Lake Michigan Credit Union: 3% Reward Checking Account On Up To $15,000 (Debit Requirements Not Required For March & April)

Update 3/19/20: Debit requirements are being waived for March & April:

Typically, Max Checking account holders must use their debit or credit card at least ten times in a given month to qualify for the 3.00% interest rate. Under normal circumstances, most of us do this in the first week, but these aren’t normal circumstances, so we’ll waive this requirement for March and April.

Update 1/8/19: Reader Looney Tunes kindly points out that a $5 donation to ALS works for anybody to join now. This is confirmed on the membership page.

Lake Michigan Credit Union is no longer available to everybody with a $5 donation to ALS Association of Michigan. It’s now restricted to the following:

  • Anyone who lives, works, attends school, or worships in the entire lower peninsula of Michigan or the counties of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee, Desoto, Highlands, Glades, Hendry, Monroe, and Palm Beach in Florida.
  • · Membership is also open to the immediate family of existing members (immediate family is defined as father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather and spouse)

Offer at a glance

  • Interest Rate: 3%
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Maximum Balance: $15,000
  • Availability: See above
  • Direct deposit required: Yes, no minimum specified
  • Additional requirements: Yes, see below 
  • Hard/soft pull: Hard (TransUnion)
  • ChexSystems: Mixed reports
  • Credit card funding: $50 (Previously it was $15,000)
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Insured: NCUA (62514)

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Receive a 3% interest on balances up to $15,000 when you complete the following requirements:
    • Direct deposit into your Max Checking account
    • Minimum 10 debit card purchases per month
    • Minimum 4 logins to home banking per month
    • Be eligible for and sign up to receive eStatements/eNotices
  • They’ll also refund up to $10/month in surcharge fees for non-LMCU ATMs

The Fine Print

  • Remember that you need to pay taxes on any interest earned

Avoiding Fees

This account does not come with any monthly fees.

Our Verdict

Update: Deal is a lot worse now there is no credit card funding.

The main downside to this deal is the fact they do a hard credit pull. There are several things that I like about this deal though, the fact that you can do credit card funding up to $5,000 is great for those struggling to meet minimum spend requirements on a new credit card (just make sure you set your cash advance limit to $0 before trying). I also like the fact that there are no monthly fees, this means if your money is busy elsewhere (e.g using it for a bank account bonus) you can just leave the account empty and not worry about earning the 3%.

Whenever I open a bank account I try to get at least $100 in value, this is because you can’t open an unlimited amount of checking accounts due to ChexSystems. If you funded this account with a 2% cash back card [best credit cards for non-category spending] you’d earn $100 on just the initial opening deposit and then any money you earned with the 3% interest rate would be a bonus. Because this is a hard credit pull you’d need to get additional value out of this account. I use 1% as my baseline on what you could expect to reasonably earn with a non rewards checking account, this means this account earns at an additional 2% with a maximum of $15,000. This would net an extra $300 before expenses in meeting this bonus rate.

Here is how I’d complete the requirements if I was going to take part:

  • Enroll for eStatements
  • If you add your LMCU account to Mint, everytime Mint updates it will count as a login
  • Purchase 10 * $0.5 amazon gift cards each month
  • Setup a recurring direct deposit from my normal checking account (this should trigger the direct deposit requirement)

My total expenses would be $5 per month or $60 per year. This means I’d net a total of $340 and $60 in Amazon gift cards. It’s up to you if this is worth a hard credit pull or not, keep in mind you need to pay taxes on this. I’m personally going to sit this one out, I might do it if I need a quick $5,000 in credit card spend for some reason or another.

They allow mobile check deposit, which might be useful for those doing manufactured spending with money orders. They don’t look to be inquiry sensitive either, it’s also an advantage that they pull TransUnion which most card issuers do not do (apart from Barclays). This deal has been going on since at least July, 2013 so hopefully it continues to last for at least one more year (previously this deal was 4% and 5% respectively for a total of 5 years at least).

We’re going to be posting more rewards checking bonuses in the future, so keep an eye out for them. If you’re unfamiliar with them, we’d recommend reading our introduction which can be found here.

Direct link to offer | Screenshot of offer

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tulikettu
tulikettu

Cash App debit transaction on 10/1 was declined by the bank. This was working for me as of 9/1.

tulikettu
tulikettu

Perhaps this was a false alarm. My debit card still works, but P2’s debit card does not.

LMCU Former customer
LMCU Former customer

My account was closed and a fee of $5.00 charged because of six months dormancy. They said I would have to open a new account and I would have to make a new donation. Searching for alternatives.

Shirley
Shirley

Same happened to me last year when it was dormant for over a year and I called them and was able to get my account reinstated without having to reapply or make a new donation and they also refunded the fee (after being referred to a supervisor). They sent out a new debit card in a few days but the account number remained the same.

Maybe I was just lucky or things have changed since last year but I’d give them a call and speak with a supervisor to see what they can do because of Covid you had trouble keeping the account active. Wouldn’t hurt to try.

PandaX
PandaX

9/3 – Applied, hard pulled
9/4 – Denied, LMCU dose not approved memberships for residents of California.

A M
A M

They specifically said not for CA residents?

PandaX
PandaX

That is what they told me.

A M
A M

Thats weird, they should just list CA as an excluded state then

Abby Normal
Abby Normal

How the heck has LMCU not had to decrease their rate for this? Haven’t had this account for a few years but I’m thinking about coming back because of the current climate.

A M
A M

I wonder the same thing, they are among the highest

Will
Will

I’ve had their Max Checking account since 2012 and I have no idea. I have had many other accounts (Signature FCU, Orion FCU, Wealthfront, etc) all of which have significantly dropped their rates. LMCU is my main bank account at this point because they have held strong over the 8 years.

Jason
Jason

Does using Cash App / Cash Card refills still qualify for the 10 transactions?

Jason
Jason

Found one post by Dmitri from 3.20.20 that cash app works. Is this still the case?

CaptNemo
CaptNemo

DP:
Bank of America cash rewards counted LMCU $50 initial account funding as Online Shopping (3% category)

A M
A M

Is this still 3%, the website says yes, but pretty much every other bank has dropped to below 2%

Snowbird
Snowbird

Yes it is.

lvla
lvla

May interest did not post. Anyone else had the same issue?

Heat Mizer
Heat Mizer

Posted fine for me. Are you sure you did all the requirements? Check the Max Checking requirements tab in your account to make sure.

ale
ale

Can anyone explain me the credit card funding they refer here??

NoobOmega
NoobOmega

Some banks/unions let you use your credit card to fund an account opening. They usually have limits on how much, but if the limit is say, $1000, with a 2% citi credit card you could get a free $20 from that versus nothing if you funded with a bank account.