Pawtucket Credit Union Review
Is Pawtucket Credit Union a good bank?
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.
What We Like
Variety of interest-bearing accounts
Full service bank with mortgage options and business services
No minimum balance requirement on most checking accounts
What We Don't Like
Branch locations mostly limited to Rhode Island
Must meet requirements to avoid fees on many accounts
Some accounts can't be opened online
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
- Savings accounts
- Money market account
- Certificates of deposit
- Credit cards
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 Plus Checking: As of May 13, 2020, this account offers 0.20% 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.
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 May 13, 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.
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 Special 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 May 13, 2020)|
|$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 May 13, 2020)|
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
The Bottom Line
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.
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.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Branch & ATM Locations." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Financials." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Checking Accounts." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Deposit Rates." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Savings Accounts." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Credit Cards." Accessed May 13, 2020.
Pawtucket Credit Union. "Contact Us." Accessed May 13, 2020.