Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union Review: Easy, Affordable Banking Options for All Ages

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union specializes in serving the unbanked portions of the population, as well as those with poor credit or no credit history. But its offerings, which include low-fee and no-fee checking, accounts for children, teens and young adults and a variety of savings vehicles, are designed for anyone looking for easy, convenient, low-cost banking. 
  • Digital Banking
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    4.7
  • Variety of Products
    5.0
  • Relationship Rewards
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Wealth of digital tools available 
  • Choices in checking and savings for every age and income level  
  • Dividend-earning checking options available 
  • Access to 30,000+ surcharge-free ATMs 

Cons

  • Low dividends compared to some other credit unions 
  • Somewhat limited membership eligibility

About Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union 

Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union, based in Washinton, D.C., was founded in 1947 for employees of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. It has three main locations in the D.C. area, but it also offers access to 5,000 shared branches around the U.S.

Ranked among the Top 100 Banks for 2022 by GOBankingRates, Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union has a variety of checking, savings and loan offerings for employees and contractors of World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, Bretton Woods Recreation Center, World Bank Children’s Center, Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union and their family members. The credit union’s “once a member, always a member” policy ensures you can continue banking with BFSFCU even if you are no longer employed with one of its partners. 

Checking Accounts

Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union has three checking account options, including a free choice with no minimum monthly balance. Perfect for people new to the U.S. or new to banking, the Membership checking account offers digital banking options, a free debit card and everything you need to manage your money.

The Money Management Checking Account (MMCA) offers an annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.10% if you have between $2,500 and $25,000 in your account. The APY is 0.15% for balances between $25,000 and $50,000 and 0.20% for $50,000 and up. You will need $2,500 to open the account.

BFSFCU’s high-end checking account is the Global Rewards Premier checking account. Your dividend rate increases based on the total amount of your BFSFCU accounts, including loans. At the Optimum level, you’ll earn 1.5% dividends on a balance of up to $25,000.

If you do all of your banking with BFSFCU, the Global Rewards Premier Checking account is worthwhile. Otherwise, the MMCA might be the best choice for you.

Youth Accounts

BFSFCU has such depth to its youth products, it warrants differentiating them from other checking and savings accounts. The Children’s accounts, designed for those 12 and under, have no fees but must be opened jointly with an adult. The children’s savings account has no minimum balance requirement and earns dividends based on market interest rates.

The Young Savers share certificate is designed to teach children about long-term investing. Offering a guaranteed return, the share certificate requires a $100 minimum deposit to open and a monthly contribution of at least $20.

The credit union’s Rising Adults program, for those over 18 who are just establishing a banking and credit history, includes access to BFSFCU’s checking and savings products, digital banking app, auto loans and funds transfer using Zelle.

Savings Accounts

BFSFCU’s savings account offerings are straightforward and include a basic savings account with no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements to open or earn dividends. To open and maintain an account of any kind with BFSFCU, you must keep $5 in an account. This is your “share” of the credit union and does not count toward checking or savings balances. The dividend rate for the basic savings is 0.15%.

The Money Management savings account also has no minimum balance requirements, but you must have at least $2,500 in your account to earn dividends. This is high compared to some banks, which offer interest with no minimum balance in the account. However, the yield is higher than average on a BFSFCU Money Management savings, delivering 0.15% on balances between $2,500 and $10,000, and then 0.20% on the next $15,000 in the account. Savings between $25,000 and $50,000 earn 0.25% APY and savings above $50,000 earn 0.35% APY.

BFSFCU also lists an eSavings account that delivers 0.20% APY, with a $10,000 minimum balance to open the account and to keep earning dividends. This account may be useful for long-term savings goals or if you received a lump sum of cash that you’d like to put away for a specific occasion, such as a down payment on a house or a family vacation. Your $10,000+ can earn a generous return; and, once the event is over, you can simply close out the account.

Certificates of Deposit

A Share Certificate account, often called a Certificate of Deposit at a conventional bank, earns a guaranteed return over a set time period. BFSFCU has more options in terms for share certificates than competitors such as Tinker. BFSFCU’s share certificate terms go up to 10 years, while many credit unions max out at five years. You can open a share certificate with a minimum balance of $1,000. Dividend rates range from 0.30% for a 91-day certificate up to 0.95% for a 72-month certificate, with long-term certificates offering even higher yields up to 1.30%.

The WealthBuilder SCA is a product you don’t see everywhere else. It is a fixed-rate, two-year investment with a minimum starting balance of $1,000. You must add at least $50 per month to the account and can earn dividends at a rate of 0.55%.

Other Features

Digital Banking

BFSFCU calls itself “your financial partner in a digital world.” In line with this statement, the organization has robust online and mobile banking services for its members. Access to BillPayer lets you schedule and send payments directly from your account through the app, which is rated highly by users (4.8 out of 5 on the App Store, 4.6 on Google Play). You can even download your transaction history into Quicken financial software, making it easy to budget or itemize deductions at tax time.

BFSFCU offers members a digital wallet to make payments anywhere and also allows members to send and receive funds through the popular digital payment platform Zelle.

Customer Service

From its easy-to-navigate and informative website to the variety of products, BFSFCU clearly puts customer service first. The website features videos of members who have worked with BFSFCU to take out loans and improve their credit scores. BFSFCU has experience catering to the unbanked and under-banked, including those who are not U.S. citizens or may be new to the U.S. and just starting to establish a credit history.

When you join a credit union, you expect more personalized service than you might receive from a big bank, and BFSFCU delivers.

Variety of Products

You won’t miss out on choices in financial products and services when you choose BFSFCU as your credit union. Bank-Fund Staff provides everything a bigger bank does, but with low or no fees in many cases.

The credit union offers three tiers of checking accounts, as well as accounts for children under 12, teens between the ages of 13 and 17 and young adults just starting to establish their financial future. Additional offerings include three types of savings accounts, with an eSavings account at a high dividend rate of 0.20% on a minimum balance of $10,000.

The credit union also offers IRA and various loan products, including mortgages and auto loans, along with a car-buying service that offers members substantial savings on new or used cars.

Relationship Rewards

BFSFCU rewards members for doing business with the credit union through its Global Rewards program.

“Choice” members can get ATM transaction fees up to $5 per month returned as a statement credit.

If you reach the “Plus” tier, with a loan balance of at least $15,000 and a combination of deposits and loans totaling between $50,000 and $249,000, you’ll earn a premium dividend rate on the first $10,000 in your checking account, ATM transaction fee rebates of up to $20 per month, wire transfer fee and foreign transaction fee rebates, loan rate reductions of 0.25% on auto and personal loans and a mortgage cash reward of $350.

If you qualify as an “Optimum” member with deposit and loan balances of $250,000 or more, you’ll earn a premium rate on the first $25,000 in your checking account, unlimited rebates on fees and a 0.50% rate reduction on auto and personal loans. You’ll also get $750 back for writing your mortgage with BFSFCU.

Editor’s Favorite

The digital banking options and Bank-Fund Staff’s commitment to younger people, with a wide array of product choices for those just establishing their banking and credit history, sets BFSFCU apart. Few banks offer so many options for youth, teens and young adults. The Global Rewards program, while not unprecedented, is also a benefit to banking with BFSFCU, especially if you are applying for a mortgage, personal loan or auto loan. Maintain a minimum balance across several accounts and you can earn discounts on loans and cash back for opening a mortgage.

Bank-Fund Staff vs. Competitors

Bank-Fund Staff vs. CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union is also available to residents of Washington, D.C., but your savings with go further at BFSFCU. Bank-Fund Staff offers members 0.15% yield on savings with just a $5 minimum deposit. CommonWealth’s share savings account delivers 0.05% APY.

Bank-Fund Staff vs. Pentagon Federal

Another D.C.-area credit union, PenFed has a savings APY of just 0.05%. If you’re looking for the highest savings rates in a D.C.-area credit union, BFSFCU could be your top choice.

Final Take

With a strong commitment to the community it serves and a wide range of products for customers of all ages and income levels, BFSFCU is a smart choice in banking services for members in the D.C. area and across the U.S. No-fee and low-fee checking, with a minimum balance of just $5 for checking or savings, makes this bank accessible to those just starting their financial journeys. 

Bank-Fund Staff FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union.
  • How many branches does Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union have? 
    • Thanks to a shared branches partnership with other credit unions, BFSFCU members have access to more than 5,000 branches in the D.C. area and across the country. Members also have access to a network of more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs. 
  • Where can I find my BFSFCU account number and routing number? 
    • You can find your BFSFCU account number and the credit union's routing number on your paper checks, if you have any. At the bottom of the check you'll see a three-digit sequence. The first number is your routing number, the second is your member number or account number, and the third is the number of that check. You can also find your member number online when you log into your account and at the top of your statements (paper or digital). The ABA or routing number for BFSFCU is 2540-7417-0. 
  • Can I pay bills online through BFSFCU?
    • Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union provides access to a service called BillPayer. You can schedule payments for any bills or send payment immediately. Best of all, the service works not just for companies and organizations but for individuals and service providers such as plumbers, hairdressers or optometrists. 

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 17, 2022.

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

This content is not provided by Bank-Fund Staff 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 Bank-Fund Staff 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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