With so many banks and credit unions cutting their reward checking rates, I thought it would be a nice change to highlight a credit union which did the opposite. On July 1st Advantis Credit Union increased the top rate of its reward checking account (called Fusion Checking) from 2.00% to 3.00% APY. This rate continues to apply to balances up to $25,000. The portion of the balance over $25,000 earns 0.20%. These rates are earned only if the monthly requirements are met. If they're not met, the rate falls to 0.10% for the entire balance. Hat tip to DA member pearlbrown who first mentioned this news in this forum thread.
I first reported on the Fusion Checking account in 2007 when the top rate was 6.25% APY. The yield had fallen to 2.00% in April 2011.
The monthly requirements have remained unchanged since my first report:
- 12 debit card purchases
- 1 automatic payment or direct deposit
- log into online banking at least once
- Receive statements electronically
If these requirements are met for the month, the above rates apply. In addition, nationwide ATM fees charged by other banks are refunded (up to $25 each month). The checking account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charge.
According to the credit union's Join Us page, "if you live or work in the Portland metro area, you're eligible to join". At the bottom of this page, there's a link to an online application. However, the first page of the application instructs new members to visit the branch after submitting the application to visit a branch to verify members' IDs and to finish setting up the accounts.
Credit Union Overview
Advantis Credit Union branches are located in Portland and Hillsboro, Oregon.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 5.40% (excellent) based on March 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Advantis Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 62659).
I don't want sound pessimistic, but history has shown these rate increases are often followed by rate cuts within a year. One example is University of Iowa Community Credit Union which raised its reward checking yield in March 1, 2011 from 4% to 4.25%. This only lasted 5 months. The yield fell to 3.75% on July 30, 2011.
How This Reward Checking Rate Compares
The only institution in Oregon that has a reward checking account as competitive as the Fusion Checking account is Old West Federal Credit Union. Its reward checking account has a 3.01% APY for balances up to $25K. However, credit union membership is only available in eastern Oregon counties.
For reward checking accounts that are available nationwide, the highest rate for balances up to $25K is 2.52% APY at ABCO Federal Credit Union.
These rates are accurate as of 7/10/2012.
To find the highest reward checking rates in your area, please refer to our reward checking rate table. This can also be used to find accounts available nationwide. If you're new to these tables, my rate table guide should be useful.
If you're new to reward checking, my blog post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking, should be useful.