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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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.

Snowbird
Snowbird

Sorry if this is a duplicate. I originally posted yesterday but the comment never got approved.
Did anyone else not receive interest for April? All requirements were met except for the debit card transactions, which were supposed to be waived for the month. I’ve contacted LMCU by SM, but no response yet. I do see comments about March, but nobody reported how or if it was resolved.

Heat Mizer
Heat Mizer

I did not get the interest for March and I contacted them with no reply. I went ahead and did all requirements for April and did receive the interest. Hopefully they respond to you, but I never did get a response regarding March.

Snowbird
Snowbird

They didn’t respond to my message, but chat worked great. Interest was in my account before the chat was closed.

Snowbird
Snowbird

Did anyone else not receive interest for April? All requirements were met except for the debit card transactions, which were supposed to be waived for the month. I’ve contacted LMCU by SM, but no response yet. I do see comments about March, but nobody reported how or if it was resolved.

Snowbird
Snowbird

Update – I just opened a chat with LMCU. The rep did not know why they did not post but immediately posted the interest manually and opened an inquiry with their IT department. Great customer service.

John
John

Can anybody verify that “Debit requirements are being waived for March & April” worked for their March 3% interest?

767
767

Same question. When I logged into my LMCU account on 4/1 to do the 4 logins and verify direct deposit (ACH from an external account always works), it said I had 9999 debits. Today, it says I have 0. April Fools joke on me?

Brocko
Brocko

Same for me. I just checked today and my interest didn’t post either.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Brocko just asking, did you still do the DD and the 4 logins during March as those requirements are still needed for the interest?

Brocko
Brocko

Yup. At the end of March it said I qualified, but now it’s saying I didn’t qualify for March.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Sounds like a good reason to call or message them if you haven’t already.

767
767

Re: March, I already did the DD, 4 logins and debits and the interest posted on the 31st. Wasn’t planning on doing the the debits for April but it’s still early enough I can.

Garaged
Garaged

Do people have multiple accounts with LMCU or is it a one per person deal?

Heat Mizer
Heat Mizer

One account per social security number.