Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking Rate Cuts and Minor Changes


Deal Summary: Rewards Checking, Up to 4.09% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k.

Availability: Easy Membership Requirements

This new zero rate environment is starting to impact reward checking accounts. The latest one impacted is the Rewards Checking Account from Consumers Credit Union (CCU). Each of the account’s three tiers had rate cuts of 100 bps. The new APYs for the three tiers are as follows: 4.09% for Tier A, 3.09% for Tier B, and 2.09% for Tier C. These rate cuts were large, but the new rates are still competitive compared to other reward checking accounts. All three tiers continue to have a $10k balance cap in which the top rate is paid only on balances up to $10k.

4.09*%-$10kConsumers Credit Union (IL)Rewards Checking - Tier A
OTHER TIERS: 0.10% $25k+ | 0.20% $10k - $25k
3.09*%-$10kConsumers Credit Union (IL)Rewards Checking - Tier B
OTHER TIERS: 0.10% $25k+ | 0.20% $10k - $25k
2.09*%-$10kConsumers Credit Union (IL)Rewards Checking - Tier C
OTHER TIERS: 0.10% $25k+ | 0.20% $10k - $25k
Rates as of June 6, 2020.

In addition to these rate cuts, CCU made some minor changes to the requirements to qualify for the high rates. These changes make it a little easier for members to meet the requirements.

First, members are no longer required to make a total of $100 per month in debit card purchases to qualify for Tier C. The required number of monthly debit card purchases is still 12 (see note below).

Second, mobile check deposits now count toward reaching the minimum $500 monthly deposit requirement for Tier C. The other deposit types that also count include direct deposit and ACH credits.

Thanks to DA reader, pinkterror, who first reported on these changes in the DA Forum.

Below is a summary of what’s required for each month to qualify for these three tiers. This summary is based on the credit union’s Free Rewards Checking page as of 5/7/2020:

Tier A: Qualifying for 4.09% APY for up to $10,000 (down from 5.09%):

  • Meet the requirements to earn 2.09% APY
  • Spend $1,000 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases. No minimum number of purchases.

Tier B: Qualifying for 3.09% APY for up to $10,000 (down from 4.09%):

  • Meet the requirements to earn 2.09% APY
  • Spend $500 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases. No minimum number of purchases.

Tier C: Qualifying for 2.09% APY for up to $10,000 (down from 3.09%):

  • 12 debit card purchases ($100 minimum purchase requirement has been eliminated.)
  • Direct deposits, Mobile Check Deposits or ACH Credits totaling $500 or more (The option of Mobile Check Deposits has been added.)
  • Receive eDocuments

Due to the COVID-19 situation, CCU is temporarily easing qualifications for April and May, 2020. During these months, the number of debit card transactions required is being reduced from 12 to 6. This requirement is scheduled to return to 12 starting on June 1, 2020.

CCU’s Rewards Checking is a free checking account with no monthly maintenance fees even if you don’t meet any of the above requirements.

For Tiers A, B and C, the portion of the balance between $10k and $25k earns 0.20%, and the portion of the balance over $25k earns 0.10% when at least Tier C requirements are met. If Tier C requirements are not met, the entire balance earns only 0.01%.

Also, for the month whenTier C requirements are met, CCU refunds ATM fees charged by other banks when you use their ATMs. CCU members also have access to surcharge-free ATMs in the CO-OP Network, which has nearly 30,000 ATMs.

Unique Credit Card Purchase Requirements

The credit card requirement is unique for reward checking. Most reward checking accounts just require debit card usage, and that has been a downside for many savers who prefer using credit cards over debit cards. CCU is unique in that a member will have to make purchases with both a debit card and a credit card to receive a higher interest rate (for Tier A and B). Other credit unions that allow credit cards to be used to meet reward checking account requirements don’t also require debit card usage.

In addition to security concerns with debit cards, there’s the issue of losing out on cash back rewards when debit cards are used instead of credit cards. CCU’s elimination of the $100 total purchase requirement for Tier C helps a little on this front. Another thing that helps is CCU’s Visa Signature Rewards Credit Card. This card offers the following cash back rewards:

  • Earn 3x Points on grocery/convenience store purchases (up to $6,000 per year)
  • Earn 2x Points on Gas
  • Earn 1x Points on everything else

The points expire after 5 years. The card has no annual fee. For the full card details, please refer to CCU’s Visa Signature Rewards Card page.

For those who are good at maximizing cash back rewards on credit cards, they will probably miss out on some cash back when they meet Tier A requirements with the Visa Signature Rewards Card. They may miss out less cash back for Tier B requirements since they could just rely on the Card at grocery stores which will earn 3X Points.

Another thing to consider is the maximum interest that can be earned with Tier B and A. The extra 1% rate of Tier B with a $10k balance can result in an extra $100 of interest in a year as compared to Tier C. For Tier A, it’s an extra $200 of interest as compared to Tier C.

CCU Rewards Checking History

CCU’s Rewards Checking Account has a long history. I first reported on this account almost 13 years ago on August 2007. At that time it was paying 6.01% APY for balances up to $25K. In the last 13 years, there have been many changes to the requirements, tiers, rates and balance caps. The last big change was in October 2018 when the rates increased but the balance caps were reduced to $10k. Also, this is when CCU added the $100 total debit card purchase requirement that was eliminated this month.


Headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois, Consumers Credit Union offers membership to virtually any U.S. citizen or resident alien, regardless of residency or employment status.

CCU’s Membership Page states, “Membership follows a simple, two-step process: Pay a one-time, non-refundable $5 fee to our sponsor, the Consumers Cooperative Association, and then deposit and maintain a minimum $5 in your Membership Share/Savings Account.”

Joining CCU and/or opening the Rewards Checking Account can be done online, or at any of the full-service Illinois branches, located in Des Plaines, Gurnee, Mundelein, Northbrook, Palatine, Round Lake Beach, Schaumberg, Volo, and Waukegan (As of 5/7/2020, in-lobby services have been suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 situation.)

CCU also participates in the CU Service Centers® Network network.

We are part of an international group of credit unions called the CU Service Centers® Network, which provides you with additional service centers where you can take care of your banking needs.

Credit Union Overview

Consumers Credit Union (IL) has an overall health grade of "A" at, with a Texas Ratio of 5.33% (excellent) based on December 31, 2019 data. In the past year, CCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $57.68 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 5.56%. Please refer to our financial overview of Consumers Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 68588) for more details.

Consumer Credit Union is currently the sixth largest credit union in Illinois, with more than 241,000 member accounts and assets in excess of $1.3 billion. Chartered in May 1930 as Consumers Cooperative Credit Union, the Credit Union had 32 shareholders, $367 in assets, and three outstanding loans ($225 total) at the end of 1930. The “Cooperative” in the original name was a nod to the Cooperative Trading Company of Waukegan, a local dairy cooperative.

Did you know Consumers Cooperative Credit Union was one of the first credit unions to apply for federal share insurance in February 1971?

On October 19, 1970, President Nixon signed Senate Bill S.3822 into law, thus creating a National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund which would cover members savings up to $20k per account.

The 71-page “History Report” on the Credit Union’s website contains more information about CCU than you can imagine. On page 59, it details some of the history of the Rewards Checking Account:

Rewards Checking was CCU’s leading new Member acquisition product during the decade.

How the Rewards Checking Compares

When compared to the nationally available High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $10k, CCU’s Rewards Checking Tier A rate currently ranks first.* It’s interesting to note that the second, third and fourth place acounts have progressively larger balance caps.

Interest RateAccount NameCredit Union/Bank
4.09% APYRewards Checking ($10k max)Consumers Credit Union
4.00% APYPanorama Checking ($15k max)Western Vista FCU
3.30% APYVertical Checking ($20k max)Evansville Teachers FCU
3.00% APYKasasa Cash ($25k max)The Bank of Denver

The above rates are accurate as of 5/7/2020.

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.

*We continue to work to keep our rates up-to-date, but there have been just too many rate cuts for us to process quickly. For the time being, please be aware that the rates listed at may not reflect the latest rates published by the banks and credit unions.

Related Pages: Chicago checking accounts, reward checking accounts, nationwide deals

  |     |   Comment #1
Big drop; further, it is next to impossible to "manufacture" $1000 monthly spending with CCU Visa credit card these days.
  |     |   Comment #2
How did you "manuacature" CC spending before?
  |     |   Comment #3
We're not advertising that lately.
Kills the Goose.
#4 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
  |     |   Comment #5
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in. 144 debit card transactions yearly to start. All these accounts are designed so nobody but the most fanatical or lucky gets what is promised in total.
  |     |   Comment #6
Silly remark. Not with CCU, but I do 66 debit card transactions PER MONTH for my currently used RCA's, and typically they're all completed by two weeks in. I'm thinking, in fact, of adding two more accounts (another 24 transactions per month), which won't present any problems. Fanatical about the 3% rate earned from these, I suppose, but pretty blasé about completing the necessary requirements, which don't demand much attention on my part given the system I have in place.
Don't use RCA's if they don't suit you, of course, but the mockery they seem so often subject to here remains hard to figure.
  |     |   Comment #19

No need. Glad that so many are against RCA.

And let it be.
  |     |   Comment #7
I saw one inconsiderate person doing multiple debit transactions at one time in a supermarket which caused a line and get many people upset.

Guess if one has the time when you return your deposit bottles and cans these accounts may be of use.
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #12
"Your groceries come to $100, cash or credit?"

"I have a debit card, would you mind doing 10,000 charges of one penny each?"

That's the basic idea.
  |     |   Comment #20
That was a rare exception to general, FYI.

There are much smarter and more efficient ways...
  |     |   Comment #8
Risking life for a little interest? Very American! Bravo!
debit gone wild
  |     |   Comment #9
I'm with ernesto. This is nuts.
  |     |   Comment #10
I'll give you 20% APY, if you spend $1500/mo on balances up to $3000. Would you take it or not and why. You need to make 12 purchases per month, 3 bill payments and one ACH. The purchases must be done as a CC purchases (signature based purchase).
Hint, the bank will make $720 from point of sale fees and you will get maximum (theoretically) $600 in reality $300 for the whole year. It seams the customers are working for the bank and by the way, you will spend at least 50% on unneeded purchase, just to satisfy the requirements (may I say a thrown away money in the sum of $9000 for the year).
This is what you need to know on reward checking accounts, they are scams, the bank makes at least 4% per month in transaction fees on your purchases (that is 48% per year) and you get the 3-4% on the half of your cash balances.
  |     |   Comment #11
Have you ever heard of the "straw man" fallacy, Martin?

Nice try though.
  |     |   Comment #13
gregk, Martin is correct, there is no straw man in FACTS and true analysis, the numbers are correct and factual, everybody loses with such accounts, get 3% reward CC and those are real money without tying up you cash in a silly game of forced purchases and spending unnecessarily on items you do not need, just to satisfy the bank appetite.
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #14
I think the key is that no one forces anyone to engage in this deal. So therefore anyone that volunteers to do it, does so thinking that they are better off.

If both the bank and the depositor think they are better off by engaging in this agreement, who is anyone else to tell them they are not?

And how is it a scam just because one party might benefit monetarily more than the other party? The depositor has a right to open their own bank if they think they would rather be in that position and earn the higher amount. They are neither required to engage in this deal, what prohibited from opening their own bank. Just because they choose not to doesn't mean it's a scam.
#15 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #16
If I can make $100 profit on a deal while the other guy makes $1,000 profit, what do I care?

I'll take that deal over and over again all day long. I'm going to let envy ruin the deal for me? How is that a winning strategy?
#17 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
#18 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
  |     |   Comment #21
Right on, PD.
  |     |   Comment #22
Predatory Depositor, I look at it from this prospective, it is a SCAM, the bank did not disclose how much money they will make out of your stupidity, running around spending 10 times more money on stuff than you do not need, just to receive few cents profit on the dollar. Penny wise pound foolish comes to mind.
  |     |   Comment #23
Yes indeed, if that is your only way to fulfill the monthly requirements.

Please stay far away from RCA then.

  |     |   Comment #24
51hh, Martin and Mark disclosed the truth, I'm with them, there is no real money to be made running around and buying and spending money to receive few cents on the dollar interest PER YEAR, that is right PER YEAR, few cents on $10K for all that work, are you kidding me?
  |     |   Comment #26
Agreed and go ahead to skip it jinna.
  |     |   Comment #33
In short, agreed that CCU is a gimmick at best (with the $1000 CC charge), but there are other RCAs that are well-worth it (e.g., (4% APY, $25K limit)).
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #25

Since when does one party to a transaction have an obligation to tell the other party how much they expect to profit from the transaction? This doesn't apply to any other transactions I've ever heard of. So why should I apply to this transaction?

As to calling people who decide that this is a profitable arrangement for them to engage in "stupid," I find it insufferably presumptuous, and frankly threatening, to assume that you know what's better for other people then they know for themselves.
#27 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
#28 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
  |     |   Comment #29
Doubtful FI's are making "4% per month" on purchases. Even if that were true, 4% on (say) twelve $5 purchases (and many RCA holders are known to do much smaller amounts) is all of $2.40 per month for them ($28.80 per year), whereas with a $25K balance cap and 3% yield they pay depositors $750 over that period. Some scam.
  |     |   Comment #30
Most of the anti-RCA comments here are just wildly off-base (and I think only meant to provoke rather than call forth an honest discussion). I currently use 6 RCA's that require a total of 66 monthly transactions, and unlike some posters assertions here I'm not in least rushing around making unneeded purchases, nor am I holding up store lines to make multiple payments on those superfluous acquisitions, - and certainly no FI is celebrating their good fortune over how gullible I am. This is all nonsense. My 66 transactions are all completed by about mid-month in amounts that typically average around $5, the funds spent on nothing but essential groceries and fuel (I use points based credit cards for all my bigger purchases). It's a quite relaxed process. I do often make multiple payments at the self-checkout for a grocery run, but knowing the routine and having my cards ready it's likely adding less than a minute to do 3 swipes rather than just one, - pretty painless for me and anyone who might be waiting (which is typically no one, given when I shop).
As for all the money that's being made off me, while I accept no more than a pittance, this has to be nothing less than delusory, and contrary to any realistic calculations one might make as to the inflows and outflows on both sides (as opposed to the wild numbers being thrown around by detractors here). But apart from that (and as PD has noted in his own case), I'm little concerned about the strategies of Banks & CU's that lie behind their making this type of product available.
What matters is that for liquid funds under current financial conditions, and with not much effort required to fulfill their demands, I've found RCA's meet my needs splendidly. To each his own, but unless "string-pulling" is the only objective, let's all try and be at least accurate in our analysis and receptive to real-life experiencing.
#31 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
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Availability: Easy Membership Requirement

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