10 Best Military Banks and Credit Unions of 2020

Military banks and credit unions can provide special perks.

If you are an active-duty or retired member of the military, joining a military bank or military credit union can provide valuable perks for you and your family. While any bank or credit union will happily open an account for a military member, certain institutions restrict membership or provide special perks just for military personnel and their families. If you fit into this category, it’s worth the effort to take a look at these specialized financial institutions to see if they can offer a better banking experience for you and your family.

Here’s what this guide to the best military banking options will cover:

Best Military Banks and Credit Unions at a Glance

Here’s a quick overview of key highlights of the top 10 military banks and credit unions. You’ll find more specific details about each institution following the table.

10 Best Military Banks and Credit Unions of 2020
BankChecking Account FeeSavings Account Interest (APY)12-Month CD/Share Certificate Interest (APY)Access (ATMs)
Air Force Federal Credit Union$00.10%1.45%No charge at AFFCU and CO-OP ATMs; $1 at all others
Navy Federal Credit Union 2019 LogoNavy Federal Credit Union$00.25%1.50%No charge at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs; $1 at PLUS System ATMs
Andrews Federal Credit Union$00.10%0.75%No charge at Andrews Federal and CO-OP ATMs
RBFCU logo 2017Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union$00.25%1.46%Nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs via the CO-OP network
Security Service Federal Credit Union$00.10%0.40%Surcharge-free access to the 30,000-plus ATMs in the CO-OP network, plus access to 5,000 shared branches
Arkansas Federal Credit Union$00.50%0.70%More than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs; $1 fee for domestic out-of-network ATMs; $3 fee for foreign ATMs
Langley Federal Credit Union$00.05%1.05%Langley Federal Credit Union is part of the Allpoint ATM network, giving customers surcharge-free access to more than 55,000 ATMs
Tyndall FCU logo 2017Tyndall Federal Credit Union$0From 0.10%0.65%Surcharge-free access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide, including those in the Tyndall ATM network, the Publix Presto! Network and the Allpoint network
USAAUSAA Federal Savings Bank$0From 0.15%0.70%Free access at more than 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs across the U.S.; fee rebates of other banks’ ATM charges of up to $15 per month
Fort Knox FCU logo 2017Fort Knox Federal Credit Union$0From 0.15%1.00%Up to four ATM fee rebates per month and free ATM withdrawals from any Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Branch ATM; rebates must be processed by mail or in-person

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Best Military Banks and Credit Unions of 2020

GOBankingRates reviewed a number of military banks and credit unions to unearth the best options for 2020. Features such as no-fee checking accounts, surcharge-free ATMs and additional benefits like free budgeting tools, early access to paychecks and free insurance all factored into the review. Here’s a look at the best available options for military members in 2020.

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Air Force Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: AFFCU customers enjoy the wide array of products and services, the no-fee accounts and the high one-year CD rate.

Where it’s located: Six branch locations in the greater San Antonio, Texas area

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • High one-year CD/share certificate rates
  • No-fee accounts
  • Broad array of financial products available

Drawbacks:

  • No interest on checking accounts

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $25
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 0.10%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: From 1.45%

Access (ATM): No charge at AFFCU and CO-OP ATMs; $1 at all others

How to open an account: You can open an account online in a few minutes with AFFCU by providing an unexpired government-issued ID such as a passport or driver’s license, along with your physical mailing address, Social Security number and date of birth.

 

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Navy Federal Credit Union 2019 Logo-200x84


Navy Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: A wide variety of products and benefits, including auto loan refinancing and a $400 to $8,000 cash-back benefit for homebuyers via the RealtyPlus program

Where it’s located: Based in Virginia, Navy Federal Credit Union has 335 branches, including 26 international locations and 75 on base

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • Some of the best rates available on a one-year CD
  • No-fee accounts
  • Wide variety of financial products available
  • Pays interest on no-fee checking accounts

Drawbacks:

  • Low savings APY

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $25
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.40%
  • Savings: 0.25%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: From 1.50%

Access (ATM): $0 at Navy Federal and CO-OP ATMs, $1 at PLUS System ATMs

How to open an account: You can open an account online at Navy Federal Credit Union once you prove that you’re eligible for membership. You’ll need to provide standard personal and financial information such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number.

Read On: Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Free ATMs and No Monthly Fees

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Andrews Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: Customers can get their paychecks a day in advance with the Early Pay Day feature. The no-fee checking account offers broad, surcharge-free ATM access via the CO-OP network.

Where it’s located: Branches in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C, New Jersey, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments and insurance

Benefits:

  • International branch access
  • No-fee checking account
  • Early Pay Day feature

Drawbacks:

  • Comparatively low APYs

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 0.10%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 0.75%

Access (ATM): Free ATM access at Andrews Federal and CO-OP ATMs

How to open an account: You can open an account with Andrews Federal Credit Union online in three easy steps. You’ll need identification such as your driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. You’ll also need proof of address and the routing and account numbers of an external account to fund your new membership.

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Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union


Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: Free online bill pay and mobile payments via a debit card that offers wide, surcharge-free ATM access

Where it’s located: More than 55 RBFCU branches can be found in four major metro areas in Texas: Dallas, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Austin

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • No-fee accounts
  • Cash-back rewards credit card
  • Free checking account that pays interest

Drawbacks:

  • Relatively low APYs

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $1
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $1
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.05%
  • Savings: 0.25%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 1.46%

Access (ATM): Nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs via the CO-OP network.

How to open an account: You can join the credit union online by answering questions and going through the eligibility screener. Afterward, you can open accounts with basic personal and financial information.

Also Consider: Armed Forces Bank Review

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Security Service Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: Actively deployed members enjoy the suite of options and services — including loan rate reduction programs — under the credit union’s “Operation Salute the Strong” program. General members can take advantage of SSFCU’s participation in a wide-reaching shared-branch network, along with a 30,000-plus network of surcharge-free ATMs.

Where it’s located: SSFCU has about 60 branch locations in Utah, Colorado and Texas, but it also participates in a shared-branch network with more than 5,000 locations across the U.S.

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • “Operation Salute the Strong” can reduce loan rates for actively deployed members
  • No-fee accounts
  • Wide shared-branch network and free ATM access

Drawbacks:

  • APYs are on the low side

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $500

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 0.10%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 0.40%

Access (ATM): Surcharge-free access to the 30,000-plus ATMs in the CO-OP network plus access to 5,000 shared branches

How to open an account: You can open an account online with SSFCU by providing your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, email address, phone number, driver’s license number, employment information and income.

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Arkansas Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: No-fee accounts and free ATM access

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Where it’s located: AFCU has 15 branches in Arkansas

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • Wide network of surcharge-free ATMs
  • Rewards programs for credit card and higher-tier checking accounts
  • No-fee accounts

Drawbacks:

  • Low APYs
  • Basic checking pays no interest

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 0.50%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 0.70%

Access (ATM): Over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs; $1 fee for domestic out-of-network ATMs; $3 fee for foreign ATMs

How to open an account: You can join Arkansas Federal Credit Union online in just three steps. First, you’ll select how you qualify for membership and which product you’re interested in purchasing. Note that a $5 share savings account is one of the required products. Next, you’ll need to provide personal information such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number and driver’s license number. Last, you’ll need to provide information on how you plan to fund the account.

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Langley Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: A card rewards program and lots of freebies, from cashier’s checks and domestic wires to money orders and checks

Where it’s located: 19 branches in Virginia

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • Wide variety of products available
  • Broad surcharge-free ATM access through the Allpoint network
  • No-fee accounts available

Drawbacks:

  • You don’t earn interest on checking unless you open a higher-level account

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 0.05%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 1.05%

Access (ATM): Langley Federal Credit Union is part of the Allpoint ATM network, giving customers surcharge-free access to more than 55,000 ATMs.

How to open an account: You can open a Langley Federal Credit Union account online or by calling 757-827-5328. You’ll need a minimum deposit of $5 to open a savings membership account. After that, you can open any additional accounts by providing the usual personal and financial information, such as your date of birth and Social Security number.

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Tyndall Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: Customers are lured by Tyndall’s debit card rewards program, online banking from any device, no-fee checking accounts and a relatively high APY for their Smart Checking account.

Where it’s located: 14 branches in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle

Products offered: Loans, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • Large surcharge-free ATM network
  • No-fee checking and savings accounts
  • High one-year CD APY

Drawbacks:

  • No interest on basic checking; top checking account APY only available with extensive debit card activity

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $25
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $25
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: From 1.00%
  • Savings: From 0.10%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 0.65%

Access (ATM): Surcharge-free access to more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide, including those in the Tyndall ATM network, the Publix Presto! Network and the Allpoint network

How to open an account: You can join the Tyndall Federal Credit Union and open an account online by providing your date of birth, address, phone number, Social Security number and driver’s license number.

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USAA Federal Savings Bank

Why consumers like it: Worldwide ATM access, third-party ATM fee rebates and a broad product suite.

Where it’s located: USAA has nine financial centers in the U.S., located in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Virginia, New York and Maryland.

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • No monthly checking account fee
  • Up to $15 in monthly ATM fee rebates
  • Access to more than 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs
  • Fully developed product line

Drawbacks:

  • Very low checking APY

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $25
  • Savings: $25
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0; $1,000 required to to earn interest
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.01%
  • Savings: From 0.15%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 0.70%

Access (ATM): Free access at more than 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs across the U.S. Fee rebates of other banks’ ATM charges of up to $15 per month

How to open an account: USAA membership is restricted to active and retired military, their families and cadets or midshipmen. If you’re eligible, you can open an account online with a $25 deposit plus your Social Security number, date of birth and address.

Learn More: USAA Bank Review — Competitive Loan Rates for Military and Family

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fort-knox-credit-union
Fort Knox Federal Credit Union

Why consumers like it: Free worldwide ATM access and perks such as free insurance and financial tools

Where it’s located: 17 branches in the Louisville, Ky. area

Products offered: Loans, mortgages, credit cards, investments, insurance

Benefits:

  • Worldwide ATM access and fee rebates
  • Free accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Free online budgeting tools

Drawbacks:

  • Branch access limited to the greater Louisville area
  • ATM fee rebate must be processed by mail or in-branch
  • Very limited information available online

Fees: $0

Minimum deposit:

  • Checking: $15 ($10 of that is a nonrefundable and $5 goes into your primary savings account).
  • Savings: $5
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: $500

Minimum balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $5 ($100 to earn dividends)
  • one-year CD: $500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: From 0.15%
  • 12-month CD or share certificate: 1.00%

Access (ATM): Up to four ATM fee rebates per month and free ATM withdrawals from any Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Branch ATM; rebates must be processed by mail on in person.

How to open an account: You can open an account online by joining the credit union and providing your Social Security number, driver’s license or other government ID, full name, home address and date of birth. To get a checking account you must also open a savings account.

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Saving Money Isn’t Just for the Military

Although each of these military banks and credit unions offers membership or special perks to members of the armed forces, they aren’t the only banking options available. Many of the best banks reviewed by GOBankingRates are not military banks or credit unions.

It pays to shop around when it comes to financial services, as the competitive landscape results in many great options for consumers. For example, many online banks offer no-fee checking accounts and high-yield savings accounts. After researching military banks and credit unions, it’s a good idea to also take a look at the GOBankingRates list of Best Banks to see if there’s an even better option available.

Learn: How To Join a Military Credit Union Without Joining the Service

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Key Takeaways of the Best Military Banks and Best Military Credit Unions

Just because you’re a member of the military doesn’t mean you have to use a military bank or credit union. However, you might find that the perks offered to service members are worth checking out.

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Those perks include the same types of free checking and savings accounts offered at many traditional banks as well as loan discounts and insurance products specifically for military members and their families. It’s worth the effort to see if the additional benefits are useful to you personally. If not, you can always choose a different banking option.

Up Next: Best Credit Unions of 2020

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.