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All Contents © 2019The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Lisa Gerstner, Contributing Editor
| From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
Service members, who may have to move frequently and face sudden and extended deployments, value no-hassle accounts with friendly policies for those who do their banking around the country and the world.
Here's a look at our top bank picks for military personnel.
Open to current and former members of all military branches, Navy Federal Federal Credit Union has a strong mix of accounts. Active-duty personnel with a qualifying military direct deposit can use a free checking account that yields 0.05% interest and reimburses up to $20 per statement cycle in out-of-network ATM fees.
All of the credit union's checking accounts -- including one that yields up to 0.45% -- come with free checks and free transfers from a savings account to checking in case of an overdraft. The no-fee basic savings account yields 0.25%, and a free money market deposit account pays a rate of up to 0.55% (depending on the balance). Plus, Navy Federal offers the Go prepaid debit card, which has no monthly fee and is usable anywhere that accepts Visa debit cards. Both the prepaid card and standard debit cards from Navy charge a reasonable 1% fee on transactions abroad made in foreign currencies.
Navy Federal has 298 branches worldwide (often on or near military bases), including locations in 30 U.S. states. It also offers a host of military-specific resources and advice, such as free financial seminars around the U.S.
Andrews Federal Credit Union is centered in a few East Coast states and caters to the local military community, with branch locations on and near Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, in New Jersey. But anyone in the country can become a member by paying a $5 fee to join the American Consumer Council. The credit union offers a free, no-strings checking account (as well as an interest checking account that yields 0.1% on balances of $5,000 or more), plus a free savings account with a rate of 0.31% on balances of $100 or more. Members can use ATMs in the CO-OP network, with nearly 30,000 machines, free of charge, and Andrews doesn't charge a fee to customers who use out-of-network machines (ATM operator charges may apply). Andrews also offers a no-fee Visa prepaid debit card.
Especially for service members living in Europe, Andrews has some attractive features, including the ability to pay bills online in the local currency and branch locations at military installations in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
These stellar banks and credit unions are making all the right movies to win satisfied customers: