Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Review

Is Police and Fire Federal Credit Union a good bank?

Father with child on his lap, checking online bank account
•••

 Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (PFFCU) is a credit union for Philadelphia police officers, firefighters, and their families. This credit union offers a wide variety of deposit accounts and other financial products for its 258,000 member households. PFFCU has been around since 1938, reaching $5.6 billion in assets.

What We Like
  • High interest rates on checking and savings accounts

  • No monthly maintenance fees

  • Competitive rates on CDs

What We Don't Like

Who Is Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Best For?

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union is a good choice for anyone who qualifies for membership. Like most credit unions, you must be a part of a specific group to qualify. With PFFCU, you need to be a Philadelphia police officer or firefighter or belong to specific Philadelphia area groups, organizations, or associations. You also qualify if your family member belongs to PFFCU.

If you do qualify, PFFCU would be a good pick if you want:

  • Up to 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on the first $5,000 in your checking account
  • Low interest rates on rewards credit cards
  • Competitive rates on your certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Mobile and online banking options

What Does Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Offer?

You'll find a range of accounts and services at PFFCU to help you manage your money and save for the future:

Accounts:

  • Checking account
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit cards

Services:

  • In-person branch banking
  • Online banking
  • Mobile app
  • Telephone account access

Free PFFCU Checking

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union has one checking account, but it's free and loaded with perks and features. The Free PFFCU Checking account offers:

  • Interest on your balance
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • Online bill pay
  • Free overdraft protection
  • Phone and mail deposits

Many banks offer no interest on their checking accounts, or if they do, require large minimum daily balances to receive any interest at all. But PFFCU will pay you a highly competitive 0.50% APY (as of May 14, 2020) on the first $5,000 in your checking account. Above that amount, you'll receive 0.10%—still 10 times more than other banks.

You'll also have a wide variety of ways to access your money, whether you prefer to bank on your phone, on your computer, or at one of the 16 branches in the Philadelphia area. You also have your choice of 28,000 ATMs with no surcharge, including 600 Wawa or 7-Eleven locations. You can make deposits at some ATMs, too.

You can make unlimited transactions at PFFCU-branded ATMs. At other ATMs, you get 12 free transactions, with each transaction costing $1 after that.

Savings Accounts

Because it's a credit union, PFFCU calls its savings accounts "share accounts." It offers four share accounts that vary in APY depending on the amount you have available to deposit. None of these accounts have monthly fees, and the Savings Plus account has no minimum balance requirement, either.

Savings Accounts
Type of Savings Account Minimum Balance APY
Savings $5 0.10%
Savings Plus $0 0.20%
Premium Yield Account $2,500 0.51%
Jumbo Premium Yield Account $50,000 0.51%

If you have less than $2,500 to put into a savings account, you will earn better interest in your Police and Fire Federal Credit Union checking account, which pays a 0.50% APY on the first $5,000 in the account. Your deposits at PFFCU are federally insured up to $250,000 through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

If you exceed six electronic transfers or withdrawals per month, your account may be subject to closure by PFFCU.

Certificates of Deposit

Like the savings and checking accounts, certificates at PFFCU are federally insured for up to $250,000. Each certificate requires a minimum purchase of $1,000. The certificate rates vary by term length and reflect APY as of May 14, 2020.

Certificate Rates
Term APY
3 Months 0.55%
6 Months 0.60%
9 Months 0.65%
12 Months 0.75%
15 Months 0.80%
18 Months 0.85%
24 Months 0.95%
30 Months 1.00%
36 Months 1.05%
48 Months 1.15%
60 Months 1.25%

CDs are bought for a fixed period of time, and you can lose the interest paid to you (dividends) if you withdraw your funds early. The early withdrawal penalties for certificates are as follows:

CD Early Withdrawal Penalties
Term Early Withdrawal Penalties
3-month Forfeiture of all dividends
6-month Forfeiture of 90 days' dividends
9 to 24 months Forfeiture of 180 days' dividends
30 to 60 months Forfeiture of 360 days' dividends

Credit Cards

If you're looking for low interest rates, credit card rewards, no balance transfer fees, and mobile wallet access, Police and Fire Federal Credit Union is quite competitive. They offer two credit cards, each with competitive rates and features, plus no annual fee:

  • PFFCU Contactless Rewards Visa
  • PFFCU Classic Visa

Other Financial Products from PFFCU

You can do more than checking and savings at PFFCU; the credit union will also help you get a house, a car, or a life insurance policy. Options include:

  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loan
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loan
  • Auto loan refinance
  • Car insurance (including GAP insurance)
  • IRA
  • Investment services
  • Life Insurance

Police and Firefighter Federal Credit Union Customer Service

You have an abundance of options for managing your accounts at PFFCU, plus their customer service is friendly and responsive—the average wait time on a call is just 28 seconds. There's no live chat on their website, like you may find at other banks, but you can get service via email, phone, or snail mail, plus access your account online or via mobile.

How to Bank With Police and Fire Federal Credit Union

As long as you qualify for membership, it's easy to apply online. You'll need your Social Security number, government-issued ID, home address, and date of birth to get started. You'll also need your account and routing numbers to fund your initial deposit with your current checking account.

You can also apply in-person at a branch, or add an account by phone if you're already a member.

Map showing branch locations in the Philadelphia area
Map of branch locations available at pffcu.org.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union is a solid choice for qualified members who want a community banking experience and excellent rates. With a high checking APY and competitive rates on savings and CDs, you can earn on the money you have in your accounts. Customer service is also available by phone and real humans are easy to reach.

DRAWBACKS

You must meet membership standards to qualify to be a member of PFFCU. Also, because they are a regional credit union, there are no branches outside of the greater Philadelphia region. If you don’t live in the area or don’t qualify for this credit union, but would like similar perks, you'll need to shop around for a credit union you do qualify for that offers comparable benefits and rates.

Article Sources

  1. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "2019 Annual Report," Page 8. Accessed May 14, 2020.

  2. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Member Groups." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  3. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Membership Eligibility." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  4. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Share Account Rates." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  5. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Certificate Rates." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  6. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Free PFFCU Checking." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  7. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "ATMs and No Surcharge Networks." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  8. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Fee Schedule." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  9. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Agreements and Disclosures," Page 4. Accessed May 14, 2020.

  10. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Share Insurance." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  11. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Agreements and Disclosures," Page 6. Accessed May 14, 2020.

  12. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "PFFCU Credit Cards." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  13. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "PFFCU." Accessed May 14, 2020.

  14. Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. "Become a Member." Accessed May 14, 2020.