Update 12/29/20: Rate is now 2.5% (was 3%)
Offer at a glance
- Interest Rate: 2.5%
- 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)
- 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
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.
- 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
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:
- Mango Money, because it offers a 6% APR without a hard pull (and $20 direct deposit bonus). Although this is really a 5.14% APR when you take into account the monthly fees, assuming you have the maximum $10,000 deposited.
- Lake Michigan Credit Union, because you can fund $5,000 with a credit card which can be useful for meeting minimum spend requirements and it has a 3% APR, but you can have up to $15,000 deposited at a time. Plus you only need to make 10 debit card transactions and there is no minimum amount specified.
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!