Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) – 2.5% Rewards Checking Account Review

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)

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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Sam Wise
Sam Wise

Highly discourage opening an account with these folks, GLCU. I did a CD promo with them and when I tried to close accounts after the promo, all hell broke loose-they sent me check for over amount that was left in account, i didn’t cash it and let them know of error, had terrible time communicating with them, being on hold and tossed around to different departments (multiple weekly calls), they ended up putting something on my credit report (yes for a CD/checking – only accts I had with them) claiming I hadn’t paid a debt in months. Took me well over a YEAR, to get this straightened out-Buyer Beware.

CK9
CK9

15 DC requirement totaling $150 per month is bad…..it is too much for $250 per year!! Not worth it, IMO

Eric
Eric

Are any of you still using this account? If so, has any ACH transfer been working to trigger the DD requirement?

arizonapv
arizonapv

I quit using the account and closed it. Yes, any ACH transfer works to trigger the DD. There is a tracker on their website, so you’ll know right away if something worked.

Eric
Eric

I like when sites have that tracker. Did you quit because they lowered the rate to 2.5% or some other reason?

arizonapv
arizonapv

They lowered the rate and I wanted to close some accounts at various banks because I felt I had too many.

Eric
Eric

This is only 2.5% now.

Eric
Eric

William Charles or Chuck,

Can you update the post with the 2.5% rate?

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
anon
anon

new account is now 2.5% not 3%
any word on existing accounts?

slowbrake
slowbrake

My account has been open since November 2018 (spreadsheets are nice)

August 2020 interest paid 2.5%

Not as good as it used to be, I’m migrating finances again.

Geemo
Geemo

This looks like a No- GO checking account.

arizonapv
arizonapv

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.

arizonapv
arizonapv

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

arizonapv
arizonapv
joE
joE

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.

joE
joE

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

gli
gli

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*

https://www.glcu.org/about-us/get-involved/news/?news_cat=news&news_article=glcus-extremely-ultimate-checking-account

gli
gli

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…