Washington Federal Bank Review 2021: Full Suite of Products Plus Digital Tools

4.8
Our Take: Washington Federal Bank is a solid regional bank with a broad product line and competitive rates. The bank offers all the products most people need, many with maintenance fees that can be waived, plus reasonable balance requirements. Washington Federal also has convenient digital banking products and services, such as a contactless prepaid debit card, Zelle to send and receive money, online banking and a mobile app.
  • Rates
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    5.0
  • Accessibility
    4.5
  • Digital Experience
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • A broad product line for those who want all accounts in one place
  • Accounts for minors have lower minimum deposit and balance requirements
  • Most accounts can be opened with just $25.

Cons

  • Deposit requirements to get higher interest rates are high.
  • Requirements to waive maintenance fee on Stellar Plus Checking are complex.

About Washington Federal Bank

Washington Federal Bank is based in Seattle and has more than 230 branches in eight states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. Founded in 1917, the bank recently changed its trade name to its longtime nickname, WaFd. The bank is publicly held: NASDAQ: WAFD.

Washington Federal Bank Products

Washington Federal Bank offers a full suite of banking products, such as checking, savings and money market accounts; certificates of deposit; credit cards; and loans, including mortgages, vehicle loans and personal loans. Many banking products have a lower minimum balance requirement for minors.

Product Features
Checking Accounts
  • $25 minimum opening balance
  • Some with no monthly maintenance fee
Savings Account
  • Earn interest with a $100 minimum balance
  • Lower minimums for minors’ accounts
Money Market Account
  • Higher interest rate on balances of $90,000 and up
  • Write six checks per month
CD Accounts
  • Terms from two weeks to five years
  • Higher interest rate on balances of $90,000 and up
Credit Cards
  • No annual fee
  • Fixed 13.99% APR on purchases
Loans
  • Mortgages, HELOCs, personal loans
  • First-time homebuyer programs

Washington Federal Bank Checking Accounts Review

The bank offers three checking accounts: Free Checking, Green Checking and Stellar Plus Checking. Each has a $25 minimum opening balance requirement. Free Checking has no monthly maintenance fee. Stellar Plus has a graduated fee (from $0 to $8) depending on your balance, and Green Checking has a $6 monthly maintenance fee.

Features

  • $25 minimum opening balance
  • Green Checking and Stellar Plus Checking have ID theft monitoring and mobile phone protection
  • Stellar Plus Checking pays 0.05% APY interest on balances of $10,000 or more

Pros

  • Options for no monthly maintenance fee
  • Stellar Plus Checking pays interest
  • Access to more than 32,000 fee-free ATMs

Cons

  • $10,000 minimum balance required to earn interest
  • Stellar Plus requirements to waive the monthly fee are confusing: The fee is $0 if you keep $20,000 or more in the account or have $100,000 or more in related accounts. If you keep $10,000 to $19,999 in the Stellar Plus account or $50,000 to $99,999 in related accounts, it’s $3. Otherwise, it’s $8.

Washington Federal Bank Savings Account Review

WaFd Bank offers a basic savings account that can be opened with a $25 deposit, or $10 if you are a minor. It requires a $100 balance to earn interest ($10 for minors) and pays 0.10% APY. The $3 monthly service charge is waived if the balance is at least $100 or if you are a minor.

Features

  • Pays interest on all balances as long as there is $100 in the account
  • Lower minimum requirements and no service charge for minors’ accounts

Pros

  • Pays 0.10% interest if balance is $100 or more.
  • Monthly service charge waived if balance is $100 or more.
  • Minimum to open account for minors is $10.

Cons

  • Interest rate is comparatively low.

Washington Federal Bank Money Market Account Review

WaFd Bank’s Money Market account pays 0.05% APY on balances from $1,000 to  $89,999 and 0.10% APY on balances of $90,000 or more. The bank also offers a Gold Money Market account that pays 0.20% APY on balances from $1,000 to $14,999, and 0.25% APY on balances of at least $15,000.

Features

  • Standard Money Market can be opened with just $25.
  • Gold Money Market has higher interest rates.

Pros

  • Interest rate goes up for balances of $15,000 or more with Gold Money Market, $90,000 or more for standard Money Market.
  • Six electronic or check transactions per month

Cons

  • Minimum balance of $1,000 to earn interest
  • $10 monthly fee if your balance falls below $1,000

Washington Federal Bank CD Accounts Review

Washington Federal Bank offers CDs on terms ranging from 14 days to five years. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate. Interest rates also are slightly higher if your deposit is $90,000 or more.

Features

Pros

  • Interest rate on all terms increases with deposit of $90,000 or more.
  • Guaranteed interest for term selected at time of deposit.

Cons

Banking Experience

Customer support is available 24/7 by phone at 800-324-9375. You also can email info@wafd.com.

WaFd Bank has more than 230 branches, many with drive-thru service. Access to several lobby branches is restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some are temporarily closed. The website lists branches and their status.

Mobile and Digital Experience

WaFD has online banking and a mobile app. Bank customers also can send and receive money with Zelle on the mobile app.

The WaFD Bank mobile app is available on the App Store, where it has a rating of 4.7 out of five stars, and on Google Play, where it rates 3.8 stars.

How To Open an Account

You can open an account online. Just find the product you want and click the button that says “Open an Account.” You’ll need:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your social security number
  • Required minimum amount to open an account

Key Information

Customer Service Number: 800-324-9375

Customer Service Email: info@wafd.com

Routing Number: 325070980

Washington Federal Bank Fees

Even though many of Washington Federal Bank’s accounts have low monthly maintenance fees that can be waived if you keep a minimum balance, you might incur other fees. Here are some examples:

Type Amount
NSF fee $30
Overdraft transfer fee $5
Cashier’s check $8
Incoming wire $15
Outgoing domestic wire $25
Outgoing foreign wire $45

WaFd Bank vs. Competitors

Changing banks is a big decision, so you want to be sure you’re choosing the right bank for your needs. Here’s how Washington Federal Bank compares to other banks you might be considering.

Bank Best For
WaFd Bank Digital tools and accounts for minors
Ally Bank Internet banking
Bank of America Branches and ATMs nationwide
Banner Bank Debit card rewards

WaFd Bank vs. Ally Bank

Ally Bank is an internet-only bank, so many of its accounts pay higher rates of interest than brick-and-mortar banks. But if you want the slick digital tools and the ability to walk into a branch if you need to go, WaFd Bank should be your pick.

WaFd Bank vs. Bank of America

With 4,300 retail locations and 17,000 ATMs, there’s almost always a Bank of America location nearby. But better interest rates and personalized service put WaFd Bank ahead.

WaFd Bank vs. Banner Bank

Another regional bank with locations in Washington state and the surrounding area, Banner Bank offers a rewards debit card. But if you’re looking for a youth savings account, WaFd Bank is a better bet.

Is WaFd Bank A Good Bank?

WaFd Bank offers all the banking products and services most people need, along with local branches and access to ATMs nationwide. Fees are reasonable and interest rates are competitive. You easily can do all of your banking online, including opening an account, which is fast and easy.

Editor’s Favorite

WaFd Bank makes allowances for those under 18 to get started on a solid financial path by offering lower opening deposits and minimums. It also has the digital tools that younger customers demand.

Washington Federal Bank FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Washington Federal Bank.
  • Does WaFd Bank use Zelle?
    • Yes; bank customers can send or receive cash in minutes from the mobile app using Zelle.
  • Is Washington Federal a credit union?
    • No; Washington Federal Bank is a full-service national bank. Deposits are FDIC insured up to the limit of $250,000 per depositor.
  • Does WaFD offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • Not at this time, but with its low minimums and competitive interest rates, your money will build faster.

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

This content is not provided by Washington 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 Washington Federal 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, Equifax.com, and more.

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