Editorial Review

BECU Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

BECU offers free interest checking and savings, plus huge ATM and branch networks, but membership is limited.

Margarette BurnetteMarch 12, 2019

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Overall bank rating

BECU
  • Savings

    Savings

  • Checking

    Checking

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Boeing Employees Credit Union is open to more than just people who work at Boeing; many others can join and get a free checking and savings account. BECU branches, however, are concentrated in Washington state, where the credit union is based, and membership criteria favor those who live and work in the state or have ties to Boeing.

Pros

  • No monthly fees.

  • Checking and savings balances up to $500 earn high rates.

  • Free nationwide ATM network and ATM fee refunds.

Cons

  • Low rates for checking and savings balances above $500.

  • Low CD rates.

  • Harder to join if you don't live in Washington state.

Full review

BECU Member Advantage Savings

BECU Member Advantage Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

2.02%

With $0 minimum balance

Similar to BECU's checking accounts, Member Advantage Savings has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. This account's advantage is interest only for low balances. You'd get the rate of 2.02% APY on the first $500. That’s many times higher than the national average savings rate of 0.06%. But the rate drops after $500 to 0.02% APY.

And BECU's regular savings option only earns a paltry 0.02% APY, regardless of your balance.

BECU Member Advantage Checking

BECU Member Advantage Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

BECU’s Member Advantage Checking account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, which is common among credit unions. The real incentive is that this account also earns interest: 1.00% annual percentage yield on the first $500 and 0.01% APY on the rest. Many free checking accounts don't earn any interest, so the second rate is still better than nothing. To qualify for these rates, you must join BECU’s free Member Advantage program.

Other account perks include up to $6 a month in refunds for out-of-network ATM fees, a free nationwide ATM network and a money manager tool for tracking expenses and setting goals.

As great as Member Advantage Checking is, there are two monthly requirements: You must receive paperless bank statements and make one transaction each month, such as a debit card purchase, direct deposit, transfer or bill payment. If you don't qualify, you can still get the free BECU Checking, which only earns 0.01% APY on all balances.

BECU CD

BECU CD

1.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.30%

3-year APY

0.30%

5-year APY

0.30%

Minimum Deposit

$500

The rates above are for regular CDs that don't require linking to checking or savings. If you already have Member Advantage Checking and Savings, you can qualify for Member Advantage CDs, which earn slightly more. But rates across the board tend to be much lower than at other big credit unions. BECU CDs have a low opening minimum of $500 and a wide range of terms, from three months to five years.

Banking experience

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Given its membership restrictions, BECU is not for everybody. Even though you don’t have to be a Boeing employee to join, other options mainly include living, working, attending school or belonging to a religious organization in Washington, or within select counties in Oregon and Idaho, or being a family member of someone who’s eligible.

If you can take advantage of BECU, it has a shared branch and ATM network, which gives members access to over 30,000 free ATMs and more than 5,000 branches across the country. (Read more about how shared branches are a great credit union perk.) In addition, the credit union's mobile apps are highly rated in app stores and customer support via phone is available on weekdays beyond 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific time business hours and on Saturdays.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

BECU may not have many fees, but it charges $25 for overdrawing your account, up to five times a day. One alternative is linking a savings account or line of credit to your checking for free transfers when a transaction would normally put you in the red.

BECU Member Advantage Savings

BECU Member Advantage Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

2.02%

With $0 minimum balance

Similar to BECU's checking accounts, Member Advantage Savings has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. This account's advantage is interest only for low balances. You'd get the rate of 2.02% APY on the first $500. That’s many times higher than the national average savings rate of 0.06%. But the rate drops after $500 to 0.02% APY.

And BECU's regular savings option only earns a paltry 0.02% APY, regardless of your balance.

BECU Member Advantage Checking

BECU Member Advantage Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

BECU’s Member Advantage Checking account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, which is common among credit unions. The real incentive is that this account also earns interest: 1.00% annual percentage yield on the first $500 and 0.01% APY on the rest. Many free checking accounts don't earn any interest, so the second rate is still better than nothing. To qualify for these rates, you must join BECU’s free Member Advantage program.

Other account perks include up to $6 a month in refunds for out-of-network ATM fees, a free nationwide ATM network and a money manager tool for tracking expenses and setting goals.

As great as Member Advantage Checking is, there are two monthly requirements: You must receive paperless bank statements and make one transaction each month, such as a debit card purchase, direct deposit, transfer or bill payment. If you don't qualify, you can still get the free BECU Checking, which only earns 0.01% APY on all balances.

BECU CD

BECU CD

1.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.30%

3-year APY

0.30%

5-year APY

0.30%

Minimum Deposit

$500

The rates above are for regular CDs that don't require linking to checking or savings. If you already have Member Advantage Checking and Savings, you can qualify for Member Advantage CDs, which earn slightly more. But rates across the board tend to be much lower than at other big credit unions. BECU CDs have a low opening minimum of $500 and a wide range of terms, from three months to five years.

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Given its membership restrictions, BECU is not for everybody. Even though you don’t have to be a Boeing employee to join, other options mainly include living, working, attending school or belonging to a religious organization in Washington, or within select counties in Oregon and Idaho, or being a family member of someone who’s eligible.

If you can take advantage of BECU, it has a shared branch and ATM network, which gives members access to over 30,000 free ATMs and more than 5,000 branches across the country. (Read more about how shared branches are a great credit union perk.) In addition, the credit union's mobile apps are highly rated in app stores and customer support via phone is available on weekdays beyond 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific time business hours and on Saturdays.

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

BECU may not have many fees, but it charges $25 for overdrawing your account, up to five times a day. One alternative is linking a savings account or line of credit to your checking for free transfers when a transaction would normally put you in the red.

How does BECU compare?

APY

1.30%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

1.15%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

$500

Requirements to qualify

RATING 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, banking 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.