If you’re looking for a basic bank account with premium features, Union Bank has something to offer. Its customizable checking accounts let customers pick and choose their own perks. But these optional features also come with monthly fees.
The bottom line
- Union Bank has checking accounts with optional premium features, such as ATM fee reimbursements and unlimited money orders
- Savings accounts and certificates of deposit earn below-average rates, compared with competitors
- Bank branches are primarily in three states: California, Oregon and Washington
|Certificates of deposit (CDs)|
Read on for details about Union Bank’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.
3.0 / 5.0
Union Bank has four checking accounts designed for a range of customers, including teens just starting their banking journey as well as those who maintain a balance of $50,000 or more and want to earn interest. Banking by Design, the most basic account for adults, is available in California, Oregon and Washington, where Union Bank has branches.
Banking by Design is one of two Union Bank accounts that allow customers to add optional features for a fee; the other is Ready to Go checking. For example, you can sign up for two non-Union Bank ATM transactions a month with no Union Bank surcharge; the fee is usually $2 each. But the benefit itself costs $3 a month, and that’s on top of any monthly fees. Other customizable features cost $1 to $2 per month. They include:
- Unlimited cashier’s checks and money orders
- Unlimited incoming wire transfers
- Unlimited premium checks
It’s good to have choices, but once you sign up for an extra, the charge is assessed regardless of whether you use it. So it may be cheaper to skip the add-ons if you don’t plan on using them often.
2.5 / 5.0
With just a $50 minimum deposit, it’s easy to open a Union Bank regular savings account. But watch out for the $4 monthly fee. If you don’t want to lose money in your savings account, there are two ways to avoid the monthly charge: Keep a balance of at least $300, or make a deposit into your savings account of at least $25 each month.
Certificates of deposit
2.5 / 5.0
Union Bank has CDs with terms from seven days to five years, though the annual percentage yields are nothing to get excited about. The highest is 0.50% APY, and that’s for a five-year CD. Even if the balance is over $50,000, you’d still earn just 0.50% APY. You can shop around and find savings accounts with higher APYs that wouldn’t tie up your cash.
3.5 / 5.0
Union Bank offers its customers 365 branches across the West Coast. In addition, customer service representatives are available by phone 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays (Pacific time). It’s not a 24/7 operation, but the extended hours are convenient.
The bank also has online and mobile banking, so you can pay bills, check your account balance and transfer money without visiting a branch. The mobile app earns a solid 4 stars out of 5 in the Android store, but only 1.5 stars out of 5 for iOS devices. The biggest complaint seems to be the lack of Touch ID.
2.0 / 5.0
Overdrafts cost a hefty $33 each. If you’re not careful, you can rack up as many as five per day, for a total of $165 in penalties. In addition, Union Bank charges a continued overdraft fee for accounts that remain negative for six days in a row. On Day 7, the account is charged $6 a day for up to five business days.
You can guard against overdrafts by linking to a separate checking or savings account, credit card or cash reserve line of credit. Even then, you’ll pay a $10 fee for each day you make an overdraft transfer.
West Coast banking
Union Bank is a traditional institution with a full lineup of products, including checking, savings and CDs. But the accounts don’t earn much interest and tend to have fees. If you live on the West Coast and want the convenience of banking at a traditional branch, Union Bank is an option. There are, however, other affordable banks and credit unions near the Pacific Coast that might be a good fit.
Updated March 15, 2017.
NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.
Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.
The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.