Pawtucket Credit Union Review

Is Pawtucket Credit Union a good bank?

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Pawtucket Credit Union logo

Pawtucket Credit Union (PCU) is a regional credit union specializing in Rhode Island customers, though it also maintains a branch in Massachusets. At the end of 2019, the bank had more than $2 billion in total assets. Looking for a new credit union? This review explores the benefits and drawbacks of Pawtucket Credit Union, which can help you decide if it'll be a good fit for your needs.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Variety of interest-bearing accounts

  • Full service bank with mortgage options and business services

  • No minimum balance requirement on most checking accounts

Cons
  • Branch locations mostly limited to Rhode Island

  • Must meet requirements to avoid fees on many accounts

  • Some accounts can't be opened online

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.pcu.org
  • Bank Product Offerings Checking account, savings account, money market account, certificates of deposit, credit cards
  • Customer Service Phone 8am-5pm EST Monday-Friday/8:30am-noon EST Saturday, Email
  • Year Founded 1928

Who Is Pawtucket Credit Union Best For?

As a regional bank, Pawtucket Credit Union is best for customers who live near a branch location. This credit union may be right for someone who wants:

  • Checking with no minimum balance requirements
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Retirement services like IRA certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • A full-service banking experience including mortgages and auto loans

What Does Pawtucket Credit Union Offer?

Despite being a relatively small, regional institution, Pawtucket Credit Union has a wide range of deposit accounts. Its full list of offerings include:

Checking Accounts

There are four checking account options to choose from at Pawtucket Credit Union. All four can be opened online for a $25 fee, and all four offer these benefits:

  • Unlimited check writing
  • Free first order of checks
  • Free ATM/debit card
  • Free online banking and bill pay services

There are, however, some differences worth noting. Here's a comparison of each account's key features.

Simple Checking

This is Pawtucket Credit Union's most basic checking account. Balances don't earn interest, and foreign ATM transactions will incur a fee. The monthly service charge of $4.95 is less than other checking accounts, but unlike the other accounts, there's no way to avoid paying that monthly fee.

Spectrum Checking

This account doesn't earn interest, but it does allow for up to 10 free foreign ATM transactions per month. It also offers one order of checks per year. A $12 monthly service charge can be avoided by maintaining an average daily balance of $1,000 in the Spectrum account, or by maintaining an average daily balance of $5,000 across all PCU deposit, loan, and mortgage accounts.

Direct Checking Plus

As of Aug. 18, 2020, this account offers 0.10% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances, but customers must maintain a balance of at least $2,500 to earn interest. A monthly fee of $10 can be avoided by establishing a direct deposit with the account. This account also offers unlimited foreign ATM transactions, and one order of checks per year.

Debit Card Checking

This is another interest-bearing account from Pawtucket Credit Union, offering an impressive 0.75% APY that begins accruing with your first penny deposited. There is a $10 monthly fee for this account, but the fee is waived when customers use their debit card linked to this account at least 12 times per month (ATM transactions don't count toward this requirement). Like the Direct Plus account, Debit Card Checking accounts are allowed unlimited foreign ATM transactions and one order of checks per year.

Savings Accounts

The Statement Savings Account is Pawtucket Credit Union's basic savings account. Here's a quick rundown of the account's details:

  • Minimum to open an account: $5
  • 0.10% APY (as of Aug. 18, 2020)
  • Minimum balance required to earn APY: $25

Interest is credited monthly and this account does come with an ATM card in case you need to make a deposit, withdrawal, or check your balance.

Club Accounts

Pawtucket Credit Union occasionally offers Club Accounts throughout the year. These specialized savings accounts are designed with a specific goal in mind, such as vacation plans or holiday gift spending. The minimum to open a Club Account is $5, and weekly deposits are automated.

Customers can open a High-Yield Savings Account, which offers slightly higher rates, if they can make an opening deposit of at least $25,000. This account can't be opened online, so you'll have to visit a branch. As long as you maintain a balance of at least $25,000, you'll earn 0.35% APY. If your account balance dips below $25,000, your APY will drop to 0.25%.

Money Market Account

Pawtucket Credit Union offers a money market account as another way to save. The minimum deposit required to open an account is $2,500. Rates are tiered by balance.

Money Market Special Rates (as of Aug. 18, 2020)
Balance APY
$25 to $2,499.99 0.25%
$2,500 to $9,999.99 0.50%
$10,000 and over 0.75%

Certificates of Deposit

Pawtucket Credit Union's CDs offer higher yields in exchange for less access to your funds. Most CDs require a $1,000 minimum deposit to open, with the exception of the 15-month Easy Access CD. That CD requires a $5,000 deposit to open, but it also allows for two penalty-free withdrawals during the CD term.

Take a look at the chart below for a full list of CD rates.

CD Rates (as of Aug. 18, 2020)
CD Term APY
3 months 0.40%
6 months 0.60%
9 months 0.40%
12 months 0.40%
18 months 0.55%
24 months 0.60%
36 months 0.70%
48 months 0.90%
60 months 0.90%

Early withdrawal penalties apply to CD accounts. If the CD has an original maturity of one year or less, the penalty may equal three months' interest on the amount prematurely withdrawn. For maturities of more than one year, the penalty increases to six months' interest. If you're concerned about accessing funds, consider the 15-month Early Access CD or a money market account.

Credit Cards

Pawtucket Credit Union offers a number of Visa and American Express credit cards with a variety of rewards programs. Their offerings include:

  • Visa Platinum
  • Visa Real Rewards
  • Premier Rewards American Express
  • Cash Rewards American Express
  • Visa College Real Rewards
  • Visa Secured

Other Financial Products From Pawtucket Credit Union

Those looking for a "one-stop-shop" financial institution will likely be satisfied with Pawtucket Credit Union. It offers a wide range of services and products, including:

Pawtucket Credit Union Customer Service

Pawtucket Credit Union offers customer service six days a week. Customers can call either 401-722-2212 or 800-298-2212 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. On Saturday, customer service representatives are available between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon. Inquiries related to bill pay have expanded hours during the week, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Customers can also send an email to onlinebanking@pcu.org.

How to Bank With Pawtucket Credit Union

Customers can open many accounts online with Pawtucket Credit Union. As with any other institution, you'll need to provide personal information so PCU can verify your identity and methods of funding your account. However, not all accounts can be opened online. If you want a High-Yield Savings Account, for instance, you'll have to apply for that in person.

Final Verdict

BENEFITS

Pawtucket Credit Union gets high marks for the competitive APYs offered. The rates for CDs and money market accounts are competitive. The Debit Card Checking account's 0.75% APY (as of May 13, 2020) is particularly impressive, especially since it comes without too many strings attached. The opportunity to conduct a majority of your financial business with a single credit union—including mortgages and business accounts—is a major plus that adds to PCU's other benefits.

DRAWBACKS

Pawtucket Credit Union's limited geographic reach may make it unappealing to someone who's looking for a bank or credit union with a broader branch and ATM presence. There are also very specific requirements that have to be met to avoid fees on checking accounts. The requirements aren't overly burdensome, but they may be a major drawback for those looking for a no-stress, fee-free checking account.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Branch & ATM Locations." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  2. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Financials." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  3. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Checking Accounts." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  4. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Deposit Rates." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  5. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Savings Accounts." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  6. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Credit Cards." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  7. Pawtucket Credit Union. "Contact Us." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.