Desert Schools Federal Credit Union

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Desert Schools Federal Credit Union in Arizona ~ Where You Belong!

Feb 24, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:great customer service, no wait for visa debit card, money applied immediately

Cons:only in Pinal, Gila and Maricopa Counties, branches are limited throughout the state

The Bottom Line: Desert Schools Federal Credit Union is a great place to be a member as well as owner of your money if you live in Arizona.


~What Brought Me to Desert Schools Federal Credit Union?~

I was a member of Compass Bank and was extremely unhappy about the way I was treated as a customer. There were other issues as well but in any case, I was looking for another place to hold my money. My fiance who works at Whole Foods Market Place in Paradise Valley had direct deposit through Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. Neither of us quite understood the basics of what you needed to become a member of a Credit Union. However we were both very unhappy in the current situation at our current bank.

One afternoon when the mail came, I noticed a letter addressed to me from Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. On that same day I had also received an email from them as well. I was confused about the letter stating that I needed to come in and bring funds to complete the transaction of opening my account. It turned out that the day before my fiance had taken the time to fill out applications on the internet for new accounts for each of us at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.


~Opening My Account~

In order to open an account with Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, you need twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for a checking account as well as twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for a savings account. It brings a total of just fifty dollars ($50.00) which is actually less than many Arizona banks that require just one hundred dollars ($100.00) to open a checking account alone.

There are three different approaches to becoming a member of Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. As I spoke of earlier, you can apply over the internet for membership. You may call their telephone number {(602) 433-7000 } between 8:00am-7:00pm Monday through Friday or on Saturday from 9:00am-1:00pm. You may also go into an actual location.

You will be required to bring a driver's license (photo identification), social security card, proof of eligibility, and finally cash or check for $55.00. There is a five dollar one time membership fee. However when I opened up my account I was not asked for the fee.

Since my fiance had signed me over the internet, I took the letter in with me to the receptionist. The gentleman asked me to wait in a nice waiting area. It was clean and well kept. After about five minutes he told me that he would be setting up my account and we went and sat down at a desk. He was extremely courteous throughout his presentation of what Desert Schools Federal Credit Union had to offer. I received a packet with all of my paperwork in a nice folder.

What impressed me the most about the entire transaction was at the end, I was given my Visa Debit Card right there. I didn't have to wait until the mail came and I could use it right away.

I knew instantly that this bank knew what it was doing and their procedure was impeccable compared to their competition. It took about fifteen minutes to set up my account, receive my Visa Debit Card and be on my way.

~Customer Service while Banking~

I have never stood in line longer than ten minutes at my branch at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. There are always at least four bank representatives to help you when you are there to do any business. The best part about this bank is that when you make a deposit, the money is automatically ready and processed towards your balance. You don't have a waiting period for a check to clear.

This may sound ridiculous to some, but my former bank, Compass Bank, actually didn't even put cash deposits towards your account until the next business day. I was told that they didn't think you would need the cash if you were deposting it into your account. I have had no problems with Desert Schools Federal Credit Union when it comes to withdrawing money or depositing money whether checks or cash.

Unlike other banks, there are large (about half the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper) slips that show everything from your withdrawal/deposit, time, date, etc. It is very clear cut and it includes all of my accounts on one piece of paper.

There is also a convenient change machine that you can use in the lobby to count up those pennies in that jar you have been saving. I believe they charge 2% for the transaction but to me it is easier than rolling coins.

The people that work there are very pleasant. The receptionist always greets me when I walk in and the customer representative for my transaction is also a pleasure to deal with. They are always attentive and helpful with any questions that I have had in the past.

The hours are great as well. Monday through Friday, they are open from 9:00am - 6:00pm for those that may work late. On Saturday they are open from 9:00am - 1:00pm. Saturdays do tend to be on the busier side but the most I have waited is ten minutes as I stated previously.

~Banking over the Internet on Epal~

When I initially joined Desert Schools Federal Credit Union the website that they currently had was easy to use. However, it was not the most modern look so since then they have updated everything. I have DSL for my internet use and the pages load very quickly. On my fiance's computer we have dial up access and it loads a little slower but not at an unusually longer pace.

The website is very user friendly. The main sources of tools that people would use are the following categories:

1)Savings
2)Checking and Cards
3)Home Loans
4)Loans
5)Service and Tools
6)Resource Center

At the top left hand corner is your Epal online banking log in display. It is here that you would log in to your account with your account number and password that you would have chosen when you first set up your account at the bank. After logging in, there will be a list of all of your accounts with the balances in them. You can click on the account to see the breakdown of use, such as your checking account.

An important note for me is whether or not when I use my Visa Debit Card it shows up in my account right away. I have had problems with this in the past with other banks especially when it comes to buying gas at the pump. However, this is never an issue for me with Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. All of my transactions are listed right away and my current balance always matches up with my checkbook.

Speaking of checks... The first order that you place for checks is through the bank itself. You must go in and actually order them in person. I received mine 2 days later which was a quick turn around in my opinion. The cost is only ten dollars ($10.00) for 150 checks. They also include name stamps with your address on them for when you may mail out a bill. It is just another convenience that they offer free of charge.

If you are in need of checks and can't wait for them to get to your house, they will give you up to at least three (3) checks free of charge. For those of you that may need a Money Order and don't want to go through the hassle of getting to your local grocery store to purchase one, they are only a dollar ($1.00). At most banks they are normally about three dollars ($3.00) at least some banks in Arizona.

You can use Epal for Bill Paying as well. There isn't a monthly charge that I have incurred and it is safe to use. I have had no difficulty setting it up nor using it in any way. If you get direct deposit and Estatements (statements over the internet rather than paper through the regular mail) there isn't a charge. I have been able to set up recurring payments as well as payments up to a year later. For me it is like having a checkbook on the internet in a safe place.

You can also transfer funds between your accounts with Epal. Your funds will be available immediately in the account that you transfer them to. There is not a charge for this. it is quite handy for putting money away in your Savings Account without having to leave the comfort of your home.

Epal is very user friendly and an excellent asset for Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.It doesn't take time to load or switch from page to page. I have never had a log in issue. I also even have a choice of what color my screen is when I look at my accounts. They make banking over the internet fun for me.


~My One Personal Issue with Loans~

Recently I was looking to purchase a new computer. I looked at financing it through a store but also looked at my bank. There was a special "Computer Loan Program" that is set up through the bank with a lower interest rate. Instead of going to the branch I use, I decided on a Saturday morning to call in and do everything over the telephone. The process was smooth. The initial customer service representative that I spoke with was very helpful and informative.

Later that morning I had some questions regarding my loan and called the bank back. I ended up getting a customer service representative that was rude. I was very surprised. Several days later I received a survey in the mail regarding my experience with the loan process. I filled it out and sent it back with the issue I had during my second conversation. A couple of days later, the Manager of the Loan Department called me to discuss the matter. I was very pleased with the outcome and I was also impressed with the attention to detail for every customer.

There are various loans that you can get through Desert Schools Federal Credit Union which are all found on their website:

http://www.desertschools.org/dsfcu/ds/home/


~Automobile Insurance~

When I was looking through the Desert Schools Federal Credit Union website, I noticed that they offered Autmobile Insurance. I asked my fiance to give them a call and look into it. I was interested to see if we were able to get a lower rate rather than stick with State Farm Insurance. We had an issue come up with them and were looking around for other possibilities.

By going over everything over the phone, we were able to set up Automobile Insurance through Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. We ended up saving over forty-five dollars ($45.00) a month on our insurance. I was extremely pleased. We didn't have to visit a branch and everything was done through the mail, faxing, and telephone. The insurance that is provided is Progressive which is a major carrier for many people nationwide.


~The Breakdown of Different Options for Accounts~

~Savings Account Information~
For a savings account you receive a rate of 1.00% and APY (Annual Percentage Yield) of 1.00%. For IRA Savings Accounts there is not a minimum deposit balance nor a minimum balance to earn APY. The rate is 1.49% and the APY is 1.50%.

~Checking Account Information~
As for a Checking Account, you have three choices:
1) The most common and the one that I currently have is called "Advantage Plus Checking" with a zero (0) minimum deposit balance and zero (0) minimum balance to earn APY. The rate is .75% and the APY is .75%.
2) The second choice is "Advantage Checking' which includes a minimum balance of five hundred dollars ($500.00) and in order to earn APY the minimum balance must be at least one thousand dollars($1000.00). The rate is .50% and APY is .50%.
3) Lastly there is "Premier Checking" which carries at least five thousand dollars ($5000.00) and there is not a minimum balance to earn APY. The rate is 1.00% and APY is 1.00%.

~Money Market Accounts~

There are three Money Market Accounts:
1) Money Market Savings
2) Money Market Plus Checking
3) Premier Money Market Checking

If you would like more information on the Money Market Accounts I would suggest contacting Desert Schools Federal Credit Union through phone, branch or website. It is rather confusing to go over in a review. I believe the rates are fair though and competitive with other banks in our area.


~Overall Thoughts and Impressions~

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union is a great, safe place to do your banking. Credit Unions were designed (at least this one) where you are not only a member but also considered an owner. I feel as if I am part of the bank and I am held with the highest regard when I am doing transactions whether over the phone, internet or in person. I have banked with Compass Bank, Chase Bank One, and Bank of America. I have found that Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has been the best in customer service, rates, loans, and internet interaction.

I highly recommend looking into putting your money at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. You will not regret your choice. The only drawback is you have to live in Pinal, Gila or Maricopa County in Arizona. It will be worth your time and I know you will be happy that you chose the right bank for all of your needs. As their slogan says, "Desert Schools Federal Credit Union" is Where You Belong.




Thanks for Reading!


copyright kparsons13 2006




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