Washington Federal Bank Review: Affordable Fees and Low Minimum Deposits

GOBankingRates Score

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GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick 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
  • Breadth of Products
  • Minimum Opening Deposits
  • Mobile and Digital Experience
How did we calculate this?


  • 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 200 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. Many of its 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.

Checking Accounts 

The bank offers three checking accounts. Here’s a look at each option.

Free Checking

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

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. Like the Green Checking account, this account requires a $25 opening deposit. It also 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-$99,999 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.

The Stellar Plus Checking is WaFd’s only interest-earning checking account, with an APY of on balances of $10,000 or more.

Savings Accounts

WaFd Bank offers one basic savings account. Here are the details.

Savings Account

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, or $10 for minors, and pays APY. Minors with balances between $10-$100 earn APY and for balances over $100.

The $3 monthly service charge is waived if the balance is at least $100 or if the account holder is a minor.

WaFd also offers a Coverdell Education Savings account to help parents save up for their children’s education.

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 APY on balances from $1,000 to $89,999 and APY on balances of $90,000 or more.

Gold Money Market Account

The bank also offers a Gold Money Market account, which also 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. It is not available for IRAs.

CD Rates

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. The rate for a one year CD with a deposit under $90,000 is . There are also CD Special terms of seven or 13 months with higher rates available.

Banking Experience

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 available, they are more competitive than what many banks offer. For example, Bank of America, Member FDIC, only offers on standard savings balances, whereas WaFd pays 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 generally affordable. For example, checking accounts, savings accounts and money market accounts require a $25 minimum opening deposit.

CDs require a $1,000 minimum opening deposit, which may be a little steep for some but is typical for the account type.

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 the ability to walk into a branch if you need to, WaFd Bank should be your pick.

WaFd Bank vs. Bank of America

With thousands of locations, there’s almost always a Bank of America nearby, compared to WaFd’s 200-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. 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.

Final Take

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 considering.

Washington Federal Bank FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Washington Federal Bank.
  • How can I reach WaFd customer service?
    • You can contact WaFd customer service by phone 800-324-9375 at any time or send an email to info@wafd.com.
    • There is also a chat bot available on the WaFd website.
  • 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; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Aug. 19, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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