Credit Union of NJ Kasasa Cash Checking Rate Soars

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Deal Summary: Kasasa Cash Checking, 6.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $25k.

Availability: Easy membership requirement.

It’s been several months since I wrote about any competitive nationally-available rewards checking account (RCA). Simply put, in the rate frenzy of the past year, the appeal of RCAs seems to have faded. I originally wrote “interest in RCAs seems to have faded,” but realized that could be read as meaning RCA rates had fallen, which is not the case. While most nationally-available RCAs have maintained their APYs, the Credit Union of New Jersey (CUNJ) Kasasa Cash Checking account has just become the first nationally-available RCA to offer 6.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $25k. (In addition to the recent 249 bps rate hike, the qualifying balance cap was also increased by $10k.) Qualifying balances over $25k earn 0.75% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning a de minimis 0.01%.

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
6.00*%-$25kCredit Union Of New JerseyKasasa Cash Checking
OTHER TIERS: 0.75% $25k+
Rates as of February 26, 2024.

The qualification requirements are fairly standard,

  • At least 12 debit card transactions (PIN and/or signature based)
  • At least one direct deposit, ACH credit, ACH payment, or Bill Pay transaction
  • Be enrolled in eStatements

The Kasasa Cash Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee, but does require a low $5 minimum opening deposit. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $25 per month, if qualifying requirements are met. Unlimited check writing is available and a free debit card will be issued following account opening. There is a limit of one account per member and a Kasasa Cash Checking account may not be used as a commercial account. If the Kasasa Cash account is closed, any rewards that have not been credited to your account will be forfeited. A Kasasa Cash is required to have a linked Kasasa Saver account.

While there are no recurring monthly maintenance charges or fees to open or close a Kasasa Cash Checking account, there are two fees to be aware of:

  • $25 Early Account Closing Fee if the account is closed within six months of opening.
  • $10 monthly Non-Participation Fee if a membership does not meet the minimum requirements of the Silver Tier of the Relationship Rewards program each month.

Here’s what you need to qualify for the Silver Tier:

  • Between 5-19 Debit Card Purchase Transactions last month OR
  • Combined balances between $1,000 and $24,999.99 as of the last day of the previous month OR
  • New Member within last 90 days

Kasasa Saver Account

CUNJ also offers a Kasasa Saver account, as a companion account to Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Cash Back accounts. Earned rewards and ATM fee reimbursements automatically sweep to this account each month. The Kasasa Saver currently earns 4.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $50k; qualifying balances over $50k earn 0.75% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.01% APY.

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
4.00*%-$50kCredit Union Of New JerseyKasasa Saver
OTHER TIERS: 0.75% $50k - $150k
Rates as of February 26, 2024.

Like the Kasasa Cash account, the Kasasa Saver has no monthly service charge or minimum balance requirement, and can be opened with a $5 minimum deposit. There is a limit of one Kasasa Saver account per membership and it may not be used for commercial purposes. If a Kasasa Saver account is closed, any rewards that have not been credited to your account will be forfeited.

Annual Earnings of Combined Kasasa Cash Checking/Kasasa Saver Accounts

The potential combined annual earnings of a Kasasa Cash account (6.00% APY/$25k) and a Kasasa Saver account (4.00% APY/$50k) is approximately $3,500 (4.66% APY/$75k). The Kasasa Saver 4.00% APY is not competitive when compared to most online savings accounts, and it doesn’t make any sense to deposit any funds other than the automatic sweep of earned rewards and ATM fee reimbursements.

Kasasa Cash Back

The CUNJ Kasasa Cash Back account earns 4.00% cash back on up to $250 in monthly debit card purchases. If you are planning on maintaining a balance of less than $2,100, the Kasasa Cash Back account would probably be a better deal than the Kasasa Cash Checking account, as the maximum annual earnings for the Kasasa Cash Back account is $120 ($10 per month).

The Kasasa Brand

For those not familiar with the Kasasa brand, Kasasa Cash is a type of Reward Checking Account (RCA) developed by the Texas company, Kasasa, Ltd. According to the Kasasa website,

When you spend money with your debit card, it benefits your bank or credit union. They make money with every swipe. There's no reason you shouldn't be earning rewards for you debit card spending the way you do with your credit cards.

In case you were wondering, “Kasasa” is just a made-up word.

In a world where real-life people are too often taken for granted as account numbers,
we didn’t want to be the next [INSERT GENERIC NAME] checking account.

Availability

Headquartered in Ewing, New Jersey, Credit Union of New Jersey's field of membership is quite varied, with a way to join for almost any U.S. citizen or resident alien with a valid Social Security number.

Easy Membership – Anyone, regardless of residency or employment status, can join CUNJ by donating $5 to the Credit Union of New Jersey Foundation, “a charitable organization supporting many local non-profits.” Joining the Foundation can be done through the CUNJ online membership application.

SEGs – Employees of more than 200 SEGs also qualify for membership.

Employment – Individuals who work for the State of New Jersey, or a state agency, commission, or authority (excluding Law and Public Safety) are eligible for membership.

Residency – Individuals who live, work, worship, or attend school in Ewing Township qualify for membership, as do residents of the Mercer County designated MSA (metropolitan statistical area).

Relationship – Retirees of the above mentioned organizations and their family members related by blood or marriage (including aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, in-laws), are also eligible to join.

Details about membership eligibility are available on CUNJ’s website, but specific information can only be found on the CUNJ online membership application.

Account Opening

Joining CUNJ and/or opening a Kasasa Cash Checking account can be done online or at any of five New Jersey branches located in Ewing (2), Hamilton, Princeton, and Trenton.

The Share Savings account automatically gives you a “share” of ownership in Credit Union of New Jersey and is required for membership. It only requires $5 to open and maintain the account and you’ll earn competitive quarterly dividends on your deposits.

The Membership Application is also available as a download.

In addition to participating in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, CUNJ also offers its members access to the CO-OP ATM network.

Credit Union Overview

Credit Union of New Jersey has an overall health grade of "C+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 15.10% (above average) based on March 31, 2023 data. In the past year, CUNJ’s total non-brokered deposits decreased by -$19.72 million, a below average annual growth rate of -4.87%. Please refer to our financial overview of Credit Union of New Jersey (NCUA Charter # 65597) for more details.

Credit Union of New Jersey was established in 1943 to serve New Jersey State Highway Department employees and only offered share accounts and personal loans. Credit Union of New Jersey is currently the seventh largest credit union headquartered in New Jersey, with more than 37,000 members and assets in excess of $430 million.

How the Kasasa Cash Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationally available and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $25k, the Credit Union of New Jersey Kansas Cash Checking APY currently ranks first.

The above rates are accurate as of 9/8/2023.

To search for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.

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

Comments
111
  |     |   Comment #1
Keesler CU Rewards Checking pays 5% for up to $25K, but they may not be nationally available as they were in the past.
wtpo3
  |     |   Comment #2
Does anyone know about this credit union's policy regarding ACH transfers to/from external bank accounts? Any limits to daily or monthly transfers? How quickly do the transfers complete? Thanks!
deplorable_1
  |     |   Comment #3
Nice write up on this RCA Ken. I don't do rewards checking accounts because I have too much going on but this is certainly an interesting option with a decent balance cap and fairly simple requirements for the 6% APY.
Mikey1
  |     |   Comment #4
Many of us with numerous reward checking accounts (a good option back in the days of 1%) have done one of two things: either closed them or maintain them now with very low balances and don’t bother with the debits. Since you can still squeeze about 5.4% from the Treasury relatively short term and trim your state tax liability as well RCAs remain low priority. But it will be interesting to see if that’s still true when Treasury rates drop, and whether RCA rates will lag on their trip down (might be at least a good short term opportunity there).
P_D
  |     |   Comment #5
I only skimmed this so apologies if I missed something, but what is the case for an account like this?

You can get roughly 5.5% on liquid funds elsewhere where many of the people here already have accounts. Let’s say that holds up for a year, and this account’s 6% rate also holds up for a year. So if you max this $25k out you make an extra $125 for going with this account…. MAYBE.

Is it worth maybe getting that premium or maybe not to bother opening a new account including all the hassle, potential of a hard pull and potential security risks involved and having to remember to make 144 debit card transactions at the right times and hassling with setting up a direct deposit for $125? And with no rate guarantee?

Seems to me you'd be better off taking a job at a fast food joint where at the new inflated minimum wage you could make the extra $125 in a week guaranteed.  Although the extra $125 is barely enough to buy your family a meal at that joint these days.
111
  |     |   Comment #6
P_D - Ah, but you've omitted certain elements. Let's hypothetically accept your "So if you max this $25k out you make an extra $125 for going with this account" premise.

In your apparently dream weekend job at Mickey D's you've also got "fixed startup costs", which are not totally different from the fixed costs of applying to the Rewards Checking FI and setting up the "direct deposit" (which in reality, 97% of the time can be satisfied by a simple automated monthly ACH transfer, not a software-confirmed direct deposit). At Mickey's, you gotta come in, do a (these days) online application at a greasy kiosk likely also used by sloppy customers ordering Big Macs & large fries with extra cheese and grease. (And not all the grease comes from the sandwiches and fries.)

BTW if in the process you happen to slip and fall on a grease spot on the floor - not uncommon - my best advice is that you don't admit you were applying for a job there. Rather, you were a customer who was negligently not advised of dangerous material on the floor! Who knows, it might work.

In contrast, from my comfortable chair I simply transact 12 small web-based debitcard charges per account during the first few days of each month to pay existing bills, while enjoying a coffee or adult beverage (depending on time of day).

Oh ... security risks? Next time you stop by your local fast-food place, ask yourself - are those the folks you want to give your SS #, lifetime employment history, and some bank information to, just for the privilege of working there? Hmm.
P_D
  |     |   Comment #7
Got a good chuckle out of that 111 even though I still can't see the case for the account.
GregoryInBelize
  |     |   Comment #9
Wow, reviewers hit this CU hard. And a C+ health to boot.
DanW
  |     |   Comment #10
I closed my account with CUNJ about a decade ago when my CDs matured and they instituted this "relationship tier" crap. If you don't have $1000 across your share accounts or don't do 5 debit card transactions, you get hit with a $10/mo. fee. https://www.cunj.com/financial-wellbeing/relationship-rewards/relationship-rewards-chart/

They also dropped Allpoint ATM access; now the only ATMs in south Jersey are at co-op credit union branches, 7-11's and Royal Farms. No Wawa's. Still, there's the convenience of having CUNJ branches half an hour away from me.

My Elements promo 4% checking lapses in four weeks and CUNJ is offering a 2% higher rate (2% x $25K = $500/yr. more). I'll probably hold my nose and sign up.
cjdtech
  |     |   Comment #11
I’ve had a good experience with Pelican, but since you’re local to NJ, that may be a better choice for you.
blueskies
  |     |   Comment #12
Actually Elements is paying 5% on that same account now. I had the same promo @ 4.00% and when they came out months ago with the new promo of 5% I wanted to switch to it. They said no, not until my year was up with the 4% so I took my money out leaving a dollar and moved it to a better deal.

I will not pay a fee to a bank for holding my money so they can make money from using it. They will pay me or else I'll find another place to keep it. I've had many RCA's in the past and still have a couple or so each one paying 6% with absolutely no fees, even if I leave a zero balance in them.
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