Kinecta Federal Credit Union Review: Large Branch Access and Good APYs

GOBankingRates Score

4.0
Quick Take: Kinecta Federal Credit Union is geared toward customers who live in Southern California, though it also offers membership to residents of Texas, New York and a few other states. It offers a standard lineup of bank accounts, along with loans, credit cards, investment products and business accounts. 
  • Product Breadth
    4.0
  • Access
    4.5
  • APYs
    4.5
  • Digital Experience
    3.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Large shared branch and ATM network 
  • Good APYs on certificates 

Cons

  • High minimum balance requirements to avoid checking account fees 
  • Only one savings account option 

About Kinecta Federal Credit Union

Kinecta is headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California, and ranks as the 35th-largest credit union in the United States, with more than 270,000 members and over $6.5 billion in assets. The credit union has 32 of its own branches, but members also may use more than 5,800 shared credit union branches and 85,000-plus surcharge-free ATMsnationwide.

Kinecta is one of the Top 100 Banks on GOBankingRates’ 2022 survey.

Checking Accounts

Kinecta Federal Credit Union offers two checking accounts: Classic Checking and Checking Plus. Both come with mobile banking and check deposits, free bill pay with payment guarantee, nationwide CO-OP ATM access and nationwide CO-OP branch access. 

Classic Checking has a $4.95 monthly service fee that can be waived in several ways, including maintaining a $1,500 average monthly balance. The website does not list any minimum opening deposit or balance requirements. 

Checking Plus is an interest-bearing account that pays very competitive rates. The account carries a $9 monthly fee that is waived during the first three months. After that, it can be waived with a $2,500 average monthly balance or direct deposits of at least $500. Checking Plus pays an annual percentage yield of 0.10% on balances up to $25,000 and 0.25% on balances of $25,000 or greater.

Savings Accounts

Kinecta offers one traditional savings account. The minimum opening deposit is $5 and there is no monthly service fee listed. Dividends are paid quarterly. The APY is 0.05%, which is lower than you’ll find at many other banks.

Money Market Accounts

Kinecta members also have only one money market account option, but it pays decent rates if you have the right amount of money in it. The credit union’s High-Yield Money Market account requires a $10,000 opening deposit. No monthly service fee is listed on the website.

This account pays tiered interest rates ranging from 0.15% to 0.50%. To get the highest rate, you need a balance of $100,000 or more.

Share Certificates

Like many credit unions, Kinecta offers share certificates rather than CDs, but they both work the same. Members can choose from Regular, Jumbo, Liquid, College Saver and Youth Club certificates.

Regular and Jumbo certificates come in terms of three months to five years and both pay tiered interest rates. The minimum opening deposit is a low $100 for Regular Certificates and a high $100,000 for Jumbo Certificates.  

The Liquid Certificate has a 12-month term and $100 minimum opening deposit. The College Saver and Youth certificates also have a $100 minimum opening deposit, but you’ll have to call a branch to get terms and other information.

Rates are tiered and generally very good for Kinecta’s certificates. The APY ranges from 0.20% to 1.00% for Regular certificates, with longer terms getting the highest rates. For Jumbo certificates, the APY ranges from 0.25% to 1.05%. 

How Kinecta Federal Credit Union Earned Its Scores

Product Breadth

You will find all of the basic bank accounts at Kinecta, just not very many of them. Members have just two checking accounts, one savings account and one money market account to choose from. But they also get access to loans, credit cards, investment products and business accounts.

Access

Although Kinecta Federal Credit Union is concentrated in a limited geographic area, members get access to a large network of branches and ATMs. In addition to its own 32 branches, Kinecta is part of a network of more than 5,800 shared credit union branches. It also allows access to 85,000-plus surcharge-free ATMsnationwide.

APYs

With the exception of its savings account, which pays an APY of just 0.05%, Kinecta offers very competitive rates on its accounts . Checking Plus pays an APY up to 0.25%, while you can get APYs as high as 0.50% with its money market account, 1.00% on Regular Certificates and 1.05% on Jumbo Certificates.

Digital Experience

Kinecta Federal Credit Union’s website makes it difficult to find clear and comprehensive information about its basic banking products. Account descriptions are very thin and some of the info seems to contradict itself. For example, one page says you need a $2,500 minimum balance to earn interest on its High-Yield Money Market account, while another says the account’s APY is 0.15% for balances of $0 to $2,499. On the plus side, Kinecta’s mobile app gets decent reviews from users, earning 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.7 stars on the Apple Store.

Editor’s Favorite

Kinecta Federal Credit Union’s standout products are its Regular and Jumbo Certificates, which offer a decent selection of maturities and excellent APYs on longer terms.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Kinecta has several credit union rivals within California. Here’s a look at how it stacks up against the competition.

CREDIT UNION BEST FOR
Kinecta Federal Credit Union National branch access and high certificate APYs
Golden 1 Credit Union Large branch network within California
Patelco Credit Union High money market rates, low CD minimums
First Tech Federal Credit Union High checking and savings rates

Kinecta Federal Credit Union vs. Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in California, as well as the nation, with more than 1 million members, over $18 billion in assets and 70-plus branches and Home Loan Centers across California. Kinecta can’t match those numbers, but it pays higher rates on its certificates. 

Kinecta Federal Credit Union vs. Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union serves the San Francisco Bay Area and tops Kinecta when it comes to money market account rates, with a 1.0% APY on the first $2,000 deposited in its money market account and a 0.50% APY on the next $3,000 deposited. Kinetca has the edge with the 0.10% to 0.25% APY on its interest-bearing checking account, which tops the 0.05% APY at Patelco.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union vs. First Technology Federal Credit Union

First Tech Credit Union offers higher yields than Kinecta on its checking and savings accounts, with APYs up to 0.50% on the former and 2.00% on the latter. But First Tech has just seven branch locations in California, vs. 32 for Kinecta, making Kinecta the better choice customers in state who prefer in-person banking.

Final Take

Kinecta Federal Credit Union offers a solid lineup of financial services and products to residents of Southern California and a few other markets. Its member benefits are unique, with local deals and discounts to various events and attractions. The money market and certificate accounts have competitive interest rates, and members have access to a large network of branches and ATMs, making it a good choice for those in its service area.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Kinecta Federal Credit Union.
  • Who can join Kinecta Federal Credit Union?
    • Membership is open to the following: any immediate family or household member of a Kinecta member; any Select Employer Group (SEG) employee and their immediate family or household members; any member of the Innovision Society, which requires a $10 nonrefundable membership fee to Innovision Society (though Kinecta will cover the fee); any resident, employee or student in select ZIP codes.
  • Is Kinecta Federal Credit Union FDIC-insured?
    • As a credit union, Kinecta is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, which offers the same protection as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 
  • Does Kinecta Federal Credit Union use Zelle?  
    • You can receive funds from Zelle using your Kinecta debit card.

Alexandria Bova contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Apr. 26, 2022. 

Editorial note: This content is not provided by Kinecta 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 Kinecta Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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