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High-Interest Reward Checking Account at a Washington State Credit Union (TwinStar)

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TwinStar Credit Union
Update 7/21/11: The rate has fallen to 2.50% APY with a balance cap of $20,000.

TwinStar Credit Union is offering a new relationship checking account called the Accelerator Checking. You can earn 2.50% APY for balances up to $20K when certain requirements are met; the main requirement is using your debit card 12 times per month. The others are easy and include signing up for e-statements and access online banking at least once a month. Other nice features of this account include refunds on any ATM surcharges and free online Bill Payer.

Field of membership includes those who work or reside in any of the following Washington state counties: Thurston, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Clark, Pierce, Whatcom, Snohomish, Mason, Cowlitz, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Kittitas, Kitsap, and King. See site for other ways to qualify. Branches are located in several Washington cities including Vancouver, Tacoma and Olympia.

The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. It has $544.7 million in assets and 71,473 members.

Rate History:
06/01/11: 2.50% APY up to $20K; 0.25% over; 0.10% base
11/13/10: 2.75% APY
05/01/09: 3.00% APY
06/05/08: 4.00% APY
03/31/08: 4.25% APY
10/25/07: 4.75% APY up to $30K; 0.50% over
03/04/07: 6.00% APY with no balance cap

  Tags: TwinStar Credit Union, Washington, checking account, reward checking account

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Comments
10 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Seems like they don't allow account opening online or through mail. Anyone tried opening it?

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
TwinStar has no limit for how much you put in this Accelorator checking account. You can put as much in as you like and earn the 6% on it. As long as you're meeting the requirements. And its a free checking account, with no penalties for not meeting the requirements! Sounds good to me!

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Comment #3 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for the info. Sounds like an excellent deal. Hope they can maintain that rate.

1
Comment #4 by osubeaver (anonymous) posted on
osubeaver
They are no longer accepting mail-in applications so I drove an hour to their Tacoma, WA branch to get in on this hot deal. Also was told there was no deposit limitations. Somewhat awkward web interface and no ability to link external accounts from within their website, but you can link via a brokerage such as etrade.

No strings or minimum limitations on how small your debit purchases can be - they don't care; however, I was cautioned not to use 1 cent Paypal transactions as they consider these to be ACH. Also, hey were very aware of all the online discussion and acknowledged they had been somewhat flooded with out of state membership attempts.

Although the fine print says the rate is adjustable, the CSR rep didn't feel like it was going to change any time soon. One hell of a hot deal. Parked some significant cash there and will be moving paycheck DD over very soon. Mad interest for very little hassle. ymmv

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Comment #5 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for providing the details of your experience. Glad you were able to get into this.

They're one of the few without deposit limitations. Seems like they would have a hard time to make this a profitable product for themselves. Perhaps, most members will only have less than $1,000 in this account. Then the 6% won't cost them much. I wonder how much they get per debit card transaction.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened an account with them in September. As of October 15 that percent rate expired, or was changed. So I never really got a chance to take full advantage of the 6% rate.

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Comment #7 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for the info. I've updated the post with the new rate info. This is the largest rate drop for these reward checking accounts that I've seen. I hope this doesn't start a trend. I also noticed that they introduced a $30K deposit cap for the high yield.

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Comment #8 by Ram (anonymous) posted on
Ram
they grandfathered in a high rate (5.50% no limit) to old account holders... so we didnt see our rate drop to 4.50%

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Comment #9 by Josh (anonymous) posted on
Josh
I recently signed up with a local credit union because they offer 6.01% on their checking accounts. There are a couple stipulations, one being that you have to make 10 debit card transactions per month. That's fine, but we don't use a debit card. We use a credit card that earns airline miles and pay the balance each month.

Is there a way that I can make minimal (perhaps even scheduled) debit card transactions?

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Comment #10 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
What's the local credit union's name?

One easy way to meet the debit card requirements is to schedule monthly $1 donations to charities. There's a discussion about this at this FW thread.

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