XCEL FCU (Easy Membership) Restructures Kasasa Cash Account


Availability: Easy membership

More than two years ago, I wrote about XCEL Federal Credit Union’s (XCEL FCU) new Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Saver accounts. At the time, the Kasasa Cash account earned 2.01% APY on qualifying balances up to $15K and 0.30% APY on qualifying balances of $15K+.

XCEL FCU recently restructured the Kasasa Cash account, raising the qualifying balance level to $50K (while still maintaining the 2.01% APY), and lowering the APY on qualifying balances exceeding $50K to 0.03% APY.

The monthly requirements for Kasasa Cash are rather uncomplicated:

  • Receive eStatements
  • 12 or more debit card purchases, including PIN transactions, online purchases, and swipe purchases


Headquartered in Bloomfield, New Jersey, XCEL Federal Credit Union offers membership to employees and members of 75+ companies and organizations.

Easy Membership: Individuals who join the American Consumer Council qualify for credit union membership.

Employment: Employees of more than 60 companies (both large and small, including 14 Federal Government Departments) are eligible to join.

Organization Affiliation: Members of a variety of national and location associations also qualify for member.

Relationship: In a Live Chat, CSR stated, "Or if you know someone (current member) they can refer you."

Joining XCEL FCU and/or opening a Kasasa Cash account can be done online, or at any of three New Jersey branches located in Bloomfield, Jersey City, and Newark, or at the New York City location. Note: the NYC branch is located in Federal Plaza and ID is required to enter. In addition, individuals may be subject to a search protocol.

Credit Union Overview

XCEL Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 14.62% (above average) based on September 30, 2015 data. In the past year, XCEL Federal Credit Union has increased its total deposits by $5.21 Million, an excellent annual growth rate of 3.58%. Please refer to our financial overview of XCEL Federal Credit Union for more details.

Established in 1964, XCEL Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 16128) is the 18th largest credit union in New Jersey, with more than 19,300 members and assets in excess of $169 Million. An August 2014 article in New Jersey Business Magazine paints a picture of strength and perseverance.

Until September 11, 2001, we were headquartered in the World Trade Center (Tower 1 – 39th Floor), but now we call North Jersey our home. But from that tragedy came a new way to do banking. On September 10th of that year, about 4-7% of our transactions were done remotely by our members – meaning through home banking, phone banking or ATMs.

Then the tragedy struck. Our members still needed to access their money even though the building was no longer there. So, they taught themselves how to use their computers to access their accounts.

Today, nearly 91% of transactions are done through touchtone phones, the Internet, smart phones, our shared branching and shared ATMs or through our own advanced ATMs. It’s pretty amazing to see. It shows the resilience of our nation and our members.

How the Kasasa Cash Account Compares

When compared to the 34 High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide, Xcel Federal Credit Union's Kasasa Cash APY currently ranks sixth, but the $50K qualifying balance level is by far the highest.

The above rates are accurate as of 1/20/2016.

To look for the best nationwide CD rates and the best CD rates in your state, please refer to our CD rates table.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
FWIW, just got an email from INOVA FCU announcing a 61-day, 1.25% CD.
Patricia Burleson
Patricia Burleson   |     |   Comment #2
On the Kasasa Cash ($50K max) 2.01%APY.   If you deposit $50K for an opening deposit, and you gain interest monthly, your balance will exceed the $50K max.  Will you continue to gain the  2.01% interest or will it drop to .03%?  Or on the other hand should a person have an opening deposit of less than $50K ($45K) to continue to gain 2.01%?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
The 2.01% interest will be paid on the first $50K, and any amount that exceeds $50K will earn .03%, so it's no big deal if you exceed $50K slightly or for a short time.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #41
All you have to do is link the rewards checking account to the Kasasa saver account. Any dividends over the 50k will rollover into that account and earn 1%.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Your balance will also decrease every time you do one of the required debit card purchases, so it all tends to balance out.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #42
Just do (12) 50 cent debits, charging an Amazon gift card. Well worth the $83 it earns monthly.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
According to the credit union's website, "Direct Deposit required to open account, minimum $1,000.00 or entire payroll."  https://www.xcelfcu.org/savings-checking-2/kasasa-cash/
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #6
It says, "Direct Deposit required to open account, minimum $1,000.00 or entire payroll. "
Not clear if it's one time DD or monthly.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
Re "Direct Deposit" - rep just informed me this no longer applies (i.e. previously a monthly requirement but now discontinued).
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #8
Talked w CSR, the DD is no longer required.  Its IT will update the website.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
A rep told me Excel would do nothing to facilitate joining American Consumer Council, - that I'd have to do that entirely on my own through their (ACC's) website and then provide Excel with the Certificate of membership before initiating membership in Excel and establishing the Kasasa account.  Is anyone's understanding different? 
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #10
Yes and today completed the ACC and submitted to XCEL with application, and account opened same day with online access.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #27
How to provide the certificate of membership to XCEL? Talk to the rep and provide the membership number?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #28
I faxed it, - email is also an option.  They want to see the Certificate, not just get the membership# (which they'd then have to verify, I suppose).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #29
Who has a cert of membership to anything???   Either you are or you aren't
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #30
When you join ACC they email you a Certificate of Membership.  XCEL requires you provide them with a copy. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #34
Thanks! I called and emailed the certificate. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
Nice rate, but it seems risky linking a debit card to an account that holds a 50K balance.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
I want to add that I checked with Xcel and learned that while there is a $500 daily ATM cap, it is not possible to set a cap on a debit transaction.
Patricia Burleson
Patricia Burleson   |     |   Comment #14
Is there a minimum on debit transactions that are required?  I'd like it to be no debit trans required.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
Patricia, did you read Ken's write-up of the account above?

12 debit card transactions required per period.

This RCA seems unique in not requiring ACH or DD. 
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #16
I got an account set up, but not sure of the account number to use for ACH linking.

 Is it the member number with a '9' appended for the checking account?
Alan   |     |   Comment #17
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #18
lol, thanks, don't think this is posted on the site anywhere, I suspect they get the question a lot.
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #19
 Cant find anything on the site that describes the 'qualifications'  . the pop up doesn't lead anywhere.  And does anyone know if they waive the 12 purchase requirement (usual practice for new accts) for the first full month,
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
No waiver.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #20
Has anyone been using the XCEL Bill pay?  Like to learn your experience.   Suggest to read its terms and condition in detail.
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #21
Still waiting for the debit card. Anyone get theirs yet?
Alan   |     |   Comment #22
Yes.  Arrived very quickly . . . however checks have not arrived, and checks appear to be the only way of withdrawing $10K - $25K or more from ones RCA account due to very low limits put on ACH transfers to any outside Bank/CU.
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #24
 ach pushes or pulls too.  id check on that
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
where does it say xcel has 'very low limits put on ACH transfers to any outside Bank/CU' ?
and does this apply if your external bank/cu does the pull/withdrawal?
Alan   |     |   Comment #26
I talked with a CSR at XCEL and it applies to ACH transfers initiated by XCEL as well as those initiated by other Banks/CUs.  Their options for transferring large amounts:
1) Wire transfers
2) Write checks off the account and deposit them  (and wait for them to clear the CU [XCEL] so you will have access to the funds at your bank)
XCEL has not posted the ACH limits on $$$ coming out of XCEL accounts on their webpage.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #35
Curious.  I received checks this morning but still waiting for the debit card.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
Would someone describe the membership application process please?  What deposit options are available for account opening? Can you use ACH? initiated from either end? How about credit card?
Do you need to mail back the signature card? or can it be done entirely online like penfed?
Dormant fee is $5 but it doesn't specify the time period. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #32
You must have a reason, - but why not just call them directly and inquire?

That way you can be sure you're getting the right answers.

No, wait.  You can never be sure you're getting the right answers from an FI's telephone reps.

Someone here probably knows better.

Now I get why you ask.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
It is true: "You can never be sure you're getting the right answers from an FI's telephone reps." The rep I just talked to told me that $1k direct deposit was a requirement. Then she had to put me on hold, look it up, and then correct herself. Only (current) monthly requirements are logging in to estatements, and the 12 debits. As already stated above, comments 7 & 8.
Alan   |     |   Comment #33
I opened my account using my Pen Fed credit card to deposit $10.  I also included an email with a PDF of my American Consumer Council membership.  Signature card, etc was sent back via Fax.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36
Thanks Alan.
Anon Disappointed
Anon Disappointed (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #38
On Jan 26 I applied online for the Kasasa Checking acct & faxed in the signature card. After 8 or more telephone calls, I confirmed that the account was opened, after about 2 weeks and nobody bothered calling me. Also the CSR said that no checks were sent since I didn't request them (???) Does anybody know if they charge for the 1st order of checks? I hope things improve from this tedious process.
gregk (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #39
Don't know why it would take 8 phone calls to confirm the opening of your account.  My experience was that the account was opened the very next day after I applied and easily confirmed with them immediately following (they gave me my member & account #'s right over the phone, that afternoon I made a check deposit at a local affiliated CU to fund the account, and in the evening I set up online banking).  About a week later I received their "welcome pack" including a half dozen free "temp" checks I had requested (which in all respects look exactly like normal checks and I'm sure all I'll need over the life of the account) and a few days after that my debit card.  Everything went about as efficiently as possible.  Be aware these are New Yorkers and New Jerseyites.  They don't want to "hem and haw" but prefer directness and getting to the point (both you and them).  I can understand how certain DA members with endless picayune questions and concerns about everything conceivable might exasperate them and elicit responses the oversensitive here might consider rude.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #61
First 8 checks are free. They arrived in the mail in my 'welcome packet'. Be sure to request when opening the account - I applied in person at a branch, so not sure what the procedure is when applying online.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #40
I became a member this week. Just waiting on my welcome pack and debit card. If you're Amazon user. You can charge your gift card with debit transactions. Theoretically it should work. Hit it with 12 50 cent debits a month. That's how I plan to meet the debit threshold.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #43
A dozen 50 cent debits to meet the transaction requirement?

You are without any class and just a manipulator.
gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #44
Manipulator? Really..what's the difference between me buying snacks out of a vending machine at work or using the card for something that benefits me(Amazon).
You're a moron...I choose to use my credit cards for daily purchases.
I'm not going to use a debit card with $50,000 attached to it all over the place!
Card numbers are stolen everyday. I'd rather it be one of my CC's where there's zero liability for such issues. How bout grow a brain.

If you allow these banks to make all the money they want off you. Then you're the no class individual.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #45
"If you allow these banks to make all the money they want off you..."

XCEL FCU is a not for profit Credit Union.  You're simply exploiting this account to milk a 2% return out of them without any semblance of being a participating member in the institution and using their products for a legitimate and reciprocally honest purpose.  These accounts are intended to function as normal checking vehicles used for everyday and ongoing business, - not just a way for you to collect easy money.  Get what you can but offer nothing in return is your credo.  It's vulgar and lacking any integrity.
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #46
They get to use my $50,000 for whatever they want to use it for. Why shouldn't I reap some benefit from it? How about you use your money and accounts as you like and I use mine as I like. This is a free country, your opinion means nothing to me. You'd make a great Chase user. Give them everything and get nothing.
Alan   |     |   Comment #47
XCEL is a relatively small credit union (assets < $200 million) and has created a unique arrangement for its Reward Checking Account:  12 debits and paying 2.01% on balances up to $50K (a very generous upper limit).  If the response to this plan sees a significant number of accounts with the 12 debits totaling less than $50, I think XCEL will be forced to either cancel RCA accounts or, as others have done, institute a minimum dollar amount for the 12 debits (either individually or in total).  There is no free lunch . . . the accounts have to make sense for the CU and the CU members.  My guess:  in 4 months, if 30% or more of their members follow the $1 per purchase/gift card plan, the RCA will be terminated at XCEL.
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #48
That's quite possible,. I'll then move on to the next.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #49
You're a blight on the landscape.

BTW, are you aware of the protections for unauthorized debit card usage on this account?
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #50
Yes I'm aware. I just prefer to use my CC's. I love CUs. They've done a lot for me. I'm a member of multiple CU's and banks. If I were getting something for free. This debate would be different. I'm giving the CU my money. Apparently they need people to deposit large sums. It they wouldn't have raised the limit. They're several CUs with rates like this.
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #51
Typing from cell. I meant there's a reason for them raising the limit to 50k.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #52
One could say as long as the CU allows how you intend to use the account there's nothing "wrong" in it.  They set the rules and you act within those parameters according to your interests.  Personally, I've had a lot of RCA's over the years (often many at the same time) and always felt rather embarrassed over doing many tiny transactions at times under pressure to meet the requirements.  Perhaps it's some lingering sense of the credit union ideal, - that of a community of individuals pooling their resources to honorably meet mutual needs apart from the corporatized setting of stockholder hegemony, managerial elitism, and the maximization of profits.  This may be an obsolete notion now, of course, and any conscience in regards to the responsibilities of membership merely a self-generated neurosis that inhibits the bloodlessly cynical approach you yourself seem to have mastered.
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #53
Thanks for the compliment. I haven't mastered it as yet. I'm working on it though.
Not all CU's are created equal. There are CU's that I'm a member with that offer no real value and those that do. The ones that don't, love to hold on to your money and use it at their discretion. Yet give zero incentive for doing so.
The big banks are the worst of the worst at this. Reaping billions of dollars in profit off the uninformed.
My goal is to have my money work for me not me always work for the money.
In order to do that, I have to choose wisely the banks/CU's I do business with.
If they offer CC's I'll use them, which in turn does generate funds for that CU or Bank. Your thinking is a bit warped as you feel I'm taking something from them.
If I get my auto loans through them, allow them to hold MY money not theirs. How am I blood sucking them? Your premise doesn't make sense to me. If XCEL brought in 1000 new members this month and each deposited $50,000. Do you really believe they would be upset about it? That would bring their kitty up 50 million dollars! If half of them did as I plan to. Do you really believe Xcel would give a crap? 
Alan   |     |   Comment #54
If the $50K were in one year CDs with a significant early withdrawal penalty, then XCEL would have more flexibility.  But the RCA at XCEL is a liquid investment, that allows account holders to write a check on the account (without a penalty) on any given day and get $20K out of the account.  Thus, XCEL is unable to invest the funds in non-liquid situations (which would provide returns of more than 2%) since they can't predict when account holders will draw out funds.  The $50K is an experiment (no other CU is using this format) . . . and to tie their hands (with 50 cent purchases) makes a realistic return on the accounts for XCEL very doubtful.  Unfortunately the threat of the '50 cent members' eliminating a significant portion of XCEL's investment return on the accounts will force them to add more restrictions and/or lower the RCA rates significantly.   
Gmoney (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #55
This would most likely be my next move(CDs) As this is an experiment for me as well. They have to do what they must and I have to do what I must. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it one way or the other. I've allowed some of these institutions to rob me blind for way too long..not saying Xcel is one of them.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #56
Why then, Alan, don't they just offer one year CD's at the same rate?  What advantages an RCA on their side?
Alan   |     |   Comment #57
A rate of 1.35% is about the top rate anyone offers on a 1 YR CD available nationwide, so there is no need to pay 2.01% on a 1 yr CD to attract funds.  This reduction in cost of funds allows the CU to offer lower rates on loans, which benefits the credit union members.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #58
You assume funds are being attracted by these historically low rates.  Some of course are, but if XCEL (or anyone) wants to draw in a very large amount in a short time they may very have to offer a significantly higher yield than what's typical now.

One could make your same argument about their RCA balance cap.  Who else comes anywhere near $50,0000?  Ten or fifteen thousand is what's customary, with a very few FI's offering $25,000.  Why would XCEL double or triple that when the competition's ceiling is so much less?  Probably because that's what it might take to garner the response they're after.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #59
I had more than one XCEL rep tell me there was no waiver of  transaction requirements over the first statement cycle (as is typical for RCA's) to earn the 2%.  But on my own first statement I calculated 2% interest on my balance even though I had done no transactions.  So I called back reposing the question and was again told "no waiver" (I'd meanwhile opened a 2nd account).  Indicating that seemed not to be true based on what I'd observed, the rep checked with a higher up and then corrected herself, - yes, after all, there WAS a waiver. 

But why would all these reps (3, as I recall) deny it on my first inquiry?  It seems obvious they just didn't know but said otherwise with no uncertainty.  It's perverse.  
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #60
Anybody know the atm fee reimburse is still valid for international atms?
Website only claims national atm fee reimbursement, but CSR said it should still work for international atms. Anybody has real experience? thanks
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #62
I, too, was waived the transaction requirement for the 18 day partial month that comprised my first statement. I made zero debit purchases, yet still received the 2% interest payment.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #63
Definitely there's a waiver for the initial statement period.  Unfortunate that XCEL's customer service reps aren't aware of that.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #64
The problem for me now is my first statement AFTER the initial waiver period.  Whereas I received 2% on my initial "waiver statement" despite not doing any transactions, my just received subsequent statement DID NOT accrue the 2% even though I met all the requirements.  XCEL says they'll fix it, but just wondering if any other account holders here experienced the same.
JimDavis   |     |   Comment #65
 Pretty sure its 12 transactions, but there's no where I can find on the site or with search that says it. I don't think it was part  of the materials I got from them with the account either.  Strange.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #66
Maximum now seems to be 25K
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #67
Based on what?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #68
You're right.  XCEL's website now indicates the ceiling is $25,000.

It's an old ploy.  Lure in funds, quickly change the terms (without direct notice), and hope no one catches on until the subsequent statement.  With 4 total Kasasa accounts, If the new ceiling was effective May 1, my wife and I will be out at least $160 for the month.  No, they did nothing illegal, but are still scumbags IMO.  FI's with any integrity let you know of any changes, - IN ADVANCE.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #70
Another rep told me the $25,000  ceiling may only apply to new accounts, - that the ceiling for previously established accounts may remain $50,000.  She's finding out with certainty.  Will post the response here when I get it.
Anonymous-LA (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #69
Re the new 25K limit to earn 2%, I just spoke w/a CSR, who said the new limit goes into effect June-1. And she didn't know if notices were/will be sent out!?
Anonymous-LA (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #71
Today, 5/31/16 I did a chat w/transcript. And the new 25K ceiling for Kasasa Cash Checking would begin 6/1/16 for ALL accounts, including grandfathered accounts.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #72
The 50K balance cap lasted hardly more than 4 months.  You just create a lot of bad will when you jerk customers around like that IMO, - especially not notifying depositors of the change (as they still haven't, - or at least not me). 
Anonymous-CA (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #73
For May-16, I got a notice saying I didn't qualify for the 2.01% Reward on the Kasasa Cash Checking, showing only 10 transactions. My e-statement showed 13, 3 of which were POS transactions (w/o PIN number at McDonalds. After a 10 minute hold with a CSR, she said the manager would correct and add the reward to my account, also confirming that all non-ATM transactions count!!???
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