NASA Federal Credit Union first opened its doors back in 1949, in Virginia. There are several locations statewide. Today, there are 249 employees throughout the many locations in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. It is one of the largest credit unions in the region.
- Card benefits
- Locations and ATMs
- Mobile technology
With NASA being such a big organization, you can find that a lot of their "goods" benefit their entire wide and vast customer base no matter where they are located. They also seem to be on top of the latest technology trends which is important to do so when you are dealing with finances.
Members receive the free NASA Federal debit card, with a choice of Visa or MasterCard. The card can be used to check out with Apple Pay. Using the debit card for purchases also allow certain cash back options within the checking account. Members can also apply for a credit card. Apply online for the credit card, and upon approval, choose the card design of your liking and expect the card to arrive within 5-7 business days.
Registration is open to employees or retirees from NASA Headquarters, NAS or any NASA center facility. Additionally, a membership can be established by an employee or member of one of the 900 NASA Federal Credit Union partner companies or associations. Family members of a NASA credit union member are also eligible to join. The best part is that almost anyone can join through a complimentary membership to the National Space Society (NSS) that will allow you to join NASA Federal Credit Union.
Locations and ATMs
ATM options are plentiful within the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas. To be exact, there are 5,000 branch network locations locally, with over 30,000 ATMS throughout the United States that offer fee-free transactions. Just look for the co-op logo.
NASA FCU has good mobile options for their customers. They offer a mobile app as well as mobile check deposit features which are both great convenience features. However, they are missing a mobile wallet feature that several other credit unions have already adopted.
- Checking and savings interest rates
- Overdraft fees
- Initial deposit
- Auto and personal interset rates
For a credit union, we noticed that NASA Federal isn't offering the best financial-related services. This mostly points towards their rates. A lot of people look to credit unions for accounts and loans and unfortunately these are a couple areas where NASA Federal needs to improve.
Checking and Savings Interest Rates
NASA Federal Credit Union does not score well when it comes to checking and savings account interest rates. In fact, they rank to have some of the lowest rates. Checking accounts only receive 0.05% and savings accounts only receive 0.18% back. You can find other credit unions that offer more than 1.0% on both accounts. If you are looking to try and earn some money on the funds you already have, NASA Federal Credit Union does not have the best options for this.
Even though NASA FCU does offer Overdraft Protection, in the case that a customer doesn't have enough funds in either their checking or savings account, they will be hit with a $32 fee. This is a high fee, especially if it occurs more than once. Other overdraft fees tend to be in the $20 range which makes NASA FCU not as favorable in this category.
The amount required to open an account is $5. We found that a $5 initial deposit isn't the best option out there, but it is also not the worst. This is simply just another area that NASA Federal Credit Union can improve if they want to become a top-ranked credit union.
Auto and Personal Interest Rates
Similar to their initial deposits, NASA Federal Credit Union only has average competing rates when it comes to automobiles and personal loans. Their rates are found between 2.49-4.14% for auto and at 10.90% for personal loans. These rates are terrible, but they certainly aren't the best rates either. We find NASA FCU to fit in right with the standard when it comes to any of their rates. They need to find ways to have a little more edge over their competition.
The Bottom Line
NASA Federal Credit Union is a well-established union, with many branches around the tri-area, and numerous ATM locations from coast to coast. With the latest technology such as Apple Pay, mobile banking, and mobile deposits, along with deposits at the ATM and cash back on debit card purchases, NASA seems to be a great choice, however, their goods and bads equal out. NASA would fit in the "average" category. They aren't necessarily a bad credit union, but they aren't doing things to prove they are the best. We recommend that you look at their specific perks and if it is the one service you are wanting, then go with NASA, otherwise you might be able to find better options elsewhere.