Last week, INOVA Federal Credit Union (INOVA) raised the rate on its Shield Checking account to 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Qualifying balances of $15k+ and non-qualifying balances both earn 0.07% APY.
The Shield Checking account made its debut last March, replacing INOVA’s Ovation checking account, which had been part of the product line since early 2010. Prior to last week’s rate increase, the Shield Checking earned 2.00% APY on qualifying balances.
As stated on INOVA’s Checking Rates page, there are only two qualifying requirements:
- Have at least 8 debit card purchases each statement period
- Maintain an average daily balance greater than $3.5k.
The Shield Checking account has a $5 monthly service fee that covers the cost of IDProtect® and Cellular Telephone Protect plans, which are part of the Shield Checking package. The IDProtect® provides identity theft monitoring and resolution service and includes up to “$10,000 identifying theft expense reimbursement coverage.” To qualify for the Cellular Telephone Protect plan, the cell phone bill must be paid through the Shield Checking account.
There are no ATM fee refunds. According to the Checking Rates page,
To avoid paying a fee, choose any INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network
ATM across the nation. Foreign ATM transactions will be charged $2 per transaction.
Headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, INOVA Federal Credit Union offers membership through affiliation with over 500 member companies. The member companies include large national companies (Bayer, Papa’s Pizza, Inc.) and schools (University of Notre Dame), to local businesses and organizations, including churches and schools. A complete list of the member companies can be found on INOVA’s website.
Immediate family members and household members of an INOVA member are also eligible for membership.
Complete qualification details are listed on the Membership Eligibility page.
Joining INOVA and/or opening a Shield Checking account can be done online, or at any of six Indiana branches located in Elkhart (3), Granger, Michigan City, and Mishawaka. INOVA also has one branch in Berkeley, California, and one in Clayton, North Carolina.
Know Your Fees
As I noted in an October blog post, INOVA’s online application states,
You will be asked to make your initial minimum membership share deposit of
$5.00 and pay the $10.00 Membership Fee. The $5.00 share must remain on deposit
to maintain your member/owner status and cannot be used for overdraft protection.
According to INOVA’s Fee Schedule, there is a potential monthly fee listed that isn’t as bad as it reads:
Membership Savings Inactive Account - $5.00/ Month After one (1) year
and account under $1,000.00, not applicable for members under the age of 18
That statement is worded poorly. According to the Live Chat, the word "account" means all monies on deposit with INOVA (Certificates, MMAs, checking, etc), not specifically the Membership Savings Account. In other words, if you open a Shield Checking and maintain a minimum $1k deposit, the $5 monthly fee does not apply.
The good news is the Membership Savings/Non Dividend Membership Savings Low Balance Fee of $2.50 per month has been eliminated.
Credit Union Overview
INOVA Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 12.06% (above average) based on September 30, 2017 data. In the past year, INOVA has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $6.97 million, an above average annual growth rate of 2.57%. Please refer to our financial overview of INOVA Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 4968) for more details.
INOVA Federal Credit Union was established in 1942 to serve the employees of Miles Laboratories, an Elkhart, Indiana based pharmaceutical company. When Miles Laboratories was purchased by Bayer AG in 1979, the Credit Union’s scope and field of membership began to expand. INOVA currently has over 32,400 members and assets in excess of $341 million.
How the Shield Checking Compares
When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, which are available nationwide and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $15k, INOVA Federal Credit Union’s Shield Checking APY ranks second.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|4.00% APY||Extreme Checking (up to $15k)||Blue Federal Credit Union|
|3.00% APY||Shield Checking (up to $15k)||INOVA Federal Credit Union|
|2.50% APY||Kasasa Cash (up to $15k)||Industrial Bank|
The above rates are accurate as of 3/5/2018.
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.