Many readers may already be members of America's Credit Union due to their past CD specials. They currently don't have any noteworthy CD specials, but they're offering a checking account promotion in which you can earn $100. It requires direct deposit of at least $500 per month for 12 months. The promotion is listed at this credit union page as of 8/9/2011. Below is the small print:
Direct Deposit must be initiated within 30 days of opening a Choice Checking, Perk Checking or Checking Direct Account to receive the $100 bonus. The minimum direct deposit allotment to receive this offer is $500. Member will receive a coupon and may redeem such for $100 within 60 days after the initial direct deposit has been received by ACU. Bonus shall not be considered part of the opening deposit amount. The checking account must remain open for 12 months and have direct deposit or the $100 bonus will be debited (subtracted) from the account balance at closing. This offer is available on individual accounts only. This offer is limited to one per account number. Members that already have a checking account at ACU, are not eligible for this offer. You must deposit at least $1 to open the checking account. This offer can be modified or withdrawn at any time without notice.
The three checking accounts that qualify for the bonus are Choice Checking, Perk Checking and Checking Direct. You can review the features of these accounts at this credit union checking page. It should be noted that checks are not free.
Credit Union Membership
In addition to being open to all members of the United States Armed Forces, the credit union provides an easy way for anyone to join. According to the credit union's Membership Eligibility Page:
We do not have zip code or employment restrictions. Just join the Association of the United States Army. Membership is open to everyone!
Civilian membership into this association costs $34.
As many readers experienced in 2009, the credit union doesn't have an easy application process. A reader who appeared to work at the credit union described in this comment what they required for opening accounts. They require that you make a copy of your ID and Social Security card and have these notarized. Also, if you're joining via that association, they require a copy of your association application. It was also mentioned that the credit union pulls a credit report on all new members.
Becoming a credit union member via the association and the mail application is probably not worth it for this checking account promotion. However, for those who are already members of the credit union due to past CD specials, the checking account promotion may be something to consider.
Credit Union Overview
If you happen to live near one of their branches, it's definitely cheaper and quicker to apply at a branch. America's Credit Union is located in the Washington State cities of Fort Lewis, DuPont, Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, Spanaway and University Place.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 9.55% (above average) based on March 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of America's Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 9373).
Other Bank Bonuses
There are other checking account bonuses that are easier to get. Chase Bank regularly offers a $125 bonus. I have a link to this promotion and a review of the bonus and the potential fees in this Chase checking account bonus review.
To find other bonus deals, please refer to my bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus blog posts. Additional bonuses are listed in the checking discussion forum.