Slightly more than a year ago, I wrote about California-based ECCU (formerly Evangelical Christian Credit Union) newly added Kasasa brand product line. While the Free Kasasa Cash Checking’s initial 3.00% APY is still in effect, the qualifying balance cap was cut from $35k to $10k in September 2020. (As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, balance cap reductions are de facto rate cuts.) Qualifying balances over $10k earn 0.25% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.05% APY.
|3.00*%||-||$10k||ECCU||Free Kasasa Cash Checking|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.25% → $10k+|
The monthly qualification cycle requirements have not changed and include,
- At least 12 debit card purchases
- Be enrolled in and agree to receive eStatements
- Be enrolled in and log into online banking
The Free Kasasa Cash Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee, but does require a $25 minimum opening deposit. Unlimited check writing is available and a free Visa® Gold check card will be issued following account opening. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $25 per month, if qualifications are met. There is a limit of one account per Social Security number. A Free Kasasa Cash Checking/Kasasa Cash Back account is required to have a linked Free Kasasa Saver account.
Free Kasasa Saver
The Free Kasasa Saver account currently earns 1.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $100k. (The 1.00% APY/$100k balance has been in effect since ECCU added the Kasasa brand in 2020.) Qualifying balances over $100k earn 0.25% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.05% APY.
Free Kasasa Cash Checking/Kasasa Cash Back earned rewards and ATM reimbursements are automatically transferred monthly to a linked Kasasa Saver account. Like the Free Kasasa Cash Checking, the Kasasa Saver has no monthly service or minimum balance requirement, and requires a $25 minimum opening deposit. There is a limit of one Free Kasasa Saver account per Social Security number.
Annual Earnings of Combined Free Kasasa Cash Checking/Free Kasasa Saver Accounts
The potential combined annual earnings of the Free Kasasa Cash Checking (3.00% APY/$10k) and the Free Kasasa Saver (1.00% APY/$100k) is approximately $1,300 (1.18% APY/$110k). If a $50k balance is maintained in a Free Kasasa Saver account, the combined annual earnings are approximately $800 (1.33% APY/$60k). These blended APYs are very good rates for such large balances in a rewards checking and savings combo.
Kasasa Cash Back
ECCU’s Free Kasasa Cash Back account currently pays 4.50% cash back on the first $200 in monthly debit card purchases. If you are planning on maintaining a balance of less than $3,600, the Free Kasasa Cash Back account would probably be a better deal than the Free Kasasa Cash Checking account, as the maximum annual earnings for the Free Kasasa Cash Back account is $108 ($9 per month).
Purpose and Expected Use of Account
The Truth-in-Savings disclosure contains five paragraphs concerning the “appropriate” usage of a Free Kasasa Cash/Kasasa Cash Back account. The following is an excerpt.
The Kasasa Cash account is intended to be the accountholder’s primary checking account in which payroll transactions and day-to-day spending activities including but not limited to grocery, gasoline, apparel, shopping, dining, sporting and entertainment transactions are posted and settled.
ECCU reserves the right to determine if the account is being maintained for a purpose other than day-to-day, primary use. Accountholders who persist in making debit card transactions in a calculated and limited fashion in order to meet their monthly qualifications may have their accounts converted to a different primary checking account or closed altogether. We also reserve the right to convert the account to a different primary checking account if the account does not have consistent active use over three (3) consecutive Statement Cycles.
The Kasasa Brand
Kasasa: the free checking account that rewards each month for doing things you already do.
By performing certain actions valuable to your bank or credit union, like using your debit card or online banking, your institution makes more money, which they share with you in the form of rewards.
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.
Headquartered in Brea, California, ECCU’s field of membership (FOM) is not based on geographic boundaries or Select Employee Groups. Although any U.S. citizen/resident alien is eligible for member, ECCU doesn’t exactly qualify as “easy membership requirement” credit union. If you are not an immediate family member of a current ECCU member or ECCU employee, you can qualify for membership by agreeing to ECCU’s “statement of faith.”
Joining ECCU and/or opening a Kasasa brand product account can be done online or at the sole California branch, located on W. Imperial Highway in Brea. Other than the statement that “the well-being of our members, staff, ministries and missionaries is our top priority,” there is no mention of any branch restrictions (limited hours, appointments, etc.) on ECCU’s website.
Membership in ECCU is free and no membership share account is required to establish a membership.
ECCU participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch and ATM networks, as well as the Visa® Plus ATM network.
Credit Union Overview
ECCU has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.87% (excellent) based on December 31, 2020 data. ECCU has an above average capitalization level (10.05% APY), the result of holding $662.36 million in assets with $66.56 million in equity. Please refer to our financial overview of ECCU (NCUA Charter # 63837) for more details.
Founded in 1964 as the Conservative Baptist Credit Union, the credit union re-branded as the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, following the 1984 merger with the Association of Christian Schools International Credit Union. Currently the 75the largest credit union headquartered in California, ECCU has more than 13,300 members and assets in excess of $715 million.
How the Free Kasasa Cash Checking Compares
When compared to the High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, which are available nationwide and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $10k, ECCU’s Free Kansas Cash Checking APY currently ranks fourth.
The above rates are accurate as of 5/19/2021.
To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, either nationwide or state-specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.