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Headquartered in Sacramento, California, the Golden 1 Credit Union is Cali’s leading financial cooperative and the 6th largest credit union the United States. It saw its beginnings in 1933, and currently holds just about $12 billion in assets and over 1,500 employees. Moreover, the credit union serves members through with 80 branches in the Golden State and offers a wide network of more than 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide. The Golden 1 is a not-for-profit organization that proudly serves the community and supports hundreds of organizations throughout the state of California.

Golden 1 provides their members a range of low-cost consumer financial products, latest delivery innovations and high-quality service. These products include but are not limited to: checking, savings, youth-oriented accounts, and personal loans.

Mission: “People Helping People – Stronger Together”
Golden 1 vows to deliver financial solutions with value, convenience, and exceptional service to their members in a dynamic and trusted manner. Golden 1 is committed to enhancing the financial well-being of Californians and their diverse communities.

  • Easy Membership Criteria
  • No monthly fees for any basic account
  • Extremely low minimum opening deposits
  • NCUA-Insured
  • Low or no interest on basic accounts
  • High overdraft fees
  • Limited branch locations; only in California


Banking with the Golden 1

The Golden 1 Credit Union has a very open membership requirement, thus allowing almost anyone to join and open one or many of their banking products.


Checking Account

Savings Accounts


Money Market Accounts



Other Products


At the Golden 1 Credit Union, virtually anyone can join, so long as you meet these pretty easy membership requirements:

  • If you live in the state of California
  • If you work for the state of California

Non-Californians can also join the Golden State credit union under the below conditions

  • Family member or registered domestic partner of a current member
  • Work for one of the 1,000 Select Employee Groups

You can join via three means: apply online, visit any nearby Golden branch or call a customer service agent for help.

Checking Accounts

The Golden 1 offers multiple types of checking accounts each suited for various customers and their needs.

Free Checking: bare bones account with the basic necessities

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum required opening deposit
  • Free first order of checks

Student Checking: free account designed for students over the age of 17

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum required opening deposit
  • Free first order of checks
  • After 5 years this account is converted to a Free Checking Golden 1 account

Freedom Checking: account geared toward youths ages 16-17 with better-than-average grades

  • Requires a B-grade average or higher
  • Allows youth to make transactions without parent or guardian
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum required opening deposit
  • At 18, the account is converted to a Free Checking Golden 1 account

New Generation Checking: youth based free checking account for minors aged 13 to 17

  • Requires a parent or legal guardian as joint account holder
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum required opening deposit
  • Unlimited ATM transactions
  • Withdrawal limit capped at $40 for youth between 13-15; $100 for older

Premium Checking: this is a flagship checking account and the only interest-bearing account

  • Offers 0.25% APY on minimum daily account balances of $1,000 or more
  • Requires a $100 minimum deposit
  • First free order of checks
  • $8 monthly maintenance fee but is subjected to waiver if:
  • Have electronic Direct Deposit of a recurring paycheck or retirement check into your Premium Checking Account
  • Maintain a minimum daily balance of $500
  • Maintain an aggregate savings balance of $5,000.00 or more in any combination of savings accounts
  • Are enrolled in Golden Prestige

Golden Prestige: is a special package add-on available to members 62 or older. In order to qualify for the benefits of this account, you must be able to maintain an account balance $5,000+ or have a recurring direct deposit

  • No monthly service charges
  • Free Checks
  • Up to 10 free Cashier’s checks per month
  • Domestic money wire transfer service
  • Notary service
  • Postage-paid return envelopes

Savings Accounts

Golden 1 has a multitude of savings options to help their customers achieve their goals or save for special occasions. Although the interest rates are not among some of the highest, the variety of account types and perks may still prove to be beneficial yet.

  • Regular Savings: this account is opened as a part of your membership requirement as needs only a $1 deposit. You began accumulating 0.20% APY once your account has a minimum daily balance of $100. The account offers unlimited ATM transactions and has no monthly maintenance fee.
  • FlexSavings: the flexsavings account earns you monthly dividends. You set the payout date that works for you and funds can be automatically transferred into another Golden 1 account. There are no fees but the account does require a minimum deposit of $20 to open or a recurring $5 transfer. The APY on this account is also 0.20% which you begin to accrue as soon as money is deposited into the account.
  • Santa Saver: this account is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the perfect savings account just in time for the Holidays. Earning you 0.20% APY on any account balance all year round. It requires a $20 deposit or a $5 recurring transfer to open the account, but there are no monthly maintenance fees. You cannot withdraw or make transfers prior to the set date. That day is November 1st, when your funds in this account are automatically transferred into your preferred Golden 1 account just in time for your Holiday shopping.
  • Youth Savings: designed for youths under the age of 18 to help teach them money management. The account must be opened with a joint account holder of age but does not require them for everyday deposits and withdrawals. The account only requires a minimum deposit of $1 to open, has no monthly maintenance fee and begins earning dividends at 0.20% right away.
  • Additional Savings: this account is usually opened in addition to the savings account of your choice. It allows you to put aside funds for a special occasion or maybe just as a safety net. The account yields dividends monthly and has no maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. However, to begin earning the 0.20% APY, the account must have a minimum balance of $100.
  • Coverdell Education Savings: if you are planning financially for your child’s future education, this type of savings account at Golden 1 is best suited for that. It offers tax-advantages for the funds used on educational expenses such as, tuition, room and board, books etc. This account has a $2,000 maximum deposit limit per year, per child and also requires a $25 minimum deposit for a 12-month term. A $500 minimum is required for all other terms ranging from 3 to 60 months. Dividends are compounded monthly and range between 0.30% to 1.88% depending on the term.


The Golden 1 Credit Union offers Term-Savings Certificate Accounts, similar to the big banks’ CDs. The certificates require a $1,000 opening deposit and terms range between 3 to 60 months. The dividends you earn monthly can be deposited into another Golden 1 account of your choice or added to your certificate balance. Funds held in your certificate can also be used as collateral for a loan as well.

3-5 Months0.30%0.35%0.40%
6-11 Months0.60%0.60%0.65%
12-17 Months0.90%0.90%0.95%
18-23 Months0.90%0.90%0.95%
24-35 Months1.10%1.10%1.15%
36-47 Months1.20%1.20%1.25%
48-59 Months1.55%1.55%1.60%
60 Months1.90%1.90%2.00%

Money Market Account

The Money Market account at Golden 1 Credit Union is a traditional money market account. You can maximize your earnings with the flexibility of withdrawing your funds when you need them, without penalties.

  • Requires $2,500 minimum opening deposit
  • There is a $5 charge if the account falls below $2,500
  • Funds can be used for overdraft protection
$250,000.00& Over0.75%

Individual Retirement Account

IRAs are available to all members who are seeking to begin saving for their retirement. Golden 1 offers the Traditional and ROTH IRA, as well as two additional products that can be merged with your certificates and savings. The rates are as displayed under the Certificates. However, a 12-month IRA will earn you 0.90% up to $99,999.99 and then 0.95% for $100k+.

Contribution RequirementAnyone under age 70½ (for the entire tax year) with earned income from compensation may contribute.Your eligibility to contribute and how much is based on your tax filing status and income.
Opening Deposit
$25 for 12-month IRA
$25 for IRA Savings
$500 for all other IRA terms
$25 for 12-month IRA
$25 for IRA Savings
$500 for all other IRA terms
How much can you contribute?Max Contribution Per Tax Year:
$5,500 under age 50
$6,500 age 50 or older

$6,000 under age 50
$7,000 age 50 or older

Max Contribution Per Tax Year:
$5,500 under age 50
$6,500 age 50 or older

$6,000 under age 50
$7,000 age 50 or older

  • Earnings are tax deferred until withdrawn
  • Contributions may be tax-deductible if certain requirements are met
  • Earnings are tax-free if the account is open for five years and withdrawn for a qualified reason
  • You are not required to start withdrawals at age 70½
  • Contributions may be withdrawn tax-free and IRS penalty-free anytime
Required DistributionDistributions are required at age 70½Distributions are not required


At the Golden 1 Credit Union, you can also acquire various loan options:

  • Auto Loans which allows you to finance more than just a car but also, RVs, boats and other types of vehicles.
  • Home Loans provides assistance for a mortgage, refinancing and home equity loans.
  • Personal Loans are also available to you for any personal reason that does not require being attached to any material thing. If you are just in the needs of funds, you may apply for a personal loan.

Other Products

The Golden 1 Credit Union is not limited to the products and services mentioned above, they also offer investments accounts, estate accounts, credit cards and insurance protection. Whatever your financial need may be this credit union should be able to have you covered.

Banking Features

  • Wire Transfers: you can send and receive wire transfers domestically as well as internationally. Any representative can assist you with this and it can also be done over the phone.
  • Online banking: is made easy via their mobile app. You can deposit checks, see instant balances without logging in, as well as use popmoney which is a transfer service allowing you to email transfer funds.
  • Customer Service: Customer support is available at any branch location or 24/7 via their phone service. You can open a Golden account online with a few simple clicks.

About Golden 1 Credit Union

The Golden 1 Credit Union was founded in 1933 by a group of California state employees. It is the 2nd largest credit union in the state of California and ranks the 6th largest in the nation. It operates in over 70 locations within the state of California, employs over 1,500 full-time workers and almost 1 million members.

Contrary to other credit union, the Golden 1 credit Union allows anyone to become a member by simply joining the Financial Fitness Association. Additionally, if you work or live in the state of California or even work for one of the select 1,000 Select Employer Groups, you can join Golden 1 Credit Union.

As a full-service credit union, Golden 1 offers all its members a full line-up of products and services to suit their everyday need. From day-to-day banking products like checking and savings accounts to investment and estate accounts.

The Bottom Line

The Golden 1 Credit Union isn’t the best place to watch your money grow as they don’t offer high interest rates. So, if you’re looking for higher interest rates, another bank or credit union might be the better option.

However, Golden 1 has no fees and very low minimums and offers round the clock customer service making it a very convenient to bank with this credit union, even if you live out of state.