Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (2024)

Navy Federal Credit Union is gaining popularity among military members and their families thanks to its great customer service and few fees. The bank offers a variety of savings accounts, checking accounts, and CDs, as well as credit cards and loans. Read our full review to learn if it's the right fit for you.

Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (1) 2024 Award Winner

Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (2)

Federally insured by NCUA.

Navy Federal Credit Union

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4.00/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (27) = Poor

Bottom Line

A fantastic option for veterans for all things banking.

Pros

  • Great variety of banking products
  • Competitive rates on CDs
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Only available to military members, veterans, and their families
  • Below-average rates on savings accounts

The bottom line: Navy Federal Credit Union offers competitive rates on CDs for military members and their families, and ensures more money stays in your pocket by minimizing fees on all its accounts. Rates on checking and savings accounts aren't quite as high. But the other perks of Navy Federal membership, including discounts on popular products and great customer service, could make up for this.

Navy Federal Credit Union membership requirements

Navy Federal Credit Union isn't available to everyone. In order to join, you must be one of the following:

  • An active-duty service member in any branch of the armed forces
  • A veteran
  • A parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, child, or grandchild of an active-duty service member or veteran
  • A household member of an active-duty service member or veteran
  • A Department of Defense employee, contractor, or retiree

If you have any questions about whether you qualify for Navy Federal membership, reach out to the credit union for more information.

Navy Federal Credit Union savings accounts review

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a single savings account, the Basic Savings Account.

Basic Savings Account

The Basic Savings Account has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, though there is a minimum balance you must maintain if you wish to earn interest on your funds. The account's interest rate falls slightly below the national average, so it may not appeal to those who hope to grow their savings over time.

But the bank does allow members to open multiple savings accounts with different names and set up automatic transfers. This makes it easy to save for multiple goals simultaneously.

Compare savings rates

Make sure you're getting the best account for you by comparing savings rates and promotions. Here are some of our favorite high-yield savings accounts to consider.

AccountAPYPromotionNext Steps

Open Account for SoFi Checking and Savings

Member FDIC.

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4.50/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (53) = Poor

up to 4.60%

Rate infoYou can earn the maximum APY by having Direct Deposit (no minimum amount required) or by making $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits every 30 days. See SoFi Checking and Savings rate sheet at: https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

Min. to earn: $0

New customers can earn up to a $300 bonus with qualifying direct deposits!

Open Account for SoFi Checking and Savings

Open Account for American Express® High Yield Savings

Member FDIC.

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4.00/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (70)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (71)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (72)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (73) = Excellent
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (74)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (75)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (76) = Good
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (77)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (78) = Fair
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (79) = Poor

4.25%

Rate info4.25% annual percentage yield as of July 9, 2024

Min. to earn: $1

N/A

Open Account for American Express® High Yield Savings

Open Account for E*TRADE Premium Savings

Member FDIC.

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4.50/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (91)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (92)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (93)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (94)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (95) = Best
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4.50%

Min. to earn: $0.01

N/A

Open Account for E*TRADE Premium Savings

Navy Federal Credit Union CD accounts

Navy Federal Credit Union has four types of certificates of deposit (CDs), which it refers to simply as certificates.

Standard Certificate

The Standard Certificate offers terms ranging from three months to seven years. Its minimum deposit is a little higher than some of its competitors, but it's not unreasonable compared to the rest of the industry. Rates are pretty competitive across all terms, but Navy Federal uses a tiered APY system that requires a minimum balance of $100,000 to earn the top rate. However, those with less money can still earn a good amount of interest with one of these accounts.

EasyStart Certificate

The EasyStart Certificates are a nice alternative for those who don't have the $1,000 minimum deposit that Standard Certificates require. These only have a $50 minimum deposit and the terms are much shorter, so they're a better fit for those who don't want to lock their money away for too long. APYs are above-average, and there's no tiered system, so you earn the same rate no matter what your balance is.

Special EasyStart Certificate

The Special EasyStart Certificate is a single 12-month CD that's only available to those who have a Navy Federal checking account and set up direct deposit. This CD has the same low minimum deposit as the EasyStart Certificates, but it enables you to earn a much higher rate on up to $3,000.

SaveFirst Account

The SaveFirst Account CDs have an even lower minimum deposit than the EasyStart Certificates and a good array of term lengths, but their rates probably won't impress anyone. Most people are better off waiting until they have at least $50 and then investing in an EasyStart Certificate if the high minimum deposit requirement prohibits them from opening a Standard Certificate.

Compare CD rates

It's always a good idea to compare CD rates from a few banks before opening one. Check out the list below or the best CD rates to decide which is best for you.

Rates as of June 7, 2024

Bank & CD OfferAPYTermMin. DepositNext Steps

Discover® Bank CD

Member FDIC.

APY:4.70%Term:1 YearMin. Deposit:$2,500

Open Account for Discover® Bank CD

Western Alliance Bank CD

APY:5.25%Term:1 YearMin. Deposit:$1

Open Account for

Western Alliance Bank CD

APY:5.10%Term:9 MonthsMin. Deposit:$1

Open Account for

Navy Federal Credit Union checking accounts review

Navy Federal currently offers five checking account options to its members.

Free Active Duty Checking

The Free Active Duty Checking account is available to active-duty and retired military members. It has no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement and it offers a modest interest rate on your funds. Other perks include early access to military pay for those who set up direct deposit, free personalized checks, and annual ATM fee rebates, so you can use whichever ATM is nearest.

Free Easy Checking

The Free Easy Checking account is similar in many ways to the Free Active Duty Checking account, except it's available to those who aren't military members or veterans. It has no monthly fees or balance requirements, and it offers annual ATM fee rebates, though not as many as the Free Active Duty Checking account. You can also earn interest on your funds, though you must set up direct deposit in order to open a Free Easy Checking account.

Free Campus Checking

The Free Campus Checking account is targeted at teens and young adults, aged 14 to 24. It also has no monthly fees or balance requirements, and it offers the same interest rate as the Free Active Duty Checking and the Free Easy Checking accounts. There's no direct deposit requirement to open this account.

Free EveryDay Checking

The Free EveryDay Checking account offers a lower interest rate than the other checking accounts listed here. The main points in its favor are its lack of fees or balance requirements. But as long as you're comfortable setting up direct deposit, you're better off with the Free Active Duty Checking or the Free Easy Checking account.

Flagship Checking

The Flagship Checking account offers the opportunity to earn even more interest on your checking account funds, but it requires a pretty steep minimum balance. If you don't maintain this balance, you'll pay a monthly maintenance fee, so avoid this account if you think this will be a struggle for you.

This account employs a tiered APY system that pays you more for maintaining a larger balance, but many won't qualify for the highest rate. The account has other perks, though, including an allowance of annual ATM fee rebates.

Compare checking accounts

We recommend comparing checking accounts to make sure you're getting the best fit for you. Here's a list of our favorite accounts.

AccountAPYPromotionNext Steps

Open Account for Discover® Cashback Debit

Member FDIC.

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5.00/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (132)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (133) = Fair
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (134) = Poor

0%

Min. to earn: N/A

Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month (see details when you click 'Open Account')

Open Account for Discover® Cashback Debit

Open Account for Quontic High Interest Checking

Member FDIC.

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4.00/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (146)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (147)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (148)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (149)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (150) = Best
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (155)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (156)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (157) = Good
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (158)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (159) = Fair
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (160) = Poor

up to 1.10%

Min. to earn: $1

High APY when you complete 10 or more qualifying debit card purchases each month

Open Account for Quontic High Interest Checking

Open Account for Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Member FDIC.

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4.25/5Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale.5 stars equals Best.4 stars equals Excellent.3 stars equals Good.2 stars equals Fair.1 star equals Poor.We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (172)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (173)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (174)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (175)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (176) = Best
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (181)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (182)Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (183) = Good
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Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (186) = Poor

0.40% (up to 3.30%)

Rate infoTo earn the full APY, account holders must do all of the following: Receive monthly direct deposits totaling more than $1,500; make 10 transactions a month with your Axos debit card, or sign up for Axos's Personal Finance Manager; maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account; and use your Rewards Checking account to make your full monthly Axos Bank consumer mortgage, personal, or auto loan payment.

Min. to earn: Monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,500

Cash in on up to a $500 bonus† and up to 3.30% APY* with a new Rewards Checking account. Just use promo code RC500 before July 31.

Open Account for Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Navy Federal Credit Union customer service and experience

Navy Federal Credit Union hasn't been featured in large-scale customer satisfaction surveys, like those conducted by J.D. Power. This makes it a little more challenging to judge how its customer service stacks up to other banks and credit unions.

But the reviews that exist are largely positive. The credit union has a 4.6 out of 5 rating from Trustpilot from over 15,000 customers and it appears to respond promptly to complaints.

Navy Federal Credit Union relationship benefits

In addition to all of the accounts listed above, becoming a Navy Federal Credit Union member nets you the following benefits:

  • Visa Special Offers on credit cards
  • Car-buying service, powered by TrueCar
  • Discounts on Liberty Mutual auto and home insurance
  • Cash back when you buy or sell your home through Navy Federal's RealtyPlus program
  • Three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Radio's Platinum Plan
  • Discounts at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz Car Rental
  • Discounts on loans for military members

Alternatives to Navy Federal Credit Union

If Navy Federal Credit Union isn't an option for you or doesn't feel like a good fit, try one of these banks instead.

USAA Bank

USAA Bank is another popular bank targeting military members, veterans, and their families. It has similar membership requirements to Navy Federal, so it may not be an option if you don't have a military connection. But those that do will gain access to a variety of bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and insurance with some of the best customer service in the industry.

Discover® Bank

Discover® Bank might be a better choice for those seeking high interest rates on their savings. It offers a competitive suite of products for saving and borrowing, and it charges fewer fees than many of its competitors. It doesn't have as many checking accounts or CD types as Navy Federal, but the accounts it does have should appeal to a wide audience.

Is Navy Federal Credit Union right for you?

Navy Federal Credit Union could be the right fit for you if:

  • You're an active-duty or former military member, a Department of Defense worker, or an immediate family member.
  • You don't want to get nickel-and-dimed by fees on your accounts.
  • You're comfortable direct-depositing funds into your account.

Other products by Navy Federal Credit Union

Here are some additional banking products Navy Federal Credit Union offers to its members:

Navy Federal Credit Union credit cards

Navy Federal offers the following credit cards:

  • Navy Federal Credit Union cashRewards card
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card
  • Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® card
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards card
  • Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Credit Card
  • Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured card

Navy Federal Credit Union mortgages

Navy Federal Credit Union offers the following types of mortgage loans:

  • Conventional fixed-rate mortgages
  • VA loans
  • Mortgage refinancing

Navy Federal Credit Union money market accounts

Those interested in opening a money market account (MMA) with Navy Federal Credit Union can choose between the following:

  • Money Market Savings Account
  • Jumbo Money Market Savings Account
  • Education Money Market Savings Account

Other products from Navy Federal Credit Union

In addition to everything mentioned above, Navy Federal Credit Union offers the following banking products:

  • Traditional IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA
  • Education Savings Account (ESA)
  • Auto loans
  • Personal loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Loans for motorcycles, boats, and leisure vehicles

Our bank and credit union methodology

Our methodology for scoring banks and credit unions revolves around evaluating key aspects such as annual percentage yield (APY), brand reputation, fees and minimum requirements, and additional perks.

These criteria are weighted differently across various account types, ensuring a comprehensive assessment that reflects the competitive landscape and economic conditions.

We strictly feature products that offer federal insurance and high customer satisfaction, keeping our recommendations unbiased by advertiser influence. This robust evaluation process helps us generate balanced, reliable best-of lists that guide consumers to top financial products.

Learn more about how The Motley Fool Ascent rates bank accounts.

FAQs

  • To be eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union, a person must fit one of the following descriptions:

    • Active Duty member of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Space Force.
    • Be part of the Delayed Entry Program (DEP)
    • Be a Department of Defense Officer Candidate/ROTC
    • Be a DoD Reservist
    • Be a veteran, retiree, or annuitant
  • Yes, Navy Federal's CD rates are up there with some of the highest paying in the industry. Its 12-month Special EasyStart Certificate carries an APY of 5.30%

  • You can join by visiting the Navy Federal Credit Union membership page. Be sure to have the following available:

    • Your Social Security number
    • Your driver's license or government issued ID
    • Your current home address
    • A credit card or bank account and routing number so you can fund your account
Navy Federal Credit Union Review: Few Fees & Great Service (2024)
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