TBA Credit Union (MI) Adds Cash Reward Checking, 5.00% APY


Deal Summary: Cash Reward Checking (rewards checking), 5.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k

Availability: Residents of Michigan

At the beginning of July, TBA Credit Union (TBACU) introduced a rewards checking account (RCA). The new Cash Reward Checking earns 5.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k. Interest is not paid on qualifying balances above $10k or on non-qualifying balances.

Qualifying Requirements

  • At least 25 debit card transactions.
  • At least four online or mobile banking logins.
  • Deposit(s) totaling at least $1k through direct deposit or remote capture deposit (RCD).
  • Enroll in eStatements.

Two of the qualifying requirements are noteworthy: 1) 25 debit card transactions is more than twice the typical requirement, and 2) this is the first time I’ve seen RCD listed as meeting a direct deposit requirement.

The Cash Reward Checking account has no monthly service fee, minimum balance requirement, or minimum opening deposit requirement. Not only are out-of-network ATM fees are not reimbursed, there is a $1 fee for using a non-CO-OP Network ATM.


Headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, TBA Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) has expanded to include anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school anywhere in the State of Michigan.

Alumni of Northwestern Michigan College also qualify for membership, regardless of where they live.

Immediate family members of anyone eligible to join are also welcome to apply.

Joining TBACU and/or opening a Cash Reward Checking account can be done online, or at any of three Michigan branches, all of which are located in Traverse City.

Opened with a $15 deposit, a savings account establishes your membership
with TBA Credit Union and allows access to additional products and services.

Opening a Cash Reward Checking account can also be done by calling 231.946.7090. The Cash Reward Checking’s landing page has a “Contact Me” form.

Yes, please have a team member contact me about the Cash Reward Account.

Through its partnership with the Xtend Shared Branching Network, TBACU members have access to more than 250 shared branches in or around Michigan. TBACU also participates in the CO-OP ATM network, giving members “access to over 30,000 ATMs nationwide, including those located at most 7-11 convenience stores.”

Credit Union Overview

TBA Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.44% (excellent) based on March 31, 2019 data. In the past year, TBACU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $12.52 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 7.16%. Please refer to our financial overview of TBA Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 61795) for more details.

Founded in 1955 as the Traverse City Board of Education Employees Credit Union, TBA Credit Union is another Michigan credit union that’s expanded its FOM state-wide. The credit union rebranded twice: first in 1967 as the TBA Education Credit Union and then as TBA Credit Union in 2004. (FYI – TBA is an acronym for Traverse Bay Area, not “to-be-announced.”)

The eight original board members were all teachers in the Traverse City School System and each had four shares in the newly formed credit union. This quote from TBACU’s History page is truly indicative of a time long past.

In those early days, funds were kept in a cigar box. Those needing a loan
could take what they needed and leave an I.O.U. to be covered the next payday.

How Cash Reward Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available in Michigan and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $10k, TBA Credit Union’s Cash Reward Checking APY currently ranks second.

The above rates are accurate as of 7/20/2019.

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: Traverse City checking accounts, reward checking accounts

  |     |   Comment #1
Accounts like these with onerous (to me anyway) requirements have always puzzled me. Does the institution hope that most account holders mess up and do not fulfill the account requirement(s)? Does the institution make money off each debit card transaction? Do most account holders manufacture spending to fulfill account requirements? Or do people actually consume that much that they can use a debit card that many times a month?
  |     |   Comment #4
They DO make money off debit card transactions. How many are unlike me and use these accounts for their everyday spending?

If I had to guess how much they get from debit card transactions it would be maybe 2% max.
Fidelity pays me 2% on all transactions so you know they get a little more than that. But debit pays less than credit.

I think these banks & credit unions get sold on these deals and may look at it as cheaper than paying a $100-200-400 bonus for new accounts.

And maybe many people only carry an average balance of say $1000 and if they spend $800 a month, maybe the FI makes money overall?

Ive had RCAs with as many as 12 but never 25. My current ones only require 10 each.
  |     |   Comment #3
Good one, Ken. Your headline gave me a smile. I thought, at first reading, that "TBA" stood for "to be announced", and that you were teasing your readers and would let us know only later which financial institution was offering this deal. :-)
  |     |   Comment #9
These are the most onerous RCA requirements I've seen for a $10K balance cap, even at 5%. I'd pass even if I lived in Michigan.
  |     |   Comment #10
For $40 a month all that work and you are forced to buy and buy and buy, just to fulfill the requirements, it is not worth the time and energy spent. It is much wiser to collect $20 on a 2.5% saving account and not lift your finger to do anything.
  |     |   Comment #13
If the balance cap was $50,000, maybe.
  |     |   Comment #14
gregk, The banks are not stupid, they like to make money out of you. First, they may demand $50 minimum purchase per transaction or raise the number of purchases to 50 or make you to direct deposit of $5000 per month or more or the total minimum spent on purchases to be $5000 plus.
I had some crazy demands from the banks in the past to fulfill such requirements and at the end the banks win. It is not profitable for the consumer when you are forced to spend more than you need and to keep counting the purchases, it becomes a chore and a nightmare.
  |     |   Comment #15
Just hit a balance between profitability and labor.
  |     |   Comment #17
The fact is, though, this is a Credit Union, so presumably not out to profit off its members, - which is anyway difficult for me to see them doing with this. No one's compelled to use the account, - you're not "forced" to do anything as some are suggesting here. If it works for selected depositors, then good. Mark makes a blanket judgment above that might be true for many, but certain only for himself. I don't see a downside to FI's creating different sorts of products and putting them out in the marketplace. If no one finds benefits in one like this it will disappear. Who's the loser?
  |     |   Comment #26
gregk #17, you said you may do it for $50K, what changed your mind?
  |     |   Comment #31
Did I change my mind?
  |     |   Comment #16
It's still a better deal than the one that paid you 90% APY as long as you ran a 1 minute mile every day for a year .... Or something of that nature. :)
  |     |   Comment #20
The excess return over a 2.50% rate over the next year is about $250. $20.83 per month for 25 transactions.= 83.3 cents per transaction. Not a bad deal if you only have $10k and live in MI.

You could make 25 one dollar billpays to some vendors who do not charge a fee. Or you can do as I do and knock them out at gas stations and the dollar store and every now and then a $1 online payment.

By contrast, my RCAs pay an excess return of $207.50 per year or $17.29 per month or 1.73 per transaction. (Heritage pays 3.33% on $25k and I have 2 of them, 10 transaction each)

With rates expected to decline next year, the value of RCAs increases. And I may open a 3rd one within the next few months.

Right now, I may be taking a 1-2 month breather from them to fund the 1% bonus deal at Goldman. But 3 months after the Goldman deal I may open another one somewhere if not sooner. (I also have 2 CDs maturing soon and am hoping I can get a 3.21% 30 month jumbo at Keesler on 8/26 if its still alive)

The lower rates go, the more sense it makes to have multiple RCAs.

I probably won't go over 3 but maybe 4 depending on how much lower rates go.
  |     |   Comment #22
"The lower rates go, the more sense it makes to have multiple RCA's."

You don't worry RCA rates will move lower right along with everything else?
  |     |   Comment #28
"Some" RCA do maintain their APY for a long period, if carefully selected.

On 83.3 cents per transaction: Many debit card "vehicles" start with one dollar. Many RCAs set a lower limit (e.g., $5 per transaction) nowadays, which may be reasonable and fair for both sides. Doing $1 per transaction is a bit "cheap" and a bit gaming the system; but just me.
  |     |   Comment #38
With those restrictions your better off combining other high yield checking savings or cds with high points credit card which would be lot less effort for same or better apy.
  |     |   Comment #44
Right. Tell me how exactly you would get even close to 5%APY by the means you describe, - meaning the combination of specific products at nameable FI's that would achieve that..
  |     |   Comment #27
willy12 , you just do that 83.3 cents per transaction and see how long you will be a CU member, when your account will be closed for abusive practices. Read the disclosure. it says, normal shopping habits must be maintained throughout the month.
  |     |   Comment #29
Helen, I have had RCAs for many years continuously. Most of my transactions are far less than 83 cents each. Not one CU or bank has ever said anything. The 83 cents was pointing out the earnings per charge even with the $10k deal for 25 transactions. (One I would not do)
For me, very small transactions within the first 5 days of the month ARE normal shopping habits.

I don't see any reason to change if I have not gotten any slack from any of them.

If someone starts a $5 per purchase I will adjust or switch. Not at all worried about what might happen because NOTHING has happened in many years. Except one local CU cut their rate from 3% to 2% for everyone, not just me. I quit using it as soon as the rate when down. Thats been over a year ago.
  |     |   Comment #32
"For me, very small transactions within the first 5 days of the month ARE normal shopping habits."

Hehe. You point up the meaninglessness of such ambiguous parameters as FI's sometimes specify for these accounts, - which indicates they need not be taken seriously. If you're a bank or CU with an RCA and don't want accountholders doing tiny or small transaction amounts, then set an exact dollar minimum for each one to satisfy requirements. No judgments or interpretations of what "normal",
"primary", or "everyday" are then needed.
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #43
TBACU is very pleased to offer members a Cash Reward Account.
• Our Cash Reward account does require more debit transactions than most, however, this requirement is based on the average number of debit card transactions of our current members. In addition, there is no minimum purchase amount.
• TBACU opted to keep the costs lower by not offering out-of-network fee reimbursement. Members have access to over 30,000 fee free ATMs nationwide.
• The option of Remote Deposit Capture deposits qualifying for the minimum monthly deposit is in consideration of small business employees who don’t have the option for direct deposit.

We look forward to answering any questions you may have regarding our Cash Reward Account.
  |     |   Comment #45
Kerry TBA ...please post the data that shows that shows the "AVERAGE" number of debit card transactions of your members is 25 debit card transactions in a single month. The average in the USA is 10.9....how can your CU be almost 2.5 times the national average? Something does not smell right here...
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #49
Our Data Processor took a look at some past characteristics within our membership to find that for all members with a checking product the following is true;
• The average number of debit card transactions is approximately 28
• The average dollar amount of debit card transactions is approximately $1,100.
• The average number of ACH deposit transactions is approximately 3 – 4 (depending on the number of pay periods in a month)
• The average dollar amount of ACH deposit transactions is approximately $3,500
  |     |   Comment #53
Kerrycorbett TBA...Since you are stating facts from the report that shows specific data why not post a link here so we can view the data/entire report ourselves.Allowing the pubic to view the ACTUAL data of the report would be the most transparent method of delivering factual info that your CU based their decisions on.
  |     |   Comment #54
KerryCorbett - I for one do appreciate your input here. However, I must say I'm a bit surprised that your "Data Processor" (and from the way you phrased that, I'm not quite certain if that is a person, or a machine), indeed stated that "the average number of debit card transactions is approximately 28". As others here have mentioned, that seems high.

Might that figure of "28" be the average AFTER your CU had instituted rewards checking (or any, in fact) programs that required 25-plus debitcard transactions per month? Or, would it be the average BEFORE such programs were instituted?

Hopefully you see the conundrum - is it real, or is it a "chicken and egg" type issue? Thanks in advance for your expected response.
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #56
Our data processor is a third party vendor who provided the above information before we introduced our Cash Reward Account. If you qualify for membership, I invite you to sign up for our Cash Reward Account to experience the benefits. There are no penalties or fees if you don’t meet the monthly requirements, you simply won’t earn the 5% APY.
  |     |   Comment #57
KerryCorbett TBA...You did not answer the direct question i posed above re making the data that the "third party vendor Data Processor" provided you so we can see how exactly he/she/it derived to its conclusions. You also failed to answer fully the question posed above by 111...but instead gave a non specific stock answer. Its obvious you do not want to be transparent with your data which is exactly why i don't trust the data.
 suspicious name
  |     |   Comment #58
lay off the guy, you'd not give up inside info of your sources,
seems to me you might just be digging for
proprietary information from a financial institution
for whatever gain
  |     |   Comment #46
kerrycorett - Since you stated that you "look forward to answering any questions you may have regarding our Cash Reward Account", I'll ask a couple here.

1) Regarding the 25 debitcard transactions, you specifically mention that "there is no minimum purchase amount" required for each. Does that mean that you are stating for the record that very small payments will completely satisfy that element of the monthly requirements, as long as there are at least 25?

2) Most of us on this forum are quite familiar with inter-bank ACH transactions. I'd hazard a guess that far fewer people are familiar with what you call a "Remote Capture Deposit" (RCD). So please tell us what this, what business entities it can be done between, what the fees are (if any), what the transmission limits are, etc.
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #50
1) Yes.
2) Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) is a service that allows members to transmit and deposit checks into their checking account through use of our mobile app by taking a picture of the check using a compatible mobile device. There is no fee associated with this service. There are no limits for processing on the member end, however, there are limits and security measures in place that determine if the check can be immediately posted or needs staff review.
  |     |   Comment #47
Kerry TBA your required monthly min is at least $1000 through direct deposit or RCD. Over 2 years a member using this account will have deposited at least $24,000 into the account which only pays 5% on $10,000. Also, why require the $1,000 min at all, aren't you being bias against those that cant come up with the $1,000 monthly deposit?
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #51
These limits are in place based well below the average direct deposit amount of our memberships as a way to reward those that keep higher balances in a transactional account.
  |     |   Comment #48
KerryCorbett TBA ...When your credit union has to send a rep like you to this forum to answer questions about an account they are offering....then you know you are doing something that the public does not like/approve of/ or just flat out doesn't have any trust in.
TBA Credit Union   |     |   Comment #52
Our mission is to serve the community and build trusted relationships. Considerable thought was given to the development of our Cash Reward Account and how our members could best benefit from this program.
the truth is
  |     |   Comment #55
looks like no "gaming" this account boys.
they got you by the _alls

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