I first reported on Communications Federal Credit Union and its reward checking account, called Free Performance Checking Account, in May 2008. The rate has fallen, but not nearly as much as the rates of many other accounts. It's now one on the few reward checking accounts in the nation that still has a top yield of 4.00% APY that applies to a reasonably large balance (currently $30K). I'm hoping this doesn't fall with the start of October.
Thanks to reader 51hh, I learned that any resident in Oklahoma or Kansas can qualify to join this credit union. Previously, it appeared limited to residents of just two Oklahoma counties in addition to certain select employee groups. Now if you live in OK or KS, you can qualify to join the credit union by joining an association. Below is what is stated in the credit union's online application intro page:
You qualify for membership if you:
- Are employed by or retired from one of our select employee groups.
- Have a family member who is employed by one of our select employee groups.
- Live or work in Broken Arrow, OK, or anywhere in Carter County or Pottawatomie County, OK.(CFCU has a community charter for these areas)
- Live in Oklahoma or Kansas and want to join the Citizens for Financial Literacy (CFL), a non-profit group that is one of our select employee groups. CFL assists in providing financial literacy education. Anyone can join CFL through our online application for a one-time $5 membership fee.
It's important to note that your application will be rejected if you try to join CFL and you do not live in OK or KS.
The Free Performance Checking Account's monthly requirements are a little tougher than the typical reward checking requirements. To qualify for the top rate and for up to $25 in ATM fee refunds, the following requirements must be met:
- 12 signature-based debit card purchases
- Direct Deposit of $500
- One ACH Auto Debit or Bill Pay
- Enroll in and receive Electronic Statements
Most reward checking accounts don't specify a large direct deposit. I'm not sure if a true direct deposit is required for this credit union. As I described in this reward checking article, a deposit done by an ACH transfer initiated by another bank often meets the direct deposit requirement.
Communications Federal Credit Union branches are located in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and several other Oklahoma cities. There are also four branches in Topeka, Kansas.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 2.01% (excellent) based on June 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Communications Federal Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 3454).
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.