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

First Tech provides solid checking options and offers free access to a large network of ATMs and branches.
Dec 16, 2021

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Overall bank rating

First Tech Federal Credit Union
  • Savings

  • Checking

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

First Tech Federal Credit Union offers a great checking account with no monthly fees. Anyone can apply for membership if they meet an easy requirement. Best for: Those who want a free checking account and the option for in-person or virtual service, and who are unlikely to overdraft.

Pros

  • No monthly fee and low minimum opening deposit on checking.
  • Easy to join.
  • In-person service at shared branches or virtual appointments online.

Cons

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

Full review

First Tech Federal Credit Union Membership Savings
First Tech Federal Credit Union Membership Savings

Savings

Federally insured by the NCUA

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
0.05%
With $5 min. balance for APY

Though you won’t make much interest with the Membership Savings account — it earns less than the national average of 0.07% APY — you need only $5 to open an account, and there are no monthly fees. Having a Membership Savings account allows you to open other accounts at First Tech.

» Want to see how these rates stack up against others? Check out the best savings accounts

First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Checking
First Tech Federal Credit Union Carefree Checking

Checking

Federally insured by the NCUA

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Monthly fee
$0

First Tech offers Carefree Checking, a basic option that has no minimum opening deposit requirement. This straightforward checking option doesn’t charge a monthly fee or have a minimum balance requirement.

First Tech Federal Credit Union CD
First Tech Federal Credit Union CD

CD

Federally insured by the NCUA

5.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY
0.60%
3-year APY
0.95%
5-year APY
1.15%
Minimum deposit
$500

Some of First Tech’s certificates of deposit have rates that are on par with some of the best rates from online banks. The credit union’s minimum deposit requirement is reasonable (and lower than what some credit unions require), though you can find lower requirements at some online banks.

» Want to comparison shop? See the best CD rates

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 or live in Lane County, Oregon, work for a qualifying high-tech or telecom company, or 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 the Financial Fitness Association, which costs $8 per year. Not many credit unions provide this type of option.

First Tech’s website is easy to use. Members can contact the credit union by phone on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. You can also make an appointment for in-person or virtual support, or get help by mail, email, Facebook or Twitter.

First Tech’s mobile apps receive decent to high reviews, with both the Android and iOS versions receiving 4.7 out of 5 stars. The credit union doesn’t have an online chat feature, but members can send a secure message online through their accounts.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The credit union’s overdraft policy is pricey. Though First Tech’s overdraft fee is slightly lower than what some banks charge, it’s more costly than what you’ll find at some other credit unions. You’ll owe $33 every time you overdraw your account. First Tech charges an overdraft fee up to five times per day, which means you could potentially pay a max of $165 a day for overdrafting. Note that some banks and credit unions don’t charge overdraft fees at all.

The credit union does offer free overdraft transfers from a linked First Tech savings account or personal line of credit.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Membership Savings
First Tech Federal Credit Union Membership Savings

Savings

Federally insured by the NCUA

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
0.05%
With $5 min. balance for APY

Though you won’t make much interest with the Membership Savings account — it earns less than the national average of 0.07% APY — you need only $5 to open an account, and there are no monthly fees. Having a Membership Savings account allows you to open other accounts at First Tech.

» Want to see how these rates stack up against others? Check out the best savings accounts

How does First Tech Federal Credit Union compare?

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.85%

With $0.01 min. balance for APY

APY

0.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

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.