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San Diego County Credit Union

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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019

San Diego County Credit Union is San Diego's largest locally-owned financial institution. With over $6.9 billion in assets, San Diego County Credit Union is a not-for-profit credit union wholly owned and operated by its members. Unlike most other financial institutions, like big banks, San Diego County Credit Union does not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to members in the form of lower loan rates, higher dividends on deposits or lower fees. San Diego County Credit Union was originally chartered in 1938 as San Diego County Employees Credit Union. San Diego County Credit Union was formed to provide for the financial needs of local county government employees. During the 1970's, they expanded their membership to include all San Diegans and today, is open to everyone living or working in San Diego, Riverside or Orange County. Those outside of the area can open an account by joining the Financial Fitness Association. San Diego County Credit Union serves over 285,000 members and continues to thrive as one of San Diego's premier financial institutions. With 40 branch locations in San Diego, Riverside and Orange County, San Diego Country Credit Union is conveniently located in communities serving consumers through superior product and service offerings. San Diego County Credit Union is proud to have been voted "BEST Credit Union" fifteen years straight. They also boast many other accolades for their business practices.

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The Good

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
San Diego County Credit Union® was founded on the principle that "people come first and profits second." This forward-thinking approach in the banking industry has propelled San Diego Country Credit Union to become San Diego's BEST Credit Union and largest locally-owned financial institution. As a credit union, they provide breakthrough banking products that meet the demands of today's lifestyle with easy access online and mobile access to Android and Apple apps. They deliver banking services that save customers money. A few of the basic accounts available for their customers to choose from begin with a free checking account and go up from there with better interest rates and dividends.

Checking Accounts

They offer free checking accounts without any monthly fees when you sign up for e-statements. They do this to minimize the use of paper. It is a win for you with less clutter, and a win for the environment. They require a minimum opening deposit of $25 and with that you will receive the following:
  • Free Visa debit card, instantly issued in-branch
  • Cash back rewards
  • Free Internet Branch online banking
  • Free Bill Payer and online bill pay
  • Account alerts and overdraft protection options
  • Free direct deposit
A classic checking account is ideal for those wanting to earn monthly dividends on their balance. Dividends are paid monthly with an average daily balance of $1,500 or more. The monthly fee of $5 is waived when you meet one of the following requirements:
  • Direct deposit ($100 minimum per pay period)
  • $2,500 or more combined average daily savings balance
  • $1,000 or more average daily checking balance
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25

Savings Accounts

They also offer a primary savings account. This is a great way for you to get your personal finances started off right with a new personal savings account from San Diego County Credit Union. All customers are required to open a primary savings account with a minimum balance of $1 and the savings accounts are free with no monthly maintenance fees. They come with free online banking and internet Branch services, e-statements, ATM card, direct deposit, and Dividends are paid at .15% APY.

The Bad

  • Savings certificates
  • Checking and savings rates
If you live outside San Diego and want a membership with the San Diego County Credit Union you have to join through the Financial Fitness association. This is an association that allows you to join and be a member when you pay an $8 monthly fee, it is open to anyone.

Savings Certificates

San Diego County Credit Union offers savings certificates but they require a $2000 minimum deposit, and the rates are middle of the road, they aren't super awesome high, but they aren't on the low end either. The rates do however get better depending on the amount you deposit and for the length of time you hold the deposit in the certificate. There are credit unions in California that have higher rates and require a smaller amount for minimum deposit.

Checking and Savings Rates

Checking and savings rates are way below, most credit unions that offer rates for basic accounts are usually around .4-.75%, while they are only at .09-.15%. At least it is something. There are plenty of other credit unions that offer even lower dividends on their basic checking and savings accounts. Also, if online banking isn't your thing and you prefer to receive statements through regular mail instead of through and e-statement you might find yourself paying a fee, although the dollar amount of the fee isn't specified they do say "no fee when you receive e-statements."

The Bottom Line

San Diego County Credit Union has some great things to offer their customers, they have a ton of great things going for them, but, there are better picks out there. They are middle of the road, rates are okay, but not overly impressive and they seem to have a lot of stipulations and possible hidden fees on many of their accounts and the amount of money required for a rate increase on their tiers is not ideal. It would be good to look into other options if possible.
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