America First

America First

America First Credit Union was founded on March 16, 1939, at the Hotel Newhouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. Among the 59 who attended the charter meeting of what was then the Fort Douglas Civilian Employees Credit Union was R.D. (Ray) Hagen, a volunteer who eventually became their first full-time employee (treasurer/manager) and later president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). America First Credit Union was established in a small office housed in Fort Douglas' Building 207, with service hours on Fridays only from 3:30 to 4 p.m. A Prince Albert tobacco can was used to hold all cash deposits at the time; total assets and membership were $788 and 79, respectively.

The Good

  • Eligibility
  • Mobile features for checking accounts
  • Savings account
  • Certificate accounts
  • Credit cards

America First Credit Union is dedicated to creating lifetime memberships with those served.


America First Membership qualifications are pretty general and expansive to many areas in and around Utah, including parts of Nevada and memberships are free. Stated below, from America First's website, are the requirements in order to become a member of America First:

  • Live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in Salt Lake County, Utah; or within a 12-mile radius of the Mesquite, Nevada U.S. Post Office.
  • Live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in Utah County, or Juab County, Utah.
  • Live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in Clark County, Nevada.
  • Live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in Lincoln County, Nevada, except those living within a 25-mile radius of Alamo, Nevada U.S. Post Office.
  • Live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, volunteer, or attend school in eligible areas of Davis or Weber County, Utah. See map
  • Owners, employees, suppliers and their employees, or associated companies and their employees involved in the food industry, in Utah.
  • Employee, or member of a Select Employer Group (SEG) or of an affiliated association.
  • Member of the immediate family or household of an existing member or those eligible for membership.
  • Spouse of a person who died while within the field of membership.
  • Existing member of America First Federal Credit Union.
  • Employee of America First Federal Credit Union or its subsidiary corporations.

Mobile Features for Checking Accounts

Checking at America First is truly free and comes with a host of premier online services that don't cost you a cent to take advantage of. This includes features such as free online banking, free payment of bills online, free mobile banking as well as mobile deposit, and free direct deposits, and much more.

Savings Account

A Share Savings Account is part of every member's ownership in America First Credit Union and includes a 0.20% APY. It starts when you join, and you can deposit and withdraw money at any time. And as long as you maintain a $1 balance, it's always free. It also allows you to be flexible by letting you make deposits and withdrawals. You will also be able to access your accounts online through Mobile Banking, as well as over the phone, at an ATM or within an America First branch.

Certificate Accounts

If you can leave your savings alone for a specific period of time, America First Credit Union Certificate Accounts are the right choice for you. They pay competitive rates and are simple to set up. They offer five different types of savings certificates each with varying rates. Each certificate comes with the following benefits as well:

  • High Yield
  • Terms ranging from three months to five years
  • Automatic renewal option
  • Dividends can be paid into Savings, Checking, Money Market Savings, or back into the Certificate Account

America First offers several different kinds of savings certificates which are regular, bump, flexible, dedicated savings, and ladder.

Credit Cards

America First Credit Union boasts a wide variety of credit cards and rewards for their customers to choose from as well, cards for people just earning credit to those who require a higher line of credit for business expenditures. Compared to other Credit Unions, America First offers eight cards when most other Credit Unions only offer around three to five different cards for their customers.

The Bad

  • Savings and checking accounts

America First Credit Union's biggest downfall is that they have terrible earnings with both their checking and savings accounts.

Savings and Checking Accounts

Their checking account only gets .13% APY which is one of the lowest rates in the industry. Some other credit unions will offer as much as 1.50% which puts America First far below. With the savings account, customers can get 0.20%. This isn't the lowest, but still, isn't enough to make a big difference. Both accounts can see some major increase in rates to compete with other top credit unions.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a credit union and you qualify for membership to America First, this seems to be a good credit union to choose. They don't have the most competitive rates, but on the other hand, they don't require any minimal expectations to be met each month for account maintenance. America First isn't the most recommended credit union, but California residents may see good value in it.

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    July 29th, 2016 Alpine, UT

    I've been with America First since 2001. They are have been and are light years ahead of banks. I've had more than 5 car loans through them. I've had a home loan with them, and their online banking is phenomenal because you can apply for loans, transfer from one account to another, and easily pay bills etc. even on your mobile phone. They used to only accept people with good credit, but that is no longer the case and I'm proud to say I intend to say with them for the rest of my life.

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