This promotion is similar to a checking account bonus. The 12% for 12 months with a $1,200 deposit will earn you about $120 over what you would get with a 2% CD. Their best checking account is the Primary Checking which requires only a $25 minimum opening deposit and has no monthly fees.
Even though the credit union makes it easy for anyone to join online, I was told by a CSR today that a branch visit is required for this promotion. Branches are located in Southern California and in Houston, Texas.
The credit union also has two nice additional perks:
- $25 refer-a-friend bonus for both the referring member and the new member. Only residents of California and Texas are eligible.
- Primary Savings account pays 5.00% APY on balances from $5 to $500. For balances over $500, the rate is 0.55% as of 7/20/09. eStatements are required.
- Hard Credit Inquiry - Readers in previous posts have mentioned that Premier does a hard credit inquiry in addition to a ChexSystem verification as part of the account opening process. The hard pull can slightly ding your credit score.
- One-time $5 membership fee
When you apply for membership, be sure to select "AAAE" on the company listing. Then complete the AAAE application that will be provided during online account opening.
I was able to select AAAE in the credit union's online application when I selected the radio button for "I am a member of an eligible company or organization". A link to an AAAE pdf document was listed. This document stated:
AAAE's one-time membership fee is $25. Premier America Credit Union will grant this fee on your behalf when you join AAAE to become a qualifying member with Premier America Credit Union. The funds will be sent to the AAAE office, and will be used to support arts and education mission.
You can qualify to join Premier without joining AAAE if you live, work, worship or attend school in parts of California or within 10 miles of our Westchase branch in Houston, Texas. In addition, you can be eligible if you're an employee or member of a long list of companies and organizations. Refer to the credit union's Become A Member Page for the full details.
The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 68428).
Other High-Yield/Low-Max CDs
You won't make a lot of money with these accounts, but with today's low interest rates, even large savings are not making much money. There are a few other banks and credit unions that offer similar accounts. The best known one is the Way2Save account at Wachovia (which is now part of Wells Fargo). It's more of a savings account than a CD, but like these CDs, the maximum you can earn is limited. For those who don't want to do much work, you can easily earn about $78 more in a year than you would be able earn in a regular CD.
Another popular one is the new-member CD at Patelco Credit Union. It pays 7% APY for 12 months with a maximum deposit of $1,000. Unlike the Premier CD, Patelco doesn't require a checking account.
I have some more of these CDs listed in this April 2009 post. I also go through the math to show you how to compare these specials.
If you just want a competitive rate on a CD without any maximum deposit or checking requirement, refer to my weekly summary of CD rates.