Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Vertical Checking Review


Deal Summary: Vertical Checking (rewards checking), 3.30% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k.

Availability: Easy membership requirement

In these uncertain times, the natural instinct is to find something you can control. In the case of DA readers, that translates into finding the best rate possible, along with a rate guarantee. Normally, that would be a CD, but the current CD rates are far from optimal, and the rates are falling. A good alternative is needed.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a proponent of Reward Checking Accounts (RCA) for quite some time. With relatively little effort, a competitive APY can be earned, albeit on a somewhat small balance. As I was reviewing the various nationally available RCAs, I decided to limit my search to those that have a rate/balance cap that’s generally held steady since at least 2014 and held specifically through a large part of the past zero bound days. Further limitations included a rate hike during the last rising rate cycle and a competitive APY prior to 2015/2016.

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s (ETFCU) Vertical Checking (3.30% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k) meets all my parameters. The Vertical Checking was added to the product line in late 2014, earning 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Eight months ago, the rate was increased to 3.30% APY and the balance cap was raised to $20k. No dividends are paid on qualifying balances over $20k or on non-qualifying balances.

3.30%-$20kEvansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionVertical Checking (Qualifying)
Rates as of October 24, 2020.

The qualifying requirements include:

  • Have at least 15 debit card purchases.
  • Have at least one Direct Deposit.
  • Have at least one Online or Mobile Banking login.
  • Be enrolled and receive eStatements.

The Vertical Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee. The opening deposit is now $25 (down from $50), but there is still a limit of one account per Social Security Number. ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $15 per month, if qualifying requirements are met.

The Vertical Checking is also “the key to an even lower rate on your new loan."

1/8% APR off your new mortgage loan when you set your mortgage loan payments to be automatically paid from your ETFCU checking account.

1/4% APR off any new personal, auto, or recreational vehicle loan when you have ETFCU’s free Vertical Checking or Platinum Rewards Checking.


Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s name would suggests that only teachers are eligible to join. In fact, the Indiana-based ETFCU’s field of membership (FOM) provides a way to join for virtually anyone in the country.

Employees and members of more than 200 SEGs and organizations (including the Evansville Teachers Association, the Evansville Museum, and Gibson County) are eligible to join.

Immediate family or household members of individuals who are membership-eligible also qualify.

The third option on the first page of the online application reads,

I am not eligible through my employer, an organization, or a member of my family or household.
I am willing to donate $5 to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association in order to become eligible for membership.

Joining ETFCU and/or opening a Vertical Checking account can be done online. All of ETFCU’s Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee branch lobbies are closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but normal drive-thru hours are still in effect. Lending and account services are available through scheduled appointment, online, or by phone (812.477.9271 or 800.800.9271).

A minimum of $5 must remain on deposit in your account to retain your membership.

ETFCU belongs to both the CO-OP Shared Branch/ATM network and the Alliance One ATM network, a national network that offers surcharge-free access to nearly 5,000 locations owned by 1,000 financial institutions.

Credit Union Overview

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.11% (excellent) based on December 31, 2019 data. In the past year, EFTCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $212.47 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 19.25%. Please refer to our financial overview of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 1682) for more details.

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union is currently the third largest credit union in Indiana, with more than 219,000 members and assets in excess of $1.8 billion. Established in 1936, the founding members were several Evansville teachers who pooled “their savings to generate much needed loans for the fellow workers and themselves.” Membership grew as other educational groups in southwestern Indiana were added to the FOM, and in 1992, the Owensboro (KY) Public Schools Federal Credit Union merged with ETFCU. In November 2018, ETFCU announced that its acquisition of Louisville-based American Founders Bank (AFB) had been finalized. Five AFB branches in Kentucky have been reopened, operating as “Liberty Financial, a division of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union.

How the Vertical Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield RCAs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $20k, Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s Vertical Checking APY currently ranks first*.

The above rates are accurate as of 3/26/2020.

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

*While we are working diligently to keep our rates up-to-date, there are just too many rate cuts for us to process quickly. For the time being, please be aware that the rates listed at DepositAccounts may not reflect the latest rates published by the banks and credit unions.

Related Pages: Terre Haute checking accounts, Evansville checking accounts, reward checking accounts, nationwide deals

  |     |   Comment #1
Ken, don't you think ETFCU is going to cut this rate at the beginning of the month? Sorry if I am overlooking a point you're trying to make in the post regarding that.
  |     |   Comment #2
A Credit Union rep indicated just now she's unaware of any intention to lower the Vertical Checking rate (3.30%APY) come April or beyond, - which doesn't mean it can't or won't happen (both "awareness" and "intentions" are often shifty categories). Still, this account bears consideration for migrating my Heritage Bank Minnesota RCA's to, given Heritage's clear statement their own rate (3.03%APY) goes down April 1st, - though they won't say now what the new rate will be (aargh).
Ken Tumin
  |     |   Comment #3
There will definitely be rate and cap cuts on many RCAs in the next several months. History has shown that many RCAs including this Vertical Checking have held up better than other liquid accounts during the zero rate days. Hopefully, that history will repeat. But there's no guarantee.
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #5
I think the reason the rates tend to hold up so well on these RCA accounts in a low rate environment is because the caps are so low the dollar amounts involved are small on a per customer basis compared to the value of the customers it attracts.

The premium they pay above the market rate is further offset by the debit card fees. In the end they acquire a high-value customer (because customers with direct deposits are more valuable than those without), at little cost per customer. It's a marketing cost, also known as a marketing gimmick.

The low caps ensure the CU that they only pay more they if they acquire more customers.
  |     |   Comment #4
I note this account stipulates a Direct Deposit as one of its monthly qualifying requirements (and not merely an ACH transfer like most RCA's), which could be problematic for some (with 15 transactions as further annoyance). I'd judge Main Street Bank's (MI) RCA as preferable to this one, with its less stringent demands (no DD, and fewer transactions), higher balance cap (30K) and no Membership requirement, despite a lower interest rate. Heritage Bank's RCA has been preferred to all others by me, with it's allowance of multiple accounts, easy hoops (only 10 transactions), high balance cap (25K), and 3% rate - but depending on how severely they lower that rate come April 1st, may no longer be so desirable.
  |     |   Comment #6
Update on Main Street Bank's RCA:
As of 3/19/2020, the rate on our Kasasa Cash account has changed from 3% APY on balances up to $30,000.00 to 2% APY on balances up to $15000.00.
  |     |   Comment #9
Rate & balance cap wise, that may be about the standard when all the dust settles.
ETFCU Acct hldr
  |     |   Comment #7
Wrote ETFCU on 3/13/20 "I wish to confirm in writing what I was told on the telephone when I opened my Vertical checking account: that an ACH transfer from another institution within a particular month would indeed ALSO fulfill that direct deposit requirement. Thus it did NOT have to be a type of deposit like an established Social Security or Wage deposit. Please clarify"
They replied: "Yes, that is correct. An ACH transfer from another institution to your account here with us would count towards the direct deposit requirement on a Vertical Checking account"
  |     |   Comment #8
That has been my observation from the tracker on the website, which shows the date of your last "direct deposit."
  |     |   Comment #10
Whee! ACH from SS or wage is an obstacle for me.
  |     |   Comment #11
Anyone know what's going on with TAB Bank's (Utah) Kasasa Cash RCA? I established this account with TAB a long time ago but never used it, and seem to recall some recent reference here that the bank had discontinued the Account. But today I received an email from TAB indicating they'd lowered the rate on my Kasasa Account from 4% to 3%, which I take as evidence it still exists.
  |     |   Comment #12
TAB's RCA is not open to new customers, but I think things continued as usual (except for the rate, obviously) for existing customers.
  |     |   Comment #13
With everything going on right now am I the only one who's wondering how to complete the debits on these RCA's? I have several accounts and at the best of times it can sometimes get to be a bit of a headache. Like most everyone else in the country our local government issued SAH orders which everyone is trying to follow. The grocery stores are a hit and miss on items you go to buy anyway, so many businesses are closed and I'm lucky at this point I don't need to buy much of anything except maybe milk, bread, other perishables etc. I have never been an online order person and besides there's is nothing I need to order online. Has anyone contacted any of the banks to see if they might have a more lenient policy on the number of debits until the crisis is over? I've thought about calling them but haven't yet. But for a single person not having to leave the house for work and trying to stay out of grocery stores as much as possible and really not needing much when I do venture out to one, this is going to be a problem for me next month and hopefully it's only going to be for another month but who knows? I don't know if this is the best place to post this or not. Ken, please feel free to move it if it would draw more response in a different section. Thanks.
  |     |   Comment #17
I read that Lake Michigan is waiving its requirements for its RCA for March and April. I suspect some others banks and CUs might be flexible, so it should not hurt to ask especially if you've been good about meeting the requirements in the past.
  |     |   Comment #21
Any chance they can lower the number of times we have to use out debit to qualify for the vertical checking. It’s sometimes difficult to get 15 times wnen you are quarantined.
Also I can no longer find the box that tells me what my status is for the month concerning my Vertical Checking.
  |     |   Comment #22
Does anyone know if this credit union automatically waive the requirements for the first month? Also, is it a hard pull or soft pull on credit report?  I'm thinking of opening the account when i free up some cash after the 15th.  TIA!
ETFCU Acct hldr
  |     |   Comment #23
NO grace month extended! No 1st month waiver
  |     |   Comment #26
How disappointing to hear! Thanks for the info.
  |     |   Comment #24
If possible, I'd open it up with a small amount now and then move more there later in the month. Keep in mind you will need to wait on your debit card, so you'd want to start making debits ASAP after getting it.
  |     |   Comment #25
Thank you! Do you know the answer to the credit pull?
  |     |   Comment #27
I assume soft, as I became a member for the first time in February and there are no hard inquiries from there on TransUnion or Equifax.
  |     |   Comment #28
Did you apply? If yes can you confirm if its a soft pull?
  |     |   Comment #29
No, i have not. This virus thing has messed up my normal cashflow since we can't really go out do anything for months. I realized i won't have that much spare cash after all so probably just wait out for now.
  |     |   Comment #30
soft pull + Chexsystems. They are a little sensitive to lots of recent Chex inquiries.
  |     |   Comment #31
I just opened this account. If I complete the requirements this month, does the apy count for this month or the following month?
Evansville Teachers Fed Credit Union Ups Vertical Checking, 3.30% APY
Deal Summary: Vertical Checking (rewards checking), 3.30% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k.

Availability: Easy membership requirement

It’s been more than two years since I last wrote about Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s (ETFCU) rewards checking account, which, at the time, earned 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Nothing about the Vertical Dividend Checking had changed since it was introduced in late 2014 … until now.

  • New name – Vertical Checking
  • New rate – 3.30% APY
  • New balance cap – $20k

No dividends are paid on...

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Evansville Teachers FCU's Vertical Dividend Checking Available Nationwide

Deal Summary: Vertical Dividend Checking, 3.00% APY up to $15k

Availability: Easy membership requirement

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s (ETFCU) high yield reward checking account, called Vertical Dividend Checking, was added to the product line more than two years ago. The initial 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k has been effect since its introduction. No dividends are paid on balances over $15k or on non-qualifying balances.

Vertical Dividend Checking Monthly Requirements

  • Have at least 15 debit card purchases.
  • Have at least one Direct Deposit.
  • Have at least one...
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