Golden 1 started with a group of 11 California State employees in 1933 and a vision. This vision included the philosophy of “people helping people” which is the standard for many other credit unions. They have a strong desire to make high-quality products and services available to others all while strengthening their community. Golden 1 is California’s leading financial cooperative and the sixth largest credit union in the U.S. with over $9 billion in assets and 700,000 members. Golden 1 has about 80 branches and 30,000 ATM locations. Golden 1 is member-owned and offers a wide range of low-to-no fee financial products and services that offer higher yields on savings, lower rates on loans, and unmatched member service. Member deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

The Good

  • Eligibility
  • Rates
  • Classes

Golden 1 takes pride in their work and their customers. The Golden 1 Credit Union’s main focus is on the following core values – Service Excellence: They are a member-focused organization committed to exceeding expectations in everything they do. Respect: They are a caring organization that respects and values their members, employees, and communities. Integrity: They will earn your trust by being responsible, honest, and accountable. Financial Stability: They want their customers to be able to rely on them for their financial strength and security.

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Checking Account Rate
Overdraft Policy
Our Score


Golden 1 Credit Union has a variety of ways to be eligible to join their credit union. Anyone who lives or works in 38 of California’s 58 counties is eligible to join, working in pretty much any occupation.


They offer loan rates on cars that are comparable with other credit unions, with rates for cars starting around 2.79%. Their free checking really is free without any hidden fees, and you will have access to 30,000 ATMs. Their savings account have a .20% APY with a minimum balance of $100, and their free basic checking also comes with the following:

  • Online banking
  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile deposits
  • Mobile and text banking
  • Visa debit card and many
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum deposit or balance amount
  • Online statements
  • Free box of first checks


They even offer educational classes for their customers through webinars. Classes vary in topics from credit cards use/how to and building credit, to getting out of debt and saving money, and living on a budget. These webinars are very informative.

The Bad

  • Broad information
  • Increasing your money
  • Credit cards

Their motto “people helping people” is not original, it is the slogan in general for credit unions. However, most credit unions still want to come up with their own mantra. Which leads to questioning if they really have something special about them that makes them stand out against other credit unions.  

Broad Information

So far nothing has been extremely impressive. Much of the information they have provided about their products and services is vague in detail and lacks information that would give a customer a better feel about who they really are as a credit union.

Increasing Your Money

They do not offer dividends on a basic free checking account while many credit unions on average offer a small APY of at least .10% on free checking. Also, their rates for their premium checking and money market accounts are less than desirable. You will still get some perks with their basic savings account APY at .20% but don’t count on your money growing very quickly. Even then, signing up for a premium account or a money market account will not get you many financial gains either. Not even with a savings certificate. Their rates for premium accounts, money market accounts and savings certificates compared to other credit unions is on the lower end and rate increases are tiered based off of the minimal amount in the account which is also has a higher requirement than most banks.

Credit Cards

Lastly, their options for credit cards are extremely limited. They offer one type of card, but they do allow for customers to choose what option they want with their card, but it looks like one card isn’t good for multiple benefits.

The Bottom Line

They are accredited and you would get some returns which is nice, but not much. If there are other credit unions in your area it would be wise to look elsewhere if you are looking for a basic credit union. Based off of what you get for returns for checking and saving accounts their rates are low and you have to get higher up in the checking and savings with a minimum balance usually around $1,000 in order to see any type of return on your investment.  They don’t even offer dividends for their basic free checking and savings accounts. This company is not highly recommended if you are looking for a credit union, even if they are the sixth largest in California. It would be better to go with one of the larger companies as they seem to have a little more ability to work with rates and get you a smarter return on your investments and start a basic checking and savings account with the .20%.

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