NCUA vs. FDIC: Who Insures Credit Unions and Banks?

Find out which agencies insure banks and credit unions.

You might have seen it mentioned on your bank’s website or in a commercial, but what is the FDIC? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is an independent government insurance agency that protects customers’ deposits in banks and thrift institutions in case of bank failures. FDIC bankers’ insurance covers all deposit accounts, including checking, savings, certificates of deposit and money market accounts up to $250,000 per account.

The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund is similar to the FDIC in that it protects individual accounts up to $250,000. One difference with NCUA insurance, however, is that it covers regular shares and share draft accounts, which are specific to credit unions and do not exist at banks. In addition, the $250,000 deposit insurance limit applies to the total deposits with one institution.

Keep reading to find out the details of NCUA vs. FDIC insurance and fully understand if and how your money is protected. Find out if your account is covered whether you keep your money with a credit union or a bank.

FDIC Insurance Coverage: What’s Protected

From single accounts to trust accounts, here’s a list of the specific types of accounts that are FDIC-insured and their coverage limits:

Type of Account

Description of Account

Coverage Limit

Single AccountDeposit account — such as a checking account, savings account, CD, money market account or business account — with one owner and no beneficiaries$250,000 per owner
Certain Retirement AccountSelf-directed retirement account in which owner can direct how much money is invested, such as an IRA or 401k$250,000 per owner
Joint AccountDeposit account with two or more owners but no beneficiaries$250,000 per co-owner
Revocable Trust AccountDeposit account with at least one owner with one or more beneficiariesOwner insured $250,000 for each unique beneficiary designated
Irrevocable Trust AccountDeposit account held in connection with an irrevocable trust established by statute or a written trust agreement$250,000 for the trust, but more coverage is available
Employee Benefit Plan AccountDeposit of pension, defined-benefit plan or other employee benefit plan that’s not self-directed$250,000 for the non-contingent interest of each plan participant
Corporation, Partnership or Unincorporated Association AccountDeposit account owned by a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association, such as for-profit and not-for-profit organizations$250,000 per corporation, partnership or unincorporated association
Government AccountDeposit account owned by the U.S., any state, county, municipality, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or an Indian tribe$250,000 per official custodian
Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 

The FDIC insures qualifying accounts up to the limit per depositor, per institution. That means if you hold two accounts at one bank, both with balances that meet the maximum insurance amount, only half of your money is protected.

Related: What Is a Deposit Account?

FDIC Insurance Coverage: What’s Not Protected

Just because your account has bank insurance, however, does not mean all of your accounts are insured — even if they’re under $250,000. The FDIC will not insure other financial products that might be offered by your bank.

Here’s a simple guide to help you remember what’s FDIC-insured and what’s not FDIC-insured:

FDIC-Insured Accounts 

Accounts Not FDIC-Insured

Checking accountsAnnuities
Savings accountsMutual funds
Money market deposit accountsStocks
Certificates of deposit and other time depositsBonds
Negotiable order of withdrawal accountsGovernment securities
Money ordersMunicipal securities
Cashier’s checksU.S. Treasury bills, bonds or notes

 Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Additionally, only your principal balance and accrued interest that remain under the limit are guaranteed. If any interest you gain exceeds the maximum insurance amount, and something goes wrong with your bank, your money is vulnerable — so it’s important to keep an eye on your bank account balance. Some accounts have special insurance rules that apply to them specifically as well, which is why it’s crucial to check with your bank to find out exactly how much of your money is covered and which accounts aren’t.

Are All Banks FDIC-Insured?

You might be surprised to learn that banks aren’t required to have FDIC insurance. Even so, many banks choose to be covered because uninsured banks can’t compete with those that offer full protection.

If you’re unsure whether your bank provides FDIC insurance, call your bank or visit its website. Usually, bank websites indicate on the bottom of the home page if it’s a member of the FDIC. Here is a list of 20 FDIC-insured banks — but there are plenty of others:

  1. JPMorgan Chase
  2. Capital One
  3. Ally Bank
  4. TD Bank
  5. HSBC
  6. BB&T
  7. State Street
  8. J.P. Morgan
  9. Bank of America
  10. SunTrust
  11. BNY Mellon
  12. The Huntington National Bank
  13. Charles Schwab
  14. PNC Bank
  15. Citibank
  16. KeyBank
  17. Wells Fargo
  18. U.S. Bank
  19. PNC Bank
  20. Bank One Corporation

Check Out: Here’s How the Average Savings Account Interest Rate Compares to Yours

Are Credit Unions FDIC-Insured?

Credit unions are not FDIC-insured. But this fact doesn’t make them less safe. The NCUA, much like the FDIC, is an independent federal agency. It’s charged with chartering and regulating federal credit unions in addition to insuring deposits at federal credit unions and administering the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

The National Credit Union Administration

Now that you know what FDIC insurance is, what is NCUA insurance? The insurance coverage the NCUA provides through the NCUSIF is practically the same as the FDIC. Individual accounts are protected up to $250,000.

One difference with NCUA insurance, though, is that it covers regular shares and share draft accounts, which are specific to credit unions and do not exist at banks. Also, the $250,000 limit applies to the total deposits with one institution.

Invest: 10 Best Credit Unions for CD Rates

NCUA Insurance Coverage: What’s Protected

To see which of your accounts are covered by the NCUSIF and which ones can come with additional or separate coverage, check out the following table below:

  Accounts With Basic NCUSIF Coverage  

Accounts That Offer Additional
or Separate NCUSIF Coverage

Savings accountsRetirement accounts — Traditional IRAs, Roth IRA, KEOGH retirement accounts
Checking accountsJoint accounts
Money market accountsRevocable trusts
Share certificatesIrrevocable trusts

 Source: National Credit Union Administration

NCUA Insurance Coverage: What’s Not Protected

Always confirm with your credit union which accounts come with NCUA coverage. Like the FDIC, the NCUA does not insure money invested in:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities

Are All Credit Unions NCUA-Insured?

Only federal credit unions are automatically covered by NCUA insurance. Some state-chartered institutions are not insured by the NCUA, so they don’t offer the same protection against credit union failure. Even so, state-chartered credit unions might still elect to be NCUA-insured, and many are.

To find out if your accounts are insured, call your credit union or visit its website. Federally insured credit unions are required to display the official NCUA insurance sign within their branches and on their websites. Here is a list of 20 NCUA-insured credit unions, but there are more:

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union
  2. State Employees Credit Union
  3. PenFed Credit Union
  4. BECU Credit Union
  5. Schools First Federal Credit Union
  6. Golden1 Credit Union
  7. Security Service Federal Credit Union
  8. Alliant
  9. First Tech Federal Credit Union
  10. Star One Credit Union
  11. America’s First Federal Credit Union
  12. San Diego County Credit Union
  13. Suncoast Credit Union
  14. DCU
  15. RBFCU
  16. Bethpage Federal Credit Union
  17. Alaska USA
  18. VyStar
  19. American Airlines Credit Union
  20. ESL Federal Credit Union

Here are the Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

Sydney ChampionRuth Sarreal and Barri Segal contributed to the reporting for this article.

  • Edmund Deaton

    A very good article.

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  • bob

    Excellent summary. Valuable. Thank you.

  • Sabbie

    If the banks are allowed to use deposits to fund investment activity such as derivatives swaps, then the FDIC is not adequately funded to cover these massive and risky bets. So in this case, a credit union may be safer?

    • blueday

      That is an excellent question. I look forward to someone with some knowledge answering your post.

    • Rochelle

      I’m not an expert, but from what I understood from the article, neither FDIC or NCUA insure any money invested in stocks, mutual funds, annuities, so those are riskier altogether, which would mean banks are only good for holding $250,000 or less – unless you diversify banks.

    • shashumna

      I understand CU cannot leverage their deposits like Banks.

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