Andrews Federal Credit Union Application and Account Opening Review

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I keep a portion of my cash reserves in certificates of deposit. As I had some Ally Bank CDs maturing this month, I decided to open a share certificate from Andrews Federal Credit Union during their 2016 Holiday Promotion. Please see my separate post on their 84-month 3% APY CD for details on the specific offer (there is still time!). The review information below should apply to anyone trying to open any deposit account at Andrews FCU.

Joining an eligible group for membership. Here is their page on membership eligibility:

Our field of membership includes Washington, DC, civilian and military personnel of Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and military installations in central Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands; as well as over 200 employer groups throughout Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. We also have nationwide membership eligibility through the American Consumer Council.

As I do not live the in DC area and do not qualify otherwise, I joined the American Consumer Council (ACC), a non-profit organization dedicated to consumer education, advocacy and financial literacy. Sounds like something worth supporting! You can join through the website. I believe the cost is a one-time $8, although there is a promo code “consumer” that has worked to get the membership fee waived. You can make additional donations as you wish. They will send you an e-mail shortly with your ACC membership number.

Application process. You can then proceed to the Andrews FCU website and start the application. You will need your ACC number to satisfy the eligibility question “I am a member of the American Consumer Council (ACC), and my ACC membership number is ___”.

Note: Applying for an account will result in a hard credit inquiry. At least for me, they checked my TransUnion credit report. If you have TrueIdentity and have your TransUnion report secured using their free lock feature, you will want to unlock it before submitting this application. (This delayed my application because they are pretty busy right now and did not notify me immediately.) You can lock it back up again after account approval.

You will need to provide the usual personal information – name, address, SSN, driver’s license, etc. You will also need to provide them with a bank account routing and account number to fund the initial share account. The minimum amount is $5. You will need to keep $5 in your Share account for as long as you are an Andrews FCU member. I just started with $5.

Account approval. Once your account is approved, you should get the following message:

Congratulations, your account with Andrews Federal Credit Union has been opened. Your member number is XXXXXXXX. The signature card has been sent to your email address via DocuSign for you to sign electronically.

Your new account funding is being processed and will be posted to your new account once received by us from your other institution. If you requested an ATM or VISA Debit Card as part of your application, your card order has been placed. The routing number for Andrews Federal is 255074111.

You may now enroll for SmartConnect, our online banking system, by visiting our web site www.andrewsfcu.org and selecting Online Banking Enrollment. If you require further assistance, please call us at 800.487.5500.

Thank you for choosing Andrews Federal Credit Union.

It’s nice that you can do the signature card via DocuSign. That meant my entire application process was completed online. I did try to call them a few times, but had some trouble navigating their phone tree without a member number. However, if I didn’t have my TransUnion report locked, I wouldn’t have had any reason to call them at all. Other than that delay, I would say the application took only one or two days to process.

Funding your checking, savings, or certificate account. I found the easiest way to open my share certificate was to move money into my share savings account, and then fund the certificate from the share savings. I use Ally Bank as my banking hub, so I added Andrews FCU as an external account in my Ally account using my share account number and routing number (255074111). For some reason, the direct login verification didn’t work for me, so I completed the verification using two small test deposits. It took 2 business days for the test deposits, and 2 business days for the transfer from Ally to Andrews FCU.

Opening the share certificate. Once the funds arrived, I opened the share certificate online by clicking on “Open an Additional Account”. Despite the promotion stating you had to call in, the special certificates were available online. Here’s a screenshot (click to enlarge):

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You will need to chose your dividend reinvestment and maturity options. That’s it. The share certificate now shows up on my online banking page, right next to the share savings account. The process was pretty straightforward, just be sure to remove any credit locks or freezes on your TransUnion credit report. Remember that you’ll need to fund your special certificate by any stated deadline.

$50 Refer a Friend Bonus. As part of the holiday promotion, new members can also get a $50 cash bonus if referred by an existing member. The referrer also gets $50. However, the referred person must open a checking account and set up direct deposit of $500 or more. Here are the exact terms:

Refer a friend offer available to existing Andrews Federal members who refer a new member to the credit union. New member must open a new Free or Advantage Checking account with a direct deposit of $500 or more. Direct deposit must be initiated within 30 days of opening new Free or Advantage checking account, and must be received for at least two consecutive monthly statement cycles for both members to be eligible for reward. Account must remain open and in good standing for at least 90 days; accounts closed prior to 90 days will be ineligible. $50.00 will be credited to the referring member’s and the new member’s credit union accounts within 4 weeks after the 90- day period has ended. New member must qualify for credit union membership, which includes the opening of a Base Share Savings account with a minimum balance of $5.00.

In practical terms, I believe that during the application process there is a question “Where Did You Hear About Us?” and you can pick “Family/Friend Referral” and you can leave your friend’s name and Andrews FCU membership number in the comments field. If you are looking to open up a checking account and set up direct deposit, I am a member now so if you want a referral please contact me.

Comments

  1. Does ACH from another bank count as Direct Deposit? How bank tells the difference between a payroll or pension deposit vs ACH from external bank account of $500+?

  2. If I’m reading you correct, you “pushed” money from Ally to AFCU correct? How much were you able to transfer that way per day? I had set up AFCU to “pull” from Ally, and it was limited to $5,000 a day, slightly inconvenient. Curious if pushing from external bank is way around this limit.

    • Yes, I like pushing from Ally into external accounts much better. The limits were much higher, on the order of $100,000 per day.

      • I opened an Andrews share account with $5 in January with the intent of also opening a $100,000 84 month 3% CD. I have not been able to successfully fund a CD it yet. It has taken me over a month, multiple emails and phone calls to finally find out today that Andrews transfer limit is $5,000, so I would have to initiate a wire from my own bank into the share savings (which you mention here)…and THEN open the CD with monies from the Andrews share account, which is apparently the only was to fund CDs. I have similar CDs at multiple other credit unions and was able to directly request the amount from my outside institution to directly fund my new CD, so I never expected this roadblock. Makes me concerned about how easy it will be to transfer the money out of this institution once the CD matures with their low limits. It has been seamless one-time transfer at my other credit unions. I wish I had happened across your blog before I opened this account and I might have thought better of it.

  3. Malav Shah says:

    Does hard inquiry make sense for this account? Please explain. With one hard inquiry credit card, we can easily earn around 500 bucks.

    • It all depends on how much benefit you think you’ll be getting from membership. For one, once you’re in, you’re in forever. Some people put $100,000 in a 3% CD. That’s $3,000 a year, using a simple comparison that’s $1,000 a year more than 2% CD for X number of years.

  4. 84 months is a pretty long time. There’s interest rate risk if rates go higher than that before the 7 yrs is up. While I’m not sure what the fed will do with interest rates despite what the say (they promised 4 raises this year and only did one currently), the duration is also one i need to look at closely. Granted Ally has lower rates now but at least I have 2yr raise your rate ones. In hindsight, I’ve never called once to raise that but that’s also because rates have gone down since the recession. So 3% now is not bad. Is the bird in the hand worth 2 in the bush? I’ll think it through but i’m starting to consider it. Thanks for sharing

  5. I’ve never seen such a bad application process.
    It took them 4 days to approve my application, and now nobody can tell me what is my account number.
    I never got an email with the account information, I can’t sign up for online banking, customer service takes over half hour to answer, and they can’t give me the account information….

    Thanks for sharing, but for me it was a total waste of time.

  6. Jonathan, I got my account finally open today (it did take several days and a call to remind them), thanks for the info. The available balance shows as $-5 since they didn’t pull $5 yet from my funding account. Do you know if it’s safe to try to link from the outside like you did before the required $5 are in? I’m concerned that my funding CU wouldn’t be able to debit back whatever small deposit they use for the verification. Thanks!

    • Another question: my account number has 10 digits followed by a space and “S0000”. What did you use as an account number when you were linking to this account from Ally bank?

      • I just submitted mine to my non-Andrews bank as an external account, by using the “member number” I was given in the account approval message (a 9-digit number, that is your 10-digit number without the leading zero). I didn’t include the “S0000” thing.

        A comment on https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1539448?start=80 said “Your member number is your savings account number. The routing number for Andrews Federal is 255074111.”, so hopefully that will work.

  7. 3.0% APY on 84 month term seems alive again as of 1/21/2017: http://www.andrewsfcu.org/print-certificate-rates.html

    No announcement, but that’s the rate quoted on the rates page. I can’t tell if the early withdrawal penalty is the same as before.

  8. My Andrews CD setup timeline:
    Jan 21, 2017: Andrews quietly reintroduced the 3% 7yr CD (non-IRA); as of Jan 20 their phone reps were reportedly still telling people it was unavailable; I noticed the new rate on Jan 24 because I’d been checking several times a week since the holiday special ended Dec 31 (found out about that too late in the year to want to try starting the application process then, but later heard that they had allowed anyone who started the process before Dec 31 to get the special CDs even if they weren’t done setting it up by Dec 31)
    Jan 24: joined the American Consumer Council using ‘consumer’ code to get a free membership, and immediately received email with ACC member number; created Andrews application site account and submitted application (for the base savings account only, with the $5 minimum funding); immediately received a CreditKarma alert that Andrews had done its ‘hard’ inquiry
    Jan 26: received msg on the Andrews application site requesting I upload scans of my ID and a utility bill or bank statement; uploaded them
    Jan 27: application approved; received member number in a msg on the application site; e-signed a Docusign document (tip: retype your name with normal capitalization instead of the default all-uppercase before submitting the e-signature, to make the ‘handwriting’ look better); the $5 opening deposit showed up as a pending transaction at my non-Andrews bank
    Jan 28: created Andrews online banking account; requested adding my non-Andrews bank as an external transfer account at Andrews; and requested adding my Andrews savings account as an external transfer account at my non-Andrews bank (NB: ACH external transfers are currently free to initiate at most but not all banks; see https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/ach-transfers-costs-send-money-banks-online/ )
    Jan 30: my initial $5 deposit showed up at Andrews
    Jan 31: my non-Andrews bank’s transfer setup microdeposits showed up at Andrews, and verified successfully
    Jan 31: my Andrews transfer setup microdeposit showed up at my non-Andrews bank, and verified successfully
    Jan 31: set up recurring small transfers at my non-Andrews bank to/from Andrews every 6 months, to make sure my base savings account won’t get hit with the Andrews $4/mo ‘inactivity fee’ in the future
    Jan 31-Feb 1: transferred intended CD purchase funds from my non-Andrews bank (initiated from my non-Andrews bank’s transfer service, which has higher limits than the Andrews-side transfer limits of $5k/day and $25k/month)
    Feb 2-3: CD purchase funds expected to show up at Andrews; I’ll then purchase 10 CDs at Andrews (splitting up my funds in case I later want/need to early-withdraw some but not all of them)

    • Ann, what inactivity fee for a saving account? I never had to do this in any other bank/CU. Are you sure there’s such thing at Andrews? It makes little sense as it’s not a checking account.

      • I don’t know for sure which of their accounts it applies to, but it was listed on the Andrews Schedule of Fees – http://www.andrewsfcu.org/schedule-of-fees.html , and cost me nothing to set up a recurring $1 back-and-forth from my bank just to be safe.

        • Also, the reason I’m especially cautious about savings account inactivity is my regular bank tried to pull some shenanigans with my savings account there several years ago due to inactivity, despite it being linked to a very active checking account. So I started doing the $1 thing between my checking and savings accounts there back then, and do it with any other accounts from then on.

          • there is limit of 6 transactions your account may be closed if you purchase 10 cds out of savings.
            hopefully you haven’t done it.

    • Late last night / early this morning (Feb 1), Andrews apparently broke their main website by mistakenly swapping out their current SSL certificate for one that expired last year. It’s lunchtime for them now and it’s still down. Hopefully they’ll get their act together some time today…

      “andrewsfcu.org uses an invalid security certificate.
      The certificate expired on 9/6/2016 5:02 AM. The current time is 2/1/2017 11:21 AM.
      (Error code: sec_error_expired_certificate)”

    • Looks like I’m going to have to go with splitting up the funds into no more than 6 CDs (and it’d be no more than 5 if my external transfer setup microdeposit hadn’t just barely occurred in the previous calendar month, since every company seems to automatically withdraw the microdeposit amount these days instead of letting you keep those few cents like they used to a few years ago), because according to the warning that just popped up on the ‘Open Additional Accounts’ screen, they’re going to count each CD purchase against the statutory limit of 6 savings account withdrawals per calendar month. 🙁 So unless you want to risk waiting until March to complete your CD purchases, 5-6 is the unintentional limit.

    • The Andrews inactivity fee is actually $5/month after 12 months, and there’s another fee to be aware of that I’d gotten the amount of mixed up with that one: $4/month paper statements fee. I thought I’d indicated e-statements during the account setup process, but the Andrews online banking website currently appeared to say I was set on paper statements. So I just now re-selected ‘Electronic Statements’ (in SmartConnect online banking, Settings, Statement Preference) and got an email confirming it, but upon reopening that settings page, it still displays ‘Paper Statements’ there. So that seems to be a bug in the website… since I have a confirmation email, I’m going to assume for now that I am set on e-statements and it’s the website display that’s incorrect.

    • Hi, Did the scanned copy of your ID and bank statement, they requested, had to be notorized? Thank you, look forward to your reply.

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