Community First Credit Union of Florida Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

This Florida-based credit union makes its banking accounts mostly cheap, but it has expensive overdrafts.

Margarette BurnetteNovember 14, 2016

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Overall bank rating

Community First Credit Union
  • Savings

    Savings

  • Checking

    Checking

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Residents of northeastern Florida can opt for an affordable hometown alternative to big banks. Community First Credit Union of Florida offers basic checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and even a high rate on low checking balances.

Pros

  • Low minimums needed to earn rates on checking and savings.

  • No monthly fees on basic banking accounts.

  • Competitive rate on first $500 in checking.

Cons

  • Generally low rates for savings and CDs.

  • Credit union membership is only available to residents in counties near the credit union.

  • No shared branching, which is a common feature with credit unions.

Full review

Community First Credit Union Community First Credit Union Primary Share Savings

Community First Credit Union Primary Share Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.15%

With $100 minimum balance

Community First Credit Union of Florida offers a Primary Share Savings account with a 0.15% annual percentage yield, which is slightly above the national average of 0.05% APY. You need $5 to open the account and at least $100 to earn the rate.

Community First also has a money market account, which did not factor into the ratings, with a $1,000 minimum requirement to open. Its rate wouldn’t earn a great deal more than you'd get with the Primary Share Savings.

Community First Credit Union Community First Credit Union Advantage Checking

Community First Credit Union Advantage Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.51%

With $0 minimum balance

Community First Credit Union of Florida offers four checking accounts that fit a variety of customer needs, and the one that stands out the most is the all-purpose Advantage Checking. It has no minimum balance and no monthly fees, and its main perk is a rate of 1.51% APY for balances up to $500. The rest of a balance earns 0.05% APY, which is still better than most checking accounts — they often don't earn interest.

The credit union participates in a shared, nationwide ATM network, with access to 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Community First Credit Union CD

Community First Credit Union CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.55%

3-year APY

0.80%

5-year APY

0.95%

Minimum Deposit

$500

Community First Credit Union of Florida offers CDs that range from terms of three months to five years. The credit union has a low $500 minimum deposit. Many other banks and credit unions have minimum balances of $1,000 or more. But the CDs tend to earn low rates compared to online banks and some bigger credit unions.

Banking experience

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

As with many credit unions, customers must meet requirements to join and open an account with Community First. Generally, people who live, work or attend schools in counties near its headquarters, and their family members, are eligible.

Community First doesn’t participate in a shared-branch network, which means the only options for branch access are local. This could be a big drawback for members who frequently travel outside of northeastern Florida’s First Coast area.

Customer service by phone is available slightly beyond regular work hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays, with some Saturday hours. For tech-savvy members, the credit union has strong ratings for both its iOS and Android apps.

Overdraft fees

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

Community First generally has low fees for its accounts, but overdrafts are another matter. The credit union charges $32 for each overdraft or item returned for nonsufficient funds, with no limit on the number of fees charged per day. Other banks and credit unions cap the daily number of overdraft fees.

There are alternative overdraft programs, including overdraft protection transfers by linking a savings or line of credit to your checking account and paying a small fee or interest charge on the overdrawn amount.

Community First Credit Union Community First Credit Union Primary Share Savings

Community First Credit Union Primary Share Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.15%

With $100 minimum balance

Community First Credit Union of Florida offers a Primary Share Savings account with a 0.15% annual percentage yield, which is slightly above the national average of 0.05% APY. You need $5 to open the account and at least $100 to earn the rate.

Community First also has a money market account, which did not factor into the ratings, with a $1,000 minimum requirement to open. Its rate wouldn’t earn a great deal more than you'd get with the Primary Share Savings.

How does Community First Credit Union compare?

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.60%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

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.