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Credit Union Money Market Accounts: NerdWallet’s Picks

by on November 29, 2012

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Just like a savings account, a money market account is a deposit account that pays interest on your balance and limits you to a set number of withdrawals per month. What’s different? Money market accounts typically offer higher yields than savings accounts, and many of them give you the ability to write a limited number of checks as well. They’ll also require you to maintain a high minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee. You’ll be happy with a money market account if you already have a high savings balance and want a risk-free, interest-bearing account that allows you to access your money occasionally. If that sounds like you, you know where to go: your local credit union.

Lower fees, better benefits

Not all credit unions offer money market accounts, but the ones that do can probably offer you a higher yield on your balance and better perks. They’re also way less likely to surprise you with crazy fees. If you maintain the minimum balance and stay within your withdrawal limits, you probably won’t pay fees anyway, but it’s good to know what you’re up against. Below are NerdWallet’s picks for money market accounts at credit unions across America. You’ll quickly see that they run the gambit of traditional and unique. Some are more like checking accounts, some are more like savings accounts. You’ll also see a wide range of minimum balance requirements. Here’s what they have in common: they’re all a great deal.

Partners Federal Credit Union (Burbank, CA)

Partners Federal Credit Union offers four different money market accounts. The right one for you will depend on your minimum balance preference, your other accounts with the credit union, and the types of account services you need. The Standard MMA offers optional overdraft protection, while the MM Checking account gives you the ability to write checks against your balance. The Premier MMA offers a higher yield in exchange for a higher balance, and the Investor MMA offers a higher yield for members that are also wealth management clients. Each account also offers a tiered interest rate, so the more money you stash away, the more money you’ll earn. Partners Federal Credit Union has branches in Los Angeles County and Orange County in California, and Orange County in Florida. Membership is open to current employees and retirees of The Walt Disney Company or one of its subsidiaries, and immediate family members or roommates of these eligible members.

Diamond Credit Union (Pottstown, PA)

Diamond Credit Union offers a money market checking account that can easily become a stand-in for your regular checking account. Besides paying interest on your balance, it also comes with a debit card, free access at hundreds of ATMs in Pennsylvania, one “fee-reversal” per year, free checks, and discounts on other credit union products like loans and safety deposit boxes. The minimum balance requirement is $10,000, so this account is a good fit if you already have a nest egg and are looking to combine your checking and savings account. Diamond Credit Union has branches in Pottstown, Wyomissing and Exeter, plus an additional branch at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center in West Reading. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works (or regularly conducts business in), or attends school in Berks County, Pottstown, or eligible areas of Montgomery and Chester counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Immediate family of current members may also join.

Trona Valley Community Federal Credit Union (Green River, WY)

Trona Valley Community Federal Credit Union’s money market checking account offers a tiered interest rate and a manageable minimum balance requirement of $2,000. It also comes with unlimited deposits, online banking, and your choice of electronic or paper statements. It’s also worth noting that this account earns dividends even if your minimum balance requirement falls below $2,000, although you’ll still have to pay a fee. We recommend you keep a high balance to earn maximum rewards and avoid this all together, but it’s nice to know, especially if you need money for an emergency. Trona Valley Community Federal Credit Union has branches in Green River, Rock Springs and Evanston. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Lincoln, Sublette, Sweetwater, Uinta, Teton or Carbon counties in Wyoming, or Rich, Summit, Dagget or Morgan counties in Utah.

Dover Federal Credit Union (Dover, DE)

Dover Federal Credit Union’s money market account offers an impressive 0.75% APY with a minimum balance of $1,000. If you’re lucky enough to have $25,000 or more saved, you can earn an even higher rate. This account also offers free checks (limit 6 withdrawals per month), and you can sign up for payroll deductions or direct deposit to save automatically. Dover Federal Credit Union has branches in Dover, New Castle, Milford and Smyrna. Please see their Personal Memberships page for complete details on becoming a member. You may qualify if you work for the military or government in Delaware, or you work for one of 300 select groups and organizations.

Space City Credit Union (Houston, TX)

Space City Credit Union’s PRIMME Money Market Checking account is one of their best high-yield accounts. You’ll need $2,000 to open the account, but there’s no minimum balance requirement. This account also comes with free checks (limit 5 withdrawals per month), free online banking and bill pay, and optional direct deposit or payroll deductions for easy saving. Space City Credit Union has 5 branches in Houston. Membership is open to employees, annuitants and retirees of Space City’s member companies, and family members of current members. You may also join if you live, work, worship or attend school virtually anywhere inside Beltway 8 in Houston, Texas.

Landmark Credit Union (Danville, IL)

Landmark Credit Union offers an incredibly flexible money market account with a low minimum balance requirement of $25. This 3-tiered account nearly doubles your interest rate with a balance over $5,000, but it offers the best rate with a balance above $10,000. With regular withdrawals of $500 or more, you can also turn this account into a checking account. Landmark Credit Union has branches in Danville and Westville. Membership is open to residents of Vermilion County, affiliates of eligible companies and organizations, and family of eligible members.

Ashland Credit Union (Ashland, KY)

Ashland Credit Union also offers a money market account with a low minimum balance requirement. You only need $500 in your account to avoid fees and earn dividends. This account allows you to make up to 6 transfers per month via check, automatic transfer or telephone transfer. It also comes with online and telephone banking, and optional payroll deduction or direct deposit. Ashland Credit Union has branches in Ashland and St. Paul Park, and limited access branches inside Ashland Inc. facilities in Dublin, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky. Membership is open to current and former full-time and part-time employees of sponsor counties, plus family and housemates of eligible members. Please see their membership eligibility page for complete details.

Penobscot County Federal Credit Union (Old Town, ME)

Penobscot County Federal Credit Union’s money market account has 4 tiers. Big savers with $100,000 or more in their account will make out like bandits, but even if you’re only able to save enough to cover the minimum balance of $5,000, you’ll still earn more than 3 times the national average for money market accounts. Penobscot County Federal Credit Union has branches in Old Town, Bangor and West Enfield. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, has immediate family, owns a business, or is a member of an eligible organization in Penobscot County. Please contact the credit union directly for details.

Chessie Federal Credit Union (Cumberland, MD)

Chessie Federal Credit Union offers a money market checking account with a 4-tier dividend rate. With a minimum deposit of $2,500, you’ll earn over 3 times the national average APY. For any subsequent tiers ($10,000 – $39,999, $40,000 – $99,999 and $100,000+), you’ll earn an additional 0.20% APY on your balance. You can make up to four withdrawals or deposits each month for added flexibility. Chessie Federal Credit Union has branches in Cumberland and LaVale in Maryland, and Keyser and Grafton in West Virginia. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, conducts business or owns a legal entity in Allegany or Garret counties in Maryland, the western portion of Washington County in Maryland, or Mineral or Taylor counties in West Virginia. Members of select employer groups may also join.

Big Dutch Fleet Credit Union (Holland, MI)

Check out Big Dutch Fleet Credit Union’s Working Money account if you’re looking for a cut above your standard savings account. The minimum balance requirement is $2,500, but if you can keep $10,000 in your account, they’ll double your interest rate. Nice! Big Dutch Fleet Credit Union’s main branch is located in Holland. Membership is open to employees of USF of Holland, and eligible family members.

Linn-Co Federal Credit Union (Lebanon, OR)

Linn-Co Federal Credit Union offers a money market account with a low minimum balance requirement of $1,000. This account pays a great rate, 0.50% APY, regardless of your balance, making it a great fit for savers with plenty of room to grow. Linn-Co Federal Credit Union is an “un-big” credit union with branches in Albany, Lebanon and Sweet Home. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Linn County.

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