Last week, I discussed the competitive long-term Share Certificates currently available at Sunbelt Federal Credit Union (Sunbelt FCU). Another competitive product offered by Sunbelt FCU is their rewards checking account (RCA), Advantage Checking, which currently earns 3.00% APY on qualifying balances between $100 and $20k. Qualifying balances over $20k earn 0.50% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.25% APY.
|1.51*%||$100||$20k||Sunbelt Federal Credit Union||Advantage Checking|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.50% → $20k+|
Sunbelt FCU has a long history of having an RCA in its product line. I first wrote about the Advantage Checking account in 2008, when the APY was 6.01% on qualifying balances up to $25k. As you can see from the table below, the 3.00% APY has been in effect for more than eight years.
Monthly Qualifying Requirements
- At least 10 MasterCard Credit/Debit Card* purchases per month totaling at least $100.
- At least one ACH/Direct Deposit each month
- Enrollment in Cloud Documents (eStatements)
- Must not be subject to backup withholding: “Accounts with backup withholding will be converted to our regular checking account.”
*While the Advantage Checking page reads “MasterCard Credit Card,” the Rates & Service Charges page states “MasterCard Debit Card.” CSR confirmed that both credit and debit card purchases can be used to fulfill the monthly purchase requirement.
Unlike most RCAs, the Advantage Checking account has a minimum balance requirement ($100), but no minimum opening deposit. Non-qualifying accounts are subject to a $3 monthly service charge. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $25 per month, if qualifications are met. (Sunbelt FCU participates in the Allpoint ATM networks.) An Advantage Checking account can be opened by individuals, 18 years or older, with a limit of one account per Social Security number. Businesses, DBAs, Trusts, and Minor accounts cannot open an Advantage Checking account.
Headquartered in Laurel, Mississippi, Sunbelt Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) is primarily residency-based, with individuals who live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in the Mississippi counties of Jones, Pike, Simpson, or Wayne, or select parts of Covington, Forest, or Lamar Counties, eligible for membership.
Employees of more than 150 Select Employment Groups (including several Mississippi school districts) also qualify for membership.
Immediate family members of any current Sunbelt FCU member or membership-eligible individuals are also welcome to apply.
Joining Sunbelt FCU and/or opening an Advantage Checking account can be done at any of 11 full-service Mississippi branches located in Biloxi, Ellisville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg (3), Laurel (2), Magee, McComb, and Waynesboro.
Establishing a Sunbelt FCU membership requires a minimum $5 deposit in a Regular Share savings account.
Sunbelt FCU participates in the CO-OP Share Branch network and the Allpoint ATM network.
Credit Union Overview
Sunbelt Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.01% (excellent) based on December 31, 2019 data. In the past year, Sunbelt FCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $7.36 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 4.29%. Please refer to our financial overview of Sunbelt Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 8905) for more details.
Chartered in 1953, Sunbelt Federal Credit Union was originally known as the Masonite Employees Federal Credit Union. (Masonite is a type of engineered wood, which was patented in 1924 in Laurel, Mississippi, by William Mason, a friend and protégé of Thomas Edison.) The Credit Union’s name was changed to Central Sunbelt Federal Credit Union in 1983, following an FOM expansion that included a variety of employee groups. “Central” was dropped from the name in 2019, as the Credit Union’s footprint stretched across the state. Sunbelt FCU is currently the fourth largest credit union in Mississippi, with more than 37,000 members and assets in excess of $226 million.
How Advantage Checking Compares
When compared to the High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available within the FOM with qualifying balances of at least $20k, Sunbelt Federal Credit Union’s Advantage Checking APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|3.30% APY||Vertical Checking ($20k max)||Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union|
|3.00% APY||Advantage Checking ($20k max)||Sunbelt Federal Credit Union|
|2.33% APY||Performance Checking ($20k max)||Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union|
The above rates are accurate as of 5/21/2020.
To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.