Vystar originally was named Jax Navy. They were a small Credit Union organized in 1952 by 12 civil service employees who were having difficulty establishing credit. They needed financing for a car, home or personal use. The 12 civil workers started Jax Navy each with $5 and a commitment to help military and civil service employees, making their membership exclusive. Jax Navy’s focus was on its members, not profit, and wanted to help everyone gain the most out of their investments. After being open for 1 year, 1,100 members had joined. By the end of the 1950s, membership had grown to 9,178. In 1962, Jax Navy had built member loyalty and not wanting to lose members to retirement, they extended membership to include retirees. They opened new branches for their member on and off of military base locations. In 2002, Jax Navy changed their name to VyStar Credit Union and also changed their membership requirements to include anyone who lives or works in Northeast Florida. They are based in Jacksonville, FL and since 1952 have become one of the largest credit unions in the nation. Membership is open to people living or working in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, Union, or Volusia County. VyStar wants to help their members fulfill their financial goals and dreams. This includes any business, club, church, organization or association located in the designated area and any person who is related to a member by blood, marriage or adoption — regardless of where they live.

Rank Chart
Total Assets
Number of Locations
Our Score
#1
$9.15 Million
80+ Branches
6.7
#2
13.64 Million
35+ Branches
6.5
#3
$1.08 Billion
10+
6.0
#22
vystar
$5,539,767,677
40
3.7

 

The Good

VyStar Credit Union meets all of the basic needs that any member would look for when choosing a credit union such as Free Checking. There are no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and all checking accounts pay interest and earn a dividend. VyStar Credit Union has internet account access via a web browser or mobile app both apps for Android and Apple devices have above average ratings for quality and use giving you access to your accounts anywhere at any time. You can also access your accounts with the VyStar web bill pay, or one of their 175 local VyStar ATMs without surcharge fees.

VyStar Credit Union offers Auto loans, loans for cars, trucks, boats, jet skis, RVs, motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs. They have competitive rates for their members. VyStar Mortgage loans have a full range of fixed- and adjustable- rate mortgage loans with a variety of terms. The loans are at market competitive rates and the escrow pays interest.

For their members who require accounts for business services, VyStar Credit Union offers business shared accounts, business loans, mortgage processing, VyStar is an approved mortgage seller, business credit card services, solutions that allow businesses to accept credit and debit cards and payroll.

One of the best things that VyStar offers to their members is their Investment services & products. VyStar provides financial analysis and services at no cost or obligation. Members can make a savings and investment plan; protect financial assets, fund education and plan for retirement. VyStar also offers a comprehensive list of value-oriented products and services for members, such as the VyStar Money Makeover program it is free and it is designed to help members take a closer look at their money, and then shares unique money management tips and tools to help drive down debt, increase savings, and improve their financial outlook. They offer various savings account and savings certificates with competitive APY rates with only $500 required to get started.  VyStar also has programs available to their members and their children that allow children to learn about money, credit, and savings. Children accounts earn interest and pay dividends.

VyStar Credit Union also offers 3 kinds of credit cards:

  • Visa Signature Rewards Plus
  • Visa Signature Cash Back
  • Platinum Visa

All of the VyStar Visa credit cards have no annual fee and low-interest rates.

The Bad

VyStar Credit Union has a $5 one time membership fee when you open any account, including loads of other hidden fees when opening any account, for instance, if you decide to close your account within 6 months of opening it there is a $5 fee. If you change your address and don’t update it with Vystar there is a “bad address fee” that starts at $5 for the first 3 months, and then tacks on $5 every month thereafter.  While these fees aren’t very high or anything to get worked up about really, they can add up and become very inconvenient for members. Also, their membership fee doesn’t say what it goes to pay for, other Credit Unions who charge a membership fee are usually around $1 – $5, but donate the membership fee to some kind of charity usually. Vystar does not specify if they do that or not.

Lastly, VyStar Credit Union does not give a rate /dividend schedule for their checking accounts or list the types of checking accounts they have available for membership you must go into a local branch to get the information.

The Bottom Line

Without knowing what their APY Rates are for their basic checking account, it is hard to say if VyStar Credit Union would be the best choice for reaching your financial goals and with the amount of fees they have for opening, or closing your account, although they are small why should a person have to pay? A person paying to be a member after already meeting the eligible criteria doesn’t make sense. They do offer a savings APY rate that is above average for their basic savings accounts and for the Savings Certificates it would be nice to see how their checking accounts compare. VyStar would be a great option if their checking accounts can stand up to what they offer for their savings accounts.

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