VyStar Credit Union was founded in 1952 by a group of military and civil service members working at Naval Air Station. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, VyStar is the second-largest credit union in the state and comes in at number 13 in the country by asset size. This credit union controls more than $12 billion in assets across its 825,000 members.
If you’re interested in learning more about what VyStar Credit Union is all about, including what certificate products are offered and how you can join, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out if VyStar Credit Union is a good fit for your financial goals and lifestyle.
In this post you'll learn:
VyStar Certificates of Deposit
Before we get into the interest rates and details of VyStar standard certificates of deposit or CDs, we want to mention that all products are covered by up to $250,000 of NCUA insurance per account holder.
These standard CDs require an opening deposit of at least $500 and all balances over this amount will earn interest. However, VyStar uses a tiered interest structure to different interest rates according to your balance. The more you put in, the more you’ll earn (at least, that’s how it should be, but you’ll see that’s not always the case).
See the current interest rates for these certificate accounts below.
Standard CD Rates
|Term||$500 – $10k||$10k – $24,999||$25k – $49,999||$50k – $99,999||$100k+|
Compared to the national average, these rates look quite good. But compared to the real competition, these are just okay.
The national average for a 12 month CD and a 60 month CD sit at just 0.17% APY and 0.32% APY, respectively, according to recent FDIC data.
But when you filter your search to see just the best offers available, these are pretty unimpressive. Some banks are offering up to 2.0% on CDs on much lower balances and term lengths and there are many paying over 1.70% on any positive balance. Check out some of the other CD reviews on our site to find a high-yield CD that’s right for you.
Instead of earning a higher rate for each balance tier, there are two places where rates shift up and that’s when you go up a term length and/or when you deposit more than $50,000 into an account. Because of this, there is little incentive to deposit more than the minimum unless you have $50,000 you don’t mind locking up.
There is a wide range of terms to choose from including one as short as three months and non-standard lengths like 30 months.
Interest is compounded and credited monthly back into your certificate. You may choose to withdraw your dividends regularly or as needed for a source of supplementary income, which will not cost you anything in early withdrawal fees as earned dividends are exempt. Many users do this.
You can open an account in person, online, or over the phone and fund it via external ACH transfer, internal transfer, or domestic wire transfer.
Early Withdrawal Penalty
VyStar will give you 30 days’ notice that your certificate is about to mature, at which point it is time to decide whether you want to keep the account open, change it, or close it. It will automatically renew when it reaches maturity and the grace period of seven days will begin. If you make a withdrawal outside of this grace period (before maturity for your existing or new CD), you will face the following penalties:
- Early withdrawal from a term of three months will incur a penalty equal to 60 days’ interest.
- Early withdrawal from a term of between six and nine months will incur a penalty equal to 90 days’ interest.
- Early withdrawal from a term of between 10 and 36 months will incur a penalty equal to 180 days’ interest
- Early withdrawal from a term of either 48 or 60 months will incur a penalty equal to 365 days’ interest.
Note that some of these penalty fees are somewhat high compared to what other banks and credit unions are charging.
VyStar also offers a 12-month Youth CD to minor members. This requires a minimum deposit of just $100 and earns an interest rate of 0.60%. The maximum balance you can have in this account is $2,000. This is a standard CD and making additional deposits into the account after opening is not permitted. The same early withdrawal penalties apply, interest is compounded and credited monthly, and this CD will automatically renew at maturity as well.
Users under the age of 18 must be members in order to qualify to open a Youth CD. A legal adult who is also a member can apply for membership on their behalf using their Social Security card and birth certificate.
In the past, VyStar Credit Union had an 18 month step-up certificate too, but this is no longer available to new customers.
Consumer Sentiment and Reviews
If you value customer service, be aware that you may have issues banking with VyStar Credit Union. According to many long-time customers, the quality of service you receive when doing your banking at a branch is not consistent and has declined in recent years. Others report negative experiences opening new accounts and slow responses when issues pop up.
On the other hand, it may just depend on who’s helping you and what problems you’re facing when you reach out, and it could be just as likely that you never encounter the rude representatives other people complain about. You might be taking a chance with this credit union but there are many satisfied customers who would probably say otherwise. Overall, the reviews are mixed but slightly negative.
The platform itself is easy to navigate, quick to load, and fairly comprehensive, although some account details (such as early withdrawal penalties) can be difficult to track down.
The mobile app may also be cause for concern. It performs poorly across the board with a rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 2.4 out of 5 stars on the App Store. These ratings are extremely poor compared to other banking apps, but it should also be noted that there are less than 7,000 reviews total. According to reviewers, the app is not very functional due to poorly placed pop-ups, glitches, and log-in issues that temporarily prohibit account access. Many features of the app are known to crash in the middle of use and it is not uncommon to experience long loading times.
If the mobile banking experience is important to you, VyStar might not be a good choice unless it makes some serious improvements.
To reach a customer support representative, call 904-777-6000 any day of the week between 7 am and 7 pm or use the site’s built-in chat function for a fast response during the same hours. The mailing address for VyStar is:
Vystar Credit Union
P.O. Box 45085
Jacksonville, FL 32232-5085
There are 63 full-service Vystar branches in Georgia and Florida, 18 high school branches where student members can manage their accounts, and 235 VyStar-branded ATMs. VyStar is also part of a network with over 20,000 ATMs across the country that members can use without incurring transaction fees. Use this link to find a branch or ATM near you.
Unique membership perks with this credit union include access to VyStar Car Buying Service, MagicTouch Telephone Banking, and community discounts to places like the Jacksonville Zoo or Museum of Science and History (some are exclusive to military families).
How to Become a Member
Find out if you qualify for membership in this section.
There are three different ways you can be eligible to join VyStar Credit Union. The first is to be an active-duty military member or the immediate family member or spouse of an active-duty military member. It doesn’t matter what branch you’re in or where you’re stationed. If you’re in the military, you can join for free.
You may also be eligible if you live in Florida. Membership is open to residents and employees of 49 different counties across central and northern Florida. These include Georgia residents in the following 10 counties can also join:
The third and final way to qualify is through an immediate family member or spouse who already banks with VyStar.
These are the only ways to join. A lot of credit unions will offer the option to join a partner nonprofit or organization to obtain membership, but VyStar doesn’t have an option like this at this time.
To become a member, you will complete an application in person at a branch, online, or by mail (see previous section for the address). This will ask personal security questions and require you to verify your identity and citizenship status with a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or military ID. If approved, you’ll open your first account. A deposit of at least $5 is required when opening your Primary Savings account to obtain membership.
Is it worth it to join VyStar Credit Union for the certificate accounts? That depends on what you’re hoping to get out of being a customer. Maybe you prefer the experience of banking with a credit union over that of banking with a large bank. Otherwise, these CDs are nothing special, which is often to be expected from a regional brick-and-mortar credit union, and there are a few major areas of improvement such as the mobile app and customer service experience.
The rates are not very competitive all-around and the minimum deposits are average, so this should probably not be a top choice for you unless you are conveniently located near a branch and like the idea of walking in to get your questions answered. That said, VyStar offers a great youth CD option for minors, so we do recommend this account.