Editorial Review

State Employees’ Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

SECU has more than 260 branches and more than 1,100 network ATMs in North Carolina, but membership is limited outside of the state. It has solid checking and savings accounts, but checking comes with a $1 monthly fee.

Margarette BurnetteOctober 16, 2019

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Overall bank rating

State Employees' 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: If you live in North Carolina, there’s a good chance you’re near a State Employees’ Credit Union branch. But there's not much presence outside the state. The credit union's checking and savings accounts earn interest, but membership is limited primarily to employees of the government and their families.

Pros

  • Basic checking account earns interest.

  • No minimum deposit required to open a checking account.

  • Call center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cons

  • Membership is limited outside of North Carolina.

  • The $1 monthly checking fee cannot be waived.

Full review

State Employees' Credit Union Share Account

State Employees' Credit Union Share Account

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.40%

With $25 minimum balance

Like many credit unions, SECU requires members to open a share account, which is the credit union version of a savings account. You need just $25 minimum to open an account.

State Employees' Credit Union Checking Account

State Employees' Credit Union Checking Account

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$1.00

APY

0.25%

With $1 minimum balance

The 0.25% annual percentage yield on SECU’s basic checking account is better than what many traditional banks and even some online banks offer. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account. But once the account is open, you must keep enough in it to cover the $1 monthly maintenance fee and any other charges you incur. Another plus:  There are more than a thousand ATMs in North Carolina.

State Employees' Credit Union CD

State Employees' Credit Union CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.80%

Minimum Deposit

$250

SECU offers a variety of share term certificates, the credit union equivalent of certificates of deposit. The certificate terms range from six months to five years. The certificates require a minimum deposit of $250, which is reasonable compared to other banks and credit unions — those often have minimums of $1,000 or more.

Banking experience

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

SECU’s network is best for those living in North Carolina. Membership is limited primarily to employees of the state government and their families. If you’re eligible, though, you’re joining a big community. The credit union claims membership of about 20% of North Carolina’s residents.

The call center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The credit union also boasts solid ratings for its iOS and Android apps.

Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

SECU waives NSF fees for the first two days you overspend your checking account per year. In addition, SECU offers a program called Another Chance Alert to let members know about pending NSF transactions. The program gives members until 5:30 p.m. that day to make a checking deposit to cover the shortfall.

If you do overdraw your account after those first two forgiveness days, the NSF fee is $12 per item. But that’s well below the average for the country’s largest credit unions — $26 — according to recent NerdWallet research. Linking a SECU savings or credit account for overdraft transfers is also a cheap way to avoid NSF fees. You get two free per year, and after that the credit union will charge 50 cents per transfer — up to six transfers each month.

State Employees' Credit Union Share Account

State Employees' Credit Union Share Account

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.40%

With $25 minimum balance

Like many credit unions, SECU requires members to open a share account, which is the credit union version of a savings account. You need just $25 minimum to open an account.

How does State Employees' Credit Union compare?

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.