Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit; member-owned credit union that was chartered in 1948 at the Alaska Air Depot in Anchorage, when Alaska was still a territory. The 15 founding members felt that local financial institutions were not adequately meeting the credit needs of the federal civil service personnel who had been transferred to Alaska. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union started from humble beginnings when those 15 members began pooling their savings and extending credit to one another while volunteering their time to operate the credit union. Today, Alaska USA is a full-service financial institution that provides members with competitive rates on loans and deposits as well as low fees for services. With a full range of financial services, members have everything in one place, including checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, and credit cards. In a growing number of locations, Alaska USA also offers business services, commercial and personal insurance, and real estate loans, as well as mortgage loans by Alaska USA Mortgage Company. Alaska USA has branches in Alaska, Arizona, California, and Washington and serves members living in all 50 states and around the world.

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The Good

  • Locations and hours
  • Different accounts

Becoming a member of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is really easy, you only have to live, work, or worship in one of the four states they operate in Alaska, Washington, San Bernardino County in California, and Arizona. There are no membership fees, or any other associations required to join and once a member you are always a member and the opportunity extends to your family and children.

Locations and Hours

One of the best things about Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is that most of their 84 branches are open seven days a week! That is a huge plus for those who have really busy schedules during the week and do most of their shopping on weekends and need access to a bank.

Different Accounts

Alaska USA offers many types of accounts depending on your needs. They have totally free checking and savings accounts, business accounts, savings certificates with really competitive rates, and health and retirement savings accounts as well. The current interest rates they offer for their members depend on the type of account you need to meet your financial goals.

The Bad

  • Hidden fees
  • Lack of credit options

Only Alaska and Washington have the greatest amount of access to branches and ATMs all of the other locations are very limited.

Hidden Fees

Alaska USA free checking does not earn dividends and their rates are really low with high minimum balance requirements for their checking accounts. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union also has a few hidden fees if any of your balances fall under $50.00 or if certain goals aren't met financially for the account each month then there will be a $5 fee that is applied either quarterly or monthly depending on the account. For instance, with their checking accounts their fee schedule looks something like this:

  • Convenience Checking:
    If direct deposit is discontinued you will get a $5.00 fee per month
  • Investor Checking:
    If daily balance falls below $1,000.00 during the calendar month incur $5.00 per month
  • Relationship Checking:
    If your daily share or loan balance falls below $500.00 during the calendar month incur $5.00 per month, unless you are between the ages of 16-25 the fee is waived.

Lack of Credit Card Options

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union only offers one credit card; it is a Visa Platinum Card. It seems to have a ton of great benefits as far as for use and interest and rewards, but sometimes having more than one kind of card to offer to members is better. No one wants to get stuck with an interest rate they may not like, or points they might not ever use. Giving options to members is important as each member has different needs and financial goals.

The Bottom Line

Probably the only really awesome thing about Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is the fact that most of their branches are open seven days a week. If you live in Alaska and this is the only option for you to choose from for a credit union in your area then it would be a great option for certificates of deposits. Their rates for savings are below average compared to other credit unions, however, they do not offer a dividend for basic free checking accounts and there are many credit unions that do offer dividends for free checking and savings accounts located in Washington, California, and Arizona. Your money has a better chance of growing if it were invested somewhere else. They also have a ton of hidden fees if a certain criterion isn't met monthly on the members' accounts. Alaska USA would not be a great choice to reach your financial needs.

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