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 10 debit card purchases totaling $100 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%

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 

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

  1. Parkerthon says:

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

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