Navy Federal Credit Union offers excellent rates, but do you qualify?

Apr 1, 2024 11:31 pm | News

Founded by military men in 1933 during the Great Depression, Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has continued to serve military members and their families. Its over 13 million members enjoy an array of financial services and high yields on their free checking accounts and share certificates. The not-for-profit credit union provides a solid digital experience alongside its physical operation in 350 branches. It also partners with CO-OP Network, which has over 30,000 ATMs within and outside the United States to provide easy access to your funds. 

All rates and fees are current as of April 1, 2024, and are subject to change. 

Checking accounts: Starting at $0 per month
Savings accounts: Open with as little as $0
Certificates of deposit (CDs): Earn up to 5.30% annual percentage yield (APY)

Who is eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union?

To open an account with Navy Federal Credit Union, you must meet its eligibility requirement, which is simple—belong to the U.S. Armed Forces, be related to someone in the U.S. Armed Forces, or be a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) employee. Current and retired members of any U.S. Armed Forces branch are eligible to open an account with Navy Federal Credit Union, and that includes the following: 

  • Air Force
  • Army 
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corps
  • National Guard
  • Space Force
  • Delayed Entry Program

Eligible family members include parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children (adopted and stepchildren), and grandchildren. Household members are also welcome. You can visit a Navy Federal Credit Union branch or call (888) 842-6328 to verify your eligibility. Also, note that each account holder must maintain their membership by owning at least $5 in their savings account.  

Navy Federal Credit Union rates and products

Navy Federal Credit Union offers several banking products, including free checking accounts, savings accounts with fair APY and dividends, and high APY credit union CDs called share certificates. 

Checking accounts 

Navy Federal Credit Union offers five free checking accounts for military personnel, and all accounts offer dividends and APYs. You’ll also enjoy online and mobile banking, enabling you to pay your bills and make mobile deposits of funds from anywhere. NFCU also provides overdraft and zero liability protection on your debit card. While you won’t get a checking account bonus, you can open a checking account without a deposit. 

Navy Federal Credit Union checking account features
Account opening bonus None
Minimum opening deposit $0
Monthly service fees $0–$10
Top APY 0.45% for Flagship checking accounts with at least $25,000
Checks Available for free
Personalized checks $0
NCUA insurance Up to $250,000

Below are the available checking accounts for Navy Federal Credit Union customers. 

Free Active Duty Checking

Whether you’re on active duty, retired, or a reservist, this checking account offers you the following: 

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • APY: 0.05%
  • Standard interest rate: 0.05%
  • ATM-fee rebates: Up to $20 per month (statement period)
  • Optional overdraft fee: $20 per transaction 

Free Easy Checking

This account requires you to set up direct deposits or conduct at least 20 debit card transactions each month to keep it running: 

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • APY: 0.05%
  • Standard interest rate: 0.05%
  • ATM-fee rebates: Up to $10 per month (statement period)

Free Campus Checking

Navy Federal’s Free Campus checking account is suitable for students and younger members between 14 and 24 years of age: 

  • Monthly service fee: $0
  • APY: 0.05%
  • Standard interest rate: 0.05%
  • ATM-fee rebates: Up to $10 per month (statement period)

Free EveryDay Checking

This checking account is suitable for those seeking a flexible checking account with lower balances. You won’t pay monthly service fees and will earn 0.01% APY on your balance. 

Flagship Checking

The Flagship checking account rewards members for having more money in their account. Below are its features and benefits:

  • Monthly service fee: $0–$10 (depending on balance)
  • APY: Starts at 0.35% for accounts below $10,000
  • Standard interest rate: 0.35%–0.45%
  • ATM-fee rebates: Up to $10 per month (statement period)

Savings accounts

Navy Federal Credit Union offers members a Share Savings account with a minimum deposit of $5. NFCU also provides retirement saving options for military members through its IRA Share account, which doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit. You can set up a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan, or Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) with Navy Federal Credit Union. However, they are not high-yield savings accounts

Navy Federal Credit Union savings account features
Minimum opening deposit $0–$5
Standard interest rate 0.25%
APY 0.25%

Navy Federal Credit Union savings rates compared to current top rates*

While Navy Federal Credit Union is an excellent option for military members and their relatives, some institutions offer higher interest rates. Compare the rates above to this list of competitors:

Certificates of deposit

We love the high yields on Navy Federal Credit Union’s share certificates, NFCU’s version of bank CDs. They compete with the best CD rates you’ll get from banks catering to nonmilitary customers, and there are several CD types to choose from. See below for what you’ll get from Navy Federal Credit Union’s share certificates, whose dividends are compounded daily. 

Navy Federal Credit Union CD features
Minimum deposit $1,000
Available term lengths 3 to 84 months
Top APY  5.30% for the Special EasyStart Certificate
Early withdrawal penalty  90–365 days’ worth of dividends, depending on your term

Standard Certificates

Navy Federal Credit Union created this share certificate for those who intend to make a one-off deposit of their funds and earn at higher dividend rates. The CDs may offer a higher APY for customers who deposit $100,000 or more. 

EasyStart Certificates

These are more suited to individuals looking for a flexible share certificate since it allows you to add more funds whenever they want. You can also open multiple EasyStart certificates without a maximum purchase amount: 

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Available terms: 12–24 months 
  • APY: 4.15%–4.95%

Special EasyStart Certificates

This share certificate is available to Navy Federal Credit Union customers with checking accounts who set up automatic direct deposits. There are purchase limits, and you can only open one share certificate at a time, but you’ll earn higher yields on money set aside: 

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Maximum deposit: $3,000
  • Available term: 12 months
  • APY: 5.30% 

Compare Navy Federal Credit Union alternatives

Here’s how Navy Federal Credit Union compares to other financial institutions catering to active and retired members of the armed forces and their relatives. 

All rates are subject to change. Please contact the institutions for the most current rates.

Is Navy Federal Credit Union right for you?

Navy Federal Credit Union is suitable for active and retired military personnel and their families and DoD employees looking to benefit from higher share certificate rates and not-too-low dividends and APYs on checking accounts. It’s also a good fit if you want to walk into branches near military bases or access your funds from anywhere since its branches are near military installations, and NFCU provides a seamless digital experience.

NFCU is a great fit for eligible customers who want to save for when they retire from serving their nation. However, those looking for multiple savings account options or high-yield savings might want to consider NFCU alternatives. 

Frequently asked questions

Can nonmilitary use Navy Federal?

Yes, you can join Navy Federal Credit Union by affiliation. That means if you’re a family member or household member of a military personnel, you can enjoy the same benefits as one. 

Is it worth joining Navy Federal Credit Union?

What makes a banking relationship worthwhile will vary for every customer. But if you are eligible, opening an account with Navy Federal Credit Union comes with many perks such as high yields on share certificates, zero monthly fees, and rebates for using non-NFCU ATMs. 

Is Navy Federal Credit Union insured?

Yes, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the U.S. government agency in charge of regulating credit unions and protecting their members, insures up to $250,000 in members’ accounts. 

Where are Navy Federal Credit Union branches? 

Navy Federal Credit Union has 350 branches located across the world. You’ll find them near military bases within the U.S. and other countries, such as Greece, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Spain, enabling military members access to their funds wherever duty calls. 

feed from