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Unread 07-06-2010, 08:11 PM
 
185 posts, read 99,086 times
Reputation: 182
Post Arizona Federal Credit Union vs. Desert Schools Federal Credit Union

Hi everyone,
I will be moving to Arizona (Phoenix area) very soon. I would like to bank at a Credit Union. Which one do you recommend - Arizona Federal CU or Desert Schools Federal US? Would you mind telling me your reason as to why you think one is better than the other?

Things I'm looking for:
Convenience of ATMs around the Tempe (Arizona State University) area
Good rates on Savings and Checking accounts
Rollover IRA possibility
Integrity and friendly & reliable service

Thanks!
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Unread 07-06-2010, 10:28 PM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
12,997 posts, read 14,374,293 times
Reputation: 5468
Desert Schools has WAY more branches, but some CUs let you use one another's ATMs without fee. Savings acct interest is low everywhere. Fees on DSFCU checking accounts (they are not interest bearing) are OK. Generally, I've been happy with DSFCU over a 24 year period.
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Unread 07-06-2010, 10:49 PM
 
1,145 posts, read 1,517,579 times
Reputation: 723
I've been a member of Desert Schools since I went to ASU several years ago, and never had a problem. They have a large branch at Broadway and Dorsey in Tempe, and several others all over the valley including in grocery stores. I think I have two within a 5-10 minute drive of where I live in Chandler. I did not like the fact that they did away with their credit card several years ago, making me have an account with someone else that they shipped it off to, only to offer credit cards again several years later and ask me why I didn't have one. I can't speak about the other place, because I have never banked there.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:26 AM
 
185 posts, read 99,086 times
Reputation: 182
Thanks to the both of you for your thorough responses
Have either of you experienced any added fees or unexpected fees to the accounts? I've heard stories about a monthly $10 fee being tacked on to savings or checking. How true is this?
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:30 AM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
12,997 posts, read 14,374,293 times
Reputation: 5468
I pay a monthly fee on my checking account of $7. I don't know what other options I might have with a higher balance maintained.

There are few places with truly "free" checking any more. All banks and CU's have fees for various things, it seems.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:38 AM
 
1,145 posts, read 1,517,579 times
Reputation: 723
I think you only have to pay the fee if your account dips below $500, but I'm not positive, maybe it's more. I know that I have never been charged the fee in the checking that I have. You can go to their website and view the different choices they offer. I have a regular savings account (required), money market savings (earning 0.2%, I think), and checking. For my cash on hand that I want to earn anything, I use ING Direct. For IRA Rollovers/mutual funds, we use Vanguard and Fidelity, and it's incredibly easy to open an account with them. I don't have any experience using Des Schools for that. I did have a mortgage with them, and their rates seemed to be as good as you could get, but I did a re-fi in 2009, and the best they could offer was 5.0%, while a bank offered me 4.75, so I went with the bank. I guess I would say I'm not a harcore fan of Desert Schools, but they are as good or better than most other options.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:42 AM
 
114 posts, read 209,189 times
Reputation: 58
I've used both, now I'm w/ DSFCU. My dad's still w/ AZFCU, I've noticed they've closed many (most or all?) Of their store branches. That's a major inconvinience, because they didn't have many independent branches to begin with.
Currently I don't pay any fees to have my acct @ DSFCU.
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Unread 07-08-2010, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
40 posts, read 76,657 times
Reputation: 35
Desert Schools is great. Very little fees and branches everywhere. They have very good fraud monitoring too. Since leaving Phoenix we have lived in Colorado and Pennsylvania, and I've still kept Desert Schools as our Primary Checking accounts.
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Unread 07-08-2010, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Arizona
799 posts, read 1,309,348 times
Reputation: 523
I have used DSFCU for 8 years, and they are mostly fine. Plenty of branches. But I have always used a credit union to avoid banking fees. Desert Schools is definitely getting a bit fee-happy lately. Based on a recent mailer, there will be a $5-monthly checking fee charge unless you complete 3 non-PIN Visa check card transactions per month.

I simply do not use that method of paying for things. I use the PIN function for Costco gasoline (they do not accept Visa), but otherwise avoid any plastic except for a normal credit card for online purchases.

I guess that members using basic services are expected to repay the millions in losses on bad loans that DSFCU was still making as late as 2007.
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Unread 07-08-2010, 10:37 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,748 times
Reputation: 13
They are both pretty good. I think Desert Schools is more bank-like in terms of their fees and Arizona Federal is more member-friendly like a "true" credit union. Really, most of the credit unions in Arizona are pretty good places to bank.
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