Golden 1 Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings and Certificates

Golden 1 offers shared branches and a large network of free ATMs, but you’ll find higher interest rates elsewhere.
Amber Murakami-Fester
By Amber Murakami-Fester 

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Overall bank rating

Golden 1 Credit Union


    NerdWallet rating 
    The bottom line:

    If you live in California, Golden 1 Credit Union may shine as a solid place to do your banking. The credit union offers branches across the state and participates in a network of shared branches so members can visit and make transactions at other credit unions’ branches. Golden 1 also provides free ATM use as part of the extensive Co-op network. Extended phone service hours make it easy to get help even when you’re out of state.

    You’d see your money grow more quickly at competitors that offer higher interest rates (be sure to explore the best savings account options as well as higher CD rates). That said, Golden 1 doesn’t charge monthly fees on basic accounts, and nearly all accounts have low or no minimum opening deposits. Just watch out for overdraft fees — or sign up for free overdraft protection transfers from a personal loan.

    Best for: Californians who are interested in an in-person banking experience, don’t care about maximizing interest and are unlikely to overdraft.


    • Easy-to-meet membership requirements for Californians: Live or work in the state.
    • No monthly fees for basic accounts.
    • $0 required to open a basic checking account; $1 required for basic savings.


    • Low or no interest on basic accounts.
    • Overdraft fees charged up to six times per day.
    • Only overdraft protection transfers from loans are free; transfers from savings cost $2.


    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.