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First Tech Credit Union Share Certificate Review

First Tech Share Certificate
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Sean Lapointe
Mar. 31, 2024
5 min read
LaPointe
First Tech Share Certificate Summary
Founded in 1952, First Tech Federal Credit Union offers several financial products, including a high-yield Share Certificate to help you maximize your savings. Choose from two certificate types and various term lengths, and enjoy annual percent yields (APYs) of up to 5.05%¹. First Tech is also insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), meaning your deposits are insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor.

Pros

  • Competitive APYs
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Bump-Up Share Certificate to take advantage of rising rates

Cons

  • Minimum opening deposit of $500
  • Early withdrawal penalties of up to 270 days of interest

First Tech Share Certificate at a glance

9.6
Editorial score

Fees?

No fees at all
10.0

Security

NCUA insured, SSL/AES encryption and supports 2 factor authentication
10.0

Customer service

24/7 service with multiple communication options, fraud protection system
10.0

Online experience

User friendly site with full online banking capabilities
8.0

Mobile experience

Excellent mobile app with all mobile banking features enabled, including digital check deposits
10.0

First Tech Share Certificate First Tech Share Certificate Visit Site

Advantages Over Traditional Banks

First Tech Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit organization. So, unlike traditional banks, any profits the credit union earns go back to members through lower fees or better rates on financial products.

For example, with First Tech’s Share Certificate, members enjoy a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) that can go up to 5.05%, compared to the average APY of 0.42% with a standard savings account.

Furthermore, while conventional banks usually charge monthly maintenance fees—which can diminish your returns over time—there are no such charges with First Tech’s Share Certificate.

Cutting-Edge Banking Services

First Tech provides an online platform and mobile app to manage your First Tech accounts and access banking services such as:

  • Paying and managing bills using Bill Pay
  • Sending and receiving money with Zelle®
  • Managing your cards
  • Transferring cash from one First Tech account to another, or from a First Tech account to an external one
  • Setting up account balance alerts
  • Applying for different financial products and services from the union

Traditional Banking Services

In addition to Share Certificate, First Tech provides various conventional banking products and services. These include savings and checking accounts, credit cards, home loans, personal loans, insurance, retirement accounts, and investment accounts.

The credit union operates 33 physical branches—mostly on the West Coast of the United States—that you can visit to receive in-person banking or support. Additionally, you can access your cash at more than 30,000 surcharge-free Co-op ATMs nationwide.

Interest Rates and Fees

First Tech offers a range of Share Certificate options, including a regular, an IRA (Traditional or Roth), and a Coverdell Share Certificate. Two certificates are available for each option.

  • Traditional Certificate: This option offers a fixed interest rate throughout your chosen tenure.
  • Bump-Up Certificate: This allows you to “bump up” to a higher interest rate if rates rise during your term. At First Tech, this adjustment can be made once every 12 months.

For both certificate types, the credit union requires a minimum deposit of $500.

You’ll incur a penalty if you pull out funds (other than earned interest) before the maturity date. The size of the penalty varies depending on term length. The highest is for a Share Certificate with a maturity period longer than two years, which carries a penalty of up to 270 days of interest.

This penalty is charged whether interest is earned or not, and it could reduce your principal. 

First Tech offers a 10-day grace period following the opening of your account or automatic renewal of your certificate. During this time, you can withdraw from your principal without getting penalized.

Customer Service and Online Experience

First Tech offers 24/7 customer service on the phone. The credit union commits to answering calls within 30 seconds.

You can also talk to a representative through secure online messages or chat. To send a secure message, log in to your account and navigate to the Message Center. To chat with a support team member, log into your account from a desktop device, go to Bill Pay, and click the Questions bubble.

The other way to speak to a customer service rep is to book an in-person or virtual support appointment through First Tech’s website. For quick answers, you can visit First Tech’s comprehensive FAQ page on its website.

The credit union’s website offers a user-friendly experience. You can open a Share Certificate account in minutes through your digital banking account if you're already a member. If not, you’ll have to apply to join first, which is also easy to do online.

Regarding eligibility, First Tech offers more flexibility than many other credit unions. You can qualify for membership if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Work or reside in Lane County, Oregon.
  • Have a family or household member who’s already a member of the credit union.
  • Are employed (or have a family member employed) at one of First Tech’s partner technology companies.
  • Are a member of the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association.

Online reviews of First Tech are largely positive, with many users highlighting the efficiency, professionalism, and friendliness of the company’s customer service team. 

On Trustpilot, the credit union holds a respectable customer review rating of 4.1 out of five stars. Additionally, First Tech has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2006, with an A+ rating.

Mobile App

First Tech has an intuitive mobile app for on-to-go account management. Available for Apple (iOS) and Android devices, the app is highly rated by users—receiving 4.7 and 4.6 stars on the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively.

It supports checking balances, mobile check deposits, sending and receiving money, card management, alerts management, and more.

Security

Federally chartered credit unions, like First Tech, are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Congress established the NCUSIF in 1970 to insure member share accounts at federally insured credit unions—similar to the coverage provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks. Deposits at all federally insured credit unions and many state-chartered credit unions are covered by the NCUSIF. This means your deposits are insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor.

First Tech utilizes organizational, physical, technical, and administrative measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access or use. These measures include two-factor authentication available to members for quick and secure online account access.

Meanwhile, the credit union’s proactive Fraud Protection system monitors unusual card activity and instantly alerts you of suspicious activity. You’ll also receive alerts about significant activities on your account, such as digital banking logins, password resets or changes to your contact information.

Summary 

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s Share Certificate account is a prime choice for people looking for a better return on their cash than a regular checking or savings account can provide. You need to be a member of the credit union to access this offering, but First Tech makes it relatively easy to join.

Choose from multiple certificate terms, get a competitive APY of up to 5.05% on your deposit, and enjoy 24/7 access to customer support.

Methodology

This review was prepared using information from First Tech Federal Credit Union’s website and reviews on Trustpilot.

First Tech Share Certificate First Tech Share Certificate Visit Site

Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

¹APY = Annual Percentage Yield. Membership is required and subject to approval. This is an addendum to the Truth In Savings Disclosure – Certificate, Rate Sheet, and Fee Schedule. Please refer to these documents for further information and terms applicable to this account. Additional Terms and Conditions Applicable to Promotional 13-Month Bump Up Share Certificate Accounts Bump Up Share Certificates: If your account has the Bump Up feature, we list the dividend rate and APY on your Certificate Receipt for your Bump Up Share Certificate account. Your Maturity Date will remain the same as stated on your Certificate Receipt. You have the option within each twelve (12) months of the current term for terms equaling or exceeding twenty-four (24) months, or once per term for Bump Up products with a term less than twenty-four (24) months, of exchanging the dividend rate for a new dividend rate that is currently offered on term share certificates at no cost to you. You have the option within each twelve (12) months of the current term for terms equaling or exceeding twenty-four (24) months, or once per term for Bump Up products with a term less than twenty-four (24) months, to make one (1) additional deposit. The maximum amount you can deposit is up to the original amount of the certificate at the start of the current term. Qualifications: Available for new Promotional 13-Month Bump Up Certificate accounts only. New money must be deposited from a source outside First Tech; transfers between First Tech accounts or its affiliates will not qualify. Upon maturity, the account will automatically convert to the rate offered for the standard 13-Month Bump Up Share Certificate account. Please refer to our Rate Sheet for current dividend rates and annual percentage yield information. All withdrawals of principal before the Maturity Date are subject to early withdrawal penalties. Fees could reduce earnings on the account.

See www.firsttechfed.com for more details.


LaPointe
Written by
Sean Lapointe
Sean LaPointe is a freelance personal finance writer with a passion for helping readers make informed financial decisions. With over 8 years of personal finance writing experience, Sean has written for a wide variety of top publications, including The Motley Fool, Angi, Top10.com, and BestMoney. Sean’s commitment to providing readers with the most up-to-date information means he’s always researching the latest financial products.
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