Ever heard of NCUA insurance? Learn how your deposits are credit unions are protected up to $250,000 (2024)

You may not have given much thought to the financial security of your bank, but recent high-profile bank closures have brought this serious issue to light. So far in 2023, four banks have closed—Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, First Republic Bank and Heartland Tri-State Bank—making more people concerned about how their money is protected.

You likely know that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank deposits, but what if you use a credit union? Don’t worry—your money is still insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an independent federal agency regulating credit unions. And the best news is that FDIC and NCUA insurance protect your hard-earned cash the same way and up to the same limits.

What is NCUA insurance?

The NCUA is a federal agency that insures credit union deposits and protects members. The organization also enforces regulations impacting approximately 4,700 federally insured credit unions in the U.S.

NCUA insurance backs all deposit accounts at credit unions. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) is the actual name of the insurance program for member deposits in federally insured credit unions, but it’s commonly referred to as NCUA insurance. NCUA insurance means that deposit accounts at credit unions are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government up to established limits.

“Nobody’s ever lost any money or deposit at a federally insured credit union,” said Mike Schenk, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

How does NCUA insurance work?

NCUA insurance applies if a federally insured credit union fails. And you don’t need to sign up for protection or purchase coverage. Instead, funds on deposit in qualifying accounts are automatically insured.

NCUA insurance applies to a variety of savings and deposit accounts, including:

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Traditional or Roth IRAs

It’s important to note that the NCUSIF doesn’t cover money invested in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, life insurance or annuities, even if you opened them with a credit union.

NCUA insurance limits

NCUA provides at least $250,000 in total coverage for all members of federally insured credit unions. The $250,000 limit applies per depositor and per account type and ownership category. For instance, if you have an individual savings account with $250,000 plus a joint checking account with a $250,000 balance, you’re fully insured for both as they’re different ownership categories (individual vs. joint).

Other credit union account types eligible for NCUA insurance include trusts and certain retirement accounts holding deposit products like IRA share certificates and IRA savings accounts.

NCUA insurance limits by ownership category
Ownership categoryIncluded account typesCoverage limit
Individual accountsChecking, savings, money market accounts in one person’s name$250,000
Joint accountsChecking, savings, money market accounts in two people’s names$250,000
Trust accountsFormal or informal revocable trusts$250,000
Retirement accountsTraditional IRA, Roth IRA, Keogh Plan/HR 10$250,000

If you have multiple accounts in several categories with the same credit union, your total coverage limit may be higher.

For example, let’s say you had the following accounts:

  • $50,000 in an individual savings account
  • $25,000 in a joint money market account
  • $265,000 in an individual Roth IRA
  • $25,000 in a trust account

In total, you have $365,000 deposited with the credit union. Because you have accounts in different ownership categories, you have more than $250,000 in total coverage. You’re fully insured for the savings, joint money market, and trust account; all three are separate ownership categories and have balances under the $250,000 limit. However, you’re only insured for $250,000 of your $265,000 IRA balance, leaving $15,000 uninsured.

So you don’t run afoul of NCUA insurance limits, be sure to use the Share Insurance Estimator tool from MyCreditUnion.gov to calculate limits for each account. If you have individual account balances of more than $250,000, consider spreading your money across multiple credit unions to ensure you’re fully insured.


The NCUA and FDIC are very similar; they provide government-backed deposit account insurance. While the NCUA applies to federally insured credit unions, the FDIC insures bank deposits.

“The NCUA is federal insurance for credit union members that offers the same safety and security that the FDIC offers to consumers,” said Samantha Beeler, president of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.

As with the NCUA, the FDIC insures deposits per account holder and ownership category up to a maximum of $250,000. The FDIC covers the same accounts as the NCUA, including savings, checking, certificate and retirement accounts.

One of the only differences between NCUA and FDIC coverage is that the FDIC will also insure cashier’s checks and money orders. Otherwise, banks and credit unions are equally protected, and your deposit accounts are safe with either option.

Something interesting to note is that credit unions insure a higher percentage of their deposits than banks do; approximately 90% of credit union deposits are insured. Does that mean that credit unions are safer than banks? Not necessarily; according to Beeler, the discrepancy comes down to the audiences that credit unions serve.

“[Credit unions] have a lot more consumer accounts than our banking counterparts who concentrate a lot on serving commercial parts of the community,” she said.

The takeaway

If you were thinking of opening an account with a credit union but were worried about how safe your money would be, you can rest assured that federally insured credit unions are just as safe as FDIC-insured banks. And if you’re considering taking out a personal loan or opening a new savings account, keep credit unions in mind.

“My best piece of advice would be whenever you’re looking for any financial product or service, whether it’s a deposit account or a loan, be sure to shop around number one and ask questions,” said Schenk. “And then always, always include a credit union in those shopping plans because the pricing is just so much more consumer-friendly, and more than likely, people will save a lot of money by doing that.”

Ever heard of NCUA insurance? Learn how your deposits are credit unions are protected up to $250,000 (2024)


Ever heard of NCUA insurance? Learn how your deposits are credit unions are protected up to $250,000? ›

NCUA insurance guarantees that you'll receive the money that you're entitled to from your deposit account if your credit union goes under. It guarantees up to $250,000 per person, per institution, per ownership category. The NCUA is a federal agency created by Congress to regulate credit unions and insure your money.

What does it mean that your money is FDIC NCUA insured up to $250000? ›

All deposits at federally insured credit unions are protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, with deposits insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor. Credit union members have never lost a penny of insured savings at a federally insured credit union.

Does the NCUA provide insurance for credit union depositors up to $250000? ›

The NCUSIF provides all members of federally insured credit unions with $250,000 in coverage for their single ownership accounts. These accounts include regular shares, share drafts (similar to checking), money market accounts, and share certificates.

How much does the NCUA insured credit unions for? ›

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is an independent agency created by the U.S. government to regulate and protect credit unions and their owners. Just like the FDIC, the NCUA insures up to $250,000 to all credit union members and provides protection in the event of a credit union failure.

Are credit unions protected by NCUA? ›

The NCUA works to protect credit union members and consumers, raise awareness of potential frauds, facilitate access to affordable financial services, and educate consumers on the importance of savings and how they can improve their financial well-being.

Are joint accounts NCUA insured to $500,000? ›

The NCUA insures up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, per ownership category. “Ownership category” refers to account type, usually single or joint. If you have a single and a joint account at the same institution, both are insured up to the $250,000 limit.

Can I have more than $250000 of deposit insurance coverage at one FDIC insured bank? ›

Q: Can I have more than $250,000 of deposit insurance coverage at one FDIC-insured bank? A: Yes. The FDIC insures deposits according to the ownership category in which the funds are insured and how the accounts are titled.

How to insure more than 250k? ›

Here are four ways you may be able to insure more than $250,000 in deposits:
  1. Open accounts at more than one institution. This strategy works as long as the two institutions are distinct. ...
  2. Open accounts in different ownership categories. ...
  3. Use a network. ...
  4. Open a brokerage deposit account.

Is my money safe in a credit union? ›

Like banks, which are federally insured by the FDIC, credit unions are insured by the NCUA, making them just as safe as banks. The National Credit Union Administration is a US government agency that regulates and supervises credit unions.

How long does NCUA have to pay you back? ›

If the member shares are not assumed by another credit union, all verified member shares are typically paid within five days of a credit union's closure. No member of a federally insured credit union has ever lost a penny in insured accounts.

Which is safer, FDIC or NCUA? ›

One of the only differences between NCUA and FDIC coverage is that the FDIC will also insure cashier's checks and money orders. Otherwise, banks and credit unions are equally protected, and your deposit accounts are safe with either option.

Are credit unions at risk of collapse? ›

Experts told us that credit unions do fail, like banks (which are also generally safe), but rarely. And deposits up to $250,000 at federally insured credit unions are guaranteed, just as they are at banks.

Are credit unions safer than banks? ›

However, because credit unions serve mostly individuals and small businesses (rather than large investors) and are known to take fewer risks, credit unions are generally viewed as safer than banks in the event of a collapse. Regardless, both types of financial institutions are equally protected.

What is not covered by NCUA? ›

The NCUA does not insure money invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities or municipal securities, even if these investment or insurance products are sold at a federally insured credit union.

Is my money safe with NCUA? ›

Accounts at credit unions backed by the NCUA are automatically insured, and members don't need to take any extra steps to ensure that their money is protected.

What is the deposit limit for NCUA? ›

Administered by the NCUA, the Share Insurance Fund insures individual accounts up to $250,000. Additionally, a member's interest in all joint accounts combined is insured up to $250,000.

What does it mean that your money is FDIC NCUA insured? ›

Both the NCUA and FDIC are responsible for insuring funds in the event that a financial institution fails. The NCUA insures credit union accounts, while the FDIC provides federal insurance for bank accounts.

Is it bad to keep more than $250,000 in one bank? ›

It's also important to keep FDIC limits in mind. Anything over $250,000 in savings may not be protected in the rare event that your bank fails.


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