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. Qualifying balances over $30k earn 0.05% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning no interest.

4.00*%-$30kOrion Federal Credit UnionPremium Checking
OTHER TIERS: 0.05% $30k+
Rates as of January 22, 2019.

Around the nation, reward checking rate hikes haven't been common, so it's nice to see this rate and balance cap increase. The Premier Checking account was added to the product line in November 2014, earning an unimpressive 1.00% APY. The rate increased to 2.00% APY four months later and to 3.00% APY in October 2016.

Monthly Qualification Requirements

  • Minimum of $500 in monthly electronic deposits
  • Minimum of eight signature-based debit card transactions.

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.

Thanks to the DA reader who emailed me about Premier Checking’s new APY and qualifying cap.


Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Orion Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) is primarily residency based, with individuals who live, work, or worship in any of seven “Mid South” counties eligible to join. Those counties include:

Tennessee: Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton

Mississippi: Desoto and Marshall

Arkansas: Crittendon and Mississippi

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

Employees and members of more than 40 SEGs are also eligible to join.

Note: The FOM is only listed at the beginning of the “Account Tool.” You must enter your name, address, birthdate, SS number, and driver’s license number before the eligibility details are revealed.

Joining Orion FCU and/or opening a Premier Checking account can be done online, or at any of ten Tennessee branches located in Collierville, Cordova, and Memphis (8).

Credit Union Overview

Orion Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.92% (excellent) based on September 30, 2018 data. In the past year, Orion FCU increased its total non-brokered deposits by $59.81 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 10.02%. Please refer to our financial overview of Orion Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 18297) for more details.

Established in 1957 as the Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union, Orion Federal Credit Union as grown to become Tennessee’s seventh largest credit union, with more than 77,200 members and assets in excess of $810 million. The Credit Union’s name wasn’t changed until 2011, following an FOM expansion. In September, Orion FCU was named Memphis’ Best Local Bank/Credit Union by The Memphis Flyer newspaper for the second year in a row.

Orion FCU has gained favor in the community through its customer-focused products and services, exceptional customer service, financial literacy, and a company-wide commitment to serving the Memphis community.

“We are honored to be chosen the Best of Memphis for the second year in a row. This is truly a reflection of Orion’s commitment to serve our members,” stated Daniel Weickenand, Orion CEO.

How the Premium Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, which are available within the FOM and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $30k, Orion Federal Credit Union’s Premium Checking APY currently ranks first.

Interest RateAccount NameCredit Union/Bank
4.00% APYPremium Checking (up to $30k)Orion Federal Credit
2.51% APYKasasa Cash (up to $50k)First Security Ban & Trust
1.50% APYAMP Checking (up to $75k)Superior Choice Credit Union

The above rates are accurate as of 12/26/2018.

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.

Related Pages: Memphis checking accounts, reward checking accounts

anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
They took over a credit union in Little Rock and were advertising the account on the radio here.. I opened an account at that branch so I assume the Little Rock area also qualifies for membership.
FOM requirements
FOM requirements   |     |   Comment #7
FOM needs to be updated. I chose the option for "Charity" to join, which states that the CU will donate, and you choose which charity you agree to collect for. Not sure if they deduct $10 ?....because of the wording.
51hh   |     |   Comment #2
Ken is correct that one seldom sees RCA rate or limit increase these days, maybe due to the fact that large rate gap still exists between RCAs and savings accounts.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the RCA turn for rate/limit increases due to Fed rate hikes.
betterThanCD   |     |   Comment #3
ANYONE not qualifying as an FOM can still join by contributing $10 to one of several listed organizations, which you will find when filling out the online application. Start by clicking "Open Now" in the 4% Premium box https://orionfcu.com/checking/.
Requirements for the 4% Premium Checking account are as follows:
Electronic deposits totaling at least $500/mo
Perform at least 8 signature-based [credit] card transactions
Be aware that there is a $5 penalty for the month that you do NOT meet these two qualifications.
51hh   |     |   Comment #4
Thanks, good to know (for eligibility).

Do you know how many accounts can be opened, for example per social security number or per household?

The $5 penalty is indeed unusual.
betterThanCD   |     |   Comment #6
I just sent off an email today, December 26, to the CSR who opened my account. I'll post when I get her reply. In the meanwhile, open an account now, if you don't mind depositing $500 every month to the account. Don't know the reason for the $5 penalty. I would think they would be happy just having your deposit.
GoodAlternative   |     |   Comment #5
Just read the reviews on this CU. The latest post stated that he/she was eligible for 2 accounts - $60K (30K each) at 4%
The requirements are minimal on this account compared to some of the other RCA. This might be a good alternative to the 4% CD's everyone is reaching for.
GoodAlternative   |     |   Comment #9
Filled out the app online the 26th, in the evening.
Got an account opened instantly, signed up for Online banking.
Shows $25 pending ACH coming in.
They emailed me 27th to confirm Identity and officially finished opening acct.
I chose the "charity" option to join because I did not meet location/family/work requirements.
This acct. is 4% up to $30K, Free checks, Free ATM reimbursement (out-of-ntwk), no monthly fee ($5/mo. if requirements not met).
Requirments: Electronic deposits $500 mo. - ACH external acct., direct deposit according to their disclosure definition of "Electronic Deposit". 8 signature-based Card transactions per month. Their month is a true mo. (1st - 31st). Electronic deposits available same day, check deposits next day. Limit $410 ATM withdrawal in 24 hr period.
111   |     |   Comment #8
Well - I certainly HOPE that's true, regarding the "can still join by contributing $10 to one of several listed organizations" part. Ken's write-up certainly did not overtly state that, and it's been my experience that normally his write-ups go the extra mile to identify easy ways to join....

I guess we'll see.
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...

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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...

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