Navy Federal Credit Union Review for 2023

With 12 million members, Navy Federal Credit Union services U.S. military members, veterans, Department of Defense members, and their spouses. Navy Federal offers a full suite of services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit accounts (CDs), and money market accounts.

Navy Federal Credit Union

But even if you qualify for an account, it’s not your only choice. It’s important to take a close look at the fees, interest rates, and overall bank experience to make sure it’s the best choice for your finances.


Navy Federal Credit Union is available for service members, veterans, Department of Defense employees, and their families. Although Navy Federal does offer fee-free accounts and competitive rates on loans, their interest rates on savings, CDs, and credit cards aren’t competitive with online banking options. It’s important to shop around before settling on any lender, and Navy Federal is no exception.

What Is Navy Federal Credit Union?

Credit unions are like banks in that you can deposit and withdraw funds, earn interest on your savings, and borrow money. But banks are for-profit institutions. Credit unions, on the other hand, are nonprofits that typically limit membership to a specific business, organization, club, or geographic location. Members are considered owners, with a voice in how the credit union operates.

Navy Federal Credit Union began in 1933 as a lender serving a small group of naval officers and their families. Over the decades, though, membership expanded. Today, membership is open to:

  • Enlisted members and veterans of all branches of the military
  • Family members of former and enlisted military
  • Department of Defense members and their families

Navy Federal is member-owned, which means that any earnings go back to members. Often, these dividends are put toward reducing interest rates and improving offerings, but they’re also given to members in the form of account credits. Cashflow is publicly disclosed on Navy Federal Credit Union’s website.

Types of Accounts

Navy Federal Credit Union’s members have access to a variety of account options, from checking to savings to money markets and CDs. Their fee-free structure is typical of credit unions, and with most accounts, you’ll have no minimum deposit or balance requirement.

Here are some details on the accounts Navy Federal offers:

Checking Accounts

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a free checking account option to members. There are several checking accounts to choose from, and your choice will likely relate to your own unique needs.

All of Navy Federal Credit Union’s checking account holders enjoy checking with no monthly fees, a Navy Federal debit card with zero-liability protection, and access to 30,000 ATMs located throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Here are the current checking account options at Navy Federal:

  • Free Active Duty Checking: For both active duty and retired military members, this bank account issues ATM fee rebates, 0.05% annual percentage yield (APY), and a 0.05% dividend rate.
  • Free Easy Checking: For all your everyday banking needs, there’s this account, which includes ATM fee rebates, a 0.05% annual percentage yield, and a 0.05% dividend rate. This account comes with overdraft protection options.
  • Free Campus Checking: Designed for service members and family of service members ages 14-24, this account also includes ATM fee rebates, a 0.05% annual percentage yield, and a 0.05% dividend rate.
  • Free EveryDay Checking: This account is available to all credit union members as a simple, fee-free everyday checking account that has all the basics. It only comes with a 0.01% APY and a 0.01% dividend rate, however.
  • Flagship Checking: A Flagship checking account is for those members who want to earn more on their money. You’ll get a 0.35% to 0.45% APY and a dividend rate of 0.35% to 0.45%. However, this account comes with a balance requirement of $1,500 or more. A service fee of $10 a month applies for balances of less than $1,500.

Savings Accounts

A Navy Federal savings account comes with 0.25% APY. There is a $5 minimum balance requirement for the account to earn dividends, but it’s fee free. You can also divide this basic savings account into segments, naming each one. This allows you to set up an emergency fund, a vacation fund, a home buying fund, a Christmas gift account, or whatever else you need.

If you have specific savings goals, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers both Traditional and Roth IRAs. Self-employed members and those who work for participating employers can set up a simplified employee pension (SEP). These have higher contribution limits than IRAs.

Navy Federal members with children may want to take a look at the education savings accounts offered by the credit union. These Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) allow you to put money into a tax-advantaged account for the specific purpose of paying for education expenses.

Certificates of Deposit

Investing can be a valuable part of financial planning. One low-risk way to boost your earnings is through a certificate of deposit (CD). Current rates range from 4.55% APY. Navy Federal has four tiers of CDs, each with its own yield and terms:

  • Standard Certificate: Get started saving with this CD that offers a competitive interest rate with terms of up to seven years. You can earn as much as 4.55% with only a $1,000 minimum deposit.
  • EasyStart Certificate: You can add money to this CD at any time, making it a great savings vehicle. Yields go as high as 4.45%, and you can choose terms from 6 to 24 months. Best of all, you can deposit as little as $50 to start.
  • Special EasyStart Certificate: Another CD that allows a $50 opening deposit, this option can earn up to 4.85%. It only comes with a 12-month term.
  • SaveFirst Account: Step up from a basic savings account with this CD, which offers up to 4% interest with terms of only three to 60 months. You can set up this account with a deposit as low as $5.

Money Market Accounts

If you want to boost your earnings without locking your money down, a Navy Federal money market account could be the perfect solution. You’ll need at least $2,500 to earn interest, but once you reach that threshold, interest rates are higher than the Navy Federal basic savings account.

Navy Federal Credit Union offers the following current rates on money market accounts:

  • $2,500-$9,999: 0.95% APY
  • $10,000-$24,999: 1.06% APY
  • $25,00-$49,999: 1.10% APY
  • $50,000 and over: 1.50% APY

If you have at least $100,000 to put into your account, you can earn even higher rates with one of the jumbo money market accounts Navy Federal offers. Those rates are as follows:

  • $0-$99,999: 0.25% APY
  • $100,000-$249,999: 1.65% APY
  • $250,00-$499,999: 1.85% APY
  • $500,000-$999,999: 2.05% APY
  • $1 million and over: 2.25% APY

Credit Cards

As a federal credit union member, you’ll get access to a variety of other account offerings. One such offering is a full suite of credit cards. Currently, you can earn $200 cash back with the CashRewards card as long as you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days.

Although Navy Federal Credit Union has cards that can help you build credit or earn cash back, you can find better deals through online banks and local lenders. Most come with high interest rates and no zero-interest introductory period.

Personal Loans

If you’re looking for a loan for home improvements or debt consolidation, this is where Navy Federal shines. The credit union offers competitive rates on personal loans with flexible terms. Personal expense loans start as low as 7.49% APR for a 36-month term.

Once you have some money in your savings account or CD, you’ll have a source of funding. You can borrow against the money and repay the funds with rates as low as your savings rate plus 2.00%.

Bank Experience

Navy Federal is a full service credit union with all the amenities. But it’s best for those searching for active duty checking. Branches and ATMs tend to be located near bases. Still, mobile banking and free access to a nationwide network of ATMs make it easy for armed forces veterans and their families to find in-person customer service when they need it.

Navy federal credit union’s website and mobile app offer a full suite of online banking options. You can transfer money, deposit checks, manage your credit and debit cards, and set up alerts to monitor account activity.

The mobile app is available for iOS, Android, and Amazon devices. You’ll also have access to Apple Pay and Google Pay using your Navy Federal Credit Union checking account on those supported devices. These are the same options you’ll have with other lenders, but they’re convenient if you like Navy Federal’s other options.

Fees and Penalties

One of the best reasons to go with a credit union is the lack of fees. For the most part, Navy Federal has fee-free services, but you will pay a monthly fee if you choose Flagship checking and can’t keep a $1,500 balance.

Navy Federal Credit Union does charge fees if your account goes into the negative. You can avoid the $29 insufficient funds fee by investing in overdraft protection, but Navy Federal charges a fee for moving the money. Some other lenders don’t charge for that.

Annual Percentage Yield on Accounts

Although Navy Federal has plenty of benefits, their interest rates on their high-yield savings accounts, CDs, and even checking accounts are lower than competitors. The money market savings account currently only pays up to 2.25% APY, and that’s with a $1 million balance.

Service members and veterans should shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rates. You might even keep your checking and basic savings with Navy Federal, then have a money market savings account or CD with one of the many online banks paying competitive rates.

Minimum Balance Requirement

With any Navy Federal Credit Union review, checking balances are worth a mention. For the most part, you won’t have a minimum balance or a minimum deposit requirement with any of Navy Federal’s accounts. There is one exception, though. If you choose the Flagship Checking Account, you’ll need to deposit at least $1,500 and maintain that balance over the life of your account. Otherwise, you’ll pay a $10 monthly service fee.

There is a minimum deposit requirement with Navy Federal’s savings account options, though. To earn dividends, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 and maintain that. To maintain a money market savings account with Navy Federal, you’ll need a balance of at least $2,500 to earn dividends.

If you qualify for a Navy federal credit union account, it’s well worth a look. But pay close attention to the offerings and compare them to other financial institutions to make sure you’re getting the best solution for your needs.

Stephanie Faris
Meet the author

Stephanie Faris is a professional finance writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on a variety of top finance sites, including Money Under 30, GoBankingRates, Retirable, Sapling, and Benzinga.