Provident CU (CA) Changes Super Reward Checking Requirements


Availability: Residents of the California counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Monterey, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, and the city of Los Angeles; employees and members of more than 200 SEGs and associations.

Provident Credit Union’s (Provident CU) Super Reward Checking has been included in DA’s bi-weekly Best Bank Account Summary for several years, based on its APY (currently 2.01% up to $25k), its qualification requirements, and the Credit Union’s easy membership requirement. Changes have been made to the qualification requirement, and it appears Provident CU is no longer an “open” credit union, which I discuss in greater detail in the Availability section below.

Qualification Requirements

Previously, a minimum of 10 debit card purchases was required, but now the Super Reward Checking requires "$300 or more using a Provident debit and/or credit card per month." While the $300 minimum isn’t the best, allowing the use of a credit card is a big plus for those who don’t like debit cards, and more importantly, want to take advantage of cash back credit cards. The Provident Signature Cash Back VISA® pays 1.5% cash back on all purchases.


Headquartered in Redwood City, Provident Credit Union used to offer membership to all U.S. residents through joining the American Cancer Society, the Sierra Club, or the Sierra Club Foundation; those three organizations are no longer listed in the more than 1,200 SEGs and associations listed on Provident CU’s Eligibility page and online application.

Note: I had a fairly lengthy discussion with CSR about the absence of the three previously mentioned organizations. While she did confirm those organizations were no longer a part of the field of membership (FOM), she couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me if any of the 120+ organizations listed were open to the general public. Her standard answer was “if you belong to any of the listed organizations, you are eligible for membership.” It’s possible that there may be an organization/associated listed that anyone could join, but it’s not readily apparent.

Residency - Membership is open to residents of the California counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Monterey, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, as well as those living in the city of Los Angeles.

Employment or Affiliation - Employees and members of over 1,200 SEGS also qualifying for membership. A complete list is available on the Eligibility page.

Relationship - Individuals who are related to or live in the same household as a current Provident CU member are eligible to join. According to the Eligibility page, this “includes anyone related to you by birth, marriage, or adoption, or persons living in the same residence maintaining a single economic unit.”

Joining Provident CU and/or opening a Super Reward Checking account can be done either online, or in person at any of the 20 California branches located in Alameda, Belmont, Daly City, Eureka, Folsom, Hayward, Los Gatos, Millbrae, Oakland, Palo Alto, Redwood City (2), San Francisco (2), San Jose (2), San Mateo, San Ramon, Sunnyvale, and Walnut Creek.

Credit Union Overview

Provident Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 66343) has an overall health grade of "A+" at, with a Texas ratio of 0.26% (excellent), based on June 30, 2016 data. In the past year, Provident CU has increased its total deposits by $76.84 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 4.21%. Please refer to our financial overview of Provident Credit Union for more details.

Founded in 1950, Provident Credit Union was originally established for the benefits of the California Teachers Association members. While the FOM has expanded to include other professional associations and businesses, the education profession is still well represented. Provident CU is the 18th largest credit union in California, with nearly 105,000 members and assets in excess of $2.1 billion.

How Super Reward Checking Compares

When compared to the 29 High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by, which are available to California residents and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $25k, Provident Credit Union’s Super Reward Checking APY currently ranks third.

The above rates are accurate as of 9/8/2016.

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 or our Rates Map page.

CC in CA
CC in CA   |     |   Comment #1
They made this change a year ago (2015).  I closed my accounts there because I don't want to open a new credit card, and I don't use debit cards often.  I had been a customer for 12 years, but the Super Rewards Checking was the only reason I stayed.  Once I heard of the change, I closed my accounts.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Most small and local banks are changing the requirement too, look at One American bank SD, on Oct 20th 2016 minimum purchase must be $5.00 or more per purchase for at least 12 purchases spread around the whole month. If you do the purchase in one day or in one week, will count as one purchase made out of the twelve done.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
It should be Santa Clara and Monterey counties (the 'Santa' goes with Clara, not Monterey)?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
You're right!  It's Santa Clara and Monterey County.
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #4
This is one of the reasons that these rewards checking accounts are a pain.    I'll move my savings and CD accounts to the highest bidder.  But who wants to have to worry about opening a new checking account and re-establishing all of the links to pay bills?   I'd rather have a regular checking account and keep the balance as close to zero as possible. 
jkinmd   |     |   Comment #5
The ATM reimbursement policy is changing.  "Provident is eliminating the ATM transaction fee rebate limit of $2.50 per transaction for our Super Reward Checking account.
Beginning October 1, 2016, qualifying accounts will receive ATM fee rebates of up to $12.00 per month. For example, if the ATM surcharge fee imposed by the other institution is $3.50, you'll receive the full $3.50 back instead of just $2.50, up to a combined total of $12.00 per month. We will also be rebating ATM fees on the first of the month, instead of on the fifth.Remember, there is no fee to use a Provident, Bank of the West, and US Bank ATM, plus any ATM in the CO-OP, MoneyPass, and Alliance One networks. "
cactus   |     |   Comment #6
Which company actually services their credit cards these days? I had a card there ten or so years ago but closed it due to the hassle of dealing through Provident to get to the actual credit card servicing company when there was a problem.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
Meh.  Provident used to be good.  Notsomuch any more.
Jake9   |     |   Comment #9
Another nice thing about Provident is that they're part of the shared branch network. 
Updated Review of Provident CU's Super Reward Checking Account

It has been almost 5 years since my first review of Provident Credit Union's reward checking account. Rates have gone down, but it has remained competitive. Also, the balance cap has stayed the same. The last time the rate has fallen was in January 2011. When Provident does cut rates, the cuts are usually small. Most rate cuts have been 25 or 50 basis points. As we have seen with some reward checking accounts at other institutions, rate cuts can often be a percentage point or more.

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Reward Checking Account at a California CU (Provident)

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Provident Credit Union has just started a reward checking account it calls Super Reward Checking with a 2.26% APY on balances up to $25K (0.31% above $25K) and rebates of ATM fees (up to $2.50 per transaction) if the typical monthly reward checking requirements are met: 1) 10 Visa Check Card transactions, 2) 1 Direct Deposit or an automatic debit, and 3) receive e-statements. If these requirements are not met,...

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Provident Credit Union is offering a special 15-month certificate with a yield of up to 3.75% APY. This requires that you have a Provident checking account (other accounts also qualify). Without the checking, the APY is 3.50%. Minimum deposit is $1,000 ($500 for IRAs). The promotion is listed on the credit union's home page and in this promotion page as of 1/06/09.

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The 5.30% yield may seem low, but with today's rate environment, it's very competitive. The best 18-month CD yield that I listed in my weekly summary was 5.25%.

Provident also has a 6.01% reward checking account for balances under $25K. For more info, please refer to my Provident reward checking review.

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