Golden 1 Credit Union Review

How does your bank stack up?

  • Financial Rates: 4.0 Star Icon
  • Customer Service: 5.0 Star Icon
  • Website Experience: 5.0 Star Icon
  • Bank Fees: 4.0 Star Icon


  • Variety of accounts offered
  • CDs offer competitive interest rates
  • Low opening required amounts
  • Freedom Checking Account for teens


  • Must become a member first
  • Cannot open all accounts online
  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Not competitive rates for most accounts

What You Need to Know

Golden 1 offers a wide variety of accounts. They offer free checking, interest-earning checking, and checking for students. They offer CDs, a money market, and a basic savings account. They also offer savings accounts for youth, the holidays, and big purchases. They also offer credit cards, investment options, insurances, and loans.

Golden 1 CDs offer good interest rates. The rates are higher than typical brick and mortar bank rates. They are slightly lower than other online accounts. A few of the CD terms do offer rates that are competitive with other online CDs.

Most Golden 1 Credit Union accounts have low opening required amounts. The opening amounts range from $1 to $100 depending on the account. Some accounts do not have a required amount. The CDs require $1,000 to open. The money market account does require $2,500 to open.

This checking account is set up specifically for students ages 16 and 17. To have this account, you must maintain a B average in school. Teens can have freedom of their own finances and learn to manage their money. There is no required amount or monthly fee. They offer online and mobile banking, and mobile deposit.

To open an account with Golden 1, you must first become a member. If you live or work in California, you qualify to be a member. Family members of other Golden 1 members also qualify. You can qualify if you belong to certain employee groups. If these options do not work, you can join the Financial Fitness Association to become a member.

Not all Golden 1 accounts can be opened online. Some accounts require visiting a local branch location to open. All the CDs and most of the savings accounts can be opened online.

The premier checking account and the money market account both have monthly fees. The fees are $5 each month. You can waive those fees by having a set amount in each of the accounts. The checking account requires $1,000, and the money market account requires $2,500.

Most accounts with Golden 1 do not offer competitive interest rates. The checking, savings, and money market account rates are not competitive with other online accounts. They are competitive with other brick and mortar rates.

Cool Things

Financial Wellness

Golden 1 offers a section dedicated to financial help. They offer online videos, webinars, and podcasts focusing on financial topics. Some of these topics include fraud, budgets, and finances for the different stages of life. Other topics include credit, savings for specific goals, and buying a home or car. They also offer a learning lab. This is an interactive digital education.


Golden 1 started in 1933 as California State Employees’ Credit Union #1. By 1952, the credit union had $1 million in assets, and by 1956, membership reached 13,000. By 1977, their assets had grown to $100 million, and the name was officially changed to Golden 1 Credit Union. By 2007, membership has passed 600,000 with over $5.4 billion in assets. They had over 74 branch locations across the state of California. In 2010, Golden 1 launched mobile banking.

Today Golden 1 has over 800,000 members, 1,600 employees, and over $11 billion in assets. They are the first state-chartered credit union to allow members to join for just living or working in California.

Awards and Recognition

  • Best Credit Union by Santa Barbara Magazine and others from 2010 to 2018
  • Best Credit Union for Teens and College Students by Nerdwallet in 2018
  • Best Cash Back Card for Groceries and Dining Out by Magnify Money in 2016

Giving Back

In 2018, Golden 1 donated $460,000 to organizations that support literacy and youth. There were 32 organizations that received money. Some of those organizations include Boys & Girls Clubs and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.

Golden 1 donated over $50,000 to 21 food banks in California. Since they started donating money to food banks, Golden 1 has donated more than $300,000.

In 2017, Golden 1 donated more than $900,000 to community efforts and organizations. That included scholarships and food banks. They also offered relief to those affected by the wildfires. Golden 1 pledged $1 million over the next three years to help homeless youth and young adults.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Golden 1 FDIC insured?

Yes. Golden 1 Credit Union is backed by the National Credit Union Association. The NCUA is an agency of the United States government. It protects funds deposited in credit unions, up to $250,000 per customer, per credit union. The money deposited in NCUA insured credit unions means money is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

How do I access my money?

Access your money through debit or ATM cards, checks, and electronic transfers. You can access your money through bill pay, Popmoney, or by visiting a local branch location.

Does Golden 1 offer mobile banking?

Yes. With the app, you can check account balances, pay bills, and deposit checks. You can pay other people with Popmoney through the app.

Is Golden 1 free?

Most accounts do not have monthly maintenance fees, but a few do. Those monthly fees are $5 a month. Waive the fees by keeping a set account balance.

Is Golden 1 a good credit union?

Golden 1 offers a wide variety of accounts once you become a member. The interest rates for CDs are competitive. The other interest rates are slightly higher than typical bank rates. Not all accounts can be opened online.

Is Golden 1 secure online?

Golden 1 offers security measures that comply with federal laws. Their computers have safeguards in place, and their files and buildings are secure. They keep your information secure and do not sell any personal information.

Does Golden 1 offer competitive interest rates?

Golden 1 CDs offer competitive interest rates. The rates are not as competitive as online CDs. The rates are more competitive than typical brick and mortar bank rates. Other Golden 1 accounts are not competitive with other online accounts.

Can I use Golden 1 for my business accounts?

No. Only personal deposit accounts are available through Golden 1 Credit Union.

How is Golden 1 online banking different from the online banking my bank offers?

You can apply for most accounts online once you become a member of the credit union. The interest rates are slightly higher than typical bank rates.

Do Golden 1 checking accounts pay interest?

Yes, but the checking account rates are not competitive with other online accounts. Account balances over $1,000 earn interest.

How do I reach customer service?

By email, mail, phone, or by visiting a local branch location.

Does Golden 1 offer bill pay?

Yes. Golden 1 offers free bill pay with their accounts.

Can I deposit cash?

Yes, at a local branch location.

How long do transfers take?

Deposits and transfers made during business hours are typically available the same day. Transfers made after business hours are available the next business day.

Can I sign up for direct deposit to Golden 1 accounts?

Yes. Signing up for direct deposit helps waive the monthly fees.

Credit Union Contact Information

Golden 1 Credit Union
P.O. Box 15249 Sacramento, CA 95851-0249

BankTruth works to have the most up-to-date information on our website. The listings that appear on our pages are from companies from which this website may receive compensation, which may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Even so, we work hard to review banks fairly and pass the information onto you, the consumer. Please be aware that we cannot guarantee bank services and promotional offers. If you find a mistake, please contact us.

Sponsored Offers

Advertiser Disclosure
Featured Offers