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Provident Credit Union (CA)

Reward Checking Account at a California CU (Provident)


Update 1/3/2011: The top yield has fallen to 2.26% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

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, the rate falls to 0.00%. The minimum opening deposit is $25. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. According to the online application, no free checks are provided.

Field of membership includes members of several associations. Some of the associations listed with national coverage include the American Cancer Society and the Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation. The Sierra Club has a membership page where you can become a member online. The lowest membership level costs $25.

For those in California, you can be immediately eligible to join if you live or work in one of the following counties: San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Humboldt. Also those in Los Angeles City are elibible. See the eligibility page for the full details.

Membership into the credit union requires a $10 membership fee, but this is waived if you apply online. A minimum deposit of $25 is required into the share savings account.

For those looking for a reward checking account at a large financial institution with easy membership, this might be the one. Provident is a large credit union with $1.5 billion in assets, $1.1 billion in deposits, 18 branches, 249 full-time employees and 94,300 members. It's federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 66343).

For other reward checking accounts in other parts of the country (and some without balance caps), please see my reward checking account page and my best checking account post.

Thanks to the reader Sree who mentioned this special in the finding deals post.

Rate History:
01/03/11: 2.26% APY up to $25K; 0.31% over; 0.00% base
01/03/10: 2.51% APY
05/07/09: 3.01% APY
03/04/09: 3.26% APY
01/02/09: 3.76% APY
04/01/08: 4.01% APY
03/01/08: 5.01% APY
12/29/07: 5.51% APY
07/06/07: 6.01% APY up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.10% base (initial post)

Related Pages: Provident Credit Union (CA), Eureka, San Francisco Bay, Sacramento, checking account, reward checking account

Related Posts

Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #1
Just back from the Credit Union,
Few tricks:
To do the direct deposit stuff, fill in a ACH debit form for a monthly debit of one dollar from your other financial institution right at the branch.
For doing 10 min Check card transactions, just buy 10 gallons of gas 10 times each time one gallon :-)
e Statement sign up is free anyway..
So, just use your brain and grab this interest rate.
The interest rate may last for a longer time.
I have been the provident member for the last 6 years and was passive for the last one year since there is no good deal for a long time. This is a good deal
Trick: Open one A/c on your name and few more on your family members name, and sock in as many $$ as you can..
Good luck
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #2
Wow, you didn't waste any time opening this up.

Thanks for the details and suggested tricks. That's a good idea about each family member getting a separate account. A husband and wifte should be able to get the balance cap up to $50K.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
I've just tried opening an account but when it came to verifying the info such as what loans or how much was my old mortgage payments...I was abit stumped. Just took some guesses. Could that have been the reason I was not able to be approved in opening an account based on the Chexsystems? What exactly is the Chexsystems anyway? I've only heard of Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. The last time I checked my credit file a few months ago, my credit/score was above average...so I am quite surprised to be denied in opening a checking account. Thanks.
starikov (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #4
can we just create a link account in GMAC and sheldule automatic transfer of $ 1 each month. Will that work ? If not ACH debit is available only at the branch or we can do that online ?
starikov (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #5
If Balance falls below $5,000 a $10 monthly fee assessment will occur.
Requires a minimum $1,000/month direct deposit, payroll deduction, or automatic deposit (Direct Pay from non-Provident account) to a Provident checking account, to begin no later than 60 days from the date the account is opened and to continue for the life of this account. If the direct deposit does not begin or stops, the balance converts to our Regular Money Market Account and earns the rates in effect for that product.
Craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #6
starikov...you are reading from the wrong parts of their website..the account with the $5,000 min balance and $1000 direct deposit, is their Premier Money Market Account not the new Reward Checking! Reward Checking has no min balance requirement or min direct deposit or ach debit requirement....But if you don't meet the monthly requirements, you get a very tiny APY (like all the other Reward Checking Accounts....
And the Share Savings they open up with it (required for membership) only has a $25 blance requirement.
starikov (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #7
Does anyone had expirience with that CU before and does anyone know how long this 6.01 APY will last. As far as i know they can change it anytime if they like.
Kurt (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #8
I signed up online, using a debit card to fund my regular savings and super rewards checking. Provident debited by account that night (Fri July 6). July 7, I mailed Saving Signature card, Checking Signature Card and ACH Debit form to Provident. I'm now waiting for my debit card. Also Provident gives you 1,000 reward points for merchandise purchases on line, YAWN, I checked out the rewards merchandise, you find something.

Best Regards,

Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #9
I have been the member of Provident for more then 6 years along with my wife.
My Brother family have been with provident for more then 15 years

They are safe and big. But they didnt compete with the marker till a year back, now they are...

As far as the rate is concerned, I believe this rate will go at least till the end of this year
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
This offer is probably a short term thing. It may end anytime. So it does not worth openning an account.
Craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #11
Yeah, you know, Banking Guy (and everyone else here) it has occured to me also...what if these 6% APY rates are just to hook alot of people in, and will only be around a short time? I have no doubt they will keep the APY pretty attractive on these Reward Checking Accounts, as well as giving you the atm rebates, of course.. But if the rates drop to, say 5% after awhile, what would be the big deal about having one of these accounts? One can easily find 5% accounts everywhere as well as banks that rebate lots of atm surcharges...Without the super high 6% rate, i suspect these accounts will lose their "sparkle", if you know what i mean....
SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #12
Banking Guy,

Finally ... the   Reward Checking   has arrived in CA ! Not bad.

APY of 6.01% is indeed is interesting, however some of those in CA (yours truly included) are getting APY of 6.50% with Valley CU's Pinnacle Money Market account. That's much better !

Anyways just to keep the options open, I got myself the Reward Checking @ Privident. Let us see which one - Valley's 6.50% or Provident's 6.01% - lasts longer.

Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #13
atr any time, if you didnt like the rate or any other factors of this account, either you can close the account or downgrade the same to a basic checking account(which I did for the last 3 years) and upgrade to another checking account when they have a good new deal later.

I had a good premium checking account few years before, then moved to the basic checking account with just $1 in it and now I upgraded the same checking account to this new Super Rewards Checking A/c ..
I can say one thing, if its too much struggle for you to open the account, you can take a step back, if not, the credit union is not bad and there are well proven work around too...
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #14
sree does make some very good points!, i must say...that is true, you could always switch to the basic checking and wait for a better offer with them..no harm there! Also, perhaps the banks and CU's offering this deal realize that they would need to keep the APY extra high to encourage people to stay with this type of account, especially since it has those requirements (10 debit transactions, e-statements, 1 ach) and all...
mike (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #15

i don't think valley cu still offers the Pinnacle Money market account... It's no longer on the website
Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #16
Oh!! Yeah, I am also finding the same, Valley CU is no longer showing the MM A/c online. I dont know how did I miss that deal..
SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #17

Indeed ... Valley CU is not offering Pinnacle Money Market anymore (Neither on web site nor in the branches). However, those who got in while they were (yours truly did !), are enjoying APY of 6.50%.


Looks like you did indeed miss the deal despite the prior discussion at links below.

1) Go to the bottom of page:

2)Discussion start right at the top:

SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #18

Links I posted above are appearing only partially ... Here are the full links. Joint them together to make whole links.

1) Go to the bottom of page:

2)Discussion start right at the top:

SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #19

A few points about the 'Reward Checking' product ===>

1•   Banks may not eliminate the payment of interest on anything other than minimum balance requirements.
2•   Banks may not require that transactions be of a certain dollar value (individually or in aggregate).
3•   Banks may implement bona fide tiered rate deposit accounts, where a higher rate may be obtained if conditions other than a minimum balance are met.
4•   Banks may require a certain number of transactions in a given account cycle in a bona fide tiered rate account to obtain a higher level of interest.

Point# 2 works in favor of customers who make sufficient number of small dollar value transactions to qualify for the reward !

Point# 3 works in favor of banks if they decide to make tiers that requires higher balance.

John Haggarty
John Haggarty (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #20
Wow, this blog is very exciting for us at Provident. We tried to create an account that was unique to our area and create some buzz at the same time.

I work in the marketing department at Provident and wanted to answer/clarify some of the questions/confusion that I saw.

"anonymous" wrote that they experienced some difficulty signing up online because of chexsystems. Chexystems is similar to Experian and TransUnion except that it is only looking at checking accounts, not credit accounts (Credit Cards, Mortgage accounts). Chexsystems is like a credit reporting system for checking accounts only. We use this service to protect ourselves against fraud.

We ask specific questions online to help prevent identity theft. If someone gets a hold of your personal info we do not want them opening accounts in your name. If your online account opening problems persist you can print out an .pdf application (available online) and fax (650.595.2409) or mail in.

A few people have posted on how to qualify for the direct deposit or electronic transfers. Indeed having an e-transfer from your other financial institution will work. However, I suggest transferring more than $1.00 to take advantage of the high rate.

If you have an specific questions about your account please feel free to contact me at anytime.

John Haggarty
650.508.0300 ext. 2611
SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #21

Nice of you to drop a comment in here. I spoke to you over the phone just now. It was nice talking to you !

Perhaps folks from other Banks / CUs need to learn something from you - Interacting with customers/members (and potential customers/members) on the Web is important. It shows that the Bank / CU cares enough to answer an "anonymouse" poster who faced an issue.

- SVG (Salil V Gangal)
Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #22
My Specific question for John of Provident CU,
Hi John, I have been with Provident CU for years, I never found it competitive with market till I see few months back with some 5% CDs and now with this very cool Rewards Super Checking account. I wish you gues always keep an eye on the market to
(1) To get new customers
(2) To keep the existing customers.
Getting a new customers is an easy thingy.. but mantiaining them is real tough job, I hope that we will hang on with Provident for a long time.

And, also my thanks for you for clarifying the doubts for some of the folks here and at the same time for your advises.. please keep an eye on this blog, there are many potential (existing and new) customers out here.

BTW, I am the one who broght this information to this blog ;-)

May I know what is the reason behind the e-transfer/direct deposit to be more then $1? and what is the best amount for this?

Also, the $25K cap is hurting to fund more $$ into this account.

Thanks again..
Craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #23
Welcome John! Great to have someone from the marketing dept at Provident CU and hope you will continue to read and comment here.
A few suggestions to keep this account super-attractive and make the depositors want to keep lots of $ with you and bring in more $
Here they are:
1)Take off $25,000 cap At least $50,000 would be better, though i am sure many here would love you to raise it to the full $100,000.
2)Always keep the rate 1% more then the average available at the time...Since 5% range is currently the average...6% APY is the magic number for now...Doing this will make depositors want to KEEP THEIR MONEY WITH YOU AND NOT STRAY AWAY.
3)C'mon...not even a starter set of free checks? At least give 1 starter set of Printed Checks! (lol)...
Hope you are making notes...I was a Marketing Major in College, and i think if you followed those 3 tips your Reward Checking will be VERY SUCCESSFUL....not just for the short run but for a long time to come...
John Haggarty
John Haggarty (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #24

The reason we suggest having a direct deposit or electronic transfer of more than $1.00 is to take advantage of the high rate. The more money you place in your account the more interest you will earn. We advise everyone to have their entire direct deposit go into their Super Reward Checking Account.

Also, our 6.01% rate is not a teaser, however it may change at anytime.

Craig, I like your suggestion of keeping our rate at least 1% higher than the competition, and to include free starter checks (I will suggest that to our product group). We do offer 10 free temporary checks if you visit any of our branches. Branch locations can be found on our website under directory.
Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #25
Thanks John, for taking time to read, honor and reply our questions/openions..

Regarding the direct deposit/ach to be full, I already maxed out the amount limit to take the full interest rate advantage. Any amount of ACH/Direct Deposit wont earn 6.01% of intrest as you blocked the limit as $25K for the best interest rate. Thats the reason I want to go with the minimum ACH/DD.
As Craig mentioned, its really important for you guys to lift the cap of $25K to attract more funds.

Once again, thanks, I find it rare to get responces from a person like you for your product!!
falde (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #26
So if I missed a question on my verification form does it cancel out so I can try again at some point? I forgot an old road I lived on 8+ years ago for 5 months :( ... I sent an email off to member services yesterday but no repsonse yet. Hate dealing with snailmail.
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #27
Yes, i agree completely with sree, John..Cap needs to be lifted...I am sure many would like to put alot more in the account!
I just joined and based on my experience so far with your website and online banking...it is really nice!
The only weak spot seems to be low interest rates on a lot of products, and the Super Rewards Checking could attract a lot more deposits from both old customers and bring in lots of new ones as well...
The "key" to that, of course would be (as i previously mentioned) always keep the account 1% above the high average most of the competition has (right now that is 5% range so 6% is the right number) and removing the cap.
Oh, and glad to hear you liked my suggestions!!!
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #28
Question for John (from Provident CU)...1) To meet the Direct Deposit or 1 ACH Debit or Credit...would any ACH meet the requirement? I have another bank that i am linking to you to ACH in and out..would one of those transactions qualify?
2) Do i have to be concerned about doing the 10 debit card transactions and ACH for the first statement cycle?
John Haggarty
John Haggarty (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #29

Yes, an ACH debit or credit from another institution would satisfy that requirement.

No. The first month you automatically qualify for the high yield and the ATM rebates, without having to satisfy the three requirements. The reason being that direct deposit typically takes 2 pay day cycles to start.


Our system gives you three chances to open an account. After the third time it locks you out. If you are locked out you can print out the applications online and fax to, 650.595.2409, or you can bring into one of our branches.
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #30
sree..when you opened the account in branch, did that tell you that doing the "direct payment" from another bank into them every month would meet the qualification?
That is what i was planning on doing...thanks!
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #31
Hi John...i was just asking sree but i see you answered my question already...thanks...
So then i could either do the "direct payment" into from another bank..or any ach pull or push from another bank would be ok, also...
Just wanted to be sure to avoid any problem....the csrs over there have been giving me conflicting answers on this (probably because this is new to them...they have all been very nice)...
Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #32
Hey Craig..
The best way for the Direct Deposit or ACH is.. to set up an automatic ACH pull with Provident. This will do an ACH pull monthly once automatically and you are safe for that.
I had my cirect deposit with provident for many years some time back but not any more..
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #33
Thanks sree, that's just what i am going to do....
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #34
does anyone know if a hard credit pull is done on this? They appear to pull Equifax, but don't say if it's a soft pull or hard pull. Thanks!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #35
One comment & one question:

They advertise free overdraft protection, which may be useful for those doing more than the minimum in their 10 check card transactions.

They advertise "relationship pricing" -- anyone know what that means?

(Ad in the July issue of their newsletter)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36
in the early blogs it seems that a hard credit isn't pulled...john explains..."Chexystems is similar to Experian and TransUnion except that it is only looking at checking accounts, not credit accounts (Credit Cards, Mortgage accounts). Chexsystems is like a credit reporting system for checking accounts only. We use this service to protect ourselves against fraud."

Relationship pricing is more like relationship discounts...based on what products you have, you may recieve an extra discount, like a discount rate on an auto loan or increase rate on a certificate. I've been a member of the credit union for two years and have been offered it but have not yet taken advantage of it....
sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #37
Regarding the hard credit pull,
When I opened my accounts few years back, Provident did hit my credit profile with a hard pull.

But.. I am not sure about the latest developments, there may be some changes. You may want to call them directly and double check. To answer your questions, they are pretty kind..
craig (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #38
John...if at all possible, try to get the cap raised to at least $50,000...I have seen these Reward Checking accounts on the web from alot of banks and CUs around the country, and some do have $50,000 and even $100,000 caps...
I really like the set-up with Provident and this account, and i plan on putting pretty close to your present cap, into it..but i would love to be able to put at least twice as much in...i am sure many others would, also....
Lo (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #39
I'm a little behind in all this, but does anyone know if I happen to fail to meet the requirements for the 6.01% (e.g. I don't make enough check card transactions), will that put me down to 0.10% forever? Or do I have next month to fulfill the requirements again to bring it back up to 6.01%? Thanks.
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #40
If you don't satisfy the requirements during the month, you always have the next month. Every month you get a new chance to meet the requirements to earn the high yield for that month.
Lo (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #41
Thanks a lot Banking Guy. Just in case anyone is still wondering, I'll called and they said they only do a Chexsystems check.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #42
If you go to Google and type Sierra Club Join, you will find a link to join Sierra Club for a minimum of $15 instead of $25. You'll save $10 and also be able to join Provident.
Sree (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #43
Interest rated reduced to 5.51% now from 01/02/08
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #46
Thanks. I would have missed this since they haven't completely updated their website. They do have the new lower rate deeper inside the website.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #47
Rate page dated 1/1/09 states top rate is 3.76% APY up to $25K. Other rates remain same.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #48
Top rate has dropped to 3.26% APY.