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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abe
abe

absolute worst acct opening experience ever. cancelled acct immediately. they appear to be an ongoing criminal enterprise. only one party in a banking partnership should be an ongoing criminal enterprise, not both.

Bill
Bill

I recently opened the account and use my capitalone debit card to do the initial funding. The bad news is that my card seems to be compromised and there is a suspicious transaction named “Lake Michigan insurance agency” in the description of my debit card transaction history. Any idea for this?

Otto
Otto

That’s a branch of LMCU:

https://www.lmcu.org/personal/insure/

Bill
Bill

Hi Otto,

I don’t have any insurance product with LMCU. Lake Michigan insurance agency just charged me $25 bucks and I’m so confused with that transaction. Should I call my bank to disable the debit card and file a dispute? Ty. 🙂

EddieSpaghetti
EddieSpaghetti

Just opened the Max Checking and Member Savings account. LMCU did a hard pull on Experian and not Transunion.

Dave
Dave

Debit card compromised – pending charge made to ALMACENES EXITO
in Columbia. Numerous LMCU members have been effected.

DP719
DP719

Thanks for the advice, Dave. Have just disabled my debit card as a precaution.

Dave
Dave

William Charles

03/29/21 Hard pull from Experian (not TransUnion), and app is under review.

Donna
Donna

What is working March 2021 to satisfy the Debit card transactions? What about the DD?

Shirley
Shirley

I’ve found that most everything works and in any amount. I do the debit transactions to pay my water, trash and cable bills online, make Amazon gift card purchases and use Cash App. The direct deposit can also be in any amount, I transfer $1 from Chase.

Justanother Dude
Justanother Dude

Still a hard pull as of Jan ’21.

Davis
Davis

As of 1/29

David V
David V

The hard pull decreased my credit score right before buying a house 🙁 I wish I had noticed the “Hard/Soft pull” before applying! Thanks for your informative website 🙂

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.