Coastal Federal Credit Union has been offering its reward checking account, the Go Green Checking, for about four years. I first reviewed it in early 2008. Like all deposit accounts, rates have fallen, but there was an interesting rate hike in October as noted in the discussion forum. Coastal FCU increased the rate of its reward checking account from 2.00% to 2.51% APY, and it didn't decrease the balance cap. This 2.51% APY applies to balances up to $50,000. However, there was an unfortunate change. It increased the required number of monthly debit card purchases from 12 to 30. Here are the new debit card purchase requirements and rates (as of 11/04/2011):
- 2.51% APY up to $50K requires 30 debit card purchases per month
- 1.01% APY up to $50K for 12 to 29 debit card purchases per month
- 0.10% APY for portion of the balance over $50K
- 0.10% APY if requirements are not met
There are no monthly fees regardless of meeting these debit card usage requirements.
Unlike most other reward checking accounts from other institutions, this one only has the debit card usage requirement to qualify for the high yields. There are no direct deposit or ACH requirements.
Is 30 Debit Card Purchases a Month Too Many?
This is definitely higher than most reward checking accounts which typically require no more than 12 debit card purchases per month. However, the $50K balance cap may make it worth it. You would have the same debit card requirement if you had two reward checking accounts with a $25K cap that required 15 purchases a month. Also, the Go Green Checking would be better than having three reward checking accounts with a $15K cap that required 10 purchases a month.
The current top yield of 2.51% APY isn't the best, but it matches the rate of the best reward checking account available nationwide, and that only has a $25K cap. So this Go Green Checking can be a good deal.
Open to NC, SC & VA Residents
The downside is that not everyone can qualify for the Go Green Checking. Only residents in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia can qualify. If you are in one of these 3 states, you can apply online at the Go Green Checking page. If you don't qualify based on your employer or family, you can select option 3 in the membership page of the online application. Below are the details listed for option 3:
OPTION 3 - Join the NCCC - North Carolina Consumers Council Membership
NCCC is a non-profit, statewide consumer advocacy organization that addresses topics such as tax law fairness, telemarketing, energy efficiency, consumer product safety and NC playground safety. By choosing to join the NCCC, you qualify for Coastal Federal Credit Union membership. The $18 NCCC membership fee will be deducted from your initial deposit to your Coastal Primary Savings account.
Coastal Federal Credit Union Overview
Coastal FCU is a sizable credit union with $2 billion in assets. Branches are located in the North Carolina cities of Raleigh, Durham, Garner, Cary and Apex. Coastal FCU is also part of the shared branch network, and it belongs to several surcharge-free ATM networks.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 30.15% (below average) based on June 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Coastal Federal Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 18297).
Finding Other Reward Checking Accounts
To find the best reward checking accounts in your area or that are available nationwide, please refer to our reward checking account table. Use the "Filter Accounts" button on top of the table to select either nationwide accounts and/or your state. Also, you can use this button to select the investment amount. This allows you to compare accounts with different rate tiers. For more details about how to use the rate tables, please refer to our rate table guide.