With the volume of ads for banks appearing online and on TV, you’ve no doubt heard the term “FDIC insured.” It’s the federal government’s guarantee that your money is safe—up to a certain amount—in the event of a bank failure.

But if your “bank” is a credit union, does the guarantee still apply? Yes.

The credit union version of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA. The FDIC and NCUA are similar in that they insure all deposit accounts up to $250,000, per person and per property class, at participating banks and credit unions.

Not all banks and credit unions are registered with the FDIC or NCUA, so this is a question that should be asked before opening an account.

Read on to find out the details of FDIC vs NCUA insurance and find out how your money is protected. Find out if your account is covered, whether you keep your money with a credit union or a bank.

How much of your money is protected by the FDIC or NCUA?

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the National Credit Union Administration – through its National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund – offer very similar protections. The important thing to know is that the insurance cap is $250,000 per owner, per account type. If you have a spouse or joint account holder, your coverage is doubled to $500,000 per account type.

If you have a savings account with a balance of $300,000, only the first $250,000 is insured. And you can’t just open a second account at the same financial institution, deposit the excess, and get FDIC or NCUA coverage for the full amount. You will need to open the second account at another federally insured bank or credit union, not just another branch of your current financial institution.

Credit unions are not FDIC insured, but that fact doesn’t make them any less safe. The NCUA, like the FDIC, is an independent federal agency. It is responsible for chartering and regulating federal credit unions in addition to insuring deposits with federal credit unions and administering the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

FDIC vs. NCUA: side by side

FDIC NCUA
Type of institution insured Bank Box
Insurance amount $250,000 per owner, per account type $250,000 per owner, per account type
Types of insured accounts – Check accounts
– Savings accounts
– Negotiable withdrawal order accounts (NOW)
– Money market deposit accounts
– Term deposits, such as certificates of deposit
– Cashiers checks, money orders and other official instruments issued by a bank
– Share draft accounts – current account equivalent
– Share savings accounts
– Share certificate accounts
Types of property insured – Single ownership
– Common ownership
– Certain retirement accounts
– Trust accounts, revocable and irrevocable
– Professional accounts
– Single ownership
– Common ownership
– IRA and other certain retirement accounts
– Trust accounts, revocable and irrevocable
– Professional accounts
Uninsured Property Types – Equity investments
– Bond investments
– Mutual fund
– Life insurance contracts
– Annuities
– Municipal titles
– Safes or their contents
– US Treasury bills, bonds or notes
– Equity investments
– Bond investments
– Mutual fund
– Life insurance contracts
– Annuities
– Municipal titles

Carry

With coverage provided by the FDIC and NCUA, you can rest assured that your money is protected, up to set limits, by the federal government. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your bank or credit union to give you extra peace of mind.

For the part of your portfolio not eligible for federally backed insurance, such as stocks and bonds, ask your financial advisor about account protections and safest investments.

FAQs

The FDIC and NCUA insure eligible accounts up to the limit per depositor, per institution. Before opening an account, it is important to verify your coverage with a bank or credit union representative and understand the coverage and limits. Here are answers to some common questions about FDIC and NCUA insurance.

  • Are all banks FDIC insured?
    • You might be surprised to learn that banks are not required to have FDIC insurance. Even so, many banks choose to be covered because uninsured banks cannot compete with those that offer comprehensive protection. In fact, the FDIC reports that as of December 2021, 4,839 banks were insured.
    • If you are unsure whether your bank offers FDIC insurance, call your bank or visit their website. Usually, bank websites indicate at the bottom of the home page if it is a member of the FDIC.
  • Are all credit unions insured by NCUA?
    • Only federal credit unions are automatically covered by NCUA insurance. NCUSIF insures member savings in federally insured credit unions, which NCUA says represents about 98% of all credit unions nationwide. Deposits with all federal credit unions and the majority of state-chartered credit unions are covered by NCUSIF.
    • To find out if your accounts are insured, call your credit union or visit their website. Federally insured credit unions are required to display the official NCUA insurance sign in their branches and on their websites.
  • Is NCUA insurance as good as the FDIC?
    • Yes, both organizations offer similar guarantees to insure your money, whether with a credit union or a bank.
    • Banks and credit unions are two different types of entities, which is why there are two different coverages. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations owned by their members. Profits flow back to members through benefits such as higher savings and lower loan rates, and reduced fees.
  • What does the NCUA not cover?
    • NCUA coverage is extended for deposit accounts. But as with the FDIC and banks, the NCUA does not insure stocks and bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities, and municipal securities.

Casey Bond contributed reporting for this article.

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About the Author

Jami Farkas holds a degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked as a reporter or editor for daily newspapers across the United States. She brings to GOBankingRates her experience as a sports writer, business writer, religious writer, digital writer – and more. Passionate about real estate, she passed the real estate licensing exam in her state and is still debating whether to get into home selling – or just writing about home selling.