You know your money is one of the most important areas of your life. It's vital you find the perfect place to stash your money. There are over 8,000 banks on the market, and all of them have different benefits and products.
It can be overwhelming trying to decide which one is the best fit for you, right?.
When you're shopping around for a financial institution, don't forget to include credit unions in your search. Credit unions offer most of the same benefits as a national bank, but you can get much better rates.
Let's discuss NASA (yes, that NASA) Federal Credit Union.
Who Is NASA Federal Credit Union?
The history of NASA Federal Credit Union goes back all the way back to 1949.
It started when seven employees got approval from a credit union charter to start serving employees of NASA. They received the permission they needed, and the rest is history. Over 70 years later, the credit union has experienced a lot of growth and changes.
Currently, they have over 140,000 members. While they started as an organization to serve NASA employees, their reach has grown to just about every industry.
Banking with NASA Federal Credit Union
When you become a NASA Credit Union, there are several checking accounts you can choose from. Each of them is different in the benefits they offer. These three accounts are:
- Premier Checking
- Premier eChecking
- Premier Preferred Checking
If you want a straightforward account, the basic Premier Checking plan is going to be the best option for you. This account has a $7 monthly fee, unless you meet some of the exemption requirements, like having a $2,500 balance.
The Premier eChecking account has an $8 monthly fee unless you use Online Bill Pay with eStatements. For most people, that's easy to do, and you won't be responsible for paying those monthly fees.
The Premier Preferred Checking account has the highest monthly fee at a whopping $9. If you want to avoid this fee, you'll need to have at least $2,500 in your account.
All three of the checking accounts come with cash back rewards for debit card purchases.
For every debit card transaction you make, you'll earn $.02 for a PIN transaction and $0.5 for each signature transaction. You can earn up to $250 every year, and it will be deposited into a savings account.
While your cash back earning is capped at $250 every year, it's much more than most other credit unions offer. In fact, most credit unions you find don't have any cash back rewards.
Their savings account is much more simplified.
You have two options, Shared and Special Savings account or Education Savings Account. The Shared and Special account is the account you will be required to open to become a member of the credit union.
The only thing you need to open this account is a $5 initial deposit, and there are several benefits of their Shared account. You can set-up automatic deposits, and you won't pay any monthly fees on your policy.
This is an excellent account for anyone who wants a safe place to store their money.
The other savings plan is the Education Savings Account.
As you can guess from the name, this plan is designed to save for education expenses. This plan allows you to save money for a child or grandchild's college expenses and get a tax break for it. You can put up to $2,000 every year for every child under the age of 18.
Just like with every other bank and credit union, NASA Credit Union offers dozens of online services. Thanks to smartphone and the Internet, banking is entirely different than it was 15 years ago. They have mobile banking, remote deposits, eStatements, online bill pay, and much more.
As a NASA Federal Credit Union member, you'll have all of the online abilities you would get with any major bank.
Investing with NASA Federal Credit Union
More and more people are looking for banks which will not only help them store their money but invest it as well. Investing is not their main focus, but NASA Federal has plenty of unique tools and resources you can use to make the most of your money.
NASA Credit Union has investment services any member can take advantage of. You can get advice and investment plans to help you reach your financial and retirement goals.
NASA Federal offers full-service financial advisor services, they can define your goals, outline your risk tolerance, and much more.
Additionally, you can use NASA Fed's eVision, which is an online trading tool. This is an excellent tool for anyone who likes to manage their own portfolio. With eVision, you can research different stocks, funds, and get real-time quotes, news, and analysis.
Borrowing and Credit Cards
NASA Federal Credit Union has one of the most unique credit cards you'll find. They have a card they call “Star Trek Credit Cards.” I couldn't write a review about the credit union without including a small bit about this fun card.
You get several advantages for having a Star Trek card. One of those is you'll get 2x points for gas stations purchases, and 3x points for purchases at Startrek.com.
Additionally, if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, you get a bonus of 30,000 points. You can redeem your points for gift cards, cash, Star Trek merchandise (of course), and much more.
If you don't want a Star Trek branded credit card, they also have a traditional credit card which allows you to get cash back on your purchases while enjoying lower APR.
Currently, they have a 7.9% APR on balance transfers for the life of the transfer within 90 days after opening the account. With this card, there are no fees, either annually or foreign transaction.
Now, onto the more traditional loans. NASA Federal Credit Union offers just about every type of loan on the market. They have auto loans, mortgages, home equity loans, student loans, and personal loans.
Regardless of the type of loan, you're looking for, NASA Credit Union is an excellent place to start your search. They have extremely competitive rates on all of their loans. Not only do they have low rates, but you can do all of your application process online.
Becoming a Member
Have you always wanted to be an apart of NASA? Now's your chance. Sure, you won't get a chance to go into space, but you can use the same credit union NASA employees use. Like most other big credit unions, there are several ways you can qualify to be a member of NASA Federal Credit Union:
- Being a current or retired employee of NASA
- Being a member of one of the NASA Credit Union Associations
- Being a relative or married to a NASA Credit Union member
- Being a member of the National Space Society
If you don't fit into the first three categories, then anyone can join the member of the National Space Society. It's quick and easy.
If you want to become a member of NASA Credit Union, they make it simple to complete the whole application online. You should be able to complete the application and become a member in less than an hour.
Drawbacks of NASA Federal Credit Union
If you take the time to wade through some of the customer reviews online, you'll see a lot of great reviews about the credit union. There are a lot of satisfied customers, but there will also be some people who have less-than-perfect experiences.
One major drawback of NASA Credit Union is the lack of locations. This is the same problem you're going to run into regardless of which credit union you choose.
If you want to have the ability to walk in a branch and handle your business face-to-face, then you will need to choose a big national bank or a local credit union.
One of the common complaints I saw on review sites was some of the errors and charges members encountered. While I don't have any personal experience with NASA Federal, it should could cause some hesitation when you see a lot of reviews about random charges or fees. When combing through customer complaints, several people were charged arbitrary fees and did not get refunded.
While these people could be the exception, it's something to be aware of when opening a new account.
NASA Federal Credit Union offers plenty of benefits, and they are an excellent option for a lot of consumers looking for a place to put their money. Every person is different, and everyone has different financial needs.
I can't tell you if NASA is the best financial institute for you, but they should be included in your search.