First Tech Federal Credit Union Review: Banking for Select Fortune-500 Employees and Oregon Residents

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: If you haven't looked at banking with a credit union, you're missing out on potentially lower fees, better interest rates and a financial institution where your needs are understood. First Technology Federal Credit Union provides membership and banking for employees of companies such as Microsoft, HP, Google, Amazon and Nike, as well as access for qualifying Oregon residents. Follow this in-depth First Tech Federal Credit Union review to find out how to become a member and account holder.
  • Rates
    4.8
  • Accessibility
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    5.0
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Choosing the right bank is sometimes overwhelming. After all, there are many options available. To keep it simple, consider why First Tech Federal Credit Union may be a good option. 

Pros

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Low minimum opening balances of $5 to $25 for checking and savings accounts
  • Interest-bearing checking accounts
  • Earn 0.01% to 4.89% in dividends, depending on account type and balance 
  • Full-service credit union also offers loans, investing and insurance
  • Membership is possible through hundreds of partnering sponsor companies, for State of Oregon employees, Lane County, Oregon residents or members of the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association   

Cons

  • No money market accounts available

Overview of First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Technology Federal Credit Union is one of GOBankingRates’ Top 100 Banks of 2022 and was started by a handful of Hewlett Packard and Tektronix employees back in 1952. The Oregon-based credit union has over 680,000 members and provides STEM scholarships each year to young, promising students. 

There are 33 physical branches across California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Texas and Washington, as well as 5,600 CO-OP branches and 30,000 free ATMs nationwide. There are several ways to become a member and qualify to bank with the credit union. Employees of one of the many partner tech companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are eligible. If you live or work in Lane County, Oregon, work for the State of Oregon or you’re a member of the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association, you can also join.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Product Details

First Tech Federal Credit Union provides a wide range of services that can compete with or beat the top banks. What sets the credit union apart is the additional dividend you’ll earn on your balances once you’re a member. The foundation of their services are the following types of accounts:

First Tech Federal Credit Union Checking Accounts

First Technology Credit Union provides health savings accounts, kids accounts and four types of checking accounts known as Carefree, First Checking, Start Up and First Tech Rewards. The Carefree account is the most basic, with no fees or minimum balance to worry about. However, it does not earn interest either. 

First Checking and Start Up accounts have an opening balance requirement of $10 and earn 0.05% or 0.10% APY. When you open a premium First Tech Rewards account, you’ll have access to the best interest rates — as high as 0.50% or 1.00% APY for balances under $10,000. Plus, you’ll have perks such as ATM rebates up to $15 each month.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Savings Accounts

First Technology Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts are simple to open and have no minimum balance requirements. If you start with the entry-level Member savings account, you can fund one with $5.

There are no monthly service fees for any of the three options. You can earn 0.05%, 0.10% or 0.15% APY, depending on the account. You may want to have a savings account for each type of goal, such as saving for a home down payment, emergency fund, wedding or trip. 

First Tech Federal Credit Union Share Certificates

First Tech Federal Credit Union‘s certificate of deposit is known as a Share Certificate. Terms of six to 60 months are available. You can earn a guaranteed interest rate between 0.15% and 1.20%. While there’s a small minimum of $500 to open a CD, higher balances and a longer term are recommended to get the best rates. You can use your CD balance as collateral for a loan.

Best Features of First Tech Fed

First Tech Federal has a lot to offer account holders. Some of the best features that contribute to First Tech Fed’s overall score of 4.8 out of 5 include:

Rates

First Tech Fed’s rates are competitive, especially for high balances. CDs earn as much as 1.20%. First Tech Rewards account holders have access to rates as high as 0.50% or 1.00% APY for balances under $10,000.  

Accessibility

Besides the range of branches, ATMs, and CO-OP locations, First Tech’s mobile app is robust enough to handle account management, bill payments and more.

Breadth of Products

Besides deposit accounts, First Tech Federal offers loans, mortgages, investing, retirement planning and insurance products including home, renters and disability coverage.

Opening Deposit Requirements

Most accounts only require $5 to $10 to get started. Earning the highest APR requires higher balances but you can start small with minimal opening balance requirements.

Banking Experience

First Tech Federal Credit Union serves the tech industry. As you can imagine, innovation and the digital experience are at the forefront of banking with the credit union.

Customer Service

Customer service is available 24/7 when you call 1-855-855-8805. You can also send a secure message through the online banking platform or request a virtual appointment.

Accessibility and Branch Availability

There are 33 physical branches, as well as 5,600 CO-OP branches and 30,000 free ATMs nationwide.

Mobile and Digital Experience

The online and mobile banking app is the heart of banking with First Tech. They’re designed with safety in mind and allow two-factor authentication to ensure no one has access to your accounts without your approval. Both are simply designed for ease of use. Features include account management, the ability to pay people and bills, mobile deposits and more.

First Tech Federal Credit Union reviews from customers rank the app above average, especially among Apple users who rated the app with a 4.7 out of 5. You can download the mobile banking app at Google Play or the App Store.

Convenience and Ease of Use

First Tech’s digital approach to customer service means there’s always someone available when you need help. Visit an Experience Center, schedule a virtual appointment, send a secure message when you’re logged in to your account or call for help. 

How To Open an Account

You can open an account at a branch or through the website. To open an account online, you’ll need to apply for membership first. You’ll need:

  • A government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Social Security number
  • Contact details including a home address, email address and phone number
  • Bank and routing information if you plan on funding the account online

Fees

Some of the most common fees include:  

  • Monthly Maintenance Fees: $0
  • Out-of-network ATM fees: $2
  • Stop Payment Fee: $20
  • Cashier’s Check Fee: $0
  • Wire Transfer (Incoming): $5
  • Wire Transfer (Outgoing): $20 domestic, $50 international
  • NSF Fee: $33

Editor’s Favorite

Open a First Tech Rewards checking account and you won’t have to worry about minimum monthly balances or maintenance fees. You’ll earn as much as 0.50% or 1.00% APY for balances under $10,000 and get reimbursements on ATM withdrawals, fees for a hassle-free banking experience.

First Tech Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

First Tech is a solid banking option, but it’s still worth comparing its features.

Credit Union Best For
First Tech Federal Credit Union Tech industry employees
BECU If you can’t qualify for a First Tech membership
OnPoint Community Credit Union Oregon residents looking for a strong community banking presence
Alliant Credit Union Lower fees

First Tech Federal Credit Union vs. BECU

First Tech and BECU both offer competitive credit union rates, low-to-no-fee accounts and a variety of financial services. Start with First Tech if you work for a major innovative or tech-industry company, or live or work in Lane County, Oregon. If you can’t qualify, BECU’s membership expands your options and includes residents, employees or worshippers of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

First Tech Federal Credit Union vs. OnPoint Community Credit Union

OnPoint doesn’t have the range of services that First Tech has. Go with First Tech if you want to manage all your financial needs and insurance in one place and don’t mind online banking. If you’re a resident of Oregon and would like to bank with a credit union with a strong presence in the state, OnPoint membership is available for residents of 28 counties and has 36 branches.   

First Tech Federal Credit Union vs. Alliant Credit Union

First Tech beats Alliant when it comes to rates and account options. However, Alliant’s fees are slightly lower, which may make a difference if your account is occasionally overdrawn or you receive wires. An Alliant NSF fee is $25, compared to First Tech’s $33. In addition, incoming wire transfers are free, while First Technology Federal Credit Union charges $5 for each one.

Final Take

First Tech Federal Credit Union provides everything you need, including banking, investments, loans and insurance. If you’re a qualifying Oregon resident or work for an innovative, tech-focused company, you may qualify for membership and also earn dividends on the balances you keep. Signing up for membership and opening an account is easy — give it a try today.

First Tech Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about First Tech Federal Credit Union.
  • Does First Tech offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • There are no offers at this time. Past offers included a $1,000 bonus for Microsoft employees when they open a checking account, credit card and set up direct deposit.
  • How do you become a member of First Tech Credit Union?
    • Employees of the State of Oregon or partner tech companies, those who live or work in Lane County, Oregon or are members of the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association qualify for membership. You'll need to sign up using a photo ID and Social Security number.
  • Does First Tech Credit Union use Zelle?
    • You can send money using Zelle when you bank with First Tech. Best of all, it's free.
  • What is the First Tech Federal Credit Union routing number?
    • The First Tech routing number is 321180379.
  • Can I add a joint account holder?
    • You can add an additional account holder when you apply for an account online or by calling customer service after you've opened an account.

This article was updated on Jan. 25, 2022 to clarify branch locations and the number of branches available.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 5, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by First Tech 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 First Tech Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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