Essential Federal Credit Union Raises Rate On Rewards Checking


Deal Summary: Key Checking, 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k.

Availability: Residents of nine Greater Baton Rouge parishes.

Essential Federal Credit Union (Essential FCU) recently raised the rate on its rewards checking account, Key Checking, to 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k. Qualifying balances greater than $10k earn 0.30% APY; non-qualifying balances do not earn any interest.

5.00*%-$10kEssential Federal Credit UnionKey Checking
OTHER TIERS: 0.50% $10k+
Rates as of April 17, 2024.

The Key Checking account has been part of the Essential FCU product line for nearly seven years. The initial 2.50% APY was in effect for more than four years before it was raised to 3.00% APY in early 2019. The APY was lowered to 2.50% about a year ago, where it remained until this week’s addition of 50 bps.

The monthly qualification requirements include,

  • At least 10 VISA Check card transactions
  • At least one direct deposit or Bill Payment using ebanking
  • Be enrolled in eStatements

The Key Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee, and can be opened with a minimum $5 deposit. Unlimited check writing is available and a fee-free VISA Check card will be issued after account opening. Unlimited nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $20 per month (up to $5 per single transaction), if all qualifying requirements are met. There is a limit of one Key Checking account per Social Security number.


Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Essential Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) is residency-based, with individuals who live, work, worship, or attend school in the Louisiana parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge, or West Feliciana eligible to join.

Joining Essential FCU and/or opening a Key Checking account can be done online or at any of four Louisiana branches located in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Plaquemine, and Walker.

Opening and maintaining a minimum $5 balance in a Savings Account is required to be an Essential FCU member in good-standing.

Credit Union Overview

Essential Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at, with a Texas ratio of 1.77% (excellent), based on March 31, 2021 data. In the past year, Essential FCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $53.66 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 20.35%. Please refer to our financial overview of Essential Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 20972) for more details.

Essential Federal Credit Union was established in 1972 as the Dow Louisiana Federal Credit Union, with a FOM exclusive to the employees of Dow Chemical’s Iberville and West Baton Rouge plants. The FOM expanded in 2009 to include the residents of several Acadiana and Florida parishes, with the “Essential” rebrand occurring in 2015. Essential Federal Credit Union is currently the 13th largest credit union headquartered in Louisiana, with nearly 41,000 members and assets in excess of $362 million.

How Key Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by that are available within the FOM and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $10k, Essential Federal Credit Union’s Key Checking APY currently ranks fourth.

The above information and rates are accurate as of 7/8/2021.

Looking for the best Reward Checking Account rates, either nationwide or state-specific? Please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.

Related Pages: Houston checking accounts, Baton Rouge checking accounts, reward checking accounts

Essential FCU (LA) Promotes Very Competitive 48-month CD
Availability: Residents of the nine Parishes in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

The Louisiana-based Essential Federal Credit Union (Essential FCU) has a very competitive 48-month Certificate Special (2.50% APY). The minimum opening deposit is $500 and there is no balance cap.

Note: While the 48-month Certificate Special is listed on Essential FCU’s website with a variety of Certificates that have a $10K balance cap, CSR assured me that restriction does not apply to the 48-month Certificate Special.

As stated in Essential FCU’s Truth in Savings Disclosure brochure, the...

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