U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union Review - Everything You Need to Know

High-Yield CDs and Low-APR Loans for Postal Employees

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Who Is U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union Best For?

U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union is a credit union designed specifically for U.S. postal workers and their families. Membership also extends to employees of select groups. Overall, this credit union is good for people who want to:

  • Earn a competitive APY on CD accounts
  • Qualify for vehicle and home loans at low-interest rates
  • Enjoy surcharge-free ATM access nationwide
  • Earn interest on checking
  • Consolidate student loans
  • Earn cash rewards when buying a home

Pros

  • Comprehensive banking with a full range of personal checking and savings options

  • Shared branch banking offers access to 30,000 ATMs and 5,000+ branches

  • Discounts on car-buying

Cons

  • USPS FCU has only 6 branch locations (Raleigh, Greater Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and 3 in the D.C. area

  • No business banking options

  • Accounts can't be opened online

Types of Accounts

USPS Federal Credit Union offers the following account types:

Checking Accounts

There are three checking accounts to choose from at USPS Federal Credit Union:

  • Access Checking
  • Interest Checking
  • Money Market Checking

Access Checking is a basic checking account; Interest Checking pays interest on deposits. Money Market Checking combines the benefits of saving and checking into one account.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of each account's features:

Checking Accounts
Access Checking Interest Checking Money Market Checking
No monthly blanace requirement No monthly service charges on average monthly balances of $250; accounts that average less than $250 are subject to a $5 monthly fee $2,000 daily minimum balance required
No minimum deposit to open No minimum balance requirement for members under age 24 and over age 59 $10 monthly service fee if the minimum balance requirement isn't met
Unlimited check-writing and free initial order of checks All balances earn a 0.10% APY (0.15% APY for Relationship Rewards members) All balances earn a 0.15% APY (0.20% APY for Relationship Rewards members)

Additionally, all USPS Federal Credit Union checking accounts come with these benefits:

  • Surcharge-free ATM access nationwide
  • 24-hour ATM access at USPS FCU ATMs, Allpoint, ACCEL, CULIANCE ATMS, and at MasterCard, CIRRUS, The Exchange, American Express, Discover, VISA, Diners Club, and CO-OP Network locations
  • Branch, online, and phone banking access

Interest Checking and Money Market Checking both offer a slightly higher APY for Relationship Rewards members. To qualify for the Relationship Rewards program, members must have one of the following:

  • A qualifying direct deposit of $1,500 or more into a checking account with a debit card and enrollment in online banking
  • Loan balances totaling $25,000 or more
  • Deposit balances totaling $25,000 or more
  • First mortgage loan with the Credit Union Mortgage Association

In addition to an APY bump, Relationship Rewards members also enjoy other benefits including:

  • 1% rate discount on vehicle and signature loans
  • Bonus dividends on share savings, IRAs and money market savings accounts
  • $1,000 credit on home equity loan closing costs
  • $500 credit on first mortgage closing costs
  • Free shared branch transactions
  • No fees on foreign ATMs

Qualification for the Relationship Rewards program is determined on a monthly basis.

Savings Accounts

USPS Federal Credit Union offers Club Accounts, Regular Share Savings and Money Market Savings Accounts.

Club Accounts are designed for savers who have a specific goal. For example, you can open a Club Account for:

  • Vacation savings
  • Christmas and holiday shopping
  • Taxes
  • Special purpose savings, such as a wedding, college or home repairs

The credit union also offers club account options for kids.

With a Club Account, you commit to saving a minimum amount weekly or biweekly. You can add money to your account via direct deposit or payroll allotment, or at a branch. These accounts earn a 0.20% APY and require a $250 minimum balance.

Club Accounts have a set timeline for making withdrawals. You may be charged a $10 fee for making an early withdrawal.

A Regular Share Account is required for membership in USPS Federal Credit Union. There's a $10 minimum deposit; $5 goes into your account and the other $5 covers your membership fee.

The Money Market Savings Account allows you to earn interest on savings and write up to three checks per month on the account. You'll need at least a $5,000 minimum balance to earn dividends with this account.

Rates for both Regular Share Savings and Money Market Savings Accounts are tiered by balance.

Savings Accounts
Account Type Minimum Balance to Earn APY APY
Regular Share Savings $250 0.05%
  $2,000.01 0.10%
  $10,000.01 0.15%
Money Market Savings $5,000 0.20%
  $10,000 0.25%
  $25,000 0.45%

Share Certificate Accounts

Certificate Accounts are the equivalent of CD accounts. USPS Federal Credit Union Certificate Accounts have:

  • Terms ranging from 1 to 5 years
  • Minimum deposits ranging from $1 to $10,000
  • Guaranteed rates for the certificate term
  • Interest that compounds daily and credits quarterly

There are four types of certificates to choose from: Share Certificates, Starter Certificates, Young Saver's Certificates and e-Certificates, which are offered through the credit union's online banking portal.

Here's how the APYs compare for each type of CD:

Certificate Accounts
Account Type Certificate Term APY
Share Certificate 12 months 1.75%
  24 months 2.25%
  36 months 2.75%
  60 months 2.80%
Starter Certificate ($1 minimum balance; $1,000 maximum balance) 12 months 1.99%
Young Saver's Certificate ($1 minimum balance; $3,000 maximum balance) 12 months 1.99%
  36 months 3.00%
e-Certificate 12 months 2.00%
  34 months 2.50%
  36 months 3.00%
  60 months 3.05%
  6-month add-on 1.75%
  MISCA (Monthly Income Share Certificate) 3.00%

The Monthly Income Share Certificate is a special type of certificate account designed to provide savers with monthly income. This certificate requires a $10,000 minimum balance.

Withdrawing money from a share certificate account prior to the maturity date may trigger a penalty which could detract from interest earnings.

Individual Retirement Accounts

USPS Federal Credit Union gives you two ways to save for retirement: IRA Savings Accounts and IRA Share Certificates.

You can open a traditional or Roth IRA Savings Account. These accounts earn a 1.25% APY. Traditional IRA Savings Account benefits include:

  • Tax-deductible contributions
  • Penalty-free withdrawals for higher education or the purchase of a first home
  • Tax-deferred earnings

Withdrawals are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. Required minimum distributions begin at age 70 ½.

The benefits of a Roth IRA Savings Account are:

  • Penalty-free withdrawals after 5 years
  • Tax-free distributions in retirement
  • No required minimum distributions at age 70 ½

You don't get the tax deduction for contributions but being able to make qualified withdrawals tax-free could be a plus if you're expecting to be in a higher tax bracket in retirement.

For 2019, the contribution limits for both types of accounts is $6,000, or $7,000 if you're over age 50.

You can also open an IRA Share Certificate Account. These accounts offer the same tax advantages as an IRA Savings Account, with potentially higher yields.

IRA Accounts
Certificate Term Minimum Balance APY
12 months $250 1.85%
12 month add-on $1; $1,000 maximum balance 1.99%
24 months $250 2.35%
60 months $250 2.90%

You can also open one of these certificate accounts as a Coverdell Education Savings Account. With this type of account, you can save for your child's education expenses on a tax-deferred basis.

  • Annual contributions of $2,000 are allowed until the child turns 18
  • Withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses
  • All funds must be withdrawn by the child's 30th birthday to avoid a tax penalty

You can contribute to both an IRA and a Coverdell ESA, but keep in mind that Roth IRA and Coverdell ESA eligibility are based on your adjusted gross income.

Loans and Credit Cards

Credit unions are great for getting a loan because they tend to carry lower interest rates compared to banks or online lenders. At USPS Federal Credit Union, you can apply for these types of loans:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Vehicle loans
  • Personal loans
  • Education loans
  • Student loan consolidation
  • Lines of credit

USPS Federal Credit Union offers the HomeAdvantage program to home-buyers. This program allows qualified buyers to earn up to $6,000 in cash rewards when they purchase a home through the credit union using a partner network real estate agent.

Rates on loans are competitive. Here's how some of your borrowing options stack up.

Loan Rates
Loan Type APR
Share Secured 2.15%
Education As low as 5.99%
Signature As low as 9.99%
Vehicle As low as 3.99%
Home equity 5.50%

The credit union also offers a Visa Platinum credit card and a Visa Platinum Rewards credit card. Both cards feature a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

How to Bank With U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union

The first step is determining if you're eligible for membership. You can join the credit union if:

  • You're an employee or retiree of the U.S. Postal Service
  • You're a family member of a USPS FCU member
  • You're an employee of a Select Group

To open a checking, savings or share account you'll need to visit a branch location. Alternately, you can fill out a new account application and either mail it or fax it to 301-856-4061.

USPS Federal Credit Union has a small branch footprint — just 6 locations — but it does offer shared banking services at more than 30,000 ATMs and 5,000 credit union branches across the country.

You can also bank online or through the credit union's mobile app. You're limited to $4,000 per day in mobile check deposits and funds are usually available within two business days.

Phone banking is also available by calling 1-800-877-7328 or 301-856-5000. You can access the system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The credit union currently doesn't offer live chat help.

Banking Fees

USPS Federal Credit Union charges a variety of different fees. Here are some of the most important ones to know if you're planning to open an account.

  • ATM overdraft: $30
  • Transaction at non-USPS FCU ATMs: $2
  • Certified checks: $20
  • Returned for insufficient funds: $30
  • Returned deposited item: $20
  • Stop payment: $30
  • Check cashing: $10
  • Statement copies: $5
  • Domestic bank wires: $30

These fees are on-par with what other credit unions and banks typically charge.

About U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union

Headquartered in Clinton, Maryland, U.S. Postal Service Federal Credit Union has been serving members and their families since 1934. The credit union features one main office and five branch offices, with membership totaling more than 22,000 individuals. Assets under management exceed $216 million, as of the credit union's 2017 annual report. It's the 24th largest credit union in the state of Maryland.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

Some of the best features of USPS Federal Credit Union include the competitive rates offered on certificate accounts and the low APRs associated with loan products. Select Group membership also allows a larger group of people, beyond postal employees and their families, to join the credit union. Overall, the credit union offers a solid selection of account types to cover virtually every personal banking need. That's enhanced by additional benefits like financial education and counseling, investment services, car buying assistance and cash rewards for home buyers.

DRAWBACKS

A key downside is the limited branch availability, although shared branch banking does make up for it to a degree. The fact that you have to visit a branch to open an account could make USPS Federal Credit Union an inconvenient choice for someone who doesn't live near a branch location. And if you want to save but don't want to commit to a certificate account, the rates on savings and money market accounts are less competitive than other credit unions and banks.