Illinois-based Great Lakes Credit Union’s (GLCU) FREE Checking/Companion Money Market combo functions like a rewards checking/saver combo.
GLCU's rewards checking account, FREE Checking, currently earns 2.50% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k. Qualifying balances over $10k and non-qualifying balances both earn 0.01% APY.
|2.50*%||-||$10k||Great Lakes Credit Union||FREE Checking - qualifying rate|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.01% → $10k+|
The monthly qualification requirements include,
- At least 15 signature-based (no PIN) debit card transactions
- At least one direct deposit ($500 minimum)
- At least one bill payment OR or one login to Mobile Banking
- Receive e-Statements
The FREE Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee, and can be opened with minimum $25 deposit. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $10 per month, if qualifying requirements are met. Unlimited checking writing is available ($16.50 fee for 50 starter checks) and a free Instant Issue Visa debit card will be issued following account opening. There is a limit of one account per Social Security number.
Companion Money Market
GLCU’s Companion Money Market (CMM) allows those with large balances to earn a higher APY than is currently offered on most, if not all, online savings accounts.
The details of the CMM are stated in the fine print on the CMM landing page.
Minimum balance to open account is $10,000.
To earn dividends on the CMM, the account must maintain a minimum average daily balance of $10,000 AND meet the conditions to earn the highest rate of our Free Checking account.
If both requirements are met, the entire balance in the account will earn the APY as shown.
If the requirements are NOT met, the balance in the account of $10,000 or more will earn the current rate of lowest tier of the regular Money Market account.
If the balance falls below $10,000, the CMM will not earn dividends.
Annual Earnings of Combined FREE Checking/Companion Money Market
Since the CMM earns 0.70% on qualifying balances above $10k, I opted to use a $50k balance for this example. The potential combined annual earnings of a FREE Checking account (2.50% APY/$10k) and a CMM (0.70% APY/$50k) is approximately $600 (1.00% APY/$60k), which is a competitive APY for a good sized balance in a rewards checking/saver combo.
Headquartered in North Chicago, Great Lakes Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) provides a way for almost any U.S. citizen/alien resident to join.
Easy Membership Requirement: The very last answer to the online application question, "Which best describes your affiliation with GLCU?" is "Not listed – let us help." By selecting that answer, you qualify for membership in GLCU.
Residency: Anyone who lives or works in the Illinois counties of Cook (west of Route 83), Dupage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, or Will, as well as in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, is eligible to join.
Employment: Federal government employees, including active and retired military members qualify for membership, as do the employees of One Summer Chicago, Ball Horticultural, Bremen School District 228, and Morton College.
Affiliation: Members of Teamster Local 705, Teamster Local 705, Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504, and BAC Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois are also eligible.
Relationship: Relatives of any membership-eligible individuals are welcome to apply.
Joining GLCU and/or opening a Free Checking account and a Companion Money Market account can be done online or at any of 12 Illinois branches located in Antioch, Bolingbrook, Chicago, Country Club Hills, Crystal Lake, Gurnee, Naperville, North Chicago, Round Lake Beach, Waukegan, Woodstock, and Zion.
A $5 minimum deposit in a Share Savings account establishes a GLCU membership.
GLCU participates in the Co-Op Shared Branch network, giving GLCU members access to over 5,000 Credit Union Service Centers across the country.
Through this convenient network, you can perform many of your financial transactions and obtain services at other credit unions and service center locations belonging to the network.
Credit Union Overview
Great Lakes Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.75% (excellent) based on March 31, 2021 data. In the past year, GLCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $122.43 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 17.39%. Please refer to our financial overview of Great Lakes Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 60238) for more details.
Organized in 1938, Great Lakes Credit Union was established for the benefit of the members of Local 167 of the National Federation of Federal Employees. At that time, there was no local financial institution and civil servants were paid in cash. Every payday, GLCU’s Treasurer would set up a desk at the end of the Disbursing Officer’s pay line, collecting deposits and loan payments from members, which in turn were placed in a tin cash box. Eighty-three years later, after charter changes, mergers, and organic growth, GLCU has nearly 81,000 members and assets in excess of $1 billion.
How the FREE 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 $10k, Great Lakes Credit Union’s FREE Checking APY currently ranks sixth.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|4.09% APY||Rewards Checking – Tier A ($10k max)||Consumers Credit Union (IL)|
|3.30% APY||Vertical Checking ($20k max)||Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union|
|3.01% APY||VIP Checking Platinum Tier ($15k max)||Market USA Federal Credit Union|
|3.00% APY||Max Checking ($15k max)||Lake Michigan Credit Union|
|2.53% APY||Panorama Checking ($15k max)||Western Vista Federal Credit Union|
|2.50% APY||FREE Checking ($10k max)||Great Lakes Credit Union|
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.
How the Companion Money Market Compares
When compared to nationally available Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, Great Lakes Credit Union’s Companion Money Market APY currently ranks first, regardless of minimum balance requirements.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|0.70% APY||Companion Money Market||Great Lakes Credit Union|
|0.65% APY||OneConnection Savings||ConnectOne Bank|
|0.50% APY||Online Money Market Savings Account||Brio Direct|
To search for the best Savings Account, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to DepositAccounts.com’s Savings Account Rates page.
The above and rates are accurate as of 7/15/2021.