Patelco Credit Union Review: Benefits With Membership

GOBankingRates Score

Our take: Patelco Credit Union offers a complete array of financial services products to allow you to do all of your banking in one place. When you open an account, you become a member of the credit union, which is owned by members, not shareholders. This means that Patelco can offer better interest rates because it doesn't need to worry about generating profits for shareholders.
  • Breadth of Products
  • Membership Benefits
  • Rates
  • Customer Support
How did we calculate this?


  • Use of more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
  • Rewards, such as waived fees and loan discounts, for members with multiple accounts
  • Member discounts on travel and other products


  • You must meet limited membership criteria primarily based on where you live, work, attend school or worship.

About Patelco Credit Union

Patelco Credit Union has 37 branches and more than 360,000 members. It primarily serves the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California.

Membership in Patelco is open to those who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Live, work, attend school or worship in Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Marin, Merced, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus or Yolo counties, or the cities of Bakersfield, Eureka, McKinleyville and Santa Cruz
  • Be enrolled at or an alumnus of San Francisco State University, Cal State East Bay or the University of California, Berkeley
  • Be employed by one of more than 1,100 member companies or associations

You also can join Patelco if you have a family member or roommate who is a current member.

GOBankingRates has ranked Patelco Credit Union as one of the Best Credit Unions of 2021.

Patelco Credit Union Products

Patelco Credit Union offers a variety of banking products, so members can do all their banking in one place. Here’s a look at some of the features Patelco offers.

Type Key Details
Checking Account Low or no monthly service fees
Savings Account Good interest rates on small balances
Money Market Account 2.00% APY on balances up to $2,000
Share Certificates Guaranteed interest on a $250 minimum balance

Patelco Credit Union Checking Accounts

Patelco Credit Union offers four checking account options: Plus Checking, Free Checking, Interest Checking and Youth Checking. Plus Checking provides the most benefits, including identity theft protection and roadside assistance, as well as Automatic Round-Up, which rounds up your debit card purchases to the next whole dollar, and then transfers the difference — plus a 10% match — to your savings account. You can open an account with a minimum deposit of just $10.


  • Mastercard ID theft protection
  • More than 30,000 ATMs nationwide with no fees
  • Free direct deposit


  • Interest Checking earns 0.05% APY on any balance
  • No monthly fees for Free Checking and Youth Checking accounts
  • Free overdraft protection with a linked account


  • Plus Checking has a $6.95 monthly fee
  • Interest Checking has a $5 monthly fee, which can be waived with direct deposits of more than $100 a month or a minimum daily balance of $500

Patelco Credit Union Savings Accounts

Patelco Credit Union offers a basic Regular Savings account, a Youth Savings account and a health savings account. There’s also a Holiday Club Savings account that lets you make deposits at any time during the year, with the balance and dividends transferred to a linked account on Nov. 15 so you can use the funds for holiday shopping.

The health savings account lets you save pretax dollars to be used for out-of-pocket expenses in conjuction with your high-deductible health insurance plan.


  • Free direct deposit for automatic savings
  • No fee at more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide


  • Basic savings accounts earn 0.05% APY on any balance
  • Health savings account earns 0.05% APY on balances up to $2,000, 0.10% APY on balances from $2,000.01 to $3,500, and 0.25% APY on balances over $3,500
  • Link your checking account so your savings account provides overdraft protection
  • No minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance
  • No monthly fees for savings accounts, except for $2 monthly fee for health savings account (waived for first year)


  • Basic savings account does not offer a higher interest rate for higher balances

Patelco Credit Union Money Market Account

The Money Market Select account at Patelco Credit Union pays interest based on your balance. The minimum balance requirement to earn interest is just $1, and there’s no monthly maintenance fee. The interest rate on your money market account declines as your balance increases.


  • Interest based on balance, ranging from 2.00% APY on balances up to $2,000 to 0.20% APY on balances over $100,000
  • Dividends paid monthly
  • Free checks
  • Up to six withdrawals or transfers per month


  • Even small balances earn a high interest rate
  • No charge to transfer funds to cover overdrafts in checking account
  • No minimum opening deposit


  • If you have more than $2,000 in your Money Market Select account,  you will earn a lower interest rate than you would if you had less than $2,000

Patelco Credit Union Share Certificate Accounts

Share certificates are like certificates of deposit and earn a fixed rate of interest for a specified period of time. Share certificates at Patelco Credit Union are guaranteed and insured through the National Credit Union Administration for up to $250,000 per depositor.


  • Guaranteed interest based on the term, ranging from 0.20% APY for a three- to five-month certificate to 0.85% APY for a 60-month certificate
  • Minimum opening deposit and minimum balance of $250


  • Higher interest rates for longer terms
  • Guaranteed interest


  • Penalty applies if money is withdrawn before term expires

Banking Experience

Patelco Credit Union offers services to meet all of your financial needs, including checking and savings accounts, health savings accounts and retirement accounts. It also provides financial wellness services, including access to certified financial specialists, webinars and seminars.

How To Make a Deposit

There are several ways to make a deposit into your Patelco Credit Union account, including the following options:

  • At a branch
  • At a Patelco branch ATM
  • Via the Anywhere Deposit feature on the mobile app or in online banking
  • Sending money to your account with Zelle
  • Through the mail (no cash accepted)

Online and Mobile Banking

Patelco Credit Union offers online banking and a mobile app to help members manage their accounts anywhere at any time. The Patelco mobile app is rated 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 on the App Store.

Members can send money with Zelle using online banking or the mobile app. The credit union also offers contactless debit or credit card options and support for digital wallets.

Key Information

Customer service number: 800-358-8228

Customer service hours: 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT weekdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT on Saturdays

Routing number: 321076470

Patelco Credit Union Fees

Patelco Credit Union charges monthly fees on some accounts, many of which can be waived with minimum balance requirements. The credit union also charges fees for some transactions. Common fees members may encounter include:

  • Stop payment: $15
  • Non-sufficient funds or ACH returned item: $28
  • Excessive withdrawals (after six in a monthly cycle) from tiered savings: $1 each
  • Domestic outgoing wire transfer: $20

Patelco Credit Union vs. Competitors

When you’re looking for a new place to park your money, you’ll want to look at a few options to determine which one is best for you. Here’s how Patelco Credit Union stacks up against some competitors.

Bank Best For
Patelco Credit Union Members with multiple accounts, interest rates on small balances
Provident Credit Union High interest on checking accounts
Golden 1 Credit Union Members over age 62
Travis Credit Union New money market funds

Patelco Credit Union vs. Provident Credit Union

Provident Credit Union offers an APY of 1.01% on checking account balances up to $25,000 with qualifying deposits and transactions. Patelco Credit Union’s money market accounts are more attractive, however, with their higher interest rates and lower minimum balances for new savers.

Patelco Credit Union vs. Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union offers a package of benefits to its members who are age 62 or older and who have a recurring direct deposit or maintain $5,000 in a savings account. The benefits include no monthly service fee, two free boxes of checks per year, notary service and more. The money market interest rates at Patelco are significantly higher for accounts with small balances, however.

Patelco Credit Union vs. Travis Credit Union

Travis Credit Union offers a Jumpstart Money Market account that pays 4.00% APY on balances up to $1,000. The rate drops precipitously, however, down to 0.00% APY when your balance is over $5,000. If you’re looking to put $5,000 or more in a money market account, Patelco is a better choice.

Final Take

Patelco Credit Union offers a complete menu of banking and financial services. Because it is a credit union, owned by members and not beholden to shareholders, it can offer interest rates that are often better than what might be found at large, publicly held banks. While its physical footprint is limited to Northern California, members can take advantage of shared branches and ATMs, as well as online and mobile banking, to do their banking anywhere in the country.

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    To encourage members to keep all of their accounts at Patelco, the credit union offers the Commitment Household Membership program. Members of the program enjoy no fees at non-Patelco ATMs; no fees or minimum balances for savings, interest checking, health savings, cashier’s checks or domestic wire transfers; a new consumer loan discount as well as access to special offers.

    Patelco Credit Union FAQ

    Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Patelco Credit Union.
    • Is Patelco Credit Union Legit?
      • Yes, Patelco Credit Union is a full service, legitimate credit union, serving over 400,000 members.
    • Is Patelco nationwide?
      • Patelco branches and ATMs are located in Northern California. Members also can bank at one of more than 6,000 shared branches or at over 30,000 ATMs nationwide.
    • What does Patelco stand for?
      • Patelco Credit Union was founded by employees of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company. The name is an abbreviation.
    • Who can join Patelco Credit Union?
      • You can become a member of Patelco Credit Union by meeting any of the following criteria:
        • — Live, work, attend school or worship in certain Northern California cities or counties
        • — Be enrolled at or an alumnus of San Francisco State University, Cal State East Bay or the University of California, Berkeley
        • — Be employed by one of 1,100-plus member companies or associations
        You also qualify for membership if you have a family member or roommate who is a current member.
    • Does Patelco use Zelle?
      • Yes. Members can use Zelle in online banking or the Patelco mobile app to send and receive money.
    • How much can you withdraw from a Patelco ATM?
    • Does Patelco offer free money for signing up for an account?

    Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 21, 2020.

    This content is not provided by Patelco 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 Patelco Credit Union.

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    About the Author

    Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC,, and more.

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