America First Credit Union Review: Competitive Rates and Top Customer Service

GOBankingRates Score

4.5
Our Take: High-interest rates on CDs and generous membership criteria make America First Credit Union a top choice for anyone living in its service area. Members get a variety of banking products and top-notch customer service.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Rates
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Locations
    3.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Full range of banking products available to customers
  • Membership criteria are easy to meet
  • High interest rates on CDs compared to other financial institutions

Cons

  • Service area limited to a few western states

About America First Credit Union

America First Credit Union started out in 1939 as Fort Douglas Civilian Employees Credit Union. Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, volunteers, worships, attends school or works in the service area. As the America First website points out, the original organization’s cash was small enough to fit into a Prince Albert tobacco can. Today, America First has more than $11 billion in assets, more than 1 million members and 131 full-service branches. This is one of the reasons GOBankingRates has named it one of the Best Best Credit Unions of 2021 in its annual rankings.

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America First Credit Union Products

America First offers a variety of products and services to customers, including deposit accounts, loans and retirement accounts. Here’s a quick rundown:

Product Features
Checking
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • Personalized debit card
  • No low balance fees
Savings
  • Multiple savings accounts available
  • Low minimum balance to earn interest
  • Youth and student savings available
Money Market
Certificates of Deposit
  • Terms from three months to five years
  • Automatic renewals
  • NCUA insured up to $250,000
Retirement
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs available
Loans
  • Loans for autos, RVs, motorcycles and watercraft available
  • Personal secured loans and lines of credit
  • Mortgages and home equity loans
Credit Cards
  • Several Visa credit cards available
  • Secured credit card option
  • Student credit card available

America First Credit Union has a full range of banking products, including checking, savings and money market accounts. Here’s more about them:

America First Credit Union Checking Account

The America First basic checking account earns interest with as little as $500. This is what you need to know:

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Features

Pros:

  • Competitive APY for a basic checking account
  • FICO score tracker

Cons:

  • Fees for dormant and inactive accounts

America First Credit Union Savings Account

America First Credit Union has a basic savings account as well as accounts for children and students. All savings accounts come with online and mobile app access for managing the account and tracking your money.

Features

  • Open an account with as little as $1
  • 0.05% APY
  • Account access through website, mobile app, phone or in branch

Pros:

Cons:

  • Fees for dormant and inactive accounts

America First Credit Union Money Market Accounts

America First has two money market accounts: Money Market Checking and Money Market Savings. Here are some of the highlights:

Features

  • Tiered dividend rates
  • Anytime access
  • Unlimited transactions (checking)

Pros:

  • Free direct deposit (checking)
  • Low minimum balance for earning interest

Cons:

  • Best rates reserved for highest balances

America First Credit Union CD Accounts

America First Credit Union’s CDs come in a variety of terms and have rates higher than the national average. Here’s more:

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Features

  • Terms range from three months to five years
  • Automatic renewals
  • APYs ranging from 0.20% to 0.70%
  • Minimum opening deposit of $500

Pros:

  • Above-average APY
  • Multiple terms available, including short-term CDs
  • Low opening balances

Cons:

  • CD accounts limited to $100,000 per year

Banking Experience

America First Credit Union earns high marks from customers who note positive experiences with customer service. Keep reading for more details.

Customer Service

You can contact Customer Service by phone and email or visit a local branch. The Customer Service number is 800-999-3961 and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. MST, and Saturday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. MST. The credit union’s website notes that representatives respond quickly to emails.

Accessibility

America First has 131 full-service branches. Branch hours vary by location, so check the website’s branch locator for individual branch hours.

Mobile & Digital Experience

America First’s mobile app gets high scores from users. It has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the App Store and 4.7 out of 5 in Google Play. The app offers several perks, including tools to help you track your spending and monitor your budget.

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You also can add accounts from other banks and credit unions to keep everything in one place. Biometric authentication is available as an additional layer of security for your account.

Convenience

Anyone who lives, works, volunteers, worships or attends school in America First’s service area can join the credit union. To become a member, you’ll need to provide personal information, including your address and identification. The credit union offers a switch kit that makes it easy to complete the transition to America First.

Key Information

Customer Service number: 800-999-3961

Routing number: 324377516

PromotionsSee Newest America First Credit Union Promos and Bonuses

Locations: America First Credit Union Near You

America First Credit Union Fees

America First has no maintenance charges on deposit accounts, but it does charge fees for certain account activity. Here’s a quick look:

  • Overdraft fee: $25
  • Wire transfer (Incoming): $10
  • Wire transfer (Domestic Outgoing): $15
  • Wire transfer (International Outgoing): $30
  • Returned item fee: $25
  • Dormant account: $30
  • Statement copy: $5

You can avoid these fees by not using the services or by monitoring the activity in your account to ensure you don’t get overdrawn or let it become dormant.

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American First Credit Union vs. Competitors

If you’re considering joining America First Credit Union, it helps to compare it to similar credit unions. Following is a look at how it stacks up against one of its rivals.

Credit Union
Best For
America First Credit Union

    Anyone who qualifies for membership and wants low-cost bank accounts

    Mountain America Credit Union

       Anyone who wants to earn high interest rates on CDs

      America First Credit Union vs. Mountain America Credit Union

      Both America First and Mountain America offer low-cost accounts and other benefits to members. America First Credit Union has a larger service area than Mountain America, which might make it easier to join. Mountain America is concentrated in four counties in Utah. If you live in one of those counties — or you meet other membership criteria, such as being related to a member — MACU might be a good choice.

      Final Take

      America First Credit Union offers many of the accounts and features that the big banks have, but with other perks such as more personalized service and better interest rates on certain accounts. Those who live in America First’s service area can get all their financial products in one place and save money while doing so.

      Editor’s Favorite

      America First Credit Union has an impressive number of products for a comparatively small financial institution. Although its service area is restricted to six states, it’s pretty easy for most people to join.

      America First Credit Union FAQ

      Here are answers to some of America First Credit Union's more commonly asked questions.
      • What states are America First Credit Union in?
        • America First Credit Union has locations in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.
      • How long does mobile deposit take for America First Credit Union?
        • In most cases, checks deposited through mobile deposit are considered received on the same day. The credit union places a hold on these funds, but $200 of the deposit is available at midnight on the same day you deposit it.
      • How do I order checks from America First Credit Union?
        • If you're ordering checks for the first time, you have to speak to a member service representative who will order them for you. The next time you need checks, you can order them through the credit union's online banking system.
      • What credit bureau does America First Credit Union use?
        • America First Credit Union can use reports from any of the three major credit bureaus when processing a loan application: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
      • Does America First Credit Union offer free money for signing up for an account?
        • America First does run promotions from time to time. Currently, there are no offers that give free money for signing up for an account, but check the credit union's website to learn about future offers.

      This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

      Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 10, 2020.

      This content is not provided by America First 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 America First Credit Union.

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      About the Author

      Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance
      websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, Equifax.com, and more.

      America First Credit Union Review: Competitive Rates and Top Customer Service
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