Navy Federal Credit Union Review 2022: Competitive Rates and 24/7 Customer Service

GoBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: Navy Federal Credit Union has strict membership requirements, but if you qualify, you can take advantage of its full slate of banking products and services and enjoy some perks, such as fee-free checking with no deposit minimums and round-the-clock, personalized customer service. Take a closer look at the following Navy Federal Credit Union reviews of the financial institution's best features.
  • APYs
    4.7
  • Benefits
    4.9
  • Products
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Customer service available 24/7
  • Low minimum opening deposits
  • No monthly service fees on select checking products
  • Competitive rates on select CDs

Cons

  • Limited number of branches
  • Restricted membership

    Navy Federal Credit Union Overview

    Navy Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, has over 10 million members and serves members of the armed forces, the Department of Defense, veterans and military dependents. NFCU has 346 branches, with 54 on or near Navy bases.

    When it comes to accessing your money, however, a free automatic teller machine will likely be nearby even if you’re not near a branch — the credit union has a co-op network of more than 30,000 ATMs. With features like round-the-clock customer service and fee-free accounts, it’s no wonder GOBankingRates named Navy Federal Credit Union one of the Best Credit Unions and one of the Best 100 Banks of 2022.

    Key Features

    The following Navy Federal Credit Union reviews focus on the most popular features the credit union offers.

    APYs

    Navy Federal Credit Union reviews from customers remark on the higher-than-average yields for all account types. All checking accounts earn at least % APY and as much as % for Flagship Checking accounts with a balance of at least $25,000.

    Savings accounts earn %, considerably better than the mere 0.01% many brick-and-mortar banks offer. To bump up your rate, a money market account offers up to %, depending on your balance. And finally, CDs earn as much as % APY for a seven-year certificate.

    Benefits

    Account maintenance and minimum balance fees can really add up at some institutions, but that’s not the case at NFCU. Monthly fees are nonexistent with all but one of NFCU’s checking accounts. Plus, the credit union’s savings accounts don’t have any monthly fees either, and you’ll receive free checks, too.

    All but one of Navy Federal’s checking accounts do not require a minimum opening deposit, and the minimum opening deposit for its two savings options is just $5. Plus, CD accounts require minimum opening deposits of just $5, $50 or $1,000, depending on the CD type.

    Products 

    The range of products and the deposit rates that a financial institution offers are no doubt important factors when you’re trying to decide whether to bank there.

    Checking Accounts

    NFCU has a variety of checking accounts, which all earn dividends and have no minimum opening deposit requirements.

    Account Fee Benefits
    Free Active Duty Checking None – Get your military pay one day earlier if you have one qualifying military direct deposit of net pay within the first 90 days of account opening and don’t stop the direct deposits for more than 90 days
    – Designed for military active duty, retired military or reserve military
    – Free personalized checks
    – $240 of ATM rebates per year — $20 per statement period
    Free EveryDay Checking None – Automatic overdraft savings protection transfers money from your linked savings account without having to opt-in at no fee
    Free Easy Checking None – No age restriction or military membership requirements
    – Checking protection to avoid overdraft fees
    – Up to $120 per year in ATM rebates — $10 per month
    Flagship Checking $10, waivable with an average daily balance of at least $1,500 – Dividends increase with your balance up to %
    – Up to $120 per year in ATM rebates — $10 per month — with at least one direct deposit monthly

    Savings Accounts

    NFCU offers two savings account options: the basic Membership Share Savings account and the Share Savings account. The Membership Share Savings Account is required to become an NFCU member. Not only does the account have competitive rates, but it also includes digital banking and 24/7 customer service.

    Plus, as long as you meet membership qualifications, all you need is a small $5 deposit to get this account up and running.

    Once you become an NFCU member, you can open additional savings accounts, including a custodial savings account for minor children, by opening a Share Savings Account. Share Savings accounts require a $5 minimum deposit and are also available as Educational Savings Accounts or Individual Retirement Accounts.

    Money Market Accounts

    NFCU offers two money market accounts. If you’re interested in earning more than a standard savings account can provide, an NFCU money market account might be worth your while. To earn dividends, however, you’ll need to maintain a minimum balance of at least $2,500. You can add money to your account whenever you like and make withdrawals via checks or an ATM.

    The Jumbo Money Market Savings Account has the same features as the Money Market Savings Account. However, if your account balance is $100,000 or more, you can earn jumbo dividend rates, which are higher than the regular rates paid on the money market savings account.

    CD Rates

    NFCU offers a selection of CDs — also known as share certificates — including standard and special certificates. Many of these options allow you to add money to your account at any time. Plus, all but one have very low opening deposits.

    With a minimum deposit of $1,000, you can open a Standard Certificate. Terms are three months to seven years and offer an APY as high as for the longest term.

    EasyStart Certificates are easy to open because they require a minimum deposit of $50. Terms are available from six months to 24 months.

    The Special EasyStart Certificate, which has a 12-month term, offers a .00% APY. The minimum opening deposit is $50, and the maximum balance is $3,000. Additional deposits are allowed at any time up to the maximum balance.

    If you just have a little bit of money to invest right now, but you still want to open a CD account, the SaveFirst account requires just a $5 minimum opening deposit. After opening your account, you can add money at any time. Terms are from three months to 60 months.

    Customer Service

    NFCU has a variety of customer service options. Call 888-842-6328 around the clock to speak to a representative. Or, if you’re outside the U.S., you can make an international collect call to 703-255-8837.

    You also can sign in to Online Banking and send a secure message or access help via chat or social media.

    How Navy Federal Credit Union Stands Out

    NFCU’s 24/7 stateside customer service is the exception when it comes to financial institutions. Knowing you’ll never be without a credit union representative to assist you is well worth it — even if it’s just for your peace of mind.

    Plus, the credit union also offers the convenience of social media, chat and secure online messaging communication.

    Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

    If you’re still not sure whether NFCU is right for you, take a look at how it compares to two other credit unions and a bank.

    Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Pentagon Federal Credit Union

    Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers additional paths to membership if you don’t have close ties to the military. However, NFCU has better starting APRs on its credit cards than Pentagon Federal Credit Union does.

    Navy Federal Credit Union vs. USAA

    None of USAA’s checking accounts include monthly service fees, while NFCU’s Flagship Checking does include a service fee of $10 if you don’t meet the minimum required balance of $1,500. But Navy Federal has a much wider variety of checking account options than USAA’s two offerings.

    Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Alliant Credit Union

    Alliant Credit Union offers more ways to join and extra savings account options compared to Navy Federal’s two offerings. However, none of Alliant’s certificate of deposit rates can rival NFCU’s Special EasyStart Certificate rate of .00%.

    ​​How To Apply

    To open an account, you’ll need to become a member first.

    Once you’re a member, you’ll need to provide details from your photo ID and your address, date of birth and Social Security number. You’ll need at least $5 to fund your account, which you can deposit at a local branch or transfer from an existing account using your routing and bank account number.

    Who Navy Federal Credit Union Is Best For

    Navy Federal Credit Union is designed — and best — for former and current military personnel and family in search of a low-cost banking option that pays higher-than-average dividends.

    Best of all, Navy Federal Credit Union is a full-service bank, offering accounts, personal loans including home and vehicle loans, credit cards, retirement planning and more.

    Final Take

    For people who can meet NFCU’s membership qualifications, this credit union has some worthy offerings — such as fee-free accounts, a large ATM network and 24/7 customer service. But, with the limited number of branches available, you might have to resort to completing many of your banking tasks online.

    If you believe Navy Federal Credit Union will meet your financial needs, the first step is to open a Membership Share Savings account.

    Navy Federal Credit Union FAQ

    Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Navy Federal Credit Union.
    • Is Navy Federal Credit Union a good bank?
      • NFCU has over nine million members around the world who stand by the credit union. In addition, GOBankingRates named Navy Federal Credit Union one of the Best Credit Unions and one of the Best 100 Banks of 2022.
    • Is Navy Federal Credit Union safe?
      • NFCU states on its website that it uses state-of-the-art fraud prevention systems to monitor members' accounts. It also offers enhanced security features that members can set up on their accounts.
    • Is Navy Federal Credit Union insured?
      • Yes, when it comes to member deposits, the National Credit Union Administration, which regulates and supervises credit unions, insures members' savings up to $250,000.
    • Is it worth joining Navy Federal Credit Union?
      • If you can qualify for membership to Navy Federal Credit Union, you'll enjoy banking with low fees and low opening balance requirements, banking overseas for enlisted members and better-than-average rates.
    • What's so good about Navy Federal Credit Union?
      • Navy Federal Credit Union is so popular because of its competitive rates and minimal balance requirements plus the variety of low cost account options.
    • What credit score do you need for a Navy Federal account?
      • Navy Federal Credit Union doesn't require a credit score to open an account.

    Cynthia Bowman 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 July 14, 2022.

    This content is not provided by Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, USAA or Alliant 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 Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, USAA or Alliant 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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