Posted by William Charles on December 23, 2014
Rewards Checking

Published on December 23rd, 2014 | by William Charles


Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) – 3% Rewards Checking Account Review

Offer at a glance

  • Interest Rate: 3%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Maximum Balance: $10,000
  • Availability: If you don’t live within state, select “Not Listed – Let Us Help”, you’ll then need to make a $5 donation to join.
  • Direct deposit required: Yes, must be above $500 per month to get reward rate
  • Additional requirements: Yes, see below 
  • Hard/soft pull: Hard
  • Credit card funding: None
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Early Account Termination Fee: $25 if closed within 180 days
  • Insured: NCUA (60238)

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Receive an increased APY of 3% on up to $10,000 in deposits from Great Lakes Credit Union when you complete the following requirements:
    • Make 15 debit card purchases totaling $150 or more
    • Receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more
    • Enroll and receive eStatements
    • Pay one bill per month via Bill Pay or login to mobile banking once per month
Requirement counter at the bottom of the summary page that updates daily on what requirements you have and haven't met.

Requirement counter at the bottom of the summary page that updates daily on what requirements you have and haven’t met.

Avoiding Fees

This account has a $5 monthly fee if you don’t receive a direct deposit above $500 or you complete less than 5 debit card purchases (no Returns, PIN or ATM). There is also an early account termination fee of $25 if you closed your account within 180 days.

Rate History

  • 2012 – October 2013: 4%
  • October 2013 – Current: 3%
  • Note: On 4/1/18 the requirements were changed (monthly debit spend requirement increased to $150 from $100. Number of transactions increased to 15 from 10

Our Verdict

I don’t like the GLCU rewards checking account that much for a few reasons:

  • It’s a hard pull to open
  • Debit card transactions need to total $100 per month
  • You cannot fund with a credit card

Let’s assume you’d use a credit card that earned at least 2% cash back on your debit card transactions, you’re losing out on $24 per year in that alone. Instead of opening this account and being charged a hard pull, you could open a credit card with a cash sign up bonus instead and receive $200.

Let’s assume you deposit the full $10,000, you’d be earning $300 per year compared to $100 if you were using a checking account with a 1% APY. Personally I don’t think that justifies the hard pull and debit card requirements. I prefer two other checking accounts for different reasons:

It used to be possible to open multiple rewards checking accounts with GLCU, this loophole was closed in July of 2014. Because of all these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend signing up for this rewards checking account at the moment.

If you know of any good nationwide rewards checking accounts, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to the site. I’ve been investigating Kasasa accounts recently, so they are next on the list. We recently asked our readers what blogpost or tool they wished existed and didn’t, reader Liz wanted more information on rewards checking accounts which is why we’ll be posting about these more often. Liz will receive a $5 Amazon gift card for her troubles, feel free to make your own suggestion on that post and you could receive one too!

Direct link to offer 

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Thanks for the review. I have been eyeing rewards checking accounts and your previous reviews for my 2015 savings strategy.


…and more importantly I always appreciate the opportunity cost analysis that you do. Spot on.


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Increased hoops to qualify for 3% interest as of 4.1.2018:
1. $150 monthly spending (UP FROM $100)
2. 500 direct deposit
3. 15 signature-based (up from 10) (no PIN) debit card purchases totaling $150 or more.
4. eStatements
5. Pay one bill per month via bill pay* or login to mobile banking once per month*


The email from GCLU said… this makes it EXTREMELY ULTIMATE checking and even better … let me see how EXTREMELY fast I can close this account with them…


with this recent change might as well go with Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (ETFCU) since they have the same exact requirement but up to a $20k limit.


I have since stopped doing business with GLCU. Their customer service wait times are not acceptable, 50mins on one call and 1.75hrs, yes hours, for a callback to conduct a wire.

Heritage bank, is 3.33% APR upto $25k and Orion CU is 4% APR upto $30k. I personally have had experience with Heritage bank and am very happy with them. GLCU is no longer worth


William Charles Clicking on the Direct Link to Offer goes to a page not found.


William Charles Are you sure there is a $5 monthly fee if you don’t receive a direct deposit above $500 or you complete less than 5 debit card purchases?
From the fee schedule it appears that this applies to the Savings account, not the checking account.
Per their fee schedule:
Savings Only Membership….. $5.00 per month unless each month you maintain a $500.00 direct deposit, a $500.00 average daily balance, OR an additional GLCU deposit or loan product.
If you don’t meet the requirements you just don’t get the 3%. I couldn’t find where you’d be charged a fee if you don’t do the full requirements.


This looks like a No- GO checking account.

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