Update 12/1/11: The top rate has fallen to 3.00% APY.
INOVA Federal Credit Union is offering a high-yield reward checking account called Ovation Checking. The account pays 3.00% APY on balances up to $20,000 (0.30% over) if the following monthly requirements are met:
- 15 signature-based debit card purchases
- Direct Deposit $200 or more
- $1,500 minimum balance
Unlike most reward checking accounts, there doesn't seem to be any ATM fee refunds. Free ATMs are available at Alliance One or CO-OP network ATMs across the nation. Note, there's a $1 fee for not only at foreign ATMs but also for making PIN-based debit card purchases.
Credit union membership is primarily based on employment or membership in one of many organizations. Refer to the credit union's become-a-member page for more details. On the front page there's a "Join Now" link at to top left of the page. This link takes you to an online application provided by loanspq.com. One of the options for eligibility listed in this application includes:
You may elect to join one of the approved not for profit organizations such as Cass County Conservation Club or the Elkhart River Restoration Association.
The online application allows you to select the Ovations Checking Account. You are also required to open a savings account with a minimum balance of $5.
Credit Union Overview
Branches are located in the Indiana cities of Elkhart, Michigan City, Mishawaka and Granger. Other branches are located in Berkeley, California; Tarrytown, New York; Orange, Connecticut; Clayton, North Carolina; and Morristown and Wayne, New Jersey. It's also part of the Credit Union Service Center which allows you to perform basic transactions at branches of other credit unions around the nation.
According to the credit union's About page
Established in 1942, INOVA FCU was originally chartered to serve the employees of Miles Laboratories.
According to Wikipedia
Miles operated as an independent firm from 1884 until 1979 and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bayer AG from 1979 until 1995, when it was consolidated into the parent corporation.
The credit union's ratings for safety and soundness are a little weak: 2 stars (problematic) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/09 data) and 2 stars (below peer group) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/09 data). The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 4968).
Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts
The 4% APY is nice, but the $20K balance cap and the 15-per-month debit card requirement hurt the deal. Most reward checking accounts have a $25K cap and require no more than 10 debit card purchases per month (although this seems to be trending up).
Refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com to find reward checking accounts in your state or that are available nationwide.
12/01/11: 3.00% APY up to $20K; 0.30% over
04/11/10: 4.00% APY up to $20K