First Tech Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

First Tech has good checking options and offers good access to ATMs and branches.

Tony ArmstrongNovember 1, 2018

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Overall bank rating

First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • Savings

    Savings

  • Checking

    Checking

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: First Tech offers a great checking account with no monthly fees and a top interest rate of 1.25%, provided you meet certain criteria. Although First Tech is headquartered in California, anyone can apply for membership.

Pros

  • No monthly fee and low minimum opening deposit requirement on checking.

  • CD term lengths range from six months to five years.

Cons

  • $500 minimum opening deposit requirement on CDs.

  • You’ll need to open a Membership Savings account before you can open any other accounts.

Full review

First Tech Federal Credit Union First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Savings

First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.10%

With $0 minimum balance

Though you won’t make much interest with the Carefree Savings account, a minimum opening balance of 1 cent and no monthly fee mean you won’t have to worry about how much money you keep in the account. You’ll have to open a Membership Savings account before you can open any other account, which requires a minimum balance of $5 but has no monthly maintenance fee and an APY of 0.05%.

First Tech Federal Credit Union First Tech Federal Credit Union Dividend Rewards Checking

First Tech Federal Credit Union Dividend Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.25%

With $0 minimum balance

First Tech offers several other checking accounts, including a basic option called Carefree Checking and an HSA Checking option, for people who want an easy way to pay for medical expenses. Neither charges a monthly maintenance fee.

First Tech Federal Credit Union CD

First Tech Federal Credit Union CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.35%

3-year APY

0.55%

5-year APY

0.65%

Minimum Deposit

$500

First Tech’s certificates have rates higher than national averages but aren't competitive with online banks. Plus the credit union’s minimum deposit requirement is higher than that of some of our favorite share certificate and certificate of deposit providers.

Banking experience

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Unlike many credit unions, First Tech makes it easy to join. The most straightforward ways to apply to become a member are to work for the state of Oregon or a qualifying high-tech or telecom company, or to be related to a First Tech member. But you can also apply to join First Tech if you're a member of a nonprofit called Financial Fitness Association, which costs $8. Most credit unions don’t provide this type of option.

First Tech’s website is fairly easy to use, and it mostly presents information in a clear and straightforward way. Members can contact the credit union in person, by phone and Facebook or Twitter.

First Tech’s mobile apps receive decent to high reviews, with the Android version receiving 4.4 out of 5 stars, and the iOS version receiving 4.7 out of 5 stars. The credit union doesn’t have an online chat feature.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The credit union’s overdraft policy could be better. You’ll owe $28 every time you overdraw your account.

The credit union does, however, offer free overdraft transfers from a linked First Tech savings account, and you can use a personal line of credit for overdraft protection. Transfers on the latter are also free, with interest rates starting at 12.99%.

First Tech Federal Credit Union First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Savings

First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.10%

With $0 minimum balance

Though you won’t make much interest with the Carefree Savings account, a minimum opening balance of 1 cent and no monthly fee mean you won’t have to worry about how much money you keep in the account. You’ll have to open a Membership Savings account before you can open any other account, which requires a minimum balance of $5 but has no monthly maintenance fee and an APY of 0.05%.

How does First Tech Federal Credit Union compare?

Federally insured by the NCUA

Member FDIC

APY

0.60%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.65%

With $100 minimum balance

APY

0.01%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

$150

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.