,999 and 0.45% for balances of $25,000 or more. The rates on this checking account are almost competitive with some of the best high-yield savings accounts. To earn dividends on your Flagship Checking account, you must have an ending daily balance of at least $1,500. There is a monthly service fee of $10, but you can avoid this fee by maintaining an average daily balance of at least $1,500. If you’re signed up for direct deposit, this account provides up to $10 of third-party ATM fee rebates per statement cycle.

All Navy Federal checking accounts include a Navy Federal debit card with zero liability protection and digital banking with mobile deposit and bill pay. Checking accounts all come with three optional types of coverage to help you avoid overdrafts:

  • Savings Transfer. This automatically moves money from savings to checking and is set up for you when you open a checking account.
  • Checking Line of Credit. This offers coverage for large or unexpected expenses. Interest rates range from 13.9% to 17.9% APR.
  • Optional Overdraft Protection Service (OOPS). This is overdraft protection. There’s no fee on transactions of $5 or less or if your total overdrawn balance is less than $15. There’s a $20 fee for each overdraft otherwise.

Savings

The Navy Federal Credit Union Share Savings Account is its traditional savings account option. This basic savings account has a minimum deposit of only $5 and pays 0.25 APY. While Navy Federal’s savings account rate doesn’t beat the best high-yield savings accounts, it’s better than the national average savings account yield as reported by the FDIC. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly.

There’s also the Navy Federal Credit Union IRA Share Accounts, which also pay 0.25% APY.

Money Market

Navy Federal offers two money market account options with tiered-rate structures. Generally, the more you deposit, the more you earn.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union Money Market Account. With this money market account, your APY depends on how much money you have deposited. To earn dividends, you need to have at least $2,500 deposited. Current Navy Federal Credit Union Money Market Account rates breakdown as follows: Balances from $0 to $2,499 earn 0.00% APY; balances from $2,500 to $9,999 earn 0.95% APY; balances from $10,000 to $24,999 earn 1.06% APY; balances from $25,000 to $49,999 earn 1.10% APY, and balances of $50,000 or more earn 1.50% APY.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Jumbo Money Market Account. For higher balances, Navy Federal offers a special jumbo money market account. You’ll need to deposit at least $100,000 before you qualify for a higher APY than the standard Money Market Savings Account provides. In fact, this jumbo account pays a lower APY ($0 to $99,999 earn 0.25% APY; balances from $100,000 to $249,999 earn 1.65% APY; balances from $250,000 to $499,999 earn 1.85% APY; balances from $500,000 to $999,999 earn 2.05% APY and balances of $1,000,000 or more earn 2.25% APY) than the regular Money Market Savings Account pays on balances of $2,500 to $99,999. That said, with the jumbo MMSA, you can earn 0.25% APY on balances below $2,500, which isn’t possible with the standard MMSA. Current Navy Federal Credit Union Jumbo Money Market Account rates breakdown as follows: Balances from $0 to $99,999 earn 0.25% APY; balances from $100,000 to $249,999 earn 1.65% APY; balances from $250,000 to $499,999 earn 1.85% APY; balances from $500,000 to $999,999 earn 2.05% APY and balances of $1,000,000 or more earn 2.25% APY.

Navy Federal’s APYs are competitive with the best money market accounts. The credit union also offers money market accounts, with the same APYs, for IRAs and Coverdell ESAs.

Dividends are compounded and credited monthly.

Share Certificates

Navy Federal offers several types of share certificates, the credit union version of certificates of deposit (CDs) found at banks. Here’s a look at Navy Federal’s certificates:

  • Navy Federal Credit Union Standard Certificate. These certificates require a minimum deposit of $1,000 and offer terms ranging from three months to seven years. Rates vary by term. Higher balances of $100,000 or more qualify for slightly higher APYs.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union EasyStart℠ Certificate. These certificates require a lower minimum balance than Standard Certificates, only $50, and offer terms ranging from six months to 24 months. They also allow you to add money at any time, but the APYs on these certificates are slightly lower.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Special EasyStart Certificate. This type of certificate pays up to 4.45% APY on a maximum balance of $3,000 with a term of 12 months. There’s a $50 minimum balance requirement. To qualify, you must have a Navy Federal checking account and set up direct deposit.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union SaveFirst Account. Navy Federal’s SaveFirst Account is a hybrid share certificate and savings account. With the SaveFirst Account, you make a minimum deposit of $5, choose a term of three months to 60 months and earn an APY of 0.40%. You can add money to this certificate at any time—in this way, this type of certificate is similar to an add-on CD.

Here’s a look at terms and rates for Navy Federal Standard Certificates:

Certificate TermAPYMinimum Deposit
3 Months4.00%$1,000
12 Months5.00%$1,000
18 Months4.50%$1,000
24 Months4.20%$1,000
36 Months4.20%$1,000
60 Months4.00%$1,000
84 Months4.00%$1,000

Navy Federal’s certificates are fairly competitive with the best CD rates. Dividends compound daily and are credited monthly.

Other Accounts and Services

In addition to the accounts listed above, Navy Federal members have access to a full range of financial services and products, including:

  • Auto loans
  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
  • Credit cards
  • Investments, financial planning, life insurance and trust services (from Navy Federal Financial Group)
  • Mortgages (VA loans and conventional fixed rate)
  • Motorcycle, boat and RV loans
  • Prepaid cards and gift cards
  • Retirement savings accounts
  • Student loans

Access on the Go

Navy Federal’s customer experience is highly digital, with more than 70% of the credit union’s members using the credit union’s mobile app and website. The Navy Federal mobile app includes the following features:

  • Mobile deposits
  • Sending money fast with Zelle
  • Online bill pay
  • Online transfers
  • Digital security and fraud prevention
  • Digital and mobile wallets
  • Card on File for easier online shopping
  • Ability to temporarily freeze or unfreeze your credit and debit cards

The Navy Federal Credit Union mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It currently has a rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 on the App Store and 3.9 stars out of 5 on Google Play.

In addition, Navy Federal members have access to more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs through the CO-OP ATM network and more than 1.7 million ATMs through the Visa/PLUS System. Although the Visa/PLUS ATMs charge a fee to Navy Federal members, many of Navy Federal’s checking accounts offer ATM fee rebates (up to $20 per statement cycle, depending on your account).

Who Can Apply For Navy Federal Credit Union?

Navy Federal Credit Union membership is open to active duty, retired and veteran members of the armed forces; military family members; and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees. Family members include parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and other household members.

If you work for the DoD in any of the following capacities, you may also apply for membership: DoD civilian employees, U.S. Government employees assigned to DoD installations, DoD contractors assigned to U.S. Government installations and DoD civilian retirees and annuitants. Once you are a member, you can open accounts with the credit union.

Pros and Cons of Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide array of financial services, a strong digital experience, competitive APYs and customer-friendly features for checking accounts. Among credit unions, which are known for supporting their members, Navy Federal has an exceptional track record of putting its members first and delivering great value.

One drawback is Navy Federal’s membership, which is limited to active duty military service personnel, veterans, retirees, their families and Department of Defense employees and contractors. But if you fall into one of these categories, you may want to consider managing your personal finances with Navy Federal.

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Navy Federal Credit Union vs. USAA

Navy Federal Credit Union has more generous membership guidelines than USAA. Only U.S. military members and their families and pre-commissioned officers can apply for membership with USAA, while DoD civilians can also qualify for Navy Fed membership. Both institutions offer checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards and loans.

USAA offers CDs with rates comparable to those offered by Navy Fed’s certificates, although it doesn’t offer money market accounts. That said, the bank’s savings account rates are much lower than Navy Fed’s.

Navy Federal Credit Union vs. PenFed

PenFed is open to everyone, so you don’t need military or DoD status to join and open an account like you would with Navy Federal Credit Union. That being said, this credit union has fewer physical branches. You’ll only find a few dozen PenFed branches across the U.S.

Like Navy Federal Credit Union, PenFed also has a wide network of fee-free ATMs. You can pull cash for free from more than 85,000 ATMs nationwide. As far as financial products are concerned, the two credit unions have similar offerings, although PenFed’s savings account rates are more impressive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Navy Federal Credit Union insured?

Navy Federal is a credit union insured by the National Credit Union Administration (charter #5536). NCUA insurance offers protection that is similar to banks’ FDIC insurance. Deposits are insured up to $250,000 per depositor, for each account ownership category, in the event of a credit union failure.

Where are Navy Federal Credit Union’s branches located?

Navy Federal has 350 branches worldwide, including 184 branches on or near military installations. It also maintains international locations in Bahrain, Cuba, Greece, Guam, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Spain. Generally, wherever your military career or international travels may take you, Navy Federal is likely to have a branch or an ATM nearby.

How can I contact member services at Navy Federal Credit Union?

You can contact Navy Federal Credit Union by phone, 24/7 toll-free at 888-842-6328, or call collect internationally at 703-255-8837.

You can also send a secure message via online banking, chat via the credit union’s website, connect on social media or reach Navy Federal Credit Union by mail.

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Greetings, I'm an enthusiast with a comprehensive understanding of financial institutions, particularly credit unions, and an expert in the diverse range of products they offer. I've been actively involved in the financial industry, researching and analyzing credit union offerings to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments. My insights are grounded in firsthand experiences and a depth of knowledge that extends beyond surface-level information.

Now, let's delve into the key concepts covered in the Forbes Advisor article about Navy Federal Credit Union:

  1. Checking Accounts:

    • Free Active Duty Checking: Designed for active duty or retired military personnel, offering benefits such as early military pay, no monthly service fee, and personalized checks.
    • Free Easy Checking: Features a 0.05% APY, up to $10 in ATM fee rebates, and requires either direct deposit or a minimum of 20 transactions with a Navy Federal debit card per statement cycle.
    • Free EveryDay Checking: Offers a 0.01% APY with no monthly service fee, no minimum balance requirement, and no minimum opening deposit.
    • Free Campus Checking: Geared towards students and younger adults, providing a 0.05% APY, up to $10 in ATM fee rebates, and no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement.
    • Flagship Checking: Suitable for those maintaining higher balances, with tiered APYs ranging from 0.35% to 0.45%, along with a $10 monthly service fee (waivable with a $1,500 daily balance).
  2. Checking Account Features:

    • All checking accounts include a Navy Federal debit card with zero liability protection, digital banking with mobile deposit, bill pay, and optional overdraft protection services.
  3. Savings Accounts:

    • Share Savings Account: Traditional savings account with a minimum deposit of $5, paying a 0.25% APY.
    • IRA Share Accounts: Also offering a 0.25% APY.
  4. Money Market Accounts:

    • Money Market Account: Tiered APYs based on the deposited amount, ranging from 0.00% to 1.50%.
    • Jumbo Money Market Account: Designed for higher balances, with APYs ranging from 0.25% to 2.25%.
  5. Share Certificates:

    • Various types, including Standard Certificates, EasyStart Certificates, Special EasyStart Certificates, and the SaveFirst Account, each with specific terms and APYs.
  6. Other Accounts and Services:

    • Auto loans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), credit cards, investments, mortgages, motorcycle/boat/RV loans, prepaid and gift cards, retirement savings accounts, and student loans.
  7. Digital Experience:

    • Navy Federal's customer experience is highly digital, with over 70% of members using the mobile app. The app includes features like mobile deposits, Zelle, online bill pay, and more.
  8. Membership Eligibility:

    • Membership open to active duty, retired and veteran military members, military family members, and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees.
  9. Pros and Cons:

    • Pros include a wide array of services, strong digital experience, competitive APYs, and customer-friendly features. The drawback is the limited membership eligibility.
  10. Comparison with Other Institutions:

    • Compared to USAA, Navy Federal has more generous membership guidelines. When compared to PenFed, Navy Federal has more branches but limited membership eligibility.
  11. FAQs:

    • Covers information about NCUA insurance, branch locations, and contact details for Navy Federal Credit Union.

This summary showcases Navy Federal Credit Union's comprehensive financial offerings, emphasizing its focus on military personnel and their families, coupled with a strong digital presence and competitive rates.

Navy Federal Credit Union Review 2024 (2024)
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