NASA Federal Credit Union Application and Certificate Opening Review

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I recently joined the NASA Federal Credit Union to take advantage their current certificate rate specials (as mentioned in my monthly list of best interest rates). NASA FCU has had some good specials over the last year or so, and I finally decided to go through the extra effort to open an account last week since I had some funds available. Here are my notes on the application and certificate opening process that might be helpful to others.

Membership eligibility. NASA FCU’s field of membership is open to affiliated people as noted in their membership page, but you can also join a special group to become eligible:

If none of the above apply to you – we’ll provide a complimentary membership to the National Space Society (NSS) which entitles you to full NASA Federal membership benefits

Free and instant! Just click the proper option during the application process.

Application process. You will need to provide the usual personal information – name, address, SSN, driver’s license, etc. I uploaded a scanned image of my driver’s license. They also asked a few identity verification questions, I believe based on my Experian credit report.

Note: Based on online reports, I was expecting that applying for account would result in a hard credit inquiry, likely to my Experian credit report. This tends to be common practice amongst credit unions. However, it has been a week since my application and none of my credit monitoring services (which covers all 3 bureaus) have indicated that a credit check was done, including the one that tracks Experian. It might show up later, but nothing so far.

My account was approved later in the same day as my application. I also read some online reports about NASA FCU asking for additional documentation (i.e. Social Security card), but I was not asked for anything additional.

Tip: When you get the account approval e-mail, you need to open up the secure message to see your new NASA FCU account number. Write down this number as it is the account number of your share savings account.

Initial funding. As with nearly all credit unions, you must fund a share savings account with at least $5 and keep the $5 there. I was given the option to fund with credit card (up to $500) or bank account. I tried to fund it with $500 from a rewards credit card (to get some cash back), but the transaction was rejected. I’m not sure if it was because it was trying to go through as a cash advance, or some other reason. I later funded it with a bank account instead.

Opening the certificate special. This time around, I opened their special 15-month certificate at 3.20% APY via this page. After doing so, there was a message directing me to fund it with a mailed check to a specific address with 10 days:

There may be other options like walking in a check or using a credit union shared deposit network, but I like to do things online whenever possible. My usual process is to link my new credit union with my Ally savings account hub. First, I used the account number from the approval message (see above) and the NASA FCU routing number of 255077833. I had to use the 2 small test deposit method for verification, so that took a day. Then, Ally let me push funds with a 1-day transfer into the savings account. Finally, I used the NASA FCU Live Chat feature to have them fund my special certificate using the funds in the share savings account. Here’s my timeline:

  • Day 1 – Started application and got approval. Initiated link via Ally Bank.
  • Day 2 – Verification deposits arrived at NASA FCU. Verified link via Ally Bank. Initiated transfer.
  • Day 3 – Funds arrived at NASA FCU. Used Live Chat to fund certificate.
  • Day 4 – Certificate open and funded.

The share certificate now shows up on my online banking page, right next to the share savings account. I didn’t have to mail in anything, like a signature card. I hope that NASA FCU keeps up their trend of offering top certificate rates.

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  1. What is the minimum and maximum on funding their share certificates?

  2. Just got an answer, $10K min no max! Thanks for bringing this opportunity to our attention Jonathan!

  3. Mike Anderson says

    I don’t know if you would need to maintain your membership in the National Space Society, but be aware there is a cost associated with membership beyond that first year (and you’re signing up for a CD that is more than a year). See the Membership page of Still, the incremental interest would probably more than offset the membership renewal fee. Thanks for highlighting their program. It’s an excellent rate. That, and the nerd in me is excited to have even a remote association with NASA.

    • Usually with credit unions with special groups, you just have to be a member at the time of joining. I will be on the lookout for a renewal, but you just have to decline. Of course you can renew if you wish, but it is not required on an ongoing basis. That has been the case with every credit union that I have joined.

  4. Are you “OK” being not FDIC insured? What’s the max dollars you recommend putting in this CD? Sounds like they are pretty reliable, but trying to figure out my risk going with a credit union.

    • A credit union that is NCUA-insured (not all are though) is the equivalent of being FDIC-insured as both NCUA and FDIC are backed by the federal government. NASA FCU is NCUA insured.

  5. I recently had a CD mature at NASA. The options what to do when it matured were either move it to their savings or accept the current cd available which was very low %.
    I chose to move it to my savings then ACH to my Ally account.
    Be aware there is $10,000 outgoing daily limit. It took me 6 different days to move it all to Ally.
    Also, this 3.20% is only good on new money.
    Nothing for the loyal customer.

    • The $10k limit is only if you initiate a transfer via NASA FCU website. You can push/pull via Ally at much higher amounts.

      I agree that sometimes “new money” requirements just makes me move my money elsewhere. Perhaps they need to re-think that part.

  6. Wanted to echo Don’s comments, nothing good for loyal customers.

    I had then about 7 years ago, yeah NASA, was excited…But… The credit union is mediocre. They never have better then average rates (not even talking the best rates.) No special perks, nothing related to the Space Agency. I did close the membership.

    Jonathan, are you expecting the rates to fall because you’re locking into CDs? There are money market accounts that provide comparable rates. Also, your Ally “hub”, is it a checking or a savings account that you’re using? I’m currently using Unitus as my hub.

  7. marty maserati says

    Jonathan, surprised your didn’t open an account with Navy Federal. They have some great rates, with 3% for 6-months and 3.25% at 17-months. Opening is very easy, just let them know of your relative that was in the armed forces, grandfather, etc if you do, or father in-law, they don’t care they are super nice on the phone and happy to open accounts. App is also quite good, I personally like it better than ally.

    • I do have an account at NavyFed as well (back when it merged with USA FCU years ago). I am always hesitant to write about them because they do still have a limited field of membership, you can’t just join a group for free or $5 and get in. I don’t like to write about deals that people can’t get. However, their recent change to allow veterans and their families (not just active military) may be worth a reminder post, thanks.

      • marty maserati says

        fair point, didn’t think of the economics of a post that only applies to a portion of your readers. though i agree that now that they offer bit broader acceptance it may be worthwhile, or inconjunction with one of your short term rate updates, etc.

        also, for any readers in nyc, first national bank of long island is offering $500 for direct deposit of any amount into a free checking account with no minimum balance requirement. they are literally giving $500 for a 30 min visit to the branch one time.

  8. I love Ally Bank! 24 hours to receive your funds and they had a promo a couple months ago matching 1% of new money. I made $922 in a couple months with the promo!!!

  9. Jonathan, are you using Ally’s savings or a checking as your hub?

    • I have both an Ally checking and savings. Checking has unlimited withdrawals, automatic free overdraft from savings, and ATM rebates. Savings has higher interest rate, limited to 6 withdrawal per month. Both work with Ally’s fast ACH transfers.

  10. Thank you, I was contemplating between a checking or MMA (MMA has Unlimited deposits and ATM withdrawals + 6 additional transactions per statement cycle. )

  11. Thanks for the article. Do they have online web application for CD accounts? Someone mentioned in one review is that social security number is the username? Is it correct?


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