Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a community development credit union offering a combination of a traditional member-driven credit union and a not-for-profit community development organization. We offer traditional deposit and loan services as well as financial education, small business networking, and free tax preparation for low income people.

Those who live within Tompkins and the six surrounding counties (Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca and Tioga) are eligible for our full range of products including checking and loans.

Joining Alternatives Federal Credit Union is simple. A one-time $20 fee can cover your Alternatives membership and enroll you in the Alternatives Fund of Ithaca, Inc., the credit union’s not for profit field of membership association. Deposit $5 into your savings to become a shareholding owner-member of Alternatives Federal Credit Union.

All applicants must provide unexpired government issued photo ID and proof of physical street address.

We accept the following identification:

  • State Driver’s License
  • State Learner’s Permit
  • State Issued Non-Driver Identification Card
  • US Passport

If you do not have one of the forms of ID listed above please come into the branch to open your account.

  • We accept the following proof of address:
  • Paycheck stub
  • Utility bills
  • Copy of lease (full lease signed by tenant and landlord)

If you do not have one of the forms of proof of address listed above please come into the branch to open your account.

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Personal/General Membership Accounts

All accounts start with $5 in a savings. There is no additional cost or minimum deposit for checking, we offer an Alternatives VISA Debit Card, and no monthly service fees if you opt out of paper statements. Consider adding a Lucky Savers Certificate to your account for a chance to win monthly and quarterly cash prizes. Link to Lucky Savers details.

You may choose to add a joint owner or authorized (convenience) signer to your account at the time of account opening.

  • A joint owner may use the account as their own; they may deposit checks and request a debit card in their name.
  • An authorized signer (convenience signer) is not an owner, however they may transact on your behalf. A convenience signer may not deposit checks made payable to them or request their own debit card.  The account owner may request a debit for convenience signer(s) on the account.

You may choose to add beneficiaries to your account. If you choose to do so, please be prepared with Name, SSN, Date and Place of Birth, and Address for each.

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Youth Accounts

For those under age 18, choose our Youth Account.  Youth Accounts start with a $1 minimum balance requirement. Youth age 14 and over, may have a checking account and free VISA debit card with adult joint owner’s consent. There are no monthly fees, and youth may receive free paper statements until age 19. 

Youth Applicants must have Social Security Number. For identification we require the Youth Applicant provides one of the following:

  • Original Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Current Local School ID

Youth must provide valid e-mail address

If youth does not have an e-mail address, parent must provide a valid e-mail address for the account. 

Open now Youth under 14

Open now Youth 14+ with adult joint owner

UTMA Accounts

An UTMA is a custodial account that can be used to save funds for a minor. Funds deposited in an account opened under the New York Uniform Transfer to Minors Act represent an irrevocable gift to the minor.

To open an UTMA account, you must provide the minor’s Social Security Number.

If you are opening a court appointed UTMA account, you will be required to provide court documentation.

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Rep Payee Accounts

If you are a Representative Payee for a Social Security or Supplemental Security Income recipient and need an account to manage their benefit income, click the link below.

To open a Rep Payee account, you will be required to provide your Rep Payee designation or award letter, or copy of Rep Payee benefit check.

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Other account types

For the following account types please come into the credit union:

  • Business
  • Trust
  • Estate
  • Foreign
  • IRA (Individual Retirement Account)
  • SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension)
  • HSA (Health Savings Account)
Do you have any questions?