Star One Credit Union Review: Bank Nationwide, In-Person or Online

4.6
Our Take: Star One Credit Union offers the best of both worlds -- a nationwide network of branch locations and ATMs, plus excellent online banking options. And as a credit union, Star One keeps its rates competitive and its fees low.
  • Digital Experience
    4.8
  • Breadth of Products
    4.3
  • Customer Service
    4.3
  • Convenience
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Competitive rates
  • Excellent digital services
  • Minimal account fees
  • IRA savings and certificate accounts

Cons

  • No youth savings accounts
  • Certificates have high minimum opening deposits, limited terms

About Star One Credit Union

Star One Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in Silicon Valley, with assets of more than $10 billion and more than 113,000 members worldwide. It has six branches in California and is part of a nationwide network of 5,600 shared branches that lets members bank in person even if there are no Star One branches nearby.

One way in which credit unions differ from banks is that you must join a credit union to bank there. Star One Credit Union memberships are open to residents of Santa Clara County, California, as well as those who live or regularly attend work or school in select other counties. Employees of Lockheed Martin Corp. and other corporate partners also qualify, as do immediate family members of current members.

This Star One Credit Union review provides an overview of what the financial institution has to offer and takes a detailed look at its consumer banking products and services.

Star One Credit Union Products

You’ll find most of the everyday banking products you need at Star One Credit Union.

Product Details
Checking Accounts
  • Free Checking, Rewards Checking and Student Checking accounts
  • First box of checks free
  • Perks such as additional free checks and ATM surcharge refunds, depending on account
Money Market Savings Account
  • High-interest account
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • Allows multiple named sub-savings accounts for specific savings goals
Certificate Accounts
  • High-yield certificate accounts, similar to a CD at a bank
  • Six-month, 12-month and 24-month terms
IRAs
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs available
Credit Cards
  • Low-interest cards with rates ranging from 7.75% to 13.75% APR
  • Rewards cards earn bonus points, free travel, other perks
Loans
  • Mortgage loans for residential and investment properties
  • Vehicle loans
  • Personal loans and lines of credit
  • Student loans
Estate Planning
  • Trust accounts
  • Free estate-planning consultations and discounted services through Affinity Trusts

Star One Credit Union Checking Accounts

Star One Credit Union offers three different checking accounts.

Free Checking is just what it says — a no-fees, no-frills account that provides all the basics, such as check-writing, 20 free in-network ATM withdrawals per month and $0 overdraft coverage with a linked Star One Visa card. Student Checking offers the same perks plus up to $10 in ATM surcharge refunds per month.

Free Checking automatically upgrades to Rewards Checking when you make 10 Star One credit or debit purchases per month, enroll at least one account in eStatements and eNotices, and have at least $300 in monthly direct deposits or $5,000 in deposit or loan account balances.

Features

  • 0.10% APY for Free Checking and Student Checking
  • 0.50% APY for Rewards Checking
  • First box of 40 checks free with all accounts; all checks free with Rewards Checking
  • No monthly fees
  • Minimum $25 deposit to open

Pros

  • Competitive rates
  • Free checks
  • No monthly service fees
  • Automatic upgrade to Rewards Checking when qualifying criteria are met
  • ATM surcharge rebates of up to $10 per month with Student Checking, up to $20 per month with Rewards Checking

Cons

  • Free in-network ATM withdrawals limited to 20 per month with Free Checking and Student Checking unless Star One deposit and loan balances total $5,000 or more

Star One Credit Union Money Market Account

A savings account is an important part of sound financial management, and Star One Credit Union’s version is a money market account. You can have multiple sub-accounts to better budget your savings.

Features

Pros

  • Competitive rate
  • Low opening deposit

Cons

  • No check-writing privileges

Star One Credit Union CD Accounts

Certificate accounts — the credit union equivalent of certificates of deposit — earn Star One Credit Union’s highest rates.

Features

  • Fixed rates
  • Six-month, 12-month and 24-month terms
    • 0.50% APY for six-month terms
    • 0.55% APY for 12-month terms
    • 0.60% APY for 24-month terms
  • Dividends paid monthly and at maturity
  • The choice between reinvesting, transferring and withdrawing dividends
  • Open with a $2,500 minimum deposit

Pros

  • Guaranteed returns
  • Monthly dividends that can be withdrawn or transferred to another account
  • Competitive rates

Cons

  • High $2,500 minimum deposit
  • Limited choice of terms

Banking Experience

Members’ overall banking experience consists of many factors. Here’s a look at some of the most important ones.

Customer Service

The Star One Credit Union call center is available by calling 866-543-5202 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Saturday and Sunday. You also can get help at a branch by appointment or by contacting the bank via secure email.

Branch Availability

Although Star One Credit Union only has six branches of its own, members also can bank in person at any of 5,600 shared branches located throughout the U.S. The shared branches essentially eliminate the major challenge local credit unions pose to members — limited access to branch locations.

Mobile and Digital Experience

Star One Credit Union has a robust digital platform that includes online banking via computer, mobile banking via the credit union’s app and voice banking through your Amazon or Google smart device.

Voice Banking lets you get account information, transfer funds and find locations and hours. With Mobile Banking, you can send and receive money via Zelle, check loan information, pay bills and more. The app is available for iOS and Android. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars in the App Store and 4.9 stars on Google Play.

Online Banking options are even more expansive, allowing you to open new accounts, for example.

In the event you find yourself without internet access, Touchtone Teller — Star One’s bank-by-phone system — is available. Phone services include withdrawals and transfers, loan payments and card activations.

Convenience

A very well-organized website, excellent digital services, an enormous shared-branch network plus more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs make Star One Credit Union a very convenient place to bank.

How To Open an Account

Accounts are only available to members, so the first step in opening one is to apply for membership. For that, you must fill out an application online. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • U.S. driver’s license or passport
  • U.S. Social Security number
  • Account information for outside accounts you’d like to close and transfer to Star One Credit Union
  • Source of funds, if different than an outside account

Once approved, you’ll establish your membership by opening a Money Market Savings Account with an opening deposit of at least $50.

Key Information

Customer Service Number: 866-543-5202

Routing Number: 321177968

Star One Credit Union Fees

Because Star One Credit Union is member-owned, it focuses on keeping fees low to provide better value to its members. However, there are some fees you can’t avoid, and you might incur others for using optional services.

Type Amount
Credit union membership fee $0 but must establish membership by opening a money market account with a $50 deposit
Monthly maintenance fees $0
Overdraft and non-sufficient funds $0 for the first occurrence each year, then $15 each, up to three per day
Overdraft transfers $0
ATM withdrawals $1 each after the first 20 per month
Wire transfers $0 incoming, $40 outgoing domestic ($30 with qualifying account or loan relationship), $60 outgoing international ($50 with qualifying account or loan relationship)

Star One Credit Union vs. Competitors

The best credit union for your needs is the one that offers the most value in terms of rates, fees and services in addition to the accounts offered. Here’s a look at Star One Credit Union against some of its competitors.

Bank Best For
Star One Credit Union Excellent digital services
First Tech Federal Credit Union One-stop shopping for financial services
Tech Credit Union An extensive selection of uncommon insurance options
Stanford Federal Credit Union Alternative ways to qualify for membership

Star One Credit Union vs. First Tech Federal Credit Union

It’s hard to beat First Tech‘s soup-to-nuts financial offering. However, Star One Credit Union provides a far superior digital experience.

Star One Credit Union vs. Tech Credit Union

If you need to insure pets, travel, a wedding or your car’s mechanical systems, Tech Credit Union is an excellent choice. But for everyday banking, Star One provides better value with no-fee accounts paying higher rates.

Star One Credit Union vs. Stanford Federal Credit Union

Anyone who is interested in joining Stanford Federal Credit Union but doesn’t qualify can become eligible by joining the Friends of the Palo Alto Library or Museum of American Heritage. Star One Credit Union doesn’t offer alternative eligibility options but it does offer lower minimum opening deposits and better rates on money market accounts.

Is Star One Credit Union Good?

Star One Credit Union is a solid all-around financial institution for eligible individuals who want a robust digital platform but who also want to bank in person. Fees are low or non-existent, and rates are competitive.

Editor’s Favorite

Digital services are the big standout at Star One Credit Union. In addition to a comprehensive online banking experience, the credit union’s apps earn high ratings, plus members can bank by voice through their smart speakers.

Star One Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Star One Credit Union.
  • Is Star One Credit Union FDIC-insured?
    • Star One Credit Union accounts are insured up to at least $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, which is the credit union equivalent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
  • How much is the Star One Credit Union membership fee?
    • Star One doesn't charge a fee for membership, but the money market account that establishes the membership requires a $50 minimum initial deposit.
  • When are deposited funds available?
    • Deposits usually are available the same day Star One Credit Union receives them.
  • Does Star One Credit Union offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • There are no free-money promotions for opening a bank account, but you can get free perks when you're approved for a credit card. For example, Star One Credit Union's Visa Signature Rewards card offers a free five-year TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership, plus trip cancellation protection and discounts on travel, shopping and entertainment.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 25, 2021.

This content is not provided by Star One 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 Star One Credit Union.

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About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.

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