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

Learn why NFCU is the largest credit union in the world. 

Decades ago, Navy Federal Credit Union began with only seven members. Today, the credit union, which serves the armed forces, the Department of Defense, veterans and military dependents boasts over 7 million members. And that growth is no surprise with all the credit union has to offer. GOBankingRates identified NFCU as one the 10 best military credit unions of 2018.

Keep reading to find out if this credit union membership could save you money.

Navy Federal Credit Union Review

NFCU has more than 300 branches and over 600 ATMs worldwide, as well as an additional network of over 30,000 free ATMs. Some branches are located outside of the U.S. in countries such as Italy, Korea and Spain but require a military ID for access.

NFCU’s branch hours vary, but they typically begin at 9:00 a.m. and end between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours tend to be limited, starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.

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Navy Federal Credit Union Products and Services

NFCU offers a full range of financial products and services, including credit cards and money market accounts, as well as non-deposit products including investments, life insurance and financial and retirement planning. Here are details on some of the credit union’s offerings:

NFCU Checking Accounts

NFCU offers five different checking accounts to members, such as Free ActiveDuty Checking — a free checking account for active military members. Other options are Free EveryDay Checking, Campus Checking, Flagship Checking and e-Checking. Included with each checking account are free traditional checks, a debit card, free mobile and scan deposits and more. Plus, all accounts earn dividends.

NFCU Savings Accounts

NFCU offers three savings account options:

  • Basic
  • Education Savings
  • SaveFirst

The Basic account comes with your NFCU membership and has no monthly service fee. The Education Savings account offers tax-free earnings if you spend the money on education. SaveFirst only requires a $5 opening deposit, and dividends are compounded daily.

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NFCU Loans

Members can choose from a variety of loans at competitive rates:

  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Auto loans
  • Leisure vehicle loans
  • Mortgage and home equity loans 

Auto loan terms are from three to eight years with the lowest interest rates ranging from 2.89% APR to 5.89% APR. Competitive-rate home mortgages are available with interest rates from 2.25 to 5.25 percent, including a Military Choice mortgage loan, which offers easier qualification for military members and 100 percent financing.

NFCU Certificates of Deposit

NFCU offers a selection of CDs — aka share certificates — including standard and special certificates. Both types of CDs can earn rates up to 3.00% APY. For example, a five-year standard CD and a one-year special EasyStart certificate both earn 3.00 percent despite different minimum deposits.

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Pros and Cons of Navy Federal Credit Union

Just like other institutions, NFCU has both advantages and drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know:

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When considering whether NFCU is right for you, consider these advantages:

  • Dividend-paying checking accounts
  • Credit card options, including one with a low 7.49% APR
  • Can lock in mortgage interest rate at contract and change if rate drops by closing


Every institution has its drawbacks, and it’s helpful to know them in advance. Here are some disadvantages to banking with NFCU:

  • Limited number of branches
  • Low basic savings APY of 0.25
  • Restricted membership

NFCU and 9 Other: Best Military Banks and Credit Unions of 2018

Is NFCU a Good Choice for You?

For people who can meet NFCU’s membership qualifications, this credit union has many features that might be worth considering. But, with the limited number of branches available, members must be comfortable with online banking or e-banking.

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This content is not provided by the companies mentioned. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by Navy Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom

Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

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