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Golden 1 Credit Union banking products: Savings, Checking, and CDs

This credit union offers checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees to California residents.

Updated

Golden 1 Credit Union
Golden 1 Credit Union provides a comprehensive range of accounts with no monthly fees to California residents. But it doesn’t offer business banking products and most APYs hover around 0.20%.

Am I eligible?

You’ll need to open a Regular Savings account with a $1 deposit and meet one of the following requirements to become a Golden 1 member:

  • Live or work in California
  • Relative or domestic partner of a current Golden 1 member
  • Member of a Select Employee Group

What banking products does Golden 1 Credit Union offer?

How does Golden 1 Credit Union compare to other banks and services?

Golden 1 Credit Union was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Sacramento, California. It’s open to consumers in California and has over 70 branches sprinkled throughout the state. Although it’s quite small compared to other credit unions, it manages nearly $13 billion in assets and has one million members.

Checking accounts

Pros

  • Many free accounts. You won’t pay monthly fees on any account except for the Premium Checking account.
  • CO-OP ATM network. Golden 1 is part of the CO-OP ATM network, which gives members free access to over 30,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • Free incoming wire transfers. You won’t pay a dime for incoming domestic and international wire transfers.

Cons

  • Other fees. Golden 1 charges $29.50 for overdrafts, $2 for non-network ATMs, $25 for stop payment orders and $10 if you visit a branch for a debit card replacement.
  • Low APYs. The Premium Checking account earns interest, but the rate is only 0.10% and you must maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance to qualify.
  • No business accounts. Unlike other credit unions, Golden 1 doesn’t offer any business checking account options.

Savings accounts

Pros

  • Dividend payouts. Members with interest-bearing accounts earn monthly dividends.
  • No monthly fees. The only savings account that has an associated monthly fee is the Money Market Savings account.
  • Specialized accounts. Golden 1 offers Christmas savings accounts, Youth Savings accounts for kids and FlexSavings accounts for those who want to save for financial goals automatically.

Cons

  • Subpar APYs. Besides its Coverdell Education Savings account, most Golden 1 products earn a low 0.1% APY.
  • Minimum balance requirements. You need to keep at least $100 in some accounts to earn interest.
  • Withdrawal limits. If you make more than six outgoing transactions a month, Golden 1 reserves the right to close your savings account. But this policy could be temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus. Check with Golden 1.

CDs

Pros

  • No monthly fees. You won’t pay anything to open or maintain a Golden 1 CD.
  • Flexible terms. Lock your money away in a Golden 1 CD for as short as three months or as long as five years.
  • Penalty-free interest withdrawals. Although you can’t touch your initial deposit until maturity, you can request to have your dividends sent to another account at any time.

Cons

  • High opening deposit. You’ll need to have at least $1,000 on hand to open a CD with Golden 1.
  • Early withdrawal penalty. Golden 1 charges a penalty fee equal to 90 to 365 days’ interest depending on the length of your CD term if you need to access your funds early.
  • Only one CD type. This credit union doesn’t offer any no-penalty or special CDs of any kind.

Overall banking

Pros

  • Convenient customer service. Representatives are available by phone and email weekly, and you can visit a local branch during business hours.
  • Financial tools. Golden 1 offers free tools to help you develop and manage a budget, organize transactions and track spending.
  • Compatible with Quicken, Mint and Buxfer. Its online banking software integrates with Quicken, Mint and Buxfer, so you can link them up and manage all your financial accounts in one place.

Cons

  • No business products. Golden 1 doesn’t offer any checking or savings account options for businesses.
  • Small service area. Golden 1 doesn’t service states outside of California.
  • No live chat. While most credit unions have a live chat function on their websites, Golden 1 doesn’t. If you want to chat without visiting a branch, you’ll have to call or email someone.

    Compare Golden 1 Credit Union to the competition

    $
    $
    months
    Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned
    American Express® High Yield Savings
    0.60%
    $0
    $0
    Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
    Axos Bank High Yield Savings
    0.61%
    $0
    $250
    No monthly maintenance fees. No minimum balance requirements. Interest compounded daily.
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account

    1.00% on $0 to $10,000 but you’ll need to be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases a month
    $0 per month or $7 per month for Aspiration Plus ($5.75 per month if you pay annually)
    $10
    Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
    CIT Bank Money Market
    0.50%
    $0
    $100
    A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
    Central Bank of Kansas City Savings
    0.40%
    $0
    $1
    The Central Bank of Kansas City Savings account, offered through SaveBetter, has a $1 opening deposit and earns 0.4% APY.
    SoFi Money
    0.25%
    $0
    $0
    SoFi Money® is a cash management account that charges no account fees to save, spend, and earn cash back rewards when you spend on brands you love.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Golden 1 Credit Union customer service

    There are several ways to chat with Golden 1 customer support:

    • Call 877-465-3361 or 916-732-2900 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT
    • Email mbrsvc@golden1.com
    • Visit a local branch
    • Send mail to:
      Golden 1 Credit UnionPO Box 15966
      Sacramento, CA 95852-0966

    Bottom line

    Golden 1 offers a comprehensive range of free checking and savings accounts to California residents. And while it pays dividends monthly, rates are low at 0.20% for most accounts.

    If you’re looking for a free account with stronger yields, explore your options until you find a financial institution that’s right for you.

    Frequently asked questions

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