Posted by William Charles on June 3, 2016
Rewards Checking

Published on June 3rd, 2016 | by William Charles


Consumers Credit Union 4.59% APY On Up To $20,000 Rewards Checking

Updated info here: Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking Account Changes (Maximum Balance Decreased, APY Increased)

Offer at a glance

  • Interest Rate: up to 4.59% (previously, 5.09%)
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Maximum Balance: up to $20,000
  • Availability: Anybody can join, even if they don’t live in Illinois but you’ll need to pay $5 to join Consumers Cooperative Association. More information here.
  • Direct deposit required: Optional
  • Additional requirements: Yes, see below 
  • Hard/soft pull: Hard pull (Equifax)
  • Credit card funding: Yes, up to $1,000 (maybe $200 now)
  • Monthly fees:  None 
  • Early Account Termination Fee: None
  • Insured: NCUA (68588)

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Receive an APY of up to 4.59% on balances up to $20,000 with consumers credit union.

This is a rewards checking account, as such you need to complete certain requirements to get the increased interest rate. Below are the requirements you need to meet and what APY you’ll receive if you meet them. All of these requirements are based on a calendar month.

  • 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 and ATM refunds.
    • Complete 12 debit/check card point-of-sale purchases without a PIN
    • Complete one of the following every calendar month:
      • One direct deposit OR
      • One ACH debit OR
      • Pay one bill using CCU online bill pay
    • Access online banking at least once
    • Receive eDocuments (enroll and accept the disclosure)
  • 3.59% APY on balances up to $15,000 and ATM refunds
    • Complete all of the 3.09% requirements and
    • Spend a minimum of $500 on CCU Visa credit card purchases
  • 4.59% APY on balances up to $20,000 and ATM refunds
    • Complete all of the 3.09% requirements and
    • Spend a minimum of $1,000 on CCU Visa credit card purchases

If you don’t meet these requirements then you will only receive an APY of 0.01%. None of these rates have a guaranteed rate, so they can change at any time. Check out the rate history to get an idea of what they’ve been in the past.

consumers credit union


The Fine Print

  • Debit/check card transactions must post & clear before the end of the calendar month
  • Direct deposit/ACH debit or bill pay must post & clear before the end of the calendar month
  • Credit card purchases are calculated from the 28th of the previous month to the 27th of the current month
  • Any consumer credit union issued card will qualify
  • Credit card cash advances and balance transfers do not qualify
  • Limit of one rewards checking account per customer

Sign Up Bonus/Referral

Update: The referral bonus expired on September 30th, 2015 if you’re able to get it again please let me know and I’ll update the post.

Unlike other rewards checking accounts, consumers credit union also offers a referral program. For every person you refer you’ll receive a $50 bonus and so will they when they meet the rewards checking requirements at any level for the first two full months.

You need to fill out a paper form and then send it/fax it in, so this might be too much of a hassle for some folks, 847-566-7005 should be the correct fax number. You should also be able to e-mail it in, which is probably preferable as they will acknowledge when they have received it. This form is filled out after you sign up.

Referring friends & family members at the same address is not an issue. If you have any experience with this referral program then please let us know in the comments section below. You can find more information about this referral/sign up bonus here. The reports from this FatWallet thread are mostly positive for the referral program.

Avoiding Fees

There is no monthly fee, even if you do not complete the requirements to earn the higher interest rates (although if this is the case you’d only earn 0.01% interest). I couldn’t find any mention of early account termination fee in their fee schedule either.

Consumers Credit Union Credit Cards

Because there is a requirement to spend $1,000 per month to get the top rate of 4.59%, I thought I’d be a good idea to have a quick look at the credit cards CCU offers.

  • Platinum card. No annual fee or rewards program, card doubles the manufacturers warranty on all purchases.
  • Platinum rewards card. No annual fee and earn 1 point per dollar spent
  • Student Visa. No annual fee or rewards program. Available for applicants aged 13 to 21.

Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card $100 Bonus + Introductory APR of 0%, 3% Cash Back On Grocery Store Purchases

  • $100 account credit if you make $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening
  • Card earns at the following rate:
    • 3% cash rebate for “Grocery/Convenience Store” purchases
    • 2% cash rebate for “gas” purchases
    • 1% cash rebate on all other purchases
  • Cash rebate is automatically credit to account each month
  • Maximum of $6,000 spend ($180 cash back annually, previously this was $6,000)
  • No annual fee
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 0% introductory APR for six months on all purchases and balance transfers

Visa Signature Rewards Card $100 Bonus + Introductory APR of 0%, 3x Points on Grocery Store Purchases

  • $100 account credit if you make $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening
  • Card earns at the following rate:
    • 3x points for “Grocery/Convenience Store” purchases (limit of $6,000 per year in spend)
    • 2x points rebate for “gas” purchases
    • 1x points rebate on all other purchases
  • Points expire after 5 years
  • No maximum on the amount of points you can earn
  • No annual fee
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 0% introductory APR for six months on all purchases and balance transfers

Rate History

If you know anything more about their rate history, let us know in the comments.

Analysis Of The Deal

The biggest downside to this account is that it requires a hard pull to Equifax to open, I try to get around $200 cash value out of every hard pull so this account would need to make up for that difference [Read: Best cash credit card offers]. You could potentially get $20 (for initially funding $1,000 with a credit card that earns 2%).

Getting the 3.09% rate would be pretty easy, as there are a lot of ways to meet debit card requirements cheaply and quickly, paying a bill online (this would trigger two parts of the bonus) and enrolling in eStatements are also very easy.

The 3.59% rate would also be pretty easy to get, although that would require also opening a credit card which would result in another hard pull. Thankfully two of their cards give a sign up bonus of $100, so you wouldn’t be loosing too much value there. Unfortunately you need to spend $500 on this card monthly, you can put that on a card that gets 3% back at grocery stores but there are cards that earn at a higher rate.

The 4.59% rate is what we’re really all after though and that’s a bit more difficult to get. Let’s assume that you make all of your purchases in a non bonus category and get 1% cash back, if you used a different card you could have gotten at least 2% cash back. Over a year worth of purchases ($12,000) you’d be losing $120 in cash back which almost offsets the additional 1% APY you’d be getting.

If you instead make $12,000 in gas purchases, you could have been using a credit card that earns 5% cash back in which case you’d be missing out on 3% cash back or $360 in cash back over a year in purchases.

If you put the $1,000 spend on grocery stores, you’d get 3% back for the first $6,000 in purchases and then 1% for the other purchases. There are cards that earn at higher rates and don’t have a low of a cap limit either.

[Read: Best Grocery Store Credit Cards]

Here is how much interest you’d earn if you had the maximum deposited and meet the requirements.

APYOne Month of InterestOne Year of Interest
3.09% ($10,000 deposited) $               25.75 $           309
3.59% ($20,000 deposited) $               59.83 $         718

($20,000 deposited)

 $               76.5 $        918

Although that table is not that helpful considering you wouldn’t have your money just sitting under your mattress if it wasn’t in this account. Below is a table of how much extra interest you’d earn in comparison to if you had this money in an account that earned a 1% APY.

APYOne MonthOne Year
3.09% $               17.42 $           209
3.59% $           43.17 $           518
4.59% $               59.84 $          718

Our Verdict

I personally think this account only makes sense if you plan to go after the 4.59% rate (due to the 3.59% rate resulting in two hard pulls) and even then it only really makes sense if you’re making a lot of grocery store purchases every month and even then only if you put $6,000 on this card and then move the other $6,000 into non bonused spend and even then you’d need to be maxing out the other cards that earn at a higher rate on grocery store purchases.. For people that don’t fall into those categories, I think you’d most likely be better off with one of the other banks that offers a high interest account.

It’s also worth remember that CCU often changes what the requirements are to get the highest rate, so there is nothing stopping them making it much more difficult in the future.

As always, you can view more rewards checking accounts here or read our introduction to them here.

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Would purchase made online meet this requirement, or do they have to be made in person?

“Complete 12 debit/check card point-of-sale purchases without a PIN”

These are just 12 regular purchases, online or in person doesn’t matter. Depending how they code the purhases you can even buy like 12 amazon gift cards for .25c or something to meet this requirement. In other words it’s very easy.

Hello, Joe:

I tried Amazon GC but CCU doesn’t count it as purchase without PIN. How could I do to meet the requirement then? Anyone can help for this?

I can confirm that Amazon gift card do not count. I tried 50 cents and $1. None counts.

PayPal reader counts…

Amazon isn’t counting because Amazon quietly introduced a ‘feature’ some time back that automatically processes your debit card transactions as ‘PINless debit’ by default instead of ‘credit’. IDK how that’s even a thing, the whole point of debit is to require a PIN, but it is. There may still be an option buried somewhere to force them to process your card as credit, but I’m not sure where.

How long does it take for the counter in their online portal to count. I did 2 0.25c transactions with AT&T over the weekend and it still at 0. This worked with my other credit union.

Seems to be a few day lag, but from experience AT&T works, so don’t worry about it.

Hello, I am a member of Consumers CU, and if you need me to send in referral paperwork, just send me your full name via email at Thanks, Jesse

Target reloads count as grocery purchases on their credit card which makes it easy to spend $1000 on their credit card for 3% cashback. It’s an easy $150 a month if you have a target prepaid redcard and load $5k on this card on top of the $84.83.

Alex, finally figured out what you are talking about. I am loving Consumers CU so far, and coupled with their rewards credit card (3% back at grocery stores) and Target Prepaid Debit, it is a no brainer. Plus you get 5% interest (easy to meet qualification each month). If anyone has any questions for need a referral (to get extra $50), email me at email address in post above.

Hello, is this still true for 2018? If so, I may consider using this bank and also getting myself a Target RedCard for reloading with the CCU credit card. Thanks.

Alex, can you explain the process more at target? Isn’t the redcard a credit card? How do you load and unload the funds back into your bank account? Thanks for the help. Jesse

Just applied for the Reward Checking and Visa Signature. Pulled TU for sure and possibly EQ too judging from the verification questions. Will know tomorrow for sure. Be sure to get the answers right as people from FICO forum reported multiple hard pulls if you answered incorrectly. Funded $5 into mandatory savings account, and $990 using Freedom (should have used Barclays but realized didnt have that card on me). Dropdown list lets you pick Amex, but they don’t accept that for funding. I picked $10k for credit limit on Visa Signature. Both went into review. I called to have them put in note to expedite processing. Rep got back to me asking me to re-upload drivers license, then later confirmed checking/saving accounts were opened. Credit card was still processing. Regarding Visa Signature, you have no way of picking the Cashback or Points version of the 3-2-1 card when applying online, the rep said to let him know right then which one I wanted. Rep also asked about spending habit I would be putting on Credit Card as they look for people who would put at least $1k monthly (not because of the 5% APY, but thats just what they look for). Also, commonly minimum credit limit for Visa Signature is $5k, but rep said it is $10k for them. I also sent him recent paystub and some references proactively in case credit card underwriters wanted them (sometimes they do, not uncommon, according to FICO forum). I later checked status and looks like credit card approved too. That’s my experience. Oh, and my credit score is close to 800 and I just had 4 new TU pulls 2 weeks ago from credit cards. 9 inquiries total after this current one. 1 yesterday from Lake Michigan Credit Union. No new banking accounts opened in last 4 years?

Ted, don’t forget you can get $50 with a referral. If you need one, let me know.


Is anyone can refer me so that we can get $50 together? I am very interested in opening the account now. 🙂

the referral still good now? if so, would you please send me one? thank you!


Ted, Thanks for the thorough comment. I recently wanted to take advantage of the LAFCU $300 promotion, and was amazed by what was required for a $5000 car loan plus a $10K Visa. When I reported I am self employed and paycheck stubs were not an option, they wanted a CPA certified letter and my last two profit and loss schedules….WTF? Burned a hard pull right there….Live and learn and make sure you ask before with FCUs especially.

Just got email from CCU saying the rates and benefits are not guaranteed through “AT LEAST December 31, 2015!”

“And now – we’ve guaranteed these great benefits through AT LEAST December 31, 2015!”

Could anyone refer me for CCU, so we can both receive $50 together? I’m interested in opening an account now.

Leo, I can. Email me at Thanks.

From all my reading these guys always do a Hard on EQ for checking and Hard on TU for CC. I have never seen them use the same pull to open both accounts or even use the same CRA for both accounts so plan accordingly.

My checking account and CC were combined into one pull last fall. I was told this would be the case by a CSR, and it turned out to be true. They actually said I had 30 days after opening the checking account if I wanted to combine the hard pull, since I didn’t open the two at the same time.

[…] Consumer’s Credit Union 5.07% APY On Up To $20,000 Rewards Checking […]

Does anyone know if loading serve counts as a pinless debit? I am looking at opening an account. I also need someone to refer me to get the bonus.

Anyone needing a referral for $50 can email me at zieg9479[at]

FYI, regarding the 50/50 bonus for referrals, CCU has sent me this:
“Thank you for your message. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

We apologize, however the $50/$50 Rewards Checking referral promotion ended on September 30th, 2015.

Please feel free to contact us at 877-275-2228 if there are any additional questions or concerns.

Thank you for contacting Consumers Credit Union, and have a great day.”

Looks like this place has downgraded now…Worse terms, new max of 4.59% I believe…

Kroger transactions no longer processed as charges, even if you choose the “credit” option. They join Walmart and McDonalds who do the same, so does Amazon unless you change your account settings.

Tom, my Amazon transactions are not posted as debit card transactions either. How to change the account settings? Thanks.

OK I found out…under amazon payment settings, change “process as debit”.

Shouldnt it be processed as credit?

Processed as debit doesnt count towards the 12?

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