Posted by William Charles on January 29, 2015
Checking Accounts

Published on January 29th, 2015 | by William Charles

26

Union Plus Prepaid Review (5.10% APY + $20 Bonus)

This is the second post in our weekly series that’s posted every Thursday, every week we talk about a different product that offers a high interest rate for consumers. You can see more posts in this series by clicking here, last week we looked at the Control Card (5% APY + $20 bonus).

  • Interest Rate: 5.1%, rate drops to 2% without a direct deposit
  • Minimum Balance:  None
  • Maximum Balance: Up to $5,000 gets the full 5.1% rate. Balances above this get a rate of only 0.10% APY
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Direct deposit required: Yes, no minimum mentioned but most likely needs to be $50+ a month. Any ACH transfer should work, click here for a list of data points (these are for Mango, but it’s basically the same card).
  • Additional requirements: None
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft
  • Credit card funding: No
  • Monthly fees: $2 (charged on 30 day cycle), waived if you load $500 or more in the 30 days prior
  • Insured: FDIC
  • Length of promotion: Since at least 2012

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Receive an interest rate of 5.10% APY on balances up to $5,000 when you have a direct deposit.

5.10 APY

direct deposit

The Fine Print

  • Direct deposit bonus will post within 30 days of completing the requirements

Avoiding Fees

This account does not have any sign up fees or early account termination fees. But it does have the following fees (their fee page can be accessed here).

  • Balance Inquiry at ATM (you can check this for free online or by calling them): $0.50
  • ATM Withdrawal: $1.50 plus any owner operator fees, here is a list of financial institutions that don’t charge owner/operator fees.
  • International Currency Conversion: 2% per transaction
  • Monthly Subscription Fee: $2 (charged on 30 day cycle), waived if you load $500 or more in the 30 days prior. Call customer service to find out when your 30 day cycle starts/ends.

It’s fee free to withdraw funds from your account and you can do this up to six times per month.

Our Verdict

This card is targeted at Union members, but you do not have to be a member to be approved (even if you did, you could join Working America members for free). It’s also the same underlying card (Rev Worldwide) as the Mango prepaid, although marketed slightly different.

I prefer these cards to rewards checking accounts, as the requirements to get the full interest rate are much easier to complete. If you pay the $2 monthly fee, you’d be effectively getting an APY of 4.62% (assuming you have the maximum balance of $5,000) which is lower than the rate of 5.28% that Mango offers after the monthly fee is taken into account.

Even if you did direct deposit $500 per month to avoid the monthly fee, you’d still be getting a maximum of 5.1% so Mango would still be a better option. I’d recommend the Union Plus card to people that already have a Mango account and want to get a high interest rate on more than $5,000.

If you’re not familiar with high interest checking accounts or prepaid accounts with high yield savings accounts, I’d recommend reading this post first.

 



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Joe
Joe

William…could you do your magic and figure out who/what they pull to verify your identity?

With both mango and UP I have issues with my identity getting verified. Trust me when I say all my info is up to date on my credit reports, so that’s not the issue. I need to figure out and see who they pull to see if having some of my reports on freeze has anything to do with it.

I’ve called them and asked who they pull, what they will not divulge that info.

Octavio
Octavio

I just recently heard about Mango/Union Plus and when attempting to sign up I encountered a similar problem with them not being able to verify my identity: “We are unable to process your request for a Mango Card at this time. Some of the identification information you provided could not be validated.”

My credit profile is frozen with all 3 bureaus and although I’ve read they don’t check credit, it is obvious that they are attempting to access the file and are having problems since it’s frozen. Hopefully, we can find out who they pull from.

Sebastian
Sebastian

I tried applying for both Mango and this one, having the same ID verification issues. When I call in, they simply say to try again in 24 hrs. Of course I have tried multiple times since, but to no avail. All info is correct with no recent changes. Credit history/Chexsystems is all clear. Anyone been able to get around this?

Paul
Paul

I have had ID verification issues with signing up my wife, even though neither of us have any credit profiles frozen. We both have separate Mango accounts that were opened ~18 months ago, that process went fine, no issues. I then tried to open up separate UnionPlus accounts for each of us ~6 months ago. My account went through just fine, however her account always says it can’t be verified. I’ve tried 3-4 times, each a few weeks apart to no avail, tried calling and got the same “try again in 24hrs” as Sebastian. All the ID info supplied matches her Mango account info so I have no idea why she can’t be verified. Has anyone recently signed up successfully? Makes me wonder if they’ve stopped accepting signups but left the page up…

Glenn Geib
Glenn Geib

Mango/Union Plus has a three account limit per household. That is why your wife’s Union Plus account isn’t being accepted, as you already have two Mango cards and a Union Plus card.

Paul
Paul

Glenn – I assume you know that Mango/UnionPlus has the 3 account limit per household limit from experience? I scanned the T&C’s from the UnionPlus website but saw nothing explicitly stated in their agreements.

JDB
JDB

I tried signing up today, having the same problem. Signed up for mango first without issue. But getting the same error mentioned above signing up for this second.

Fiby

Post income tax and fees, the Union Plus prepaid is better than the Mango account if your marginal income tax rate (federal + state, if applicable) is 20% or more and you always avoid Union Plus’s fee. Recall that the Mango account yields 6% (and you are taxed on this 6%), and then after taxes you are charged an unavoidable $3 fee, regardless of how much you direct deposit.

5000*.06 * x – 36 = 5000*.051 * x

x = 0.8, which means at a marginal tax rate of 20%, your post tax and fees yields are equal. A marginal rate less than 20%, and Mango wins. A marginal rate greater than 20%, and Union Plus wins.

Fiby

Correction: I just received my 1099 from Mango and for some reason the interest is not listed in box 1, interest income, but box 3, interest on US Savings Bonds and Treasury obligations. This is not taxable by state governments, and hence, only your federal marginal rate applies to the analysis above, at least for the Mango side of the equation (but since it’s run by the same people, it’s probably reported as box 3 US government bond income for Union Plus as well).

Max
Max

As per the post an ach push from serve to union prepaid plus would count as a direct deposit ?
Is this still valid ? My question is how to do an ach push using my serve account to union plus prepaid card account ?

Max
Max

Actually i found that you can add a linked bank account to serve and push money to the prepaid account.
But i saw serve only restricts you to add one bank account . So if i already have a major bank account linked how is it possible to add other prepaid accounts to satisfy requriement for union prepaid, mango
etc. Any way around this ?

Corey Hilton
Corey Hilton

Do you reckon this is better (easier) than the Mango account? I am deciding between the two. Do you withdraw anything over the 5k (for instance when the interest is paid)?

Elliot
Elliot

For the direct deposit bonus requirement you are correct about the $50 minimum, terms and conditions now state: “You qualify as enrolling in Direct Deposit Service when you complete two Direct Deposits totaling $50.00 within 90 days of opening your account. Your account will be credited within 30 days of full enrollment.”

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Does this mean $50 every subsequent month will trigger the 5.01% thereafter?

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Nevermind, it makes sense to just cycle $500 in/out monthly anyways, as it avoids the $2/mo fee.

LS
LS

Received an email from Union Plus Prepaid that the card will be discontinued on 9/16/15.

Chuck

Whoa! You mean for existing account holders, correct?

Can you send me a screenshot or forward the email to me (chuck@doctorofcredit.com)? Much appreciated if you can!

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[…] you’re a Union Plus cardholder, you should have received the following e-mail outlining a closure for September 16th, 2015. We […]

ColinC

They’re already blocking transfers from savings. Had to place a call with customer service to escalate this. Hopefully I can eft out before they lockdown everything.

1. August 15, 2015 – Last Day to Reload Your Card
Card loads including recurring deposits will not be available after August 15, 2015. If you receive recurring deposits (such as direct deposits) please make arrangements – as soon as possible – with your bank, payment provider or payroll department to stop those deposits from posting to the Card. Any recurring deposit initiated on or after August 15th , 2015 will be rejected and returned to the originating source.

2. September 15, 2015 – Last Day to Use Card at A Merchant or ATM
Use any remaining balance before September 16, 2015, or your Card’s expiration date, whichever comes first. Remember, your Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. If recurring debit charges are assessed to your account, you should contact the merchant immediately to make other arrangements for payment.

3. By September 30, 2015 – Check Issued for Remaining Funds
The check will be sent to the name and address we currently have on file no later than 30 days of account closure.

Matt
Matt

Your ACH pull probably won’t work. Mine was rejected last week.

Dan
Dan

Would we be getting a 1099 form for the interest gained?

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