Alaska Federal Credit Union: Convenient and Low-Cost Banking Worldwide

GOBankingRates Score

4.1
Quick Take: In spite of its name, Alaska Federal Credit Union has more than 702,000 members in all 50 states plus internationally. It holds more than $10.4 billion in assets, making it one of the world's biggest credit unions. Members have access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs through the Allpoint ATM network, while branches are located across Alaska, Washington, California and Arizona.
  • Health Savings Account
    4.0
  • Accessibility
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    4.0
  • Online Account Access
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Overview of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union

Included on the list of the Top 100 Banks of 2022 by GOBankingRates, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union shines when it comes to membership requirements. While many credit unions are limited to individuals or businesses in a specific region, Alaska USA is one of the largest credit unions in the world, with members across the globe.

The organization’s website notes that most people who live or work in the states of Alaska and Washington, or San Bernadino County, California, or Maricopa County, Arizona, qualify for membership. Regardless of where you live in the world, if your employer organization or community established a relationship with Alaska, USA, you may qualify for membership, gaining access to savings, checking and loan products.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union Checking Accounts

With an extensive ATM network, Alaska USA’s checking accounts with debit cards make it easy to manage your money. It’s also easy to have the low monthly checking fee of $5 waived. It would be nice if Alaska USA offered a dividend-earning checking option. But the 24-hour customer service, online banking and mobile app, and other benefits make Alaska USA checking an option worth considering. It’s worth noting that the credit union provides a secure EMV smart chip card, contactless payments, and fraud protection services, as well as an easy way to turn off your debit card through the app or online if it’s misplaced.

Alaska USA offers three choices in checking accounts, with the Investor checking product offering dividends for each day your balance exceeds $1,000.

The Convenience checking account waives the $5 per month fee as long as you have direct deposit and is best for people who want a straightforward checking account and don’t want to worry about a minimum balance.

The Relationship checking account has no fee as long as you maintain a minimum balance in any of your Alaska USA accounts — including loans — of $500.

If you want all your banking needs in one place, the Relationship account may be a good fit. This checking account is also free for members between the ages of 13 and 25, making it a great “starter” checking account. Finally, the dividend-earning Investor account pays 0.05% interest for each day you have more than $1,000 in your account. That’s also the minimum balance required to eliminate the $5 fee.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union Savings Accounts

Alaska USA’s offers the Share Savings account, which has no monthly fees as long as you maintain a $50 minimum account balance, provides everything members could want in a savings account. Members under the age of $26 can waive the low quarterly fee by keeping just $5 in the account. You can even set up direct deposit into your savings account, making it easy to develop good savings habits and see your nest egg build.

You should be aware that the savings accounts do not offer the highest return on your investment, with just 0.05% APY with Share Savings and a minimum balance of $50 and 0.10% APY with a minimum balance of $10,000 for Premium Savings.

Those who want to earn higher dividends may want to consider Logix, Tinker Federal Credit Union or an online bank. However, Alaska USA’s dividend payments are comparable to larger financial institutions, but with lower fees. Alaska USA’s savings accounts, including the money markets, IRAs, and HSAs, have no monthly or quarterly fees as long as you maintain a minimum balance of $50.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union Money Market Accounts

Alaska USA’s money market accounts offer higher dividends than the savings accounts, but with flexibility. That means you can continue adding to your account, unlike a CD. The credit union offers three different money market options depending on the balance you intend to keep in the account.

The regular Money Market account requires a $2,500 minimum balance to earn dividends and just $50 to avoid fees. The Super Money Market account begins earning dividends with a $10,000 daily balance, and the Jumbo account earns interest with $50,000 in the account. Rates range from .05% to .15%, making the earnings comparable to a larger bank, but not as good as an online bank or some other credit unions, based on GOBankingRates extensive research as part of the Top 100 Banks of 2022 study.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union Share Certificates

Alaska USA’s share certificates are also highly accessible, requiring only a $500 minimum deposit. This compares favorably to one of the CD accounts issued by First Internet Bank, which was ranked no. 2 in GOBankingRates annual study of the Best CD Rates and Accounts of 2022, which requires a $1,000 minimum deposit. Alaska USA also has flexible terms ranging from 30 days to 60 months. The longer you save with Alaska USA certificates, the higher your rate of return. Earn between 0.15% to 0.70% APY with their savings certificates.

Best Features of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union

Here are some of the top features of Alaska USA, which were highlighted in this year’s review by GOBankingRates.

Health Savings Account Review

Not every bank offers a health savings account, so this unique feature is worth mentioning. If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan or you pay more than you’d like out of pocket on things like prescriptions, health-related travel, and over-the-counter medicines or treatments, it could be worth investing in an HSA through Alaska USA. You can automatically deposit tax-deferred funds into your account from your paycheck. Funds remain tax-free as long as you use them for qualified medical expenses. You can also earn dividends on your savings, ranging from .05% up to .15% depending on your minimum balance. As with Alaska USA’s other savings accounts, you need only maintain a daily balance of $50 to waive the $5 monthly service fee.

Accessibility

Many credit unions only serve limited portions of the population, based on their region or their employer’s industry. Alaska USA has members across the world and in a variety of fields. The credit union operates two member service centers, one in Alaska and one in Arizona to meet the needs of its members. Also, many branches are open seven days a week, making banking with Alaska USA convenient if you live near one of the organization’s 67 branches across Alaska, Arizona, Washington and California.

The organization’s ClickSWITCH technology makes it easy to transfer direct deposits and automatic payments to your Alaska USA account when you decide to switch your financial institution. Simply enter your deposit and payment information and the credit union does the work of contacting your depositors and billers to switch payments to your new Alaska USA account.

It’s also worth mentioning that the credit union also provides insurance, investments, and investment management, making it a true one-stop shop for members’ financial needs.

Breadth of Products

Not every credit union or bank offers low-cost insurance products to its members, but Alaska USA does. The offerings include term and whole life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, and loan protection. Payment protection cancels your loan balance or monthly payments on Alaska USA loans if you die or are permanently disabled. Guaranteed Asset Protection, or GAP coverage, cancels the difference between the market value of your vehicle and the balance on your loan in case your car is totaled after an accident.

Online Access

Alaska USA has an easy-to-use app as well as online access to your accounts through a Web browser. Most online services are free, including the remote deposit capabilities for checks. The app includes fingerprint or Touch ID security features and is available for Android or iOS devices.

Editor’s Favorite

Switching banks can be a hassle. Alaska USA’s ClickSWITCH program stands out as a customer service feature that makes it easier to decide to bank with Alaska USA. The wide network of 55,000 partner ATMs and 24/7 customer service by phone also set Alaska USA apart.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Here’s more on Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and how it compares to its competitors.

Alaska USA vs. Chase

With widespread access across the U.S., Alaska USA is a credit union that holds its own against even the world’s largest banks. Both savings and CD rates for Alaska USA are higher than Chase offers, and Chase has no interest-bearing checking account. Chase CDs require a $1,000 minimum deposit to open the account, compared to $500 for Alaska USA.

Alaska USA vs. Credit Union 1

Credit Union 1 is a credit union open to all Alaska residents. There is no minimum balance to open their savings account, but dividends are only 0.01%, compared to Alaska USA’s 0.05%, which jumps up to 0.10% with a minimum balance of $10,000.

Final Take

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union may not have the highest dividend rates of any credit union, but it offers many other perks, including low-cost checking and savings accounts, that make it a worthwhile choice. When Alaska USA merged with Global Credit Union, headquartered in Spokane, Washington, in 2021, it became one of the 15 largest credit unions in the country. A wide range of flexible products, including money market and HSA accounts to make saving money easy, makes Alaska USA a solid choice if you live or work in one of the many communities it serves.  

Alaska Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Alaska Federal Credit Union.
  • Who can join Alaska USA Federal Credit Union?
    • Members live, work, worship or attend school anywhere in Alaska, as well as Washington, California, and Arizona. But you may qualify regardless of where you live or work as long as your community, organization or place of employment has requested to do business with Alaska USA. If you aren't sure, you can apply for membership for free on the website.
  • Are Alaska USA accounts insured?
    • As with funds deposited into any bank or credit union, Alaska USA funds are federally insured up to $250,000 per customer. Funds are insured through the National Credit Union Administration.
  • Can I pay bills online through Alaska USA?
    • Alaska USA offers online bill pay and easy money management through their online service, UltraBranch or their mobile app.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 18, 2022.

This article was updated on Feb. 17, 2022 to clarify the scoring evaluation.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Alaska Federal Credit Union. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Alaska Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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