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Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings Account Review

Members can earn one of the highest APYs around, but the qualifying balance stops at $4,999.

finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

Best for saving money with a low savings balance, the SmartStart Savings Account lets you earn 3.5% APY on balances up to $4,999. There’s also no minimum balance or opening deposit required, and you can access your money via ATMs globally. However, after you max out the highest APY offered, your interest earned drops significantly.

Up to 3.50%

APY

$0

Fee

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Annual percentage yield (APY)3.50% on balances of $0 to $4,999
0.19% on balances of $5,000+
Fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0
Interest compoundingDaily
Monthly transaction limit6

Review by


Sarah George is a staff writer at Finder who unravels complicated topics about insurance, business and finance. She's been wordsmithing for nearly five years, after earning an English education degree. Her insurance know-how has been featured on CarInsurance.com. You can usually find Sarah sipping hot tea and talking through movie plots in her downtime.

Expert review

The SmartStart Savings Account is best for people needing an account with one of the highest APYs on a fairly low balance, physical branch locations or access to fee-free international ATMs. The APY tiers reward a lower balance the most, so you’ll earn the most interest if your balance is below $5,000. Plus, there are no minimum balance or monthly fees.

The biggest downside is that only people affiliated with certain organizations qualify. Your APY also drops as your balance grows. If you have a hefty amount in savings, you could open an Affinity FCU MoreSavings account for a higher APY across all of your savings. This option works best if you’re planning to use Affinity FCU and want all of your accounts in one place.

However, you can earn more interest across all your savings with a competitor’s high-yield account. Consider how much money you’re saving, ATM access and other features that you need before parking your money.

How do I open a Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings account?

Open your SmartStart Savings account online in eight steps. Be aware that you’ll need an Affinity FCU membership first.

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. Choose Join Affinity on the Affinity Federal Credit Union website, then Join Now.
  3. Choose which scenario is applicable for you: Open My First Account, Add New Accounts or Continue an Application.
  4. Select Savings Account and check the box that says SmartStart Savings.
  5. Fill out the required fields and Continue.
  6. Select your eligibility, then Continue and Confirm your information.
  7. Answer the question: “Have you been notified by the IRS that you’re subject to backup withholding?”
  8. Read the terms and conditions, then check the box to accept them.

Eligibility

Meet these criteria to open your Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings account.

  • At least 18 years old
  • US citizen or resident
  • Social Security number
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Affinity FCU membership

To become a member at Affinity FCU, you should meet any of these requirements.

  • Affiliated with an eligible organization, like the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education
  • Live, work, worship, or attend school in an approved community
  • Have a family member that is a current member of an eligible organization or community

Required information

Keep some key personal information handy as you go through the application process.

  • First and last name
  • Address
  • Gender
  • Citizenship type
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Government-issued photo ID number
  • Contact information
  • Employment information

What are the benefits of a savings account with Affinity?

This account’s standout feature is its high initial APY on your balance of less than $5,000, an APY that’s 30 times higher than the national average for savings accounts. It’s also insured by the National Credit Union Administration. Other benefits to keep in mind:

  • Competitive tiered APYs. Even its lowest APY tier of is higher than the national average for savings accounts. The 0.19% and 3.5% APYs are more competitive than most high-yield accounts.
  • No minimum opening deposit. There is no minimum amount that you must deposit to open an account.
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance. You won’t have to worry about paying any monthly fees or keeping your balance topped to a certain level.
  • Global ATM network. Access your money online, or go to one of its 4,100 physical branches or network banks. It’s also part of global ATM networks, giving you access to 50,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide.

What should I look out for?

The main drawback is that you have to become an Affinity FCU member, and membership isn’t open to everyone. You’d need to be affiliated with certain organizations or communities. Other drawbacks to look out for:

  • APY drops as balance grows. You’ll earn 3.5% APY on balances up to $4,999, 0.19% APY on balances between $5,000 and and APY on balances of or more.
  • Must be a member to open. If you fall outside of Affinity FCU’s regular field of membership, you can join by donating $5 to the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (NJCFE).
  • Branch locations limited to three states. If you prefer in-person banking, you need to live in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to access Affinity FCU branches.

Affinity also offers its MoreSavings account with tiered APYs that go up the more you keep in the account, though the APYs aren’t as high as the SmartStart Savings.

Don’t qualify for the Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings, or not for you? If you’re looking to save at a steep APY, look into Aspiration’s Spend and Save account. If you prefer no monthly fees and an extensive ATM network, Quontic Bank’s High-Yield Savings account may be an ideal option.

Compare Affinity FCU SmartStart Savings with other savings accounts

See the features and fees of savings accounts other than the SmartStart Savings, and choose Go to site when you want to start an application.

Name Product Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest compounding Offer
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Up to 5.00%
$0 per month or $7.99 per month for Aspiration Plus ($5.99 per month if you pay annually)
$10
Monthly
Deposits are fossil fuel-free. A spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC.
CIT Savings Connect
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
CIT Savings Connect
2.40%
$0
$100
Daily
Earn an impressive APY on your entire balance. This straightforward online savings account has no monthly service or account opening fees.
Bread Savings™ High-Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Bread Savings™ High-Yield Savings
2.90%
$0
$100
Daily
Earn competitive interest rates with this high-yield savings account you can open in just minutes. Member FDIC.
UFB Elite Savings
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
UFB Elite Savings
3.01%
$0
$0
Daily
Earn a 3.01% APY with no minimum deposit or balance amount with this no-monthly-fee savings account.
Quontic Bank High Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Quontic Bank High Yield Savings
2.15%
$0
$100
Daily
Interest is compounded daily. No monthly service fees. Competitive rates
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Compare up to 4 providers

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

Affinity FCU supports online banking, meaning that you can deposit or withdraw money via your computer, app or physical branch location. For reference, Affinity Federal Credit Union’s routing number is 221283512.

Deposits

Put money into your account by:

  • Direct deposit
  • Check deposit via mobile app
  • Check deposit at ATM
  • Wire transfer
  • At a branch
  • Transfer from another account

Withdrawals

Affinity FCU gives you a variety of ways to use the funds from your account.

  • At an ATM
  • Wire transfer
  • At a branch
  • Transfer to another account

    How do I get in touch with customer service?

    Reach out to Affinity’s customer service for a personal chat by:

    • Calling 800-325-0808
    • Scheduling an appointment to meet with a representative in person or on the phone

      Savings account ratings

      ★★★★★ — Excellent

      ★★★★★ — Good

      ★★★★★ — Average

      ★★★★★ — Subpar

      ★★★★★ — Poor

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      Read the full methodology of how we rate savings accounts.

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