Navy Federal Credit Union Review

Approaching a decade in service dating back to 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union, based out of Vienna, Virginia, now serves over 8.6 million members of the armed forces and their families. If this is the first time you’re checking out the bank, you may be excited to know that Navy Federal CD rates and Navy Federal money market rates are higher than the industry standard. While these are exciting wins for the bank’s customers, Navy Federal is best known for its incredible customer service, an array of fee-free services, and honoring those who serve in the United States military and their families. And no, Navy Federal is not just for people in the Navy.

How Navy Federal Stacks Up

Pros
  • Impeccable service record of customer care
  • Industry-leading money market rates and CD rates
  • Fee-free basic savings accounts and select checking accounts
Cons
  • Limited branch locations (335)
  • Exclusive to military customers and families
  • Hard credit check for loans

What’s Interesting About Navy Federal

For those of you looking to put your money to work, you’ll be pleased with the Navy Federal CD rates and Navy Federal money market rates as they’re well above much of the industry. Additionally, many account types at the bank are available without a pesky monthly service fee. Need a cherry on top? Exceptional customer service is available via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Things to Consider

Navy Federal has limited branch locations with a large number located on military bases and several internationally. Currently, the company has 335 locations with 75 of those on military bases and 26 located internationally. For those of you who prefer doing your banking in person, this could be an issue if you don’t live close to a branch. If you’re fine with mobile banking and letting technology do the work, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Checking and Savings Accounts

Navy Federal offers five different types of checking accounts, all with no minimum balance to get started. All of the accounts either offer no monthly fee from the start or will switch your account to no fee with a qualifying direct deposit or through maintaining a minimum account balance. If you’re a student aged 14-24, you can get a no-minimum-balance account with no monthly service fee without jumping through any additional hoops.

Multiple Navy Federal savings account options are available with a minimum $5 deposit to open. Compared with the rest of the industry, the rates are better than most traditional banks but are below what you can get at an online bank. The bottom line of how the Navy Federal savings account rates compare with the industry depends on how you classify the bank. Additionally, it would be nice to see tiered savings levels implemented to reward higher account balances.

Money Market Accounts

For those of you looking for a savings account with a little extra pep in its earnings step, you’ll want to check out the bank’s money market accounts. Navy Federal money market rates are dependent on the amount you have in your account. The four tiers for the basic money market savings account at Navy Federal are $50,000 and over, $25,000 – $49,999, $10,000 – $24,999, and $0-$9,999. For those customers with higher balances, you can take advantage of the Jumbo Money Market Savings Account at the $100,000 threshold, which comes with even higher rates.

What’s great about these accounts is there are no term restrictions, no minimum balances to open, and the rates for the tier you’re in apply to the entire balance and not just the amount over. For example, if you have $50,001 in your account, you’ll get the highest Navy Federal money market rate on the entire balance and not just on the $1 over the threshold.

CDs

Navy Federal offers several different CD types at varying rates, amounts, and terms for customers to choose from. Standard CDs come in varying lengths from 3-month terms to 7-year terms with the lowest minimum purchase amount of $1,000. If that’s a little high for your initial savings, that’s OK. The bank offers plenty of low-minimum CD investments for you to choose from with minimums as low as $5. Additionally, the bank frequently offers promotional products with great rates that are hard to beat.

Credit Cards

Having your credit card with the same company you bank with makes life easier. At Navy Federal, you’ll have six different credit card options to choose from. The biggest variation between cards is what types of rewards you’ll earn ranging from cashback to specific point multipliers for different types of purchases.

All of the credit cards offered at the bank have no annual fee except for the Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card. With this card, you’ll receive 3x rewards on travel and 2x rewards on everything else.

One very attractive takeaway from the credit card offerings at Navy Federal is the rates are below the industry average if you plan to carry a balance.

Personal Loans

Navy Federal does offer several different personal loan options, including a standard personal loan, shares secure loans, and certificate pledged loans. Loan rates are extremely competitive, and the multiple unique options give a lot of flexibility in how you’d like to secure your loan. A popular option among customers with investment products through Navy Federal is the certificate pledged loan. With this loan, customers can borrow up to 100% of their principal at only a few percentage points above the certificate’s rate.

Mortgage Loans

Whether you’re looking to take advantage of a VA loan or a conventional fixed-rate mortgage, Navy Federal has you covered. Navy Federal loan rates are much better than the national average. The exact percentage and amount you will save will depend on where in the country you are looking to buy. Additionally, Navy Federal offers customers several resources to help simplify the home-buying process including its mortgage learning center and Realty Plus program exclusive to Navy Federal members to help find a high-quality realtor.

Mortgage Refinancing

For those looking to secure a better rate on their current home, Navy Federal’s mortgage refinancing program may be a good fit. Conventional fixed-rate options and VA loan-specific options have some awesome rates homeowners should consider if looking to refinance. Military members have the option of the Military Choice refinancing plan, the standard VA loan refinancing plan, or the VA Streamline (IRRRL) plan. If you’ve never heard of the IRRRL refinancing option before, it’s a plan built specifically for homeowners who are already utilizing the VA loan on their home to get a lower rate and monthly payment without a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.

Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

Whether you’re working on a home improvement project or just need a little extra cash, Navy Federal Credit Union offers fixed-rate equity loans as well as home equity line of credit options. The minimum and maximum allowed for both options are $10,000 and $500,000, respectively. Home equity loans come in 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year options, while the HELOCs come with a 20-year draw period and a 20-year repayment period. Navy Federal loan rates for both programs are lower than most of the industry, but you may be able to find a lower rate if you shop around.

Car Loans

Navy Federal runs the gamut when it comes to car loans. The bank offers better than the industry average rates on new cars, used cars, motorcycles, boats, and leisure vehicles. Additionally, it offers refinancing options if you’re on the market for a better rate.

The company also offers a members-only auto buying service domestically and internationally for anyone looking to get a new set of wheels. When you utilize services like this, you can lock in significant savings and avoid having to haggle with car dealers for hours on end.

The Final Word

Unlike some military banks that offer limited services, Navy Federal offers most everything you can get at any other bank. If you qualify to be a member, Navy Federal Credit Union comes highly recommended. Take advantage of those great money market rates, the wide array of no monthly fee account options and 24/7 customer support.