A reader brought to my attention an interesting reward checking account at Community West Credit Union CWCU. At first look, it may appear like a hot deal. It has a 7.00% APY, but as you might expect there's a balance cap. The 7.00% APY only applies to balances up to $2,000. It's the credit union's Completely Free Checking, and to qualify for this rate, the member must have direct deposit into checking totaling $200 or more and an active debit card. The rate and features are described at this CWCU checking page as of 2/19/2013.
There's also a $100 bonus for opening the Completely Free Checking account. To qualify for the bonus, a member must open a new Completely Free Checking account, have two direct deposits totaling at least $200, make five debit card purchases, sign up for online banking and e-statements. Please refer to the CWCU checking promotion page for the full details.
Credit union membership is open to anyone who resides, works, attends school or worships in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, or Ottawa County, Michigan. Please refer to CWCU's Membership Qualification page for more details.
Credit Union Overview
Community West Credit Union branches are located in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 3.99% (excellent) based on September 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Community West Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 61677).
How This Reward Checking Account Compares
I think many would say that a $2,000 balance cap is too small regardless of how high the rate is. One easy way to evaluate a reward checking account is to compute the total maximum yearly earnings. For CWCU's Completely Free Checking, the most you can earn is about $140 a year (7% x $2,000). As a comparison, a reward checking account that pays 2% on up to $10K will pay out about $200 a year.
The highest reward checking rate that's nationally available is 3.25% APY for balances up to $15K at Belvoir Federal Credit Union.
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.