Today I came across another credit union that is allowing credit card purchases instead of debit card purchases to satisfy the requirements for its reward checking account. It’s Baxter Credit Union (BCU). Unfortunately, the credit union’s field of membership is limited, so not many will be able to join. Nevertheless, it’s good to see more reward checking options. Last year I reported on Southwest Airlines FCU’s reward checking account that allows members to use either debit or credit cards to satisfying the reward checking requirements.
BCU’s reward checking account is called Power Interest Checking, and I first reported on this account in 2008 when it had a 4% APY. The rate has fallen, but it’s still competitive. The account has always been unique in that debit card purchases are just one type of transaction that can be used to qualify for the high rate. I just noticed today that one of the allowed transactions is a credit card purchase.
One downside with most reward checking accounts is that it requires debit card usage to qualify for the high interest rate. Many savers prefer credit cards over debit cards since credit cards are generally safer. If your credit card is compromised, you just report the fraudulent charges to the issuer. No money is removed from your bank accounts. However, with a debit card, money is removed from your checking account. If it's a fraudulent charge, you have to work to get your money back.
Below is an updated summary of BCU’s Power Interest Checking account. The rates and features are described at BCU’s Power Interest Checking page as of 8/20/2013:
- 2.00% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.25% APY on portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.00% if requirements are not met
Monthly requirements to qualify for the above rates include:
- direct deposit of at least $500
- online statements
- minimum of 15 transactions that include any combination of the following: BCU Debit Card PIN, Debit Card signature, credit card purchases, Online Bill Pay or ACH payments
If these requirements are not met, no interest is earned and there will be BCU ATM fees for each ATM transaction over five per month. There is no minimum balance required to earn interest, and there is no monthly maintenance fee.
Membership is open to those who live or work in the Illinois counties of Cook (north of Rt. 58 in Illinois), Dupage, Kane, Lake and McHenry, in the Village of Schaumburg, and in the Wisconsin County of Kenosha. You can also be eligible based on employer groups and family members. Please refer to the credit union’s Membership Page for more details. Membership requires a minimum balance of $5 in the savings account.
BCU is a large credit union with $1.87 billion in assets. It serves over 170,000 members and has branches across the country. It’s also part of the Credit Union Service Centers network that gives BCU members the ability to conduct many transactions and obtain services at any Shared Branch within the network.
According to BCU’s about page:
In 1981, a group of executives in the healthcare industry elected to establish a credit union for the convenience and financial well being of the industry’s employees.
The primary healthcare company must have been Baxter International Inc., an American health care company. According to the NCUA records, Baxter Credit Union is still the official name, but “Baxter” is no longer listed on the credit union’s website. Only the name “BCU” is used.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 7.82% (excellent) based on March 2013 data. Please refer to our financial overview of BCU for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 68187).
Other Reward Checking Accounts
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.