Banking Review: First Tech Federal Credit Union

The days when you went to your local bank, deposited your work check and said hello to the friendly teller who knew everyone by their last name are few and far between.

For better or worse, many of the “Traditional Banking” customs are few and far between.

Just like how grabbing breakfast at the local greasy diner seems to be a rarity anymore, like everything, banking has changed with the presence of the internet.

And the pioneers of online banking? That would be First Tech Federal Credit Union, commonly known as “Firsttechfed.”

Here is the Money Life Wax banking review of First Tech Federal Credit Union!

The History of First Tech Federal Credit Union:

First Tech Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 in Hillsboro, Oregon and as of 2014, the bank had 40 locations all in the western United States.

Commonly referred to as First Tech or “Firsttechfed,” the banking institution was chartered by seven founding members and its original name was Tektronix Federal Credit Union.

With an emphasis on the technology sector, First Tech went through several name changes, including a change in 1986 to First Technology Credit Union. The name was later shortened to First Tech Credit Union and the bank has always been at the forefront of technology.

Firsttechfed was the first bank to offer online banking in 1989. While imagining a world with no online banking might seem scary, because of their progress in the banking world, they were able to land Microsoft as a First Tech member in 1992.

As one of the largest accredited banking institutions in the Pacific Northwest, March 2010 marked the announcement that First Tech Credit Union would merge with California-based Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union, which (at the time) served the employees of Hewlett Packard Company.

The merger resulted in the present-day name First Tech Federal Credit Union! Which leads to this question:

What does First Tech Fed offer?

Similar to traditional credit unions such as Navy Federal Credit Union or Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Firsttechfed doesn't just have a cool nickname, it offers banking services for its members.

  1. Checking
  2. Savings
  3. Certificates
  4. Loans: Home, Auto, Student Loan Refinancing

Here is a quick run down and rating for First Tech's checking, savings, and certificate programs:

Checking: 8.5/10

First Tech Fed's hassle-free checking scores an 8.5 out of 10, largely due to its:

  • Zero monthly maintenance fee
  • Minimum opening balance of just a penny, and
  • A dividend rate of 2% on accounts of less than $15,000 compounded & credited monthly
first tech fed checking
Pros Cons
-Zero maintenance fees
-2% monthly dividend return
-Purchase requirements to earn 2%
-Large balances, just .20%

See more about First Tech Federal Credit Union's checking offers here.

Savings: 6/10

Online banking has made shopping around for savings rates easier, faster and hassle-free. Additionally, with some online-only banks such as Ally, banking institutions can offer a higher savings rate annually!

Firsttechfed offers savings of up to 1.2% for their “Instant Access Savings” program. However, their carefree and membership savings programs earn significantly less each year.

With the competition out there allowing savers to earn over 2%, First Tech's score is just 6/10.

firsttechfed savings
Banking Review: First Tech Federal Credit Union 7
-No minimum
-Divdends paid out monthly
-Lower APY then most online banks
-Can shop better rates elsewhere

See more about First Tech Federal Credit Union's savings offers here.

Share Certificates: 7/10

First Tech offers share certificates which provide savings alternatives if you are someone who:

  • Prefers a more hands-off savings approach
  • Have at least $500 to save and won't need in 6-60 months
  • Want a less risky investing alternative
firsttechfed certificates
Banking Review: First Tech Federal Credit Union 8
-Flexible term rates (6 – 60 months)-Minimum deposit required

See more about First Tech Federal Credit Union's certificate options here.

How to become a firsttechfed member 101.

Navy Federal Credit Union has a great reputation, but unless you're military or related to someone who was or is military, you can't join.

However, First Tech makes it simple to join their credit union, and the process is straightforward. Here is how to become a member of firsttechfed:

  1. Work for the state of Oregon or a qualifying high-tech or telecom company (First Tech loves tech companies)
  2. Have a relative who is already a First Tech Fed member.
  3. Pay $8 to join a non-profit, Financial Fitness Association, thus allowing you to join First Tech Federal as a member.
  4. Check out their partner list here.

Similar to how PenFed let's prospective members pay a small fee to an approved partner nonprofit, firsttechfed lets prospective members do the same. Larger national credit unions don't typically provide this option!

Pros and cons of a First Tech Federal Credit Union membership

– Online membership anywhere
– Easy membership process
– Good cusomter service reviews
– Only 40 physical locations
– Limited rates on certain products
– Savings products

To inquire about becoming a First Tech member, use this link.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Locations

Primarily located on the west coast, First Tech has forty physical branches spanning across the United States. To find your nearest First Tech branch location, simply visit First Tech's branch Finder.

You can also search for “First Teach Branch Near Me”

Use this link: First Tech Fed Branch Locations

How to login into your First Tech Credit Union account:

To login to your First Tech Fed account, the process is similar to any other online banking account you might have:

  1. Visit First Tech's login page.
  2. Make sure you have your username and password handy
  3. If you're not a member be sure to follow the steps to first become a member.
first tech login

What is the routing number for First Tech Federal Credit Union?

If you happen to be looking for the firsttechfed routing number here it is:

First Tech Fed's ABA routing number is 321180379.

Now, keep in mind, that routing numbers are super important, and whether you need to find your First Tech Fed routing number or any routing number for that matter, here are a few tips to help you:

Where to find your “Firsttechfed” routing number:

Like all banks, Firsttechfed has a routing number for wire transactions and online banking. Luckily, they have just one number – unlike some banks who have many routing numbers:

You will need your routing number to wire money to other banks, enroll in direct deposit, use online bill pay for your accounts and send money overseas.

Related Banking Reviews:

First Tech Federal's App Review

How does the First Tech Federal app stack up when compared to the rest?

Well considering First Tech was the pioneer of online banking and they foster most of their banking relationships with tech companies, one would think they have a strong mobile platform.

And for the most part, they do!

According to reviews on both the Google store and Apple store, the First Tech Federal Credit Union's app consistently rates around a 4.7 out of five stars. Just see for yourself (As of October 2019):

app review first tech
Banking Review: First Tech Federal Credit Union 9

For the most part, the ratings speak for themselves and everything you need to do when it comes to traditional banking…

  • Transfer funds…
  • Make mobile deposits…
  • Pay bills…
  • Check account statuses…

It can be done with your First Tech Fed app. Cool features include:

  • Zelle – transfer funds faster. You can send money with your First Tech account and just another person's email or cell phone number.
  • Card Management: From the firsttechfed website, if you temporarily lock your card, need to order a replacement card, or you want to check your rewards balance and see if you have enough points for that next trip, you can do it with their card management features.

My take: Firsttechfed Review

First Tech Federal or Firsttechfed is a strong option to consider if you live on the west coast and you're looking for a high-interest checking account.

At the end of the day, whether you decide to bank with First Tech Federal or another bank, just make sure to always go with credit unions when possible.

While large branch banks might be easier to access physically, credit unions have many perks that banks like PNC and Chase simply don't offer.

From $0 checking accounts and $.01 minimums to open accounts like First Tech Fed, what I found when conducting this review (And others like Penfed) is that credit unions will do the most for your money.

While credit unions might not always have the best products or as many possible products, for the most part, they get the job done better when it comes to your traditional banking needs!

Question: Have you used First Teach Federal Credit Union before? What did you think?

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Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.