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Boeing Employees Credit Union Review: Checking and Savings

June 26, 2018
Boeing Employees Credit Union Members Enjoy Low Fees, Lots of ATMs
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NerdWallet rating: 4.5/5.0

Where BECU shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Low checking and savings balances earn high rates
  • Good CD rates

Where BECU falls short:

  • Checking and savings balances above $500 earn lower rates
  • Harder to join if you’re not in Washington state

Where BECU shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Low checking and savings balances earn high rates
  • Good CD rates

Where BECU falls short:

  • Checking and savings balances above $500 earn lower rates
  • Harder to join if you’re not in Washington state

Where BECU shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Low checking and savings balances earn high rates
  • Good CD rates

Where BECU falls short:

  • Checking and savings balances above $500 earn lower rates
  • Harder to join if you’re not in Washington state

 

The bottom line

BECU

at BECU,

Member, FDIC

Don’t let the name fool you: You don’t have to work at Boeing to join Boeing Employees Credit Union and get a free checking and savings account. BECU branches, however, are concentrated in Washington state, where the credit union is based, and membership criteria favor those who live and work in the state or have ties to Boeing.

Best if: You’re looking for a free checking and savings account and also have a connection to Boeing or Washington state.


Read on for details on Boeing Employees Credit Union’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, overdraft fees and member experience.

CHECKING: 4.5/5.0

BECU’s Member Advantage Checking account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, which is common among credit unions. The real incentive is that this account also earns interest.

More upsides:

4.07% annual percentage yield on the first $500: You must qualify for BECU’s Member Advantage program, which is free, to get this featured rate.

Interest on balances above $500: The rate on balances above $500 is much lower — 0.05% APY — but that’s better than nothing. Many free checking accounts don’t earn interest at all.

Money manager tool: The BECU Money Manager allows you to track expenses and set savings goals. You can also set up internal and external bank accounts to track spending.

ATM fee refunds: With Member Advantage, your fees for out-of-network ATM transactions are refunded, up to $6 a month.

A downside:

Member Advantage Checking has monthly requirements: You have to agree to electronic services such as paperless bank statements and one transaction each month: online or telephone bill payment, direct deposit, transfer of funds between BECU accounts or debit card purchase. If you don’t qualify for the Member Advantage Checking, you can still get the BECU Checking, which is also free of monthly fees. It only has a 0.05% APY on all balances, though.

» For other excellent options, take a look at NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

SAVINGS:  4.0/5.0

Similar to BECU checking accounts, you don’t have to worry about standard monthly fees or minimum balance requirements with a BECU savings account.

Another upside:

Member Advantage Savings has a rate of 6.17% APY on the first $500: That’s many times higher than the national average savings rate of 0.09%.

Some downsides:

Low rates on balances above $500: Cross that threshold and your yield is only 0.10% APY. That’s hardly a rate that will help you maximize your savings. If you’re looking for yields that will give your account a bigger boost, try online-only banks and other credit unions with rates of 1% or higher.

Low rate on BECU’s regular savings option: You’ll earn a paltry 0.10% APY, regardless of your balance.

» For higher rates, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts. Then, you can use NerdWallet’s savings calculator to determine if you’ll come out ahead with BECU’s yields compared to rates at other financial institutions.

CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT 4.5/5.0

You can open a BECU CD for as little as $500. Term lengths range from three months to five years.

Upsides:

Solid interest rates with Member Advantage CDs.
*1.06% APY for one-year term
*1.97% APY for a three-year term
*2.07% APY for a five-year term

CD balances of $50,000 or more have slightly higher rates.

Support for veterans’ families: BECU offers a Veterans Family Fund certificate that allows you to donate half the interest you earn to  a charity that contributes to veterans’ families. The certificate has a six-month term and the interest you contribute may be tax deductible.

Downside:

Low non-Member Advantage rates: Standard yields earn from 0.25% for a CD with a three-month term to 1.71% APY for regular five-year CDs. It’s not worth tying up your money here when you can get the same rate or better in an online savings account and have easier access to your cash. You can compare Boeing’s rates to other banks’ and credit unions’ using our tool.

» Looking for the best CD rates? Find out what banks are offering this month

Overdraft fees 3.0/5.0

BECU may not have many fees, but you’ll still want to keep a close eye on your balance. The credit union does charge for going into the red.

Upside:

Free transfers: If you set up a savings account, BECU will tap that when you overdraw. You can also use a line of credit as a backup.

Downsides:

$25 each time you overdraw your account: That’s not as high as the fees at the largest banks, but it’s still steep.

Fees up to five times a day: At $25 per incident, you could face $125 in fees daily.

BECU MEMBER EXPERIENCE 4.5/5.0


A downside:

Membership restrictions:  You don’t have to be a Boeing employee to join, but if you don’t have ties to Boeing or Washington state, it’s harder to qualify. Options include living, working, attending school or belonging to a religious organization in Washington, or within select counties in Oregon and Idaho, or being a family member or someone who’s eligible.

Upsides:

BECU

at BECU,

Member, FDIC

Shared branch and ATM network:  BECU participates in shared branching, which gives members access to over 30,000 free ATMs and more than 5,000 branches across the country. (Read more about how shared branches are a great credit union perk.)

Good technology: If you don’t live near a shared branch, you’ll probably rely on the credit union’s mobile apps, which are rated highly in the app stores and have features including mobile check deposit, bill pay and alerts. Members can also use the BECU website to pay bills, transfer funds or reach customer service, which is also available by phone.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.