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Military Veterans and Family Members Now Eligible To Join Navy Fed


This week Navy Federal Credit Union made a nice change to their field of membership. Veterans of the Armed Forces who were honorably discharged are now eligible to join the credit union. Previous to this change, an active member, a retiree or annuitant of the Armed Forces were eligible to join, but someone with just a “veteran” status was not eligible.

You can see this change at Navy Fed’s eligibility page. In this page it leads you through a series of questions to determine eligibility. The first question now states:

Are you or have you ever been affiliated in any way with the Armed Forces, DoD, Coast Guard or National Guard? This includes Active Duty, reservists, veterans and retired personnel.

If you answer “yes” to this question, it then asks:

Are you currently Active Duty, Reserve or Guard for the DoD or Coast Guard?

If you answer “no” to this question, it then asks:

Are you an honorably discharged Veteran of the Armed Forces?

If you answer “yes” to this question, it then says you are eligible to join:

Congratulations! You're eligible for membership with Navy Federal.

Family Members of the Military Are Also Eligible

In addition to veterans, people with family members who at any time were affiliated with the military are eligible to join. However, this can’t be done online. You have to apply by phone or at a branch. This should make it easy for many more people to join. I think most people have at least one immediate family member who has served in the Armed Forces. Remember that immediate family members include grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, children and household members.

You can see this path to joining at Navy Fed’s eligibility page. by first answering “no” to the first question above. This leads you to the following question:

Do you have a family member who at any time was affiliated with the military? Family members include grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, children and household members.

If you answer “yes” to this question, it asks the following question:

Is your military-affiliated family member already a Navy Federal member?

If you answer “yes” to this, it says you’re eligible to join and gives you a “join now” button that allows you to join online. If you answer “no” to this, it says the following:

Please call 1-888-842-6328 or visit a branch for further assistance.

I called that number, and I confirmed that if your immediate family member had ever been in the military (even if they’re now deceased), you are eligible to join. You just have to apply by phone or at a branch. It can’t be done online. I asked if there was any documentation Navy Fed might need to indicate that your family member was in the military. The CSR stated that you might need to provide a DD 214 form which is issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces.

Thanks to DA member itserich for posting on this news in the DA forum.

The Backdoor to Membership

UPDATE 5/15/17: Navy Federal Credit Union has removed this backdoor. Joining the Navy League, San Diego Council will no longer qualify you for Navy Federal membership.

If you’re not a veteran and if you don’t have an immediate family member who has ever served in the Armed Forces, the backdoor to Navy Fed membership appears to still be available. Please refer to this blog post for the details.

Hot CD Deal Is Still Available

Navy Fed’s CD special is still available as of 2/9/2017. This CD special has a 2.00% APY for a 17-month term. It also allows add-on deposits. The only downside is that the maximum balance allowed is $50,000. Please refer to this blog post for the details.

  |     |   Comment #1
Two $50,000 CDs can be opened. One taxable, one IRA.

This offer, including the stated Annual Percentage Yield (APY), is effective December 5, 2016. Navy Federal reserves the right to end or modify this offer at any time. Members can open a limited number of Special 17-Month Certificates; one share certificate and one IRA certificate. Each Special 17-Month Certificate has a $50 minimum and a $50,000 maximum balance. Additional deposits are allowed at any time, subject to the maximum balance. Penalties apply for early withdrawals from certificates.

  |     |   Comment #2
Very informative thank you! Though I'm not interested in any of their products at the moment, I think I will join just to begin the relationship.
  |     |   Comment #3
I wonder if they require proof or have any way of verifying ?

Im a member of Penfed, isn't that good enough ?
  |     |   Comment #5
RJM, the NFCU web-page has "am I eligible" buttons. The first asks "were you ever affiliated with the military?' Push yes. The second button asks if you are currently active or active reserve. Push "no". The final button asks if you are a veteran. Push "yes". You will see the "congratulations, you're eligible" message.

Then you go to the application page. I did not dive deeper than the first page, but it would not appear a DD 214 is required.

As a bit of trivia, the application page does require your SSN. After 1970, the uniformed services adopted the SSN as a "universal identifier", Before that, one had a "service number".
  |     |   Comment #7
You answered my question about the necessary DD214. Thanks....Mine is still in mint condition from the day I received it back in 12/1981. For us veterans, this form is sacrosanct. Most government jobs give veterans that so-called edge over civilians who didn't serve, but they do obligate us to provide proof. Back to NFCU, I'm glad to know I've got options in terms of credit unions I might want to join. For me, the big/major banks simply do not fit that bill anymore.
  |     |   Comment #8
Gaelicwench, the mere fact one knows what a DD 214 is, much less why it's important, generally signifies status as a veteran.
  |     |   Comment #14
Here's an off-topic cranky old veteran post, if I might be permitted. Go to YouTube and check out the United States Marine Corps Band videos. Take a really, really, close look at the medals. Each has what we used to call "alive in '65". Only Vietnam-era vets will appreciate.

Back in 1965, LBJ decided everybody in uniform needed a little color on their dress uniforms, so the DoD invented the National Service Medal, awarded to all in uniform in 1965 or thereafter.
  |     |   Comment #15
Moving right along, the DoD also introduced a medal for hitting a target 50 feet away and another for being assigned to a ship. I assume there is now a medal for being able to play the French horn.
  |     |   Comment #4
my dad volunteered for the army in 1942 as did many of his contemporaries.. there was a world war to fight .. he only lasted a month till they discovered he was wearing contacts and had bad eyes ...was given an honorable discharge ..maybe I can join this fcu ...
  |     |   Comment #6
Decades, I suggest you give NFCU a call. I mean, gosh golly, if George H.W. Bush applied today, I suspect his application would be approved. And so would Barbara Bush's, and their son, George W. Probably even grandchildren.
  |     |   Comment #42
Did you only now pick up on that? What took you so long?
  |     |   Comment #9
Before people rush to join Navy, some reality: There ARE reasons to join Navy, but you need to be careful what kind of accounts you have with them.

They are a terrible institution to have for your main banking institution. You will regret it later if you have your main checking account or loans there. I won't go into detail here (read many of the reviews of Navy here at DA for many of their problems), but in a nutshell, their entire banking system is backwards, problems (that can only be "fixed" by the head office) occur constantly, and their policies are very bad for the member compared to other credit unions.

That said, there ARE reasons to join if you're careful what kind of accounts you have at Navy -- namely, CDs and Credit Cards. For these two products, Navy can often be better than other CUs -- but be aware of problems and messups when opening accounts, assigning beneficiaries, etc.

For CDs: (1) They occasionally offer very good CD specials and rates. (2) On their IRA CDs (IRA CDs only) you can make additional deposits (up to your allowed yearly contribution) during certain months of the year, even though it's a CD. (3) Even in a normal (locked) CD, you can take out any amount of the interest that you've earned so far penalty-free. (4) The early withdrawal penalty on CDs 5 Years or less is 180 days, very mild (it's more for CDs over 5 years).

And for credit cards: they offer some good product. For the cheapest, fee-free card, the best is actually from PenFed, NOT Navy (PenFed's PROMISE Visa), but Navy does offer some very good no-foreign-transaction-fee cards, such as their NavyFed CashBack Rewards Visa, where you get 1.5% cash back on EVERYTHING you buy across the board (all categories), and as soon as the charges post, the cashback is available for you to either put in your savings account or pay back a little of your bill.

But again, you are just asking for trouble if you decide on a checking account or loan with them. Other people may disagree, but this is years of experience with Navy talking, and they haven't improved at all (please research the good and bad about them by looking at their reviews here). So like with anything, it may be more convenient to have everything in one place, but it's not always smarter. Navy is terrible as your "main bank" but has some very appealing offerings in their CDs and credit card lineups. Hope this helps some new people considering Navy.
  |     |   Comment #10
Higgens91, good points. I suspect many DA readers have more than one account, and it would be hard to classify any bank or credit union as one's "main institution". For example, most of our family's funds flow into (and out of) Union Bank, because we get free checking. On the other hand, our largest "cash stash" is with Alliant, with a close runner-up being USAA. Point being, I select a financial institution for what it offers. I seldom "default" to that institution for all my needs.
  |     |   Comment #12
I got a checking account to go with the promo CD, something I've not done before, because of a Navy quirk that I learned of from reviews on this site. (Thank you DA reviewers!) Navy prohibits withdrawals from savings accounts by ACH, my preferred way of extracting funds at maturity. The disclosure booklet that arrived a couple weeks after I became a member confirmed this on page 7: “Please Note: Savings accounts may only receive ACH credits. Checking accounts may receive ACH credits and debits …"
  |     |   Comment #11
Can another bank or credit union initiate an ACH transfer to take funds from your checking account at Navy Fed Credit Union?
  |     |   Comment #13
#11, yes, you can pull funds from checking or money market accounts, not savings though. See my comment above (#12).
  |     |   Comment #16
Double cashback/reward points (with NFCU credit cards) for Warehouse Clubs till the end of 2017 is a great motivation to join NFCU now.
  |     |   Comment #17
I don't particularly like what happened to PenFed when it diluted it's membership field and I expect the same to occur with Navy Federal Credit Union as it loosens its membership requirements. It may not matter soon anyway as this Congress may clampdown on those credit unions who act more like large banks than credit unions that serve a particular membership field in a local area, as intended in their original charters.
  |     |   Comment #18
Geez, Shorebreak, - you say you "don't particularly like what happened to PenFed when it diluted it's membership field" and "expect the same to occur with Navy Federal Credit Union as it loosens its membership requirements" but don't say what that is. Are you talking to the rest of us here, or just yourself (in which case you're already privy)?

Again, Congress may do anything (or nothing) in regards to a "clampdown" on the scope of credit union membership, but only some reasoning as to why you might presently expect that would allow us to evaluate the assertion.
  |     |   Comment #19
BTW, for Congress to remove all limits on proprietary trading from banking institutions (trading unlikely to be "intended in their original charters") as seems imminently likely, and yet be concerned at the same time that credit unions adhere more stringently to their own original charters, would seem a curious inconsistency, - though when was inconsistency a barrier to Congressional action?
  |     |   Comment #20
I don't see how it matters unless they start handing out loans to people who shouldn't qualify.

I have an issue with a local credit union that I am a member of that spends excessively on advertising when nearly everyone in the area has heard of them 5+ years ago.

But, I don't have much say in the matter.

I could close my account I guess and I probably will because I don't really need them.

They used to have a 3% rewards checking but now its only 2% and Ive determined its just not worth the extra work for the extra 1%.
  |     |   Comment #21
For some (especially bankers) it matters that credit unions are allowed to operate as de facto banks with no restrictions and yet preserve their nonprofit status and exemption from any tax liability. It's considered an unfair advantage that enables the relatively lower loan rates and higher deposit rates frequently offered by credit unions.

Don't get your logic in regards to excessive advertising "when nearly everyone in the area has heard of them 5+ years ago". One can have heard of a Financial Institution (i.e. credit union) but not be aware of current rates and products (and promotions) which might entice the non-participating to consider membership and continuing members to expand their business, - not to mention any influx of new residents who may not have heard of it.

In any case you do have a vote in board of director elections to express any displeasures with current policy, - and why close an existing RCA when that 2% could become 3% again?

You talk as if your whole little bubble (and everything inside it) is a completely static entity.
  |     |   Comment #22
You talk as if everyone who comes here is a banker crying about credit unions.
  |     |   Comment #23
I am a veteran so I joined online for the ONLINE17 $25 bonus. I made the initial deposit $5 for the share account and it appears to have gone through. I tried to open the 17 month CD but it appears that I'm unable to transfer money from my external account. Then I get a call and email from them saying I need to call them to "finalize" my account set up. So I try to call and only get a voicemail box every time been playing phone tag ever since. Anyone else getting this? Don't their reps answer the phone over there?
  |     |   Comment #24
Dave, I joined a month ago using the paper app, and found them very accessible. Perhaps the recent expansion of eligibility combined with bonus offer is stressing member services. If you've not already done so, try calling the CD department directly. Assuming you've already got your "access #," they can get CD opened and funded right away using Speedpay. Note that the external account must be a checking one. I called that department just days ago to add money to my CD.
  |     |   Comment #25
in addition to calling on the phone, another option is to do ach transfer from external bank or cu to your navy share account. then you can do add-on to cd online from your share account. actually i opened my cd and did add-ons, all online. although the add-on may not show in the cd until the next day, it transfers out of the share account when you do it, so i think it all happens on the same day. this may??? work with savings account, but due to the non-withdrawal issue from savings account, i did ach to checking account (from external savings account). i also have found navy reps very accessible by phone, but i did join before the $25 bonus.
  |     |   Comment #26
Update: I'm told Speedpay dept. has a backlog. Money may come in right away to Savings but it's now taking dept. a few days to execute transfer to CD, at which point credit will be backdated to time of your call. I saw money sitting in Savings but could not do transfer on my own. Rep said they've got bugs in system that inhibit member-initiated transfers to that CD.
  |     |   Comment #27
How something with the name "speedpay" have a backlog? Financial problems on the horizon? And the float is...?
  |     |   Comment #28
Speedway is their ACH-like dept. The backlog refers to their manual processing following receipt. Member loses nothing. You get credit for the money on the date that you call, not when money is received. I'm calling it "ACH-like" because it's better than the ACH capabilities they extend to members.
  |     |   Comment #29
Thanks...but why aren't "sufficient" resources being brought to the party? That is/was what I was referring to. If "things" aren't going "right," then something isn't right!
  |     |   Comment #30
No need for any CU to hire more resources and create higher operating costs just to satisfy an influx of rate chasers? Since their field of eligibility has recently expanded dramatically, a little more time and patience is all that is required for potential new members.

All the federal regulations and requirements also play a part in bogging down the new membership application approval process.
  |     |   Comment #31
I just called the regular customer service dept. and got it all straightened out. It seems that you can only do a ACH push to the share account from a third party bank. Then once the funds are in the share account you can then open the CD online. Alternatively you can call and open the CD with funds from a third party bank. Once the CD is open you have to push money in from another bank into the share account and then add it to the CD. They said they only allow funds to be transferred from a third party bank from their website if you have a loan with them. The checking account rules may be different this is for the share account. Strange ACH rules with NFCU.
  |     |   Comment #32
Yes, NFCU is full of quirks, I'm learning. One is the limited ACH capabilities they extend members. I was not able to pull in money from external bank using my NFCU checking either. According to agreement, we'll at least be able to do an ACH withdrawal from NFCU checking using external bank. That's not permitted with savings account, something to keep in mind for CD maturity.
  |     |   Comment #33
Thanks for the information Sylvia. So how do I get the money back out? I suppose a ACH pull from another bank or do I have to wait for a check in the snail mail? I can't believe you can't ACH into a checking account that seems very archaic for 2017. Another strange quirk is that there is an inactivity fee if you don't keep $50 in the share account. This assumes you have no checking or active CD with them. They actually have very low and very few fees which is good. Maybe they limit ACH usage as a way to keep the fees low?
  |     |   Comment #34
Oh wait so I will have to open a checking account with them in order to ACH out when the CD term expires? I was trying to avoid that as I have so many bank accounts to manage already as do many DA readers.
  |     |   Comment #35
Dave, I opened a checking account solely for ease of getting money back out. You can't make ACH withdrawals from saving account, period, either as a push out or pull from external bank. When you receive disclosure booklet, check page 7. ("Savings accounts may only receive ACH credits.") Another DA reader reported attempting an ACH withdrawal through pulling from outside only to have NFCU promptly reverse transaction. As for the inactivity fee, you can avoid that with CD.
  |     |   Comment #36
You dont have to open checking until just before CD matures and close if done with NFCU
  |     |   Comment #37
I opened it upon joining to avoid additional hard credit pull.
  |     |   Comment #38
navy ach transfer information is also online at
  |     |   Comment #39
I just called and was told that my family member who is a veteran must join NFCU before I can join as an eligible family member. Has anyone else been told this?
  |     |   Comment #40
From eligibility page: "If you have an immediate family member who has joined or one who is eligible to join, you can become a Navy Federal member.” Your rep could be misinformed. You can live chat for another view. Alternatively, you can call again or visit a branch, if one is close by.
  |     |   Comment #52
Was thinking of joining but reading comments ......don't know. My dad spent 27 years in the service but knowing the problems and red tape , maybe not a good idea.

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