Orion Federal Credit Union Drops Premium Checking Rate


Deal Summary: Premium Checking, 3.00% APY up to $15k, 2.05% APR $15k-$100k, 1.50% APR $100k-$250k, 1.00% APR $250k.

Availability: Easy membership requirement

About a year ago, Orion Federal Credit Union (Orion FCU) raised the rate and qualifying balance cap on its Premier Checking account (4.00% APY, up to $30k), making it one of the top-rated nationally available rewards checking account. As of yesterday, the Premier Checking account has a totally new rate structure, which has lowered both the APY and the qualifying balance cap. The following chart was sent out by Orion Member Services last week and describes the new rate structure.


DA reader, pgroove_fan, made an astute observation about this rate change.

Certainly sad to see the top rate and applicable cap both lowered.

But nice to see the introduction of decent rates on larger balances. That 2.05% up to $100K is competitive with most savings accounts.

Based on the above chart, the blended APY for a qualifying balance of $100k is actually 2.20% APY, which puts it in the top five APYs for nationally available savings accounts.

While the APY may have changed, the monthly qualification requirements have remained the same.

  • Minimum of $500 in monthly electronic deposits (includes direct deposit, ATM deposit, mobile deposit, and electronic transfers from another financial institution).
  • Minimum of eight signature-based debit card transactions.

Thanks to DA reader, midas89, for the initial Forum post about the Premier Checking’s rate change.

The Premier Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or opening balance requirement, but there is a $5 monthly service fee if the monthly qualification requirements are not met. Up to $10 in ATM fees will be reimbursed per month, if the qualification requirements at met.

In the past, Orion FCU did not limit the number of Premier Checking accounts allowed per member, but as of early October that is no longer the case. DA reader, elarh, posted the news in the Forum.

As of 10/7, Orion will no longer allow multiple accounts for one customer. All but first Premium Checking account will be converted to an Orion Checking account (no monthly fee, 0.05% APY dividend).


Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Orion Federal Credit Union has a way for almost any US citizen or resident to join.

Easy membership requirement: The complete list of eligibility options is only listed on the online application. You must enter your name, address, birthdate, SS number, and driver’s license number before the eligibility details are revealed. The last option listed is “Other,” which reads:

Volunteers for Orion Gives Back organizations are eligible for membership in Orion. You can qualify as a volunteer fundraiser simply by choosing an organization and asking us to make a $10 donation.

There are five organizations to choose from: Habitat for Humanity Greater Memphis, Hope House, Porter-Leath, Ronald McDonald House, and Wolf River Conservancy.

Residency: Individuals who live, work, or worship in any of seven “Mid South” counties eligible to join. Those counties include,

    Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton, Tennessee

    Desoto and Marshall, Mississippi

    Crittendon and Mississippi, Arkansas

Relationship: Family members of eligible or current Orion FCU members also qualify for membership.

Employment: Employees and members of more than 45 SEGs are also eligible to join.

Joining Orion FCU and/or opening a Premier Checking account can be done online, or at any of eleven Tennessee branches located in Collierville, Cordova, and Memphis (9).

Establishing membership with Orion takes just a minimum deposit of $25 into a share savings account.

Credit Union Overview

Orion Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.98% (excellent) based on June 30, 2019 data. In the past year, Orion FCU increased its total non-brokered deposits by $122.76 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 18.55%. Please refer to our financial overview of Orion Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 18297) for more details.

Orion Federal Credit Union is currently Tennessee’s seventh largest credit union, with more than 73,500 members and assets in excess of $928 million. Established in 1957 as the Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union, the Credit Union had one of the more unique “vaults” for deposits: a piano bench in the basement of a Memphis city school. The Orion re-brand occurred in 2011, following an FOM expansion. According to the Daily Memphian, Orion is in the process of another expansion.

The Memphis-based bank plans to grow its presence in the Little Rock, Arkansas, market and along the Interstate 40 corridor that links the two cities. Orion acquired Arkansas Employees Federal Credit Union in January 2018, which allowed Orion to do business in Little Rock and the surrounding area within that institution’s field of membership.

How the Premium Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, which are nationally available and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $15k, Orion Federal Credit Union’s Premium Checking APY currently ranks sixth.

The above rates are accurate as of 12/2/2019.

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.

Related Pages: Memphis checking accounts, reward checking accounts, nationwide deals

  |     |   Comment #1
As expected; bait-and-switch like. TAB may follow suit.

It is important to identify the long-term winner(s) for RCA with consistently high APY and fund limit, which is(are) rare and precious.
  |     |   Comment #2
I doesn't feel like "bait and switch" to me - it was a nice run while it lasted (10 months). Had they kept the cap at 30K or even 25K, I probably would have stayed. A 15K cap doesn't work for me, so I just moved most of my Orion money to a dormant RC account elsewhere. I'll close the checking before month's end to avoid the $5 fee, leaving the savings open.
  |     |   Comment #3
I agree; I will keep one of my premier checking accounts open and possibly increase the balance unless and until I find something better than 2.2% for up to $100k.
  |     |   Comment #4
I am just so glad I opened a 4.06%APY 5 year CD last December at FoundersFCU. I just received my first loyalty bonus check on 12/1 for all deposit interest earned held this last 12 months. That loyalty bonus amounted to a 0.35% increase to my 4.06APY bringing it to close to a 4.41APY for the last 12 months. I look forward to this for another 5 years, and the loyalty bonus goes into their 5.25APY special saving account.
Set and Forget
  |     |   Comment #5
Set and Forget CD deals in the mid 3's or higher the past year have been paying off so far. Surely beats jumping thru hoops to get now 3% on the Orion deal with a substantially lowered cap.
  |     |   Comment #10
Blended rate is irrelevant. Marginal rate of 2.05% APY must be used for making optimal decisions between $15K and $100K balance in this recently revised account.
  |     |   Comment #11
Major change coming regarding the Debit Card Transaction Requirements:

"Effective April 1, 2020: To make it easier for Premium Checking members to earn 3% APY each month, we are changing the Premium Perks Qualifiers to provide flexibility in how you spend. Here is a summary of the changes taking effect:

"You are no longer required to have 8 transactions.
Instead, spend at least $500 on your Orion debit or credit card to qualify.
All signature and PIN based purchases will count toward the $500 minimum."
  |     |   Comment #12
In what world will spending $500.00 make it easier; I don't always need to put $500.00 per month on a credit card; That will give me three choices. 1. buy things I don't need. 2. get 0.05% interest. 3. pull out my money. I will use option 3.Good by Orion in late March.
  |     |   Comment #13
Today, Orion dropped the rate down to 1.5% for the balance between $15,001 and $100,000.

It is down to 0.75% for the balance between $100,001 and $250,000.
  |     |   Comment #14
Orion's Premium Checking: The rate has dropped to 1% APY for $10,000 and less. The rate is now 0.25% for $10,001 to $100,000.
  |     |   Comment #15
Less than many Savings/Money Market accounts. Why bother now?
Orion Federal Credit Union Premium Checking Nationally Available
Deal Summary: Premium Checking, 4.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $30k.

Availability: Easy membership requirement

Less than two months ago, Orion Federal Credit Union (Orion FCU) raised the rate and qualifying balance cap on its Premier Checking account (4.00% APY, up to $30k). As DA reader, timnok, posted in the Forum earlier this week, Orion FCU is now an easy membership requirement credit union, making the Premier Checking one of the top-rated nationally available rewards checking account.

Monthly Qualification Requirements

  • Minimum of $500 in monthly electronic deposits (includes direct...
Continue Reading
Orion Federal Credit Union Premium Checking Now Earns 4.00% APY
Deal Summary: Premium Checking, 4.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $30k.

Availability: Residents of three Tennessee, two Mississippi, and two Arkansas counties, all located in the greater Memphis metropolitan area; 40+ SEGs.

It’s been more than two years since I last wrote about Orion Federal Credit Union’s (Orion FCU) Premier Checking account which is a high-yield reward checking account. At that time, qualifying balances up to $20k earned 3.00% APY. Orion FCU has raised the rate to 4.00% APY and increased the qualifying balance cap to $30k....

Continue Reading
Orion FCU (TN/MS/AR) Adds 100 Basis Points To Premium Checking APY
Availability: Residents of three Tennessee counties, two Mississippi counties, and two Arkansas counties, all in the greater Memphis metropolitan area; 30+ SEGs.

At the beginning of October, Orion Federal Credit Union (Orion FCU) raised the rate on its Premium Checking account. Qualifying balances up to $20k now earn 3.00% APY, with qualifying balances over $20k earning 0.05% APY. Non-qualifying balances do not earn any interest.

The Premium Checking account was added to the product line in November 2014, earning an unimpressive 1.00% APY. The rate increased to...

Continue Reading
0.50% Reward Checking Account at Memphis Area Teacher's Credit Union
Update 9/07/09: The top yield has fallen to 0.50% APY. See bottom of post for the rate history.

Memphis Area Teacher's CU is offering a reward checking account that pays 0.50% APY on balances up to $25,000 (0.50% for above) and refunds ATM fees if the following monthly requirements are met:
  • 10 debit card purchases
  • one direct deposit
  • access online banking and receive e-statements
If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.05%. There are no monthly service charges.

I noticed in the small print that it states "credit approval required." So this may mean...

Continue Reading

The financial institution, product, and APY (Annual Percentage Yield) data displayed on this website is gathered from various sources and may not reflect all of the offers available in your region. Although we strive to provide the most accurate data possible, we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The content displayed is for general information purposes only; always verify account details and availability with the financial institution before opening an account. Contact [email protected] to report inaccurate info or to request offers be included in this website. We are not affiliated with the financial institutions included in this website.