Redstone Federal Credit Union (RFCU) was awarded a federal charter in 1951. The institution is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, and currently serves over 380,000 members. Redstone is the largest credit union in the state of Alabama and is among the 25 largest credit unions in the United States. Prospective members can open a share savings account with a minimum of $5, which is also the minimum balance required to maintain an account. Membership eligibility includes family members of eligible or current RFCU members, through one's employer, or by membership in an eligible club or organization. The list of eligible organizations for a membership is over 1,500, and constantly growing, meaning that there are many opportunities for eligibility. The credit union offers its members checking/savings accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance, investments, discount programs, and credit cards.
- Low initial APRs
- Periodic introductory offers available
- Additional perks
- Zero liability for fraudulent charges
Low Initial APRs
One of the advantages of using a credit union for one's financial needs is that credit unions usually offer more benefits than do the often-larger for-profit banks. One of the most common benefits to a credit union is that interest rates for loans and credit cards are often lower than those offered by for-profit banks. The regular initial APR for RFCU's credit cards ranges from 7.5 to 12 percent variable. An 18 percent fixed rate may be assigned for the Traditional Visa card from RFCU. The credit union does not disclose how the fixed and variable rate is assigned for its traditional card. The rewards cards each have a variable APR.
Periodic Introductory Offers Available
Like many of its competitors, Redstone Federal Credit Union occasionally offers its members special financing terms, such as a significantly reduced interest rate for purchases or balance transfers. Typically, these are exclusionary to existing members. When requesting a new account with any financial institution, prospective cardholders should always ask about any special offers that are currently available. Existing cardholders can request that the new customer special financing be applied to their account, but there is no guarantee that the institution will do so.
Like many credit cards offered by larger institutions, the cards that are available to members of Redstone Federal Credit Union include roadside assistance, warranty manager assistance, and assistance in an emergency if traveling. These perks are a nice benefit, but usually not one of the primary reasons that one selects one credit card over another.
Zero Liability for Fraudulent Charges
All credit cards offered by RFCU include zero liability against charges made fraudulently. This feature is fairly common across both credit cards and banks alike; however, many credit unions are not as transparent as Redstone Federal Credit Union about their policies.
- No points for purchase credit cards
- One redemption of cash back annually
- No FICO® score or limited credit monitoring services
No Points for Purchase Credit Cards
While Redstone Federal Credit Union offers its customers two choices of rewards cards, these are limited to cash back, rather than an option for points earned for purchases that can be used for merchandise, travel, gift cards, etc. Many leading credit unions offer their customers a choice between cash back and points for purchase rewards cards.
One Redemption of Cash Back Annually
Those with either of Redstone Federal Credit Union's rewards credit cards receive an annual cash rebate, rather than having the ability to redeem at any time of the year, as is possible with many other cash back credit cards from other institutions.
No FICO® Score or Limited Credit Monitoring Services
Several of the organization's competitors, as an added benefit to their members, offer limited credit monitoring services or the ability to track changes in one's FICO® Score
The Bottom Line
Redstone Federal Credit Union offers its members a comprehensive portfolio of financial products. As such, members receive the benefit of convenience and affordability. RFCU is one of the largest credit unions in the United States and its product portfolio is especially solid. The institution's choices in credit cards and their benefits is comparable to many of its competitors, with the exception of the lack of a points for purchase credit card. While usually not enough to dissuade prospective members, the lack of this option is unusual. Members will appreciate that the credit cards offered by RFCU have lower initial APRs than many of those that are offered by many of the organization's competitors.