GreenState Credit Union’s (GreenState) R2 Checking account is a rewards checking account (RCA) that has a very unique feature: credit card usage is needed to fulfill qualifying requirements. The vast majority of reward checking accounts require debit card usage to fulfill qualifying requirements. For those who have avoided reward checking due to the debit card usage requirements, the R2 Checking may be something to consider.
GreenState R2 Checking account currently earns 2.25% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k. Qualifying balances above $20k earn 0.15% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.01% APY.
There are only two qualifying requirements to earned the stated APY:
- At least 15 GreenState credit card* purchases (average at least $10 per transaction).
- Set up direct deposits or have at least one ACH transaction of $100 or more each month.
*All GreenState credit cards can be used to meet the qualify requirements, but the Platinum Rewards Mastercard and World Mastercard both earn bonus points on all purchases.
The R2 Checking account has no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement to earn the stated APY. A $50 minimum opening deposit is required to open a new R2 Checking account. Paper statements will incur a $2.50 monthly fee, but e-Statements are provided free of charge. Non-GreenState ATM fees are not reimbursed, but GreenState participates in the Allpoint ATM Network, providing its members with free access to over 43,000 ATMs throughout the country.
Headquartered in North Liberty, Iowa, GreenState Credit Union now offers membership to all U.S. citizens/resident aliens with a valid Social Security and Tax Identification number.
Easy Membership: The sixth option on the Eligibility page of the online application reads, “I want to become a member of the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (Iowa AEYC).” According to CSR, Iowa AEYC has a $30 annual membership fee and GreenState will pay $10 dollars of that fee.
Residency: Membership is also open to individuals who live or work anywhere in Iowa, or in the Illinois counties of Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren, or Whiteside.
School Affiliation: All University of Iowa students, staff, and alumni qualify for membership.
Family Relationship: Direct relatives of current members are also welcome to apply.
Joining GreenState and/or opening an R2 Checking account can be done online or in person at any of 19 Iowa branches located in Ankeny, Bettendorf, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids (3), Coralville, Davenport, Dubuque, Grinnell, Hiawatha, Iowa City (3), Marion, North Liberty, Waterloo, Waukee, and West Des Moines.
If you are not yet a member, you will need to open a
share savings account with a minimum $5 deposit.
Credit Union Overview
GreenState Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 6.63% (excellent), based on September 30, 2019 data. In the past year, GreenState increased its total non-brokered deposits by $233.85 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 6.89%. Please refer to our financial overview of GreenState Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 60269) for more details.
GreenState Credit Union is currently the largest credit union in Iowa and the 31st largest credit union in the country, with more than 207,000 members and deposits in excess of $5.7 billion. Established in 1938 as the State University of Iowa Hospital Employees Credit Union, the original membership included the staff of University Hospital exclusively. In 1966, the FOM was expanded to serve all University of Iowa staff, students, and alumni and was aptly renamed the University of Iowa Credit Union. The FOM expanded further in 1988, when all Iowa residents not affiliated with the University of Iowa were added. Following last year’s rebrand (due to a Iowa State Legislature budget bill requirement), GreenState opened its FOM to all U.S. citizens and residents aliens.
How the R2 Checking Compares
The R2 Checking is unique in that it requires credit card purchases instead of debit card purchases. The vast majority of RCAs only allow debit card purchases to fulfill qualifying requirements. So rather than the usual APY/qualifying balance comparison, let’s make this a math problem, comparing the R2 Checking to an online savings account.
- R2 Checking – $20k balance earning 2.25%, with $150 of monthly GreenState credit card purchases.
- A typical online savings account earning 1.75% on $20k and a good cash back credit card earning 2% cash back on everything.
- R2 Checking – $450 of interest ($20k x 2.25%)
- Online Savings/Cash Back Credit Card – $350 of interest ($20k x 1.75%) and $36 of credit card cash back earnings ($10 x 15 x 12 x 2%)
On an annual basis, the R2 Checking offers $64 more in earnings, but there are two complications to consider.
1. Credit card cash back earnings are typically not taxed, whereas bank interest is taxable, making the R2 Checking less attractive.
2. Adding to the appeal of the R2 Checking, GreenState offers reward credit cards that earn points (redeemable for cash) when purchases are made. It’s not easy to put a dollar value on earned points, since different types of purchases earn different point values.
To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.