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Union Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Union Bank
NerdWallet’s rating: 2.5 / 5.0

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 come with monthly fees.

The bottom line

  • Union Bank has checking accounts with optional add-on features, such as money orders and saving money on out-of-network ATM transactions
  • Savings accounts and certificates of deposit earn below-average interest rates, compared with those offered by competitors
  • There are about 550 Union Bank ATMs, and branches are primarily in two states: California and Washington

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions

Read on for details about Union Bank’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, bank experience and fees.

Checking


3.5 / 5.0

Union Bank has four checking accounts designed for a range of customers, including teens starting their banking journey as well as people who maintain a balance of $50,000 or more and want to earn interest. Ready to Go Checking, one of the two basic accounts for adults, includes several optional add-ons that come with small monthly fees:

  • Two out-of-network ATM transactions for $3 per month. Domestic non-Union Bank ATM cash withdrawals normally cost $2, plus any additional fee the ATM owner might charge.
  • Incoming wire transfers for $1 per month
  • Cashier’s checks and money orders for $1 per month
  • Expedited card delivery for $1 per month

It’s good to have choices, but once you sign up for an extra, the bank charges you the fee whether you use it or not. So it may be cheaper to skip the add-ons if you don’t plan on using them often.

ProCons
  • Monthly service fee is waived if you meet at least one of the following requirements during each statement period: at least $500 in direct deposits, mobile check deposits of at least $500, average monthly balance of at least $1,500, or monthly combined balance of at least $5,000 across linked deposit accounts
  • Monthly fee of $10 in California and $8 in Washington, if you don't meet a requirement to waive it

  • No interest
Account reviewed for rating: Ready to Go Checking

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

Savings


2.5 / 5.0

A $50 minimum deposit requirement makes it 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, you can avoid the monthly charge by keeping a balance of at least $300 or making a deposit of at least $25 each month into your savings account.

ProCon
  • Reasonable $50 minimum deposit
  • Only 0.01% annual percentage yield, no matter the balance. Other banks offer more.
Account reviewed for rating: Regular Savings

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best high-yield savings accounts

Certificates of deposit


1.5 / 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 find savings accounts with higher APYs that wouldn’t tie up your cash.

ProCon
  • Reasonable minimum deposit of $350 for most CDs
  • Interest rates are low at 0.05% to 0.50% APY

Bank experience


3.0 / 5.0

Union Bank offers its customers about 365 branches, mainly across the West Coast. In addition, customer service representatives are available by phone 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 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 2 stars out of 5 for iOS devices.

Overdraft fees


2.0 / 5.0

Overdrafts cost a hefty $33 each. If you’re not careful, you can rack up as many as five fees 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 the seventh day, the account is charged $6 a day for up to five business days.

You can guard against overdrafts by linking your account 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.

Margarette Burnette is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mburnette@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @margarette.

Updated Aug. 28, 2017.


Ratings methodology

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.