Update 4/4/2013: Harborstone Credit Union has informed members of changes that will be made to its BreakFree Checking Account effective May 1, 2013. Refer to this reader's comment for details.
As I was looking for good deals on reward checking accounts, I came across one that I first reviewed three years ago. It's the BreakFree Checking account at Harborstone Credit Union. There are two reasons why I thought an updated review would be useful. First, the BreakFree Checking is one of the few reward checking accounts that still have a $50K balance cap. Second, the credit union's field of membership is broad. Not everyone in the nation can qualify, but hopefully, many DA readers can.
The BreakFree Checking yield has fallen over the last three years, but it remains competitive in today's environment. It offers the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 1/25/2013):
- 2.02% APY on balances up to $50,000
- 0.05% on portion of balance over $50,000
- 0.05% base rate if requirements are not met
- Reimbursement of all ATM fees nationwide
The monthly requirements include:
- 12 Visa debit card purchases
- 2 online Bill Pay transactions
Minimum opening deposit is $25. It has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee.
According the credit union's eligibility page:
If you live, work, or worship in the state of Washington, you are eligible for membership at Harborstone Credit Union.
If you don't live, work, or worship in the State of Washington, you can also join if you are:
- A family member of a current Harborstone member
- Active, Reserve, or Retired Military
- Active or Retired Civil Service
As you can see, many people outside of Washington State are eligible to join. The credit union also has an online application. However, there are additional steps that are required after submitting the application.
Credit Union Overview
Harborstone Credit Union branches are located in the Washington cities of Tacoma, Bonney Lake, Fife, Gig Harbor, Lacey, Lakewood, Spanaway, Puyallup and in McChord Air Force Base.
Harborstone Credit Union was originally established in 1955 to serve the McChord Air Force Base. Its size and field of membership have expanded quite a bit since then. It now has over $781 million in assets. It has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 4.16% (excellent) based on September 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Harborstone Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 66399).
How This Reward Checking Compares
You can get reward checking rates over 2%, but it's hard to find balance caps over $25K. It's actually not easy to find rates of at least 2% for balances up to $25K. There's only one that's nationally available. It's from the all-access credit union ABCO FCU which offers 2.12% APY for balances up to $25K as of 1/25/2013.
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.