Banking » Guides » FDIC vs SIPC vs NCUA: How They Compare?
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FDIC vs SIPC vs NCUA: How They Compare?

Three main types of insurance protect investors: FDIC, SIPC, and NCUA insurance. Here's how they work and the differences between them.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

When you invest your money, it's important to understand the different types of insurance that are available to protect your investments. In the United States, there are three main types of insurance that protect investors: FDIC insurance, SIPC insurance, and NCUA insurance.

Let's see how they work and what are the differences between them.

What Is FDIC Insurance?

FDIC stands for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and it is a U.S. government agency created to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's banking system. FDIC insurance provides protection to depositors against the loss of their funds in the event of a bank failure or closure.

When you deposit money in an FDIC-insured bank, such as a checking or savings account, certificate of deposit (CD), or money market account, your funds are insured up to the maximum limit allowed by law.

The standard insurance limit is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category (single accounts, joint accounts, retirement accounts, etc.).

FDIC vs SIPC vs NCUA
FDIC insurance protects checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs).

What Is SIPC Insurance?

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) offers protection to customers in the event of a brokerage firm's failure, a rare occurrence. If such a situation arises, SIPC safeguards securities and cash in the brokerage account, providing coverage up to $500,000.

This amount includes up to $250,000 for cash used to purchase securities. The government does not back SIPC insurance. It is funded by fees that SIPC-registered brokerage firms pay. 

However, It only covers the custody aspect of your brokerage account, which means it helps return your securities and cash if your brokerage firm goes out of business.

Also,SIPC won't protect you if the value of your investments goes down. It also won't help if you were sold worthless stocks or if you suffer losses because of bad investment advice or inappropriate recommendations from your broker.

It's crucial to understand that SIPC protection is not the same as having your cash protected in a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). SIPC doesn't cover the actual value of any security you own; it only focuses on returning what's already in your account when the brokerage firm faces liquidation. So, while it provides some protection, it has its limitations, and you need to be aware of them to make informed decisions about your investments.

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What Is NCUA Insurance?

NCUA stands for the National Credit Union Administration, and NCUA insurance provides protection for deposits held at credit unions in the United States. Similar to the FDIC for banks, the NCUA is a federal agency tasked with regulating and supervising credit unions to ensure their safety and soundness.

NCUA insurance safeguards members' deposits in credit unions against loss due to credit union failures or closures. When you hold funds in a federally insured credit union, such as a regular share account, share draft (checking) account, or share certificate (CD), your deposits are protected up to the maximum limit allowed by law.

The standard NCUA insurance coverage was also $250,000 per depositor, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category.

It's important to note that NCUA insurance only applies to credit unions, while FDIC insurance covers deposits at banks.

FDIC vs SIPC vs NCUA: Key Differences

FDIC, SIPC, and NCUA are three distinct government agencies in the United States that offer insurance protection for different types of financial institutions. Here are the key differences between FDIC, SIPC, and NCUA:

FDIC
SIPC
NCUA
What it protects
Deposits
Securities
Deposits
Coverage limit
$250,000 per depositor
$500,000 per account
$250,000 per depositor
Backed by
Full faith and credit of the United States government
Fees paid by SIPC-registered brokerage firms
Full faith and credit of the United States government
  • FDIC insurance protects your deposits in FDIC-insured banks up to $250,000 per depositor. This includes checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
  • SIPC insurance protects your securities in SIPC-registered brokerage firms up to $500,000 per account. This includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash equivalents.
  • NCUA insurance protects your deposits in NCUA-insured credit unions up to $250,000 per depositor. This includes checking, savings, money market, and CDs.
  • FDIC insurance covers all depositors in FDIC-insured banks, regardless of citizenship or residency.
  • SIPC insurance covers all customers of SIPC-registered brokerage firms, regardless of citizenship or residency.
  • NCUA insurance covers all depositors in NCUA-insured credit unions, regardless of citizenship or residency.
  • FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. This means that if an FDIC-insured bank fails, the FDIC will use taxpayer money to reimburse depositors for their losses, up to the $250,000 limit.
  • SIPC insurance is not backed by the government. It is funded by fees that are paid by SIPC-registered brokerage firms. If a SIPC-registered brokerage firm fails, the SIPC will try to restore customer securities, up to the $500,000 limit. However, the SIPC does not guarantee that all customers will be fully reimbursed for their losses.
  • NCUA insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. This means that if an NCUA-insured credit union fails, the NCUA will use taxpayer money to reimburse depositors for their losses, up to the $250,000 limit.

FAQs

Yes, you can have FDIC coverage for bank deposits and NCUA coverage for credit union deposits as long as you maintain accounts at respective insured institutions.

No, FDIC insurance only covers deposits in banks and does not protect against investment losses.

SIPC does not protect against investment fraud or scams; it provides coverage for the loss of securities and cash due to brokerage firm failures.

FDIC, SIPC, and NCUA insurance payouts typically occur within a few days to a few weeks after a bank or credit union failure or brokerage firm liquidation.

No, there are no direct fees for FDIC, SIPC, or NCUA insurance. These agencies are funded by the financial institutions they regulate.

SIPC covers most types of brokerage accounts, including individual accounts, joint accounts, retirement accounts, and trust accounts.

Yes, online banks are FDIC insured, just like traditional brick-and-mortar banks, as long as they are members of the FDIC.

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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