San Diego County Credit Union Review: Savings and Loans for Southern Californians

4.8
Our Take: San Diego County Credit Union is a solid full-service financial institution that offers ways to save you money, such as free checking and waivable fees. Plus, it offers various options for becoming a member, which make it easier to qualify.  
  • Community Presence
    4.7
  • Breadth of Products
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Fees
    4.6
How did we calculate this?

Credit unions work a little differently than a traditional bank. You’ll need to become a member first, but once you do, you’ll own a small piece of the credit union. Consider the pros and cons of banking with SDCCU.

Pros

  • Access to 30,000 fee-free ATMs 
  • Secured and unsecured credit cards 
  • Wide range of account options 
  • All checking accounts are free or monthly maintenance fees can be waived

Cons

  • Membership is required
  • APYs are low compared to online banks

About San Diego County Credit Union

San Diego County Credit Union was founded in 1938 and has grown to become the largest locally-owned financial institution in the area with 424,000 members and 44 branches. Membership is available to anyone who lives or works in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Riverside and as far north as Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties

Sponsors of

San Diego County Credit Union Products

San Diego County Credit Union‘s comprehensive offerings provide something for everyone. Here’s an overview:

Product Details
Checking Accounts
  • Free checking account option
  • Three of four account types have a low opening balance requirement of $25.
  • Earn dividends on Classic and High Yield accounts.
Savings Accounts
  • Four account types available 
  • Three of four account types can be opened with $1.
  • No monthly maintenance fees
Money Market Account
  • $5,000 minimum to open 
  • No fees
CD Accounts
  • Minimum opening deposit of $2,000 
  • Terms of 3-60 months
  • 0.10% -1.15% APY
Credit Cards
  • Five cards available 
  • Secured and non-secured options
  • Prepaid and reloadable cards
Loans
  • Personal, auto, mortgage and home equity loans 
IRAs 
  • Traditional, Roth, SEP and conversion 

San Diego County Credit Union Checking Accounts

Knowing which checking accounts to choose is best achieved with a little research. If you’re just starting out and on a tight budget, Free Checking with e-statements has no fees. Classic Checking comes with a $5 per month fee, which can be waived with a direct deposit of $100 or more per month or a daily balance of $1,000 or more. Both have a small, $25 opening minimum. If you plan on keeping a larger balance, High Yield Checking is available with a $5,000 opening balance. 

Sponsors of

Features

  • Opening requirement starts at $25 
  • 0.01% APY with Classic Checking 
  • 0.03%-0.05% APY High Yield Checking

Pros

  • Lower fees when compared to traditional banks 
  • Free ATM withdrawals at 30,000 locations 
  • Three checking account tiers from basic free checking to dividend-earning, high-yield checking

Cons

  • Higher checking APYs may be found elsewhere

San Diego County Credit Union Savings Account

SDCCU‘s savings accounts are designed for growing your cash cushion whether you’re a teen or a larger-balance saver. All SDCCU members must start with a Primary Savings account and an opening balance of $1. The Special Savings accounts are designed for specific goals, such as building a down payment for a home or creating an emergency fund. If you have at least $25,000, Great Rate savings pays a 0.03%-0.10% APY. 

Features

  • Four account types available, including one for teens. 
  • All members must start with a Primary Savings account, which can be opened online

Pros

  • Open an account with $1 or more
  • No monthly maintenance fees on any savings account

Cons

  • To earn interest with Great Rate Savings, you’ll need at least a $25,000 balance.
Sponsors of

San Diego County Credit Union Money Market Account

A money market account allows you to pay bills and make withdrawals while earning interest. San Diego Credit Union’s money market offers 0.03%-0.05% APY. A $5,000 minimum opening balance applies, but you won’t be subject to a monthly maintenance fee. 

Features

  • Open with a $5,000 deposit 
  • Interest is paid when you maintain at least a $100 per day balance

Pros

  • $0 monthly maintenance fees
  • Earn 0.03%-0.05% APY on your balance

Cons

  • $30 excess transaction fee applies after six federally-allowed withdrawals per month

San Diego County Credit Union CD Accounts

To maximize the interest you earn, consider setting a lump sum aside in a CD. San Diego County Credit Union offers term lengths between three and 60 months. To access the highest CD rate of 1.15% APY, you’ll need to set $90,000 or more aside for at least five years.

Features

  • Eight terms of three to 60 months
  • Rates of 0.10%-1.15% APY

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates offered
  • Variety of terms 

Cons

Banking Experience

Sponsors of

San Diego County Credit Union reviews from customers rave on the ease of opening an account and handling your daily banking needs — all online. In addition, SDCCU is one of the more inclusive credit unions, allowing nearly everyone working or living in Southern California to join.

Customer Service

SDCCU offers various options to get in touch. To reach a customer service representative:

Accessibility and Branch Availability

SDCCU has 44 branch locations throughout Southern California. Here’s where you’ll find them:

  • San Diego County: 35 branches
  • Riverside County: 3 branches
  • Orange County: 6 branches

Mobile and Digital Experience

With the SDCCU mobile app, you can make deposits, transfer funds, check balances and pay bills. However, reviews for the mobile app are below average, with a Google Play rating of 3 and an App Store rating of 1.4. Customers report having trouble logging in and complain that mobile deposits are difficult to complete successfully. 

Sponsors of

    Where To Download the App:

    Convenience and Ease of Use

    Banking with SDCCU is best experienced in person and at local branches. The mobile app and online platform could use updating and improvement.

    How To Open an Account

    Credit unions have requirements to become a member before you can bank with one. To open an account, you can visit a branch, open an account online or call 1-877-732-2848. Opening an account online is easy and can be completed in about 10 minutes. Here’s how:

    • Meet SDCCU’s generous eligibility requirements by being a resident or employee in Southern California, having a relative who is, or by joining the Financial Fitness Association for $8
    • Provide a Social Security number
    • Provide a phone and email address
    • Have a government-issued photo ID
    • Provide a bank and routing number for the first deposit

    Key Information

    Customer Service Number: 1-877-732-2848

    Routing Number: 322281617

    Locations: San Diego County Credit Union Near You

    San Diego Credit Fees

    As with other financial institutions, SDCCU does charge some fees beyond those applied to its deposit accounts. Other banking and service fees you should be aware of include:

    Sponsors of
    Type Amount
    Out-of-Network ATM $2
    Returned Item $20
    Cashier’s Check $5, or free if you have a combined savings balance of $5,000 or more
    Wire Transfer (Incoming) $5, domestic or international
    Wire Transfer (Outgoing) $25, domestic; $45, international
    NSF/Overdraft $32

    San Diego County Credit Union vs. Competitors

    When shopping for a new place to do banking, it can pay off to check out the competition. Compare how SDCC measures up to other credit unions. 

    Financial Institution Best For
    San Diego County Credit Union Southern California residents
    Alliant Credit Union Higher APYs
    Golden 1 Credit Union College students
    Southern California Credit Union Branches throughout the country

    SDCCU vs. Alliant

    Alliant beats SDCCU on APY and requirements for its high-yield savings account. You can earn 0.55% on $100 balances or greater with a $5 minimum opening fee. However, SDCCU beats Alliant in physical presence with 44 branches, whereas Alliant is fully online.

    SDCCU vs. Golden 1 Credit Union

    SDCCU offers free cashier’s checks if you have a $5,000 or more combined balance in savings. Otherwise, the charge is $5 per check. Golden 1’s cashier’s check fee is $6 unless the check is made out to you, a title company or a Consumer Credit Counseling Service. SDCCU does provide a teen account, but Golden 1 goes one step further. Golden 1 offers accounts for young adults enrolled in school, which are designed to help them build credit and learn more about financial literacy. 

    SDCCU vs. Southern California Credit Union

    SDCCU provides membership to a wider group of Southern California residents, but SCCU shouldn’t be discounted. It concentrates on Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino but gives customers access to over 5,000 branches nationwide through the CO-OP shared branch system. 

    Final Take

    San Diego County Credit Union is a great alternative to a traditional bank. Many people rule out credit unions because of the membership restrictions related to their vocation or affiliations, but SDCCU makes it possible for nearly anyone to join. All you need to do is prove you work or live in Southern California — or join the Financial Fitness Association. Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to a wide range of banking services in one place. Open an account online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

    Editor’s Favorite

    If you’re aggressively saving by avoiding withdrawals and spending, SDCCU’s Money Market account is a good option. You’ll earn a competitive interest of 0.03% to 0.05% APY on your opening balance of $5,000 or more. Plus, you won’t have any monthly maintenance fees to worry about.

    San Diego County Credit Union FAQ

    Now that you know about SDCCU's products and services, here are answers to some of the credit union's frequently asked questions.
    • Does SDCCU offer free money for signing up for an account?
      • SDCCU doesn't have any current banking promotions but you can sign up to get notifications. 
    • Is SDCCU FDIC insured?
    • How do I contact SDCCU customer service?
      • To open an account or find out more, contact SDCCU by dialing 1-877-732-2848. 

    Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Feb 5., 2021.

    This content is not provided by San Diego County 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 San Diego County 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.

    San Diego County Credit Union Review: Savings and Loans for Southern Californians
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