Posted by William Charles on January 4, 2019
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Published on January 4th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Orion Federal Credit Union Premium Checking 4% APY On Balances Up To $30,000 (DD Not Required)

Update 6/30/19: Looks to be definitely nationwide.

Update 1/4/19: It doesn’t look like the original state restrictions listed were/are accurate as people have been able to open in Arizona, California, Florida & Massachusetts. It’s possible this account is actually available nationwide, but YMMV. Hat tip to reader Pablo.

Offer at a glance

  • Interest Rate: 4% APY
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Maximum Balance: $30,000
  • Availability: I believe you need to be a resident of Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette Counties in Tennessee or Desoto and Marshall Counties in Mississippi or Crittendon and Mississippi Counties in Arkansas. Nationwide
  • Direct deposit required: No, just total deposits of $500+
  • Additional requirements: 8 signature based transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: Hard pull (equifax)
  • ChexSystems: Unknown
  • Credit card funding: None
  • Monthly fees: Avoidable
  • Insured: NCUA

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Orion offers the Premium Checking Account this account offers a 4% APY on balances up to $30,000 when the following requirements are met:
    • Electronic deposits totaling at least $500/mo
    • Perform at least 8 signature-based card transactions

The Fine Print

  • (1) Deposit at least $500 electronically (direct deposit, ATM deposit, or transfer from another institution) and
  • (2) Perform at least 8 signature-based debit card transactions.
  • All bank account bonuses are treated as income/interest and as such you have to pay taxes on them

Avoiding Fees

This account has a $5 monthly fee. If you meet the requirements for the 4% APY then the monthly fee is also waived. There is also an early account termination fee of $10 if the account is closed within 6 months of account opening

Eligibility

This definitely works in the following states: Arizona, California, Florida

It has been confirmed as working in the following states:

  • Hawaii: 1,
  • Massachusetts: 1,
  • New York: 1, 2,
  • Pennsylvania: 1, 2, 3,
  • Texas: 1, 2, 3,

Our Verdict

Great account, easy to meet requirements and a 4% APY rate with such a high maximum balance is basically unheard of. If you live in a qualifying area then it’s definitely worth at least considering. Now the game of trying to work out how to open an account outside of that area begins.

Hat tip to reader Ash

 



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Joanna
Joanna

I just applied and got a hard pull on Equifax.

Joanna
Joanna

And I am not able to login to online banking. Not sure that this account is worth the effort and a hard pull.

Phill
Phill

Yes it’s worth it once you’re set up. It was a pain in the beginning to set up the account though. I remember having to go in branch to give documentation and what not but once all that was taken care of it’s been a solid CU to do business with.

Joanna
Joanna

I am out of state, so going to a branch is not an option. Plus I am used to advanced banks like Alliant, not banks that think we are still in the 1980’s.

Ann
Ann

Pick a branch to call and ask if you can email or fax your documentation directly to that person. I haven’t dealt with this credit union, but it worked with a small regional bank recently.

Evilex
Evilex

Sup Ann, do you have this? If so, do you get the hard pull before or after letting you know if you are eligible? I dont want a hard pull if at the end they gonna tell me I dont meet the state restriction XD

Sheri
Sheri

I was able to email the documents.

Lisa
Lisa

Are you in the geo?

Phill
Phill

I have this account and it used to be 3% up to 20k but in October they just upped it to 4% and 30k. The debit works well overseas at ATM’s. They reimbursed our fees when in Brazil. DD can be as simple as mobile depositing a check of at least $500 as well and amazon re-loads work.

Shirley
Shirley

Question for you Phill. You say the Amazon reloads work to meet the 8 debit requirement and was wondering if the reloads show up as a Card Card Purchase in your Orion account?

When I used the card at a store locally, it shows as POS Card Purchase so know that’s the way it will look when I swipe the card but just want to make sure how it shows when used online.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Yes, whenever you use your card without a PIN (Amazon reloads, pay online, insert it in a store, etc.) it will show as a Card Card Purchase and will count towards the 8 debits to avoid the fee and earn the 4% rate. Whenever you enter a PIN, it will show as a POS Card Purchase and not count towards the fee or 4% rate.

Dave
Dave

Phill, if I transfer $500 monthly from my existing account to this account, would that transaction be considered as DD?

Wesley Groth
Wesley Groth

yes I got my 2 dollars for 1500 last month. I even called Orion and they we’re able to advise me if I was meeting qualifications

howardc64
howardc64

Asked Orion about ATM reimbursement. They said $10 max reimbursement per month and only reimburse fees from the ATM provider. Orion said they charge $1 per non Orion ATM and don’t reimburse that. Does this sound right? I don’t recall reading about the $1 Orion charge anywhere.

Ken
Ken

I remember reading about it in one of their user agreements. I almost never use cash anymore. If you need cash regularly, then withdraw a lot less often.

Zhel
Zhel

Went through the eligibility process. Residency, students, or federal employees appear to require the listed counties above, unless you work for one of the affiliated companies.
The Arkansas Employees Federal Credit Union officially became a part of Orion this year, and the Little Rock branch has re-opened as Orion recently. So I tested (without affiliation) and was not eligible based on being near the new branch. With affiliation, I can open the 4% APY account though.

Richard N
Richard N

I was able to sign up from Florida by agreeing to donate $10 to one of the affiliated organizations. i chose Habitat for Humanity Memphis. I set up my initial deposit ACH transfer. I did complete the process but as others have mentioned i was not able to open the online banking login. i have seen this before where the account took like a day to set up by the bank before i was able to login online. I did not see anywhere in the application process that there would be a credit pull. I also so far have not seen any HP on Equifax but maybe its too soon to tell, I will report if i do get a HP.

Joanna
Joanna

Actually, one doesn’t need to make a donation. This is what the Eligibility screen shows, if one doesn’t qualify based on where they live or where they work:

“Volunteers for Orion Gives Back
organizations are eligible for membership in Orion. You can qualify
as a volunteer fundraiser simply by choosing an organization
and asking us to make a $10 donation.”

Richard N
Richard N

Well, maybe i misunderstood it. maybe they make the donation. i just assumed it came out of the initial deposit.

Shirley
Shirley

Did you get a list of the affiliated organizations besides Habitat for Humanity? I’ve emailed them twice this week trying to get a list but never got a response back.

Joanna
Joanna

It’s on the application page. You can just start the application, there is no need to finish, just close it after you get to that page. I chose WOLF RIVER CONSERVANCY. But I didn’t need to make any donation.

Shirley
Shirley

Thanks

Richard N
Richard N

Ok, i just got the email, and i tried to signup for the online banking and i was successful.

Shirley
Shirley

Was there a different account number in the email you got? I got an email confirming my membership and said to sign up for online banking but it still won’t accept using my member number and last four of SSN. Did you get more than one email?

Shirley
Shirley

UPDATE: I called them since I couldn’t log on and the csr was able to get me logged in. She also explained that by signing up for Estatements, you’ll avoid the $2 monthly charge and they’ll give you $5 for doing so.

She also said that the direct deposit can be any ACH transfer of $500 so any bank transfer should work. The 8 debit card uses have to be credit, not PIN based and that they have to clear by the end of the calendar month.

By the way, I’m in California and had no problem signing up and getting online.

S-Dawg
S-Dawg

I was told today that you cannot enroll in online banking until the $25 posts (account opening minimum deposit). Need to wait a couple days essentially.

Richard N
Richard N

OMG , Joanna was right . I just got a hard pull on Equifax. I probably would not have applied for this if i had known. I would have waited until more inquires dropped off. Maybe i blew through the application process to quick but i did not remember seeing this. They usually give you a warning. anyway its done, and my online banking is set up. I think i will like this credit Union.

Shirley
Shirley

Yes, they did pull Equifax and there were questions during the application that apparently came from Equifax.

LC
LC

hard pulls arent the end of the world. they only affect you for 1 year and remove after 2 years. i have 10+ pulls across all 3 bureaus. I dont have issues getting approved for cards from the banks that actually approve anyone over 6/24.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Anyone else having a problem logging in? Just signed up today and was able to login less than an hour ago but now I can’t.

Shirley
Shirley

I can’t login either. Am able to access their automated phone system to get account info so don’t think they’ve closed our accounts. Hopefully just a glitch in their online system.

Will call tomorrow if it continues, they’re open until 1 on Saturdays.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

UPDATE: Called this morning and was told there is a fraud alert showing on my account and that is why I’m unable to login. Will have to call back on Monday since that department is closed on the weekend.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

UPDATE: Had to email them a copy of my SSN, driver’s license and utility bill to get final approval and am now back online.

Jason
Jason

I am assuming the utility bill was proof of residency? What other forms would do?

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

I kinda remember they said a car registration, insurance documents or something official with your address and name on it will work to prove residency.

arizonapv
arizonapv

They said to send proof of residency so I asked if a utility bill would be fine and they said yes. They also had me email a copy of Driv License and Social Security Card. The risk dept said they needed a copy of all three items. Said I had opened a lot of accounts (6) in October and that was alarming and a sign of fraud, so I had to send these items for my own protection.

Krispy
Krispy

Are you really required to send them a Social Security card, or is it sufficient to just provide your SS number and am alternative form of photo ID (like passport)? I have no idea where my SS card is because I’ve literally never had to use it in my life.

James
James

I had the problem the day I opened the account (1/7), today (1/10) I was ready to call from reading all the comments but decided to try one more time and it worked fine!.
I think my problem was that I was using the full account number from the confirmation page instead of the numer they say to use for first time registration, which is on the same page but you need to scroll down a little to see it. It is 7 digit number.

John
John

You are the real MVP

Richard N
Richard N

DP’s are HARD PULL EQUIFAX and no CC funding. ACH transfer only.

Joanna
Joanna

So I wasn’t able to enroll in online banking at all after I applied. I kept receiving an “Invalid login” error. I called this morning and I was asked to fax them a copies of my ID, SSN and proof or residence. They don’t seem to take their customers security very seriously since the lady asked me to provide my full SSN over the phone.

jack
jack

Full SSN over the phone isn’t a big deal. I get asked all the time from different institutions. The big security breach is that they want you to e-mail them scans instead of using a secure message service.

Chris Macarian
Chris Macarian

+1

Andrew Huang
Andrew Huang

I went back and forth with their fraud department to see if there’s other way to send the id, but ended up giving up as gmail supposedly encrypts outgoing (though not sure about while it’s in transit and the servers the mail passes through don’t offer encryption), and orion’s mail server also encrypt their outgoing emails (can verify by viewing the headers).

Eric Marsh
Eric Marsh

I know this is late, but just came across this post now. Anyway, someone could scan their applicable required documents, then paste scans to an excel file, then password protect that file. Then make arrangements with Orion via phone call to give them your file pw when they receive it to allow open and view of your scans?

NBG
NBG

I had the same online login error. Called and was told to send the 3 docs. But then, she also said to tell the error code- after i gave it she put me on hold and then said to try again and it worked, I have to email the docs still though.

RN
RN

I tried applying twice online and it locks up on the funding tab.

Alex
Alex

I got the same thing. They mentioned “state ID” though… not sure what that means. They said I could mail it in to the address on the website and address to the “Risk” or “Account Services” dept

Pizza!
Pizza!

Just another data point – I live in CA and was able to open an account. Like others’ experiences, I did need to email them with pics of SSN, ID, and proof of residence.

Andrew Huang
Andrew Huang

has anyone received their debit card yet?

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Yes, received it on Saturday, 10/20, was sent on 10/12.

arizonapv
arizonapv

How about the PIN?

Andrew Huang
Andrew Huang

You set it when you activate the card.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

As Andrew said, you set the PIN when you activate the card.

tribesman55
tribesman55

Anyone else having trouble logging in this morning?

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

Nope, just tried and was able to login.

Shirley
Shirley

Does anyone know if the $5 monthly fee is waived for the first month? When I asked one of the CSR’s, she didn’t even know about a monthly fee.

arizonapv
arizonapv

I definitely know. I sent a SM and was told that the fee is not waived for the first month, but if I am charged then they will refund the fee. The monthly time period they refer to is a calendar month.

Shirley
Shirley

Good, I messaged them also to get that refund info in writing.

Shirley
Shirley

They confirmed that they’ll refund the fee for the first month. She also said that using the debit card can be for any amount, no matter how small the amount.

Shirley
Shirley

UPDATE: Also confirmed that paying bills (utilities, water, trash, etc) online won’t count towards the 8 debits needed since they aren’t considered purchases. Hope that’s wrong and they accept them anyways. Will test it to see what happens.

L T
L T

Curious to know if utilities count as that’s how I do my usual rewards checking transactions in one sitting. Considering signing up even with hard pull.

arizonapv
arizonapv

L T, yes utilities count. I tested this and it counted towards my total.

Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes

For the most part L T, yes they have been counting even though their reps have told me they don’t.

My trash, water, cable and home phone all posted as a Card Card Purchase (that’s the way they have to post for them to count) on the first statement; however, on the second statement, the home phone posted as a Bill Pay Card Purchase and didn’t count.

Don’t know if the phone company (Frontier) changed the way they report it or it was changed by Orion for some reason, testing it again this month to know for sure. best to keep an eye on it when using utilities.

Justin
Justin

I can confirm seeing the same behavior, my electric bill (Avista, “AVISTA BILL PAY”) was showing up as “Card Card”, but on the second statement it showed up as “Bill Pay Card Purchase”, and had a different name “BillMatrix” instead of “AVISTA BILL PAY”. Granted, the Avista charge did have “BILL PAY” in the name, so it’s possible it either got caught due to the keyword “bill”, or that both Avista and Orion use the “Billmatrix” system, so they automatically detected that it was a bill after paying initially.

My internet bill is still showing as a signature card purchase, but I’m not sure if that’s because it’s not recognized by their system, or because I pay it manually every month by breaking it into 3 payments on different dates in random amounts.

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