Tinker Federal Credit Union Review: Fee-Free Checking and Savings

GOBankingRates Score

4.9
Quick Take: Tinker Federal Credit Union, with more than 30 locations across Oklahoma, offers its members low loan rates, high dividends, low fees and exemplary customer service. Like many other credit unions, TFCU works as part of the CO-OP network, which means you can access TFCU services at more than 5,600 credit union branches nationwide. TFCU launched in 1946 for Tinker Field civilian employees. Today, the credit union is available to workers (civilian and military) at Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, and more than 700 other Oklahoma companies.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Financial Education
    4.7
  • Breadth of Products
    4.9
  • Mobile and Digital Experience
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • No-fee checking
  • Members get part ownership in the credit union
  • Largest credit union in Oklahoma
  • Bank at any of 5,600-plus CO-OP locations
  • Access to educational services

Cons

  • Command Fund money market account requires a $2,000 minimum deposit and minimum balance, which may be out of reach for some

About Tinker Federal Credit Union

Tinker Federal Credit Union was named as one of GOBankingRates’ Top 100 Banks for 2022. With no-fee checking and a variety of services for members, including a children’s savings account, money market accounts and CDs, it provides everything Oklahoma residents could want in a credit union.

The credit union prides itself on community service. Through the Tinker Federal Credit Union Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the credit union sponsors projects to help veterans, police, firefighters and military members with accessibility services in their homes. While this may not be tops on your mind when choosing a financial services company, for those who seek to work with organizations that align with their values, knowing the credit union gives back to Oklahoma residents can help you feel good about your choice.

Checking Accounts

TFCU’s checking accounts offer something for everyone if you meet the employment and residency qualifications. The lack of fees or minimums or transaction limits makes it easy to make TFCU your everyday bank. The host of convenient partner ATMs and CO-OP branches across the U.S. means that TFCU provides virtually everything a bigger bank provides — along with the peace of mind of knowing you’re working with a nonprofit organization that seeks to give back to its members, has never taken government bailouts and supports veterans and essential workers in their communities.

TFCU offers three checking accounts, all with no monthly service fees and no minimum balance. All three options have no transaction limits, along with a free Visa check card. Straightforward and free, these checking accounts are great for anyone who is looking for simple checking without a large minimum opening deposit. The Click Checking and Classic Checking accounts can be opened with just $25.

The Heritage Checking account is designed for members 55 and older, has no minimum required to open the account, and offers two free boxes of checks per year. The Click Checking account offers dividends monthly based on the average daily balance. Best of all, the more you use the services — such as using your check card or making payments via BillPay Online — you earn more. This is the opposite of many banks that charge you more to use their services.  

Members who may not qualify for Click, or don’t bank enough to make dividends worthwhile, should consider the Classic Checking account.  

As an added perk, members who use the MoneyPlus Visa check card linked to any of the Tinker checking accounts are entered into a daily drawing to have $100 of their purchase that day reimbursed. Each day, three members win.

Savings Accounts

You might find higher returns with an online savings account, but if you’re looking for a brick-and-mortar location for service along with higher rates than you’d get at a larger bank, TFCU is a solid choice. TFCU has a number of savings vehicles, with one straightforward savings account called the Share / Savings. The account establishes you as a member of TFCU with just a $5 minimum deposit and a continuous $5 minimum balance. The low minimum opening deposit is a huge benefit if you’re currently on a tight budget.

The account pays monthly dividends based on your balance and has automatic transfer options available to make savings easy. One unique perk that you don’t often find with savings accounts is a complimentary $1,000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy, which can help cover funeral costs or expenses.

If you’re just getting started saving, this is a great account to open because of the low minimum balance. It offers 0.25% APY, which is better than many banks but not as good as some online savings accounts.

TFCU also offers an IRA, a Christmas Club account, and a savings account for kids, which gives children and teens a free gift if they visit a branch to make an in-person deposit, enhancing the experience and reinforcing the positive aspects of saving money from a young age.

If you want to commit to saving for a special occasion, such as the holidays, consider opening a TFCU Christmas Club account, which has a $20 minimum monthly deposit.  

Money Market Accounts

TFCU’s money market accounts have no early withdrawal penalties and feature automatic transfer options to make it easy to continue adding to your nest egg. The Command Fund account requires a $2,000 minimum deposit and minimum balance, so if you aren’t able to save that much to start, you might consider opening a TFCU savings account with just $5 first. The current dividend rates for a Command Fund money market account range from 0.10% to 0.30%, which is competitive. The Premium Plus account offers dividend rates that range from 0.10% to 0.80%.

CD Rates

When you’re investing in a CD, you want to find one with convenient terms that can range from three months up to five years with a modest deposit and relatively high returns. TFCU’s standard CDs only require a $1,000 minimum balance. Depending on the terms and size of the CD, interest rates on standard CDs vary from 0.40% up to 1.25%. In addition to its standard CDs, TFCU offers a 12-month Starting Line certificate and an 18-month Save & Build certificate, both of which feature a $25 minimum balance. The Starting Line certificate offers a dividend rate of 0.40%, while the Save & Build certificate offers dividend rates ranging from 0.65% to 2.00%.

You must have a TFCU savings account to open a CD, so if you’re not interested in a savings account, you might be better off looking into opening a CD wherever you have the bulk of your money currently parked.

Best Features of Tinker Federal Credit Union

Here’s what you need to know about TFCU’s top features.

Fees

Across the board, TFCU offers low-fee services as well as free savings accounts and free checking accounts. Not every bank or credit union has completely fee-free checking and savings, so this is a huge benefit to banking with the credit union.

Financial Education

TFCU is committed to doing more for its members, and this includes no-cost financial workshops for individuals and business owners, as well as kids, teens and young adults. The credit union also publishes financial education videos for students in grades 7-12. Each video includes a worksheet for students to complete. TFCU also offers free financial coaching to help members tackle important topics and goals such as improving or establishing their credit score, managing money, and even buying a car.

Breadth of Products

In addition to checking, savings and money market accounts and CDs, TFCU offers a wide range of loan products, including mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and motor vehicle loans. It even has a repo vehicle loan program, which offers buyers great deals on repossessed vehicles along with financing for the vehicle. Storm shelter loans are another offering you don’t find with every bank or credit union and reflect the needs of Oklahoma residents.

Mobile and Digital Experience

TFCU is perfect for the digital age, allowing members to connect their accounts to Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, offering online bill pay services, and even accepting mobile check deposits through its mobile app.

TFCU’s online banking platform, Home Branch, makes it easy to check balances, transfer funds and complete many other transactions. You can even download account information into Quicken or Excel for easy access when you’re doing your taxes. Plus, 20 active users randomly win a $100 gift card each month through the TFCU Member Give Back program.

TFCU’s app is highly rated on both Google Play and the App Store, where it has garnered ratings of 4.6 and 4.8 out of 5 stars, respectively.

Other Factors To Consider

When you’re choosing a bank or credit union, you want one with no or low fees, high yields, and accessibility to the areas where you work, live and travel. TFCU hits the mark in many of these areas but is only available to Oklahoma residents.

TFCU’s 32 full-service branches across the state, along with the ability to bank at CO-OP shared branches across the country, provide a benefit you can’t get with online banks. TFCU blends the best of big bank convenience and a large, fee-free ATM network with personalized customer service and a commitment to the community.

Editor’s Favorite

Who wouldn’t love no-fee banking for both checking and savings accounts? That, along with the high-yield savings account and chance to win money each time you use your debit card, gives TFCU high marks.

Tinker Federal Credit Union vs. Competitors

Here’s a look at how TFCU stacks up against other options.

TFCU vs. Bank of Oklahoma

Bank of Oklahoma’s basic savings account offers an APY of just 0.01%, which doesn’t compete with the 0.25% APY offered by TFCU. On the other hand, Bank of Oklahoma offers six credit card options to choose from, including two secured cards for those who want to rebuild credit. TFCU’s lineup of three credit cards doesn’t include any secured options.

TFCU vs. Oklahoma’s Credit Union

If you live in Oklahoma, you have other options in local credit unions, such as Oklahoma’s Credit Union. OKCU offers five checking account options, including one that offers rewards for making everyday debit card transactions something TFCU doesn’t offer. For people 55 and over, especially, Tinker is the better option because its Heritage Checking account offers an APY of 0.20%. OKCU’s Privilege Checking account, which was designed for people 60 and over, offers a lower APY of 0.05% on balances of $26 and up.

Final Take

If you are an Oklahoma resident who qualifies to join TFCU, especially if you are located at Tinker Air Force Base or near one of the convenient branch locations, the credit union offers all the financial services you need. People 55 and over will love the straightforward checking, and families with kids can benefit from the children’s savings account and the Christmas Club account, along with fee-free checking and savings for everyone.

Tinker Federal Credit Union FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Tinker Federal Credit Union.
  • Can members set up direct deposit through TFCU?
    • Yes, members can activate direct deposit as well as payroll deductions through TFCU. The credit union advises members to check with their human resources department for the correct form.
  • What is Tinker Federal Credit Union's routing number?
    • TFCU's routing number is 303085829.
  • How do I open a TFCU account?
    • If you're ready to open an account, call the Member Service Center to schedule an appointment in a local branch. Alternatively, you can open the account easily online in just a few clicks.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 14, 2022.

This article has been updated to clarify the scoring evaluation and to clarify that TFCU branches are full service.

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

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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