Teachers Federal Credit Union Review: Low Minimums and Wide Range of Accounts

4.4
Quick Take: Teachers Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of basic account types and broad access to its services via its branch network, a well-regarded mobile app and extensive ATM alliance.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Mobile App
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    4.0
  • Account Minimums
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • High customer ratings on mobile apps
  • Extensive access via third-party branch network and Allpoint ATMs
  • Competitive yields

Cons

  • Limited geographic reach
  • Not many options on individual accounts

About Teachers Federal Credit Union

Teachers Federal Credit Union has a nearly 70-year history that began with a small group of Long Island educators. Today, Teachers Federal has more than 375,000 members, $8.8 billion in assets and 32 branch locations in Long Island and the New York City boroughs of Queens and Manhattan. Despite its name, the credit union has an open membership policy and serves all customers, not just teachers.

In addition to banking at branch locations, you can bank at more than 5,400 Credit Union Service Centers nationwide with Teachers Federal, including more than 50 on Long Island alone. Members can also access over 55,000 Allpoint surcharge-free ATMs worldwide. That’s part of why it made GOBankingRates’ list of Top 100 Banks of 2022.

Teachers Federal Credit Union Checking Accounts

Teachers Federal Credit Union offers two checking account options: its basic Personal Checking account and the high-yield Smart Checking account. Neither charges a monthly service fee and both pay interest.

Personal Checking is a no-frills account that has no no minimum opening deposit or minimum balance requirement and no per-check charges. The minimum balance to earn interest is $2,500 and it pays an annual percentage yield of 0.05%.

Smart Checking lets you earn an APY of 0.65% on balances up to $10,000 and 0.10% APY on balances greater than $10,000. To qualify you must either have an average monthly balance of $5,000 in your Smart Checking account; $20,000 in combined end-of-month deposit balances; or establish direct deposit(s) of $500 or more and complete 10 debit card purchases each month. Members must enroll in Teachers online banking and e-statements for this account in order to remain eligible.

Teachers Federal Credit Union Savings Accounts

Teachers Federal Credit Union offers one basic savings account — Personal Savings — in addition to Youth, Holiday Club, Vacation Club and Health Savings accounts. All members must open a savings account to be eligible for the credit union’s other products and services. There are no monthly service fees.

The Personal Savings account has a minimum balance of $1 and a minimum of $50 to earn interest. The APY is 0.10%. Youth Savings is available to members up to 21 years old. It offers an excellent APY of 3.00% on the first $1,000 deposited.

Teachers Federal Credit Union Money Market Account

A single money market account is available at Teachers Federal Credit Union. The minimum balance to open an account is $2,500, and a $5 monthly charge will be assessed for the period of time the account remains under $500. Interest rates are tiered, with APYs ranging from 0.15% to 0.35%. To get the highest rate, you need a balance of at least $250,000.

Teachers Federal Credit Union CD Accounts

Like many credit unions, Teachers Federal offers share certificates rather than certificates of deposit, though they both work the same. Members can get Standard Certificates and Jumbo Certificates. Penalties may apply for early withdrawals.

Standard Certificates have a $1,000 minimum opening deposit and come in terms of 90 days to five years. Rates are tiered and range from 0.25% to 1.25% APY, with longer terms getting the higher yields.

Jumbo Certificates require deposits of at least $100,000 and have maturities of one to 12 months. The APY is 0.25% on balances up to $100,000 and 0.50% on balances of $100,000 or more.

Teachers Federal Credit Union Features

Fees

You don’t have to pay monthly services fees for deposit accounts at Teachers Federal, which is a big plus. Certain other fees might seem high, like the $32 fee for every savings and money market withdrawal transaction in excess of six per month. But most ancillary fees are in line with what other financial institutions charge and can be easily avoided.

Mobile App

The mobile app offered by Teachers Federal Credit Union gets good reviews from users, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 on Google Play and 4.8 on the Apple App Store. Among other things, the app lets you manage your accounts, check balances, deposit checks and view your transaction history.

Breadth of Products

Teachers Federal Credit Union offers a fairly broad product line, although it is not deep, with only two primary checking account choices, one primary savings account, and one money market account. Other products and services include IRAs, loans, credit cards, financial management and business accounts.

Account Minimums

Minimum balance requirements are pretty manageable at Teachers Federal. There is no minimum with Personal Checking. You only need $1 to open a Personal Savings account, though you will need $50 to earn interest. The $2,500 needed to open a money market account is in line with many other financial institutions, as is the $1,000 minimum for a Standard Certificate. The $100,000 minimum for a Jumbo Certificate and $5,000 minimum for Smart Checking are on the steep side.

Editor’s Favorite

The Personal Checking account is a truly free, no-nonsense checking account that doesn’t require customers to jump through hoops to avoid fees. The $8 overdraft protection transfer feature is an additional benefit, as high overdraft charges are one of the primary black marks at most banks.

Teachers Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Teachers Federal Credit Union has a limited reach but still competes with both regional and national banks. Here is how it stacks up against some of them.

BANK BEST FOR
Teachers Federal Credit Union Branch and ATM access for members in its service area
Navy Federal Credit Union High checking and savings rates
The Summit Federal Credit Union Deep account roster
New England Federal Credit Union High certificate rates

Teachers Federal Credit Union vs. Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union has the edge on Teachers when it comes to interest rates on its deposit accounts. Navy Federal pays a 0.25% APY on its savings account versus the 0.10% APY at Teachers Federal Credit Union. But Teachers Federal Credit Union has fewer membership requirements compared to Navy Federal, which requires ties to the military, National Guard or Department of Defense.

Teachers Federal Credit Union vs. The Summit Federal Credit Union

The Summit Federal Credit Union has a deeper account roster than Teachers Federal Credit Union, including four checking accounts. Teachers Federal gets the nod for its certificates, which offer an APY as high as 1.25% versus a high of 0.60% at The Summit.

Teachers Federal Credit Union vs. NEFCU

New England Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Vermont, but it only has seven branches. Teachers Federal Credit Union has nearly five times as many. But NEFCU pays a higher rate of interest on certain deposit accounts, including a 1.76% APY on the first $5,000 deposited into its Future Saver Plus Certificate.

Final Take

Teachers Federal Credit Union is limited geographically to portions of New York, but its shared branch network and participation in the Allpoint ATM system mean that customers from nearly anywhere can benefit from its services. The credit union checks all the boxes in terms of basic account types, but those looking for more specialized accounts or the very highest yields might want to look elsewhere.

Teachers Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Teachers Federal Credit Union.
  • Does Teachers Federal Credit Union offer Zelle?
    • Teachers Federal Credit Union doesn't currently offer Zelle. However, the credit union's highly rated mobile app does have a feature available to transfer funds.
  • Does Teachers Federal Credit Union have free checking?
    • Teachers Federal Credit Union has no monthly maintenance or per-check fees for either of its main checking accounts.
  • When are deposits available at Teachers Federal Credit Union?
    • Certain checks, such as government and cashier's checks, are available the same day they are deposited. For other checks, the first $225 will be available the first business day after the deposit, with the balance clearing the following business day.

Vance Cariaga 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 Jan. 11, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Teachers 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 Teachers Federal Credit Union.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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