CU Rewards Checking

NOTE: As of 2 March 2012, this page is no longer being updated.

Credit Unions Offering Rewards Checking

The table below lists credit unions that offer at least 4% interest on their rewards checking accounts. This is one of my favorite savings vehicles and gives me NCUA insured accounts with high liquidity. The drawback is that sometimes the high yields do not last for long and then another credit union has to be found. I keep this table up-to-date to help me and others find the best credit unions for our deposits. Bauer Financial ratings are included (see note 5).

Nationally Available

See note 1 below.

Table of 4% and higher Credit Union Rewards Checking Accounts

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Credit Union1 Main Branch APY 1st Tier Up To2 APY 2nd Tier Transactions per Month3 Login4 Rating5
Aloha Pacific Federal CU6 Hawaii 4.00% $50,000 0.50% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ****
Communications Federal CU Oklahoma 4.00% $50,000 1.25% 12 DC + 1 DD $500 + 1 ACH or 1 OLP No *****
Consumers Cooperative CU Illinois 4.09% $10,000 0.75% 12 DC + 1 DD or 1 ACH or 1 OLP No ***
Crescent CU Massachusetts 4.00% $5,000 2.00% / 0.15% 10 DC + 1 DD + 1 OLP No *****
Erie General Electric Federal CU Pennsyvania 4.07% $25,000 0.00% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD + 1 OLP No ****
Florida Central CU Florida 4.50% $15,000 1.50% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ****
Fort Sill Federal CU Oklahoma 4.38% $25,000 0.50% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD Yes *****
Greater Alliance Federal CU New Jersey 4.01% $25,000 0.75% 10 DC + 2 ACH + 1 DD + 1 OLP No ***
Great Lakes CU Illinois 4.00% $15,000 0.05% 10 DC + 1 DD + 1 OLP No ****
Heritage South CU Alabama 4.00% $15,000 0.25% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No *****
La Capitol Federal CU Louisiana 5.25% $5,000 0.15% 25 DC Yes *****
Oklahoma Educators CU Oklahoma 4.00% $15,000 0.50% 15 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD Yes ****
Pelican State CU Louisiana 4.01% $20,000 0.50% 15 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD Yes ***
Southwest Airlines Federal CU Texas 4.00% $25,000 1.00% 15 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No *****

Last updated: 23 December 2011.

Notes

Before opening an account at any credit union, verify all rates and qualifications for yourself.

1. Eligibility.
Some credit unions, in order to qualify you for membership, will allow you to make a small donation to join a specified association. Membership in the association then qualifies you for credit union membership. These credit unions are effectively nationwide. Normally credit unions restrict their membership to a geographic area; employees of specific companies or trades; members of specific non-profit groups; or a particular occupational group. Typically, members’ families can also join a credit union. Mergers of smaller credit unions often result in a credit union with a wide variety of ways to qualify to join.

Credit Unions available nationally

2. The 1st tier rate is paid on amounts up to the sum listed in the Up To column. The 2nd tier rate is paid on amounts over the sum in the Up To column. Some institutions may have a third tier which I do not list.

If the rates are not posted on a credit union’s website, I generally will not list the credit union.

3. Required transactions per month key to abbreviations:

  • ACH = Automated Clearing House Automatic Debit.
  • DC = Debit Card (excluding ATM).
  • DD = Direct Deposit.
  • OLP = On-Line Payment.

4. Stay alert for those credit unions that require you to access your account at least once a month. It can easily be forgotten and I would sooner there not be one extra thing for you to remember that really serves no purpose except for you to lose all your interest for the month.

5. Bauer Financial carefully analyzes the stability of banks and credit unions. They give ratings on a scale of zero to five stars. I advise going with a credit union rated 3 stars or higher, although with NCUA insurance it shouldn’t really matter.

  • 5 Stars = Superior
  • 4 Stars = Excellent
  • 3½ Stars = Good
  • 3 Stars = Adequate
  • 2 Stars = Problematic
  • 1 Star = Troubled
  • 0 Stars = Lowest Rating

6. Gotchas:

Aloha Pacific Federal CU: Highest rate only with home equity line.

Updates

September 2009 — Added UniWyo Federal CU, Carter Federal CU, and Waterbury Connecticut Teachers Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Florida Central CU and Pelican State CU.
October 2009 — Added First Missouri CU and Saginaw Medical Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: First Financial Federal CU, New Horizons CU, and Warren Federal CU.
December 2009 — Added St. Paul Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Allegiance CU, Fairmont Federal CU, Neighbors CU, Raritan Bay Federal CU, and United Federal CU.
March 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Aloha Pacific Federal CU, Carter Federal CU, First Missouri CU, Linn Area CU, Mountain CU, R.I.A. Federal CU, Waterbury Connecticut Teachers Federal CU, and UniWyo Federal CU.
April 2010 — Added Pelican State CU and La Capitol Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Marine Federal CU and United Financial CU.
June 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Ocean Communities Federal CU.
July 2010 — Added many credit unions with rates 4% or higher but under 5%.
August 2010 — Added SAC Federal CU and Northern Federal CU.
October 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: 1st Community Federal CU, Carolinas Telco Federal CU, First Missouri CU, First Northern CU, R.I.A. Federal CU, Firefighters Community CU, IH Mississippi Valley CU, South Division Credit Union, and Standard Register Federal CU. Added Gas And Electric CU.
November 2010 — Added Double Eleven CU. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: River Region CU, Central Sunbelt Federal CU, Erie Federal CU, FAST Federal CU, and Saginaw Medical Federal CU.
December 2010 — Added Coastal Community & Teachers CU. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Mountain CU and University CU.
January 2011 — Added Consumers Cooperative CU.
March 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: NARFE Premier Federal CU, Double Eleven CU, Interra CU, and Old Hickory CU.
April 2011 — Added Greater Alliance Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Maine State CU, Nassau Educators CU, NavyArmy Federal CU, and Northern Federal CU.
May 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Premier CU and SAC Federal CU.
July 2011 — Added Crescent CU and Union Square Federal CU. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Chemcel Federal CU, Endura Financial Federal CU, FAA CU, Gas And Electric CU, Golden Plains CU, MCT CU, and Mutual First Federal CU.
October 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Allegiance CU, Coastal Community & Teachers CU, Lake Michigan CU, Linn Area CU, Market USA Federal CU, St. Paul Federal CU, and University of Iowa Community CU.
December 2011 — Added Heritage South CU and Great Lakes CU. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Class Act Federal CU, Red River Federal CU, and Union Square Federal CU.
Rickety signature.

Comments

  1. Rich DiSantis says:

    First time using site…this site seems to good to be true…keep up the great work!…thank you

  2. Dezmond says:

    I’m new to this and just finding out about the high rates, feel as if I’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, thank you for this info

  3. Hi Rick,

    Endura Financial Federal CU seems to have nationwide, flexible membership. One just needs to join Minnesota Consumer Council – is that right?

    • Apparently you can join for free if you also become a member of one of their sponsoring member credit unions at the same time. However, in January, credit union rules changed for earning the top rate:

      Direct Deposit to earn 4.01% Up to Maximum Balance
      $1 – $499.99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,500
      $500 – $999.99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000
      $1,000 – 2,499.99. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000
      $2,500+. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25,000

      So to earn 4.01% on a $25,000 balance you have to direct deposit $2,500 a month. I wasn’t aware of the flexible membership so thank you for pointing that out. Note 1 after the table explains the general principle.

  4. Hi Rick,

    How are you? Long time no hear. Just wanted to give you a heads up that Bauer has updated their bank and credit union ratings this week. They are now showing ratings for the 1st quarter.

    • I am fine. Thank you for the heads up, it has been awhile since I have updated the ratings. I hope your venture is doing well, it is probably a lot of hard work.

  5. Bill Taverner, Sr. says:

    I just spoke with Consumers Cooperative CU in Illinois. Their tier 1 rate remains at 4.09% apy, but their tier 2 rate is dropping to 0.75% next month (October 2011). Out of state residents can apply online. There is a grace period only during the month you apply to meet the qualifications, so it’s best to apply at the beginning of the month to give time to get your debit card.

    Thanks for maintaining this website. You’re a great help to those of us looking for the best bank rates we can get.

    Bill Taverner, Sr.

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