Washington Federal Bank Review: Affordable Fees and Low Minimum Deposits
Breadth of Products
Minimum Opening Deposits
Mobile and Digital Experience
- 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
- Only one account has no monthly service fee
- Limited service area
About Washington Federal Bank
Washington Federal Bank is based in Seattle and has over 230 branches across eight states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. Founded in 1917, the bank changed its trade name to its longtime nickname, WaFd, in 2019.
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. WaFd ranked in GOBankingRates’ Best Regional Banks and Top 100 Banks for 2022. Read on to find out why.
The bank offers three checking accounts. Here’s a look at each option.
If you’re looking for a free checking option, WaFd’s Free Checking requires a $25 minimum opening deposit to get started and has no minimum balance or monthly service fee. You can choose from a standard, Seattle Sounders FC or Seattle Kraken debit card. And accessing your money is convenient with the bank’s network of 37,000 fee-free ATMs.
Green Checking is WaFd’s most popular account. The account has a $25 minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirement, but there is a $6 monthly service charge that does not have the option to be waived. However, the account does come with the My WaFd Wins rewards program, which might make the service charge worth it, including identity theft monitoring and resolution, cellphone insurance on four phones per family, health and travel discounts and movie tickets for $5.99 each.
Stellar Plus Checking
Like the Green Checking account, WaFd’s Stellar Plus Checking account includes the My WaFd Wins rewards program. The account also requires a $25 opening deposit like the Green Checking account, requires no minimum balance but has a service charge of up to $8 per month. However, this account has options to waive or reduce the service fee. The service fee is $0 if you keep $20,000 or more in your Stellar Plus checking account or $100,000 or more in related deposit accounts. The service fee is $3 if you keep from $10,000-$19,999 in Stellar Plus or from $50,000-$19,999 in related deposit accounts. And the service fee is $8 if you have less than $10,000 in Stellar Plus or less than $50,000 in related deposit accounts.
WaFd Bank offers one basic savings account. Here are the details.
You can open WaFd’s savings account with a $25 deposit — or $10 if you are a minor. It requires a $100 balance to earn interest ($10 for minors) and pays 0.05% APY for balances from $10-$100 and 0.10% APY for balances over $100. The $3 monthly service charge is waived if the balance is at least $100 or if you are a minor.
Money Market Accounts
WaFd Bank offers two money market accounts. Here’s what you need to know.
Money Market Account
WaFd’s Money Market account requires a $25 minimum opening deposit and has a $10 monthly fee if your balance is under $1,000. The account pays 0.05% APY on balances from $1,000 to $89,999 and 0.10% APY on balances of $90,000 or more.
Gold Money Market Account
The bank also offers a Gold Money Market account, which requires a $25 minimum opening deposit and has a $10 monthly fee for balances under $1,000. However, this account allows you to earn a higher rate of interest. The account pays 0.15% APY on balances from $1,000 to $14,999, and 0.20% APY on balances of at least $15,000.
Washington Federal Bank offers CDs with 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. CDs require a $1,000 minimum opening deposit ($500 for minors). Rates range from 0.05% APY to 0.40% APY.
Here’s a breakdown of the banking experience features that help WaFd Bank stand out.
Although the rates that WaFd offers certainly aren’t the highest offered, they are more competitive than what some banks offer. For example, Bank of America only offers 0.01% on standard savings balances, whereas WaFd pays from 0.05%-0.10% APY.
Breadth of Products
WaFd offers checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, retirement accounts, CDs, credit cards and mortgage loans, as well as a host of business and commercial products and services. However, if you need a personal loan, auto loan or recreational vehicle loan, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Minimum Opening Deposits
Even though WaFd requires minimum opening deposits, they are affordable. For example, checking accounts, savings accounts and money market accounts require a $25 minimum opening deposit, and CDs require a $1,000 minimum opening deposit.
Mobile and Digital Experience
WaFD has online banking and a mobile app, which are available to help you complete your banking tasks, such as setting alerts, transferring funds, checking balances and making mobile check deposits. 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 and Google Play.
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.
WaFd Bank vs. Ally Bank
Ally Bank is an online-only bank, so many of its accounts pay higher rates of interest than brick-and-mortar banks. But if you want slick digital tools and the ability to walk into a branch if you need to, WaFd Bank should be your pick.
WaFd Bank vs. Bank of America
With 4,200 retail locations, there’s almost always a Bank of America location nearby, compared to WaFd’s 230-plus branch locations. But better interest rates and personalized service put WaFd Bank ahead.
WaFd Bank vs. Banner Bank
Banner Bank, which is a regional bank with locations in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho, offers a rewards debit card, which allows you to earn $0.05 on every purchase. WaFd’s debit card does not offer rewards. However, if you want to open a CD with a lower minimum deposit, WaFd requires only $1,000 while Banner Bank requires over double the amount at $2,500.
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.
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. If you live in one of the bank’s service areas, it’s a financial institution worth considerering.
Washington Federal Bank FAQHere are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Washington Federal Bank.
- How can I reach WaFd customer service?
- Call 800-324-9375 24/7.
- Does WaFd Bank use Zelle?
- Yes. Bank customers can send or receive cash in minutes from the mobile app using Zelle.
- What is the WaFd Bank routing number?
- The bank's routing number is 325070980.
- Can I open an account online at WaFd Bank?
- Yes, you can apply for an account online as long as you are a resident of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah or Washington.
Karen Doyle contributed to the reporting for this article.
Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 2, 2022.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Washington Federal Bank. 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 Bank.