Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the nation by a wide margin and has been since the 1960s.
In fact, they blow other credit unions out of the water by asset size and membership numbers. They hold more than $156.8 billion in total assets from just over 12.4 million members.
This massive financial cooperative was founded in 1933 by Navy Department employees as the Navy Department Employees’ Credit Union of the District of Columbia.
Dropping the unwieldy name and extending membership to all Navy employees worldwide (rather than just those in D.C.), the credit union became known as the Navy Federal Credit Union in 1954.
Fast forward to today and you no longer have to be affiliated with the Navy to become a member of Navy Federal, but you do need to have military ties within your family to join.
To be eligible to join Navy Federal, you must have ties to the Department of Defense, the armed forces, the National Guard, or have a family member that does. Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard active duty and retired members all qualify for membership. This credit union is not open membership and you may not join if you do not meet the above membership criteria.
The good news is that you don’t have to live near Virginia to access Navy Federal branches or ATMs. There are 350 branches worldwide, some on military bases and some overseas in 26 international locations. In the U.S., Navy Federal has branches in metro D.C., Virginia, California, and Florida. They do not participate in shared branching, but they are part of a network of over 30,000 co-op ATMs.
To see if NFCU and their deposit accounts are right for you, continue reading our review below.
Navy Federal Credit Union CD Rates + Account Details
Navy Federal Credit Union’s CDs (certificates of deposit) are federally insured by the NCUA up to $250,000 per depositor or $500,000 for joint accounts.
NFCU is unique in that it offers several different types of certificates, some standard and some variable-rate; some short-term and some requiring much longer investments.
|deposit amount:||$1,000 – $20k||$100k +|
Standard certificate accounts require a minimum deposit of $1,000.
To put these rates in perspective, the current national average for a 12 month CD and a 60 month CD sit at 1.59% and 1.37% APY, respectively, according to FDIC data.
NFCU also offers EasyStart and Special EasyStart certificates. They have slightly higher yields and much lower minimum deposit requirements. See rates and terms below.
Easy Start CD Rates
|12 month (max $3,000)||4.85%|
|12 month (no max)||4.35%|
The EasyStart certificate only requires an opening deposit of $50. As mentioned, they earn slightly lower APYs than their standard CD counterparts. These are great options for kids, teens or those who can’t meet the higher deposit requirement.
There is no maximum balance or account limit associated with these CDs.
The Special EasyStart certificate is a 12 month term CD with a $50 minimum deposit requirement and a $3,000 maximum. Balances within this range can earn 4.85% APY.
A Special EasyStart certificate account is available only to Navy Federal customers that have checking and direct deposit accounts with Navy Federal. Money may be added to EasyStart certificates at any time. Customers are limited to one Special EasyStart account per member.
All certificate dividends are compounded daily and credited monthly. Dividends will be deposited to the certificate account automatically unless a dividend distribution option is chosen when the account is opened.
How Much Can You Make with a CD from NFCU?
How much money you earn with a Navy Federal Credit Union CD is going to depend on your deposit size, the CD term you choose and its going APY (annual percentage yield). Below is a table displaying earnings from a handful of NFCU’s CD accounts assuming a deposit size of $10,000.
How do NFCU’s CD Rates Compare?
Take a look at the table below to see how Navy Federal Credit Union’s best CD rates stack up against other credit unions and their top rates.
|Credit Union||Best CD Rate (APY)|
|Delta Community Credit Union||5.00%|
|First Tech Credit Union||5.05%|
|Mountain America Credit Union||5.50%|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||4.85%|
Grace Period and Early Withdrawal Fees
Upon the maturity of your Navy Federal Credit Union CD you will be provided with a generous 21 day grace period in which you may modify your CD or close it out. If nothing is done during this period, your CD will automatically renew with the same term and the going APY at that time.
If you need funds prior to your CD’s maturity, you will face an early withdrawal penalty fee. The fee structure is as follows:
- CDs with terms of 12 months or less will be charged fees equal to whichever option costs less: 90 days’ interest or all dividends on the amount withdrawn since issuance/renewal.
- CDs with terms greater than 12 months will cost either 180 days’ interest or all dividends on the amount withdrawn since issuance/renewal and from terms of five years or more will cost 365 days’ interest or all dividends.
Navy Federal Credit Union Money Market Rates + Account Details
Navy Federal money market savings accounts are fine, but you’ll see that they’re not particularly attractive.
Money Market Rates
|$0 – $2,499||0.00%|
|$2,500 – $9,999||0.95%|
|$10k – $24,999||1.06%|
|$25k – $49,999||1.10%|
The current national average for money market accounts sits at just 0.48% APY, however better rates can be had through FDIC-insured online banks which now feature APYs above the 4.00% mark.
A $2,500 minimum average daily balance is required to earn interest, but you won’t be charged a fee if your balance drops below this. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly. For every transaction you make over the six transaction limits enforced under federal regulation D, you’ll be charged $10.
If you can maintain higher balances in your money market account, you may be eligible for jumbo rates which are slightly better than those listed above. See their jumbo rates below:
Jumbo Money Market Rates
|$0 – $99,999||0.25%|
|$100k – $249,999||1.65%|
|$250k – $499,999||1.85%|
|$500k – $999,999||2.05%|
Other Savings Accounts Offered Through Navy Federal Credit Union
An initial share with Navy Federal costs $5 and gets you a Share Savings Account. This is also how much you’ll need to keep in your savings account. With an APY of 0.25%, this savings product isn’t ideal for growing your money, but it doesn’t come with many inconveniences such as monthly maintenance or low balance fees. It does come with a $3 quarterly inactivity fee if your account is inactive for 12 months during any given quarter. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly.
Navy Federal also offers a SaveFirst Account with an APY of 0.40%. With a slightly better rate of return but equal minimum deposit, this account is a better option for anyone wanting to put money away for designated purposes like weddings or vacations. Select a term between 3 months and 5 years and watch your deposit grow (a little). Dividends are compounded daily and credited monthly. This savings account is going to earn you more than a share savings account, but a money market account might be a better option.