Digital Federal Credit Union Review: No Monthly Fees and a Superior Savings Rate

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Credit unions are well-known for offering better rates than big banks and cutting down on monthly fees. But that doesn't mean all credit unions are equal. Digital Federal Credit Union offers all of the types of accounts you'd expect, with no monthly fees, low to no minimum deposits and a stellar, hard-to-beat savings rate.  
  • Minimum Opening Deposits
    4.8
  • Monthly Fees
    5.0
  • Rates
    4.5
  • Customer Service
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • No monthly fees 
  • Low or no minimum deposits 
  • Superior savings rate 

Cons

  • Only one checking option aside from an HSA checking account 
  • Limited branch locations 

About Digital Federal Credit Union

Digital Federal Credit Union was established in 1979 and has its headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. Over the decades, DCU has grown to over 968,000 members [1]and ranks among the top 15 credit unions nationwide in terms of assets.

DCU offers a wide variety of personal and business accounts as well as personal and commercial loans. Customers throughout the U.S. can access its surcharge-free network of over 80,000 ATMs, though its own branch locations are limited to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. For these reasons and others, GOBankingRates has ranked Digital Federal Credit Union as one of the Top 100 Banks of 2022.

Checking Accounts

Digital Federal Credit Union offers two checking options. Here are the details.

Free Checking

DCU’s Free Checking account has no minimum opening deposit or balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Plus, you can earn % APY on balances up to $100,000. Additionally, the account also includes an ATM payback feature. If you add direct deposit and make at least five transactions per month, DCU will reimburse up to $300 per year in out-of-network ATM fees. And you may be able to get your direct deposit paycheck, Social Security or pension up to two days early.

HSA Checking

Like the Free Checking account, the HSA Checking account has no minimum opening deposit, no minimum to earn and no monthly maintenance fees. However, instead of functioning as a traditional checking account, the account is a tax-advantaged way to pay for healthcare expenses. Competitive dividends start at 0.20% APY.

Savings Accounts

Digital Federal Credit Union has four savings accounts. Here’s how they compare.

Primary Savings

DCU’s Primary Savings account pays one of the highest savings rates in the nation. Earn up to 6.17% APY on the first $1,000 you deposit. You can open this account with just $5, but there are no monthly maintenance fees or minimums to earn.

Advantage Savings

The Advantage Savings account has no minimum opening deposit, no minimums to earn interest and no monthly maintenance fees. Earn up to 0.30% APY on any size balance.

Holiday Club Savings

Whether you want to get a year-long jump-start on your holiday savings or you have some other goal in mind, the Holiday Club Savings account can help you get there. There’s no minimum opening deposit, no minimum balance to earn and no monthly maintenance fees. Earn up to 0.25% APY on any size balance. The only catch is you’ll need a $20 minimum monthly automatic transfer into your Holiday Club savings account.

Member Described Savings

If the idea of creating savings accounts that are named appropriately for your different savings goals is enticing, DCU’s Member Described Savings might be just what you’re looking for. None of the accounts require a minimum opening deposit, and there are no monthly fees attached. However, you will need at least $100 in each account you set up to start earning dividends up to 0.25% APY.

Money Market Account

No minimum opening deposit and no monthly fee are two advantages of this money market account from DCU. Rates start at 0.20% APY, and you’ll need at least a $1,000 balance to earn dividends. As your account balance grows, so will your dividend rate — up to 0.30% APY.

CD Rates

DCU offers four types of CDs. Here are the details for each type.

Regular Certificates

DCU’s Regular Certificates offer terms of three to 60 months with dividends up to 0.20 % APY. A minimum opening deposit of $500 is required, which is more reasonable than what many other competing banks require. However, there are no monthly fees.

Jumbo Certificates

Earn up to 0.20% APY on jumbo certificates with a balance of $25,000 or more. Terms are from three to 60 months. While there are no monthly fees, a $25,000 minimum opening balance is required.

Jump-Up Certificates

With a Jump-Up Certificate, you can increase your dividend rate up to one time per term. A $500 minimum opening deposit and minimum to earn are required. But there are no monthly fees. Available terms are 15 or 27 months, up to 0.20% APY.

QuickStart Certificates

QuickStart Certificates are designed for members under age 23. A $100 minimum opening deposit and a $100 minimum to earn are required. But like DCU’s other CD offers, there are no monthly fees. Terms are from three to 60 months, up to 0.20% APY.

Digital Federal Credit Union Banking Experience

Here’s a breakdown of the features that helped DCU achieve a 4.6 overall score from GOBankingRates.

Minimum Opening Deposits

Minimum opening deposits are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to DCU’s checking, savings and money market accounts. None of its checking options require a minimum opening deposit, and neither does its money market account. One of the two savings accounts requires a $5 minimum opening deposit, and the regular CD accounts require from $100 to $500 minimum deposits, while the jumbo account requires a $25,000 minimum opening deposit.

Monthly Fees

Monthly fees are another area where DCU shines brightly. This is because the credit union doesn’t charge fees on its accounts, which can really add up. Even with a $5 monthly fee, you would pay $60 in fees per year and $300 over five years.

Rates

Digital Federal Credit Union has competitive rates. For instance, its Advantage Savings account pays 0.50% APY on any size balance, which is over eight times higher than the national average for savings. And you can earn a whopping 6.17% APY on the first $1,000 you deposit in the credit union’s Primary Savings account.

Customer Service

DCU has multiple customer service options, including online banking secure email, phone or live online help. When it comes to customer service, knowing you can speak to a live person when you need to is important. DCU information center specialists are available by calling 800-328-8797, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. You can also apply for consumer, Visa, home equity or mortgage loans by pressing 3 to reach the 24-hour Consumer Loan Call Center, which can usually give you an answer to your loan request before you hang up.

Editor’s Favorite

The 6.17% APY that DCU offers on its Primary Savings account is something to consider. Even though you can earn the stellar rate only on the first $1,000, it’s still a rate that most financial institutions can’t compete with. Plus, in one year, you could earn over $63 on the $1,000 balance.

Digital Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Comparing a financial institution’s products and services is one way to get an idea of whether it’s the right choice for you. However, to get the bigger picture, it can help to compare DCU’s offerings to its competitors. Here’s what you should know.

Digital Federal Credit Union vs. BECU

BECU offers a credit card with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, but DCU does not have a 0% APR offer on any of its credit cards. However, DCU offers a 6.17% APY on the first $1,000 deposited into a Primary Savings account, and BECU’s prime rate is much lower at 0.50% APY on the first $500 deposited into its Member Advantage Savings.

Digital Federal Credit Union vs. Service Credit Union

Service Credit Union offers a more worthwhile Holiday Club savings account. You can earn 3% APY on the first $3,000 you save and 0.25% APY thereafter, while DCU pays 0.25% APY on any size balance. However, while Service Credit Union does offer a very competitive APY of 5% on the first $500 balance of its Primary Savings account, it cannot beat DCU’s 6.17% APY on the first $1,000.

Digital Federal Credit Union vs. Tower Federal Credit Union

Tower Federal Credit Union offers more competitive rates on its CDs — up to 0.70% APY vs. DCUs maximum APY of 0.20% APY. However, DCUs savings rates of 0.25% APY, 0.50% APY and 6.17% APY are much more profitable than Tower Federal’s savings rate of 0.12% APY.

Final Take

If you’re looking for a financial institution that has no monthly maintenance fees, low or no minimum deposits and a stellar savings account rate, Digital Federal Credit Union might be the perfect pick. The credit union has checking, savings, CDs, retirement accounts and specialty accounts to meet your financial needs, plus a host of customer service options.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about Digital Federal Credit Union.
  •  What do I need to open a DCU account? 
    • If you're not a DCU member, you'll need to fill out a membership application first. Once you're approved, you can open an account by providing your basic information, including a photo of your driver's license, U.S. passport or other government-issued ID.
  • What is Digital Federal Credit Union's routing number?
    • The routing number for DCU is 211391825.
  • How can I find my DCU member number?
    • Your DCU member number is on your current statements. You also can call customer service and request the number be mailed to you, or you can visit your nearest DCU branch and show your photo ID to get your number.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Apr. 25, 2022.

This content is not provided by Digital 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 Digital Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, Aol, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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