Founded in 1933 in Sacramento, California, Golden 1 Credit Union began as a financial institution for employees of California and was created under the name California State Employees’ Credit Union #1. Today, it is known as Golden 1.
This financial institution controls more than $19 billion in consumer assets with over 70 branches and home loan centers across the state of California. As of 2022, Golden 1 Credit Union has more than 1 million member-owners.
Golden 1 is a member-only credit union. To become a member, you must be a resident of California.
You can learn more about joining the credit union as well as the competitive CDs (certificates of deposit) they offer in our review below.
CD Rates + Account Details
There are now two types of certificates of deposit with Golden 1 Credit Union – their standard term CDs and their promotional CDs.
As of March 2023, they only offer one promotional CD with a 17 month term. You’ll earn either 5.00% APY (annual percentage yield) with deposits of $50,000 or more and 4.75% APY with deposits of $500 to $49,999.99.
Promotional CD Rates
|CD Term||Min. Deposit||APY|
Their standard CDs are referred to as term savings certificates. These CDs are available in term lengths from 3 to 60 months.
For term savings certificates, Golden 1 uses a tiered rate structure that rewards greater deposits with higher yields.
Term Savings Certificate Rates
|deposits under $100k||deposits $100K +|
|3 – 5 months||1.00%||1.20%|
|6 – 11 months||1.75%||1.85%|
|12 – 17 months||2.05%||2.15%|
|18 – 23 months||2.05%||2.15%|
|24 – 35 months||2.40%||2.50%|
|36 – 47 months||2.80%||2.90%|
|48 – 59 months||2.90%||3.00%|
To put these yields into perspective, the current national average for a 12 month and a 60 month CD sit at just 1.49% and 1.35% APY, respectively, according to FDIC data.
That said, following the FED’s last rate hike top yields from online banks are now topping 5.00% and 4.50% APY for the same respective terms.
Interest is compounded and credited monthly. You can optionally have the dividends paid out monthly if you want to collect regular payments as a source of income, which some customers do. There is no extra charge for choosing this option and you can choose any payout method that works for you between bank transfer, cash, or check. Otherwise, dividends will be credited automatically to your account each month.
Another noteworthy aspect of this account is that you can use the funds as collateral for a Certificate Loan. A certificate loan with Golden 1 Credit Union is a secured loan with lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than unsecured loan products with the credit union. This is a good choice for borrowers who want to build their credit as these loans are easier to qualify for and accrue less interest than similar alternatives.
And if you do choose to use your CD balance as collateral when applying, the principal will still continue to earn interest until you repay the loan or the account matures.
Funding the CD
You can fund this account using any of the following methods:
- Mobile or paper check deposit
- Cash deposit
- ACH transfer (initiated by Golden 1 or an external bank)
- Domestic wire transfer
As with most CDs, you are not permitted to make additional deposits into this account after opening and funding it.
Grace Period and Early Withdrawal Fees
All CDs automatically are set to renew when they mature. When your account reaches maturity, there is a 7 day grace period during which you can withdraw some or all of your funds or close your account without incurring early withdrawal penalties if you do not wish to renew your certificate.
You will pay a fee if you remove money from this account (not including monthly interest payments) before it reaches maturity. The early withdrawal penalties for making a withdrawal before your account matures are as follows:
- Early withdrawal from a term of between 3 and 11 months will incur a penalty equal to 90 days’ interest
- Early withdrawal from a term of between 12 and 23 months will incur a penalty equal to 180 days’ interest
- Early withdrawal from a term of 24 months or more will incur a penalty equal to 365 days’ interest
Note that these early withdrawal fees are pretty average for standard certificate accounts. If you don’t want your account to renew automatically, you can provide written notice prior to maturity or during the grace period.
All Golden 1 certificates of deposit are federally insured by the NCUA up to the limit of $250,000 per account, per depositor. These accounts are just as safe and secure as any other CDs.
How to Become a Member
Anyone living in California is eligible to become a member of Golden 1 Credit Union. There are no specific communities you must be a part of if you are a resident of California.
You can apply in person at a branch location, online using this link, or by calling 1-877-465-3361. This application only takes a few minutes to fill out.
You may be eligible for membership if you are an active-duty military member who typically lives in California but you are currently located out of state. If you do not live in California but your family member or domestic partner is a member of Golden 1, you can also join this credit union.
The final way to become a member is by being an employee of one of 1,000 Select Employee Groups across the country. These include nonprofit organizations, universities, and more. Indicate in your application that you do not live or work in California and select “I belong to a Select Employee Group” to find your place of employment.
If your application is approved, all you need to do to join is open a Golden 1 savings account with a deposit of at least $1. This is a Regular Savings account that earns an interest rate of 0.05%. With this account, which makes you a member-owner for as long as it is open and active, there are no monthly maintenance fees and in-network ATM transactions are unlimited (as long as you stay within your monthly limit of six withdrawals/transfers per federal guidelines for savings accounts).
There are several other savings and checking accounts you may choose to open as well when becoming a member, but the one mentioned above is the only one that is required for membership.
Consumer Sentiment & Reviews
So what is it like actually being a customer of this credit union? Customer sentiment for this credit union is mostly positive, with many reviewers reporting smooth experiences when opening new accounts and helpful customer service interactions. High interest rates draw many new customers to the credit union and keep them satisfied.
But there are negatives as well. Many complaints are about the credit cards specifically but some deposit account users say that this credit union is difficult to work with when problems arise such as unauthorized transactions or changing the ownership of an account.
Overall, it seems like in-person service is better for most than online service and is a strong point for this institution. According to reviewers, the customer service you are likely to receive at a branch may be different than that you are likely to receive when you call or email.
While it is possible to open and manage a term savings certificate completely online, there are Golden 1 Credit Union branch locations as well. There are 50 full-service branch locations in 45 cities across California as well as five non-teller branches where you can perform basic transactions like deposits and withdrawals. There are 210 Golden 1 branded ATMs that members can use surcharge-free. See all branch and ATM locations here.
App reviews for Golden 1 Credit Union have been on the rise with each new update. The app has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.7 out of 5 stars in the App Store.
There are a few different ways to get in touch with a customer support representative. The first is to call the member service contact center at 1-877-465-3361. This phone line, which is not dedicated to any specific account, is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Pacific Time and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Time.
Alternatively, you can email your question or request to firstname.lastname@example.org and you should receive a response within one business day. You can also see the FAQ section of the site for help with general questions.
Golden 1 also offers 24/7 technical support for mobile and online banking. The number for this is 1-844-670-9542.
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