A bonus may not be enough of an incentive for you to join a credit union unless it's a large bonus. However, if the credit union has other perks, the bonus may give you an additional reason to join. That may be the case with the promotion that's being offered by State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU). The bonus isn't great, but if you consider SDFCU's competitive CD and IRA CD rates, the bonus may be large enough to make joining worthwhile. I reviewed SDFCU's CD and IRA CDs in June.
SDFCU's new-member promotion offers up to $100 in a bonus. The promotion is listed at this SDFCU special website. The offer is scheduled to end on 12/31/2012. Below is a summary of what's required:
- $25 for 10 debit card transactions within 60 days of joining
- $25 for a credit card booked within 60 days of joining
- $50 for direct deposit of $200 within 60 days of joining
The new member can choose not to get a credit card. That will limit the bonus to $75. Since larger credit card bonuses are common from other issuers, some may prefer to avoid this credit card bonus. Below is the offer's small print:
$25 will be awarded to members who join and obtain a credit card within 60 days of joining and/or joins, gets a debit card and uses it in 10 transactions within 60 days from joining. $50 will be awarded to members who join and sign up for direct deposit with a minimum of $200 within 60 days from joining. $100 total maximum payout per member. Offer good from 10/1/2012 – 12/31/2012. Payout will be deposited 4/15/2013 and contingent on account remaining in good standing until that time. One new account per member.
If you're looking for a new checking account, SDFCU has some nice features. First, its checking accounts are free with no monthly service fees. Credit union members have access to free ATMs in the CO-OP Network and have access to the shared branch network. The credit union also has mobile banking with check deposit. One downside, however, is that for online bill pay to remain free, the member must pay a minimum of one bill within two calendar months. Otherwise there is a $5 fee. Update 11/7/2012: A reader noted hidden transaction fees when using ATMs in the CO-OP Network. Refer to this forum thread for more details.
SDFCU is another credit union that has made it easy for anyone to join. If you click the "who can join" link in the Join SDFCU page, it states the following:
If you are not eligible to join through any of the listed groups or affiliations, anyone can join SDFCU through the American Consumer Council (ACC), a nonprofit advocacy group. When opening your SDFCU account you will need to choose ACC on your application, this will automatically enroll you as a member of ACC. There are no hidden fees to join ACC through your membership at SDFCU.
There's also a long list of select employer groups which includes the Department of State.
You can apply using an online application provided by Andera. This can be used to join the credit union and to open and fund the deposit accounts.
State Department Federal Credit Union Overview
State Department Federal Credit Union branches are located in Washington DC and in Alexandria, Virginia.
It's a sizable credit union with $1.45 billion in assets. It has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 3.99% (excellent) based on June 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of SDFCU for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 435).
Other Credit Union and Bank Bonuses
We have a bank promotions page with a table of all of the active bank and credit union promotions. You can filter the table based on the type of promotion and based on your state. I have more details about how to use this page in this blog post.