I first reviewed the Belvoir Federal Credit Union and its reward checking account (called CUXcel Checking) in 2008. Rates have fallen, but it remains very competitive. At first I considered this account as nationally available since an association could be joined to qualify for credit union membership. However, there were reports that the credit union was requiring members to be residents of specific Virginia counties to be eligible for the CUXcel checking account. That appears to have changed. Before I review the membership eligibility, below is a summary of the rates and features as of 2/14/2013:
- 3.25% APY on balances up to $15,000 if requirements are met
- 0.05% APY on balances over $15,000
- 0.05% APY on entire balance if requirements are not met
- ATM surcharge rebates nationwide if requirements are met
The monthly requirements include:
- 15 debit card purchases or online bill payments
- Direct deposit of $500 (replaces 1 ACH)
- Receive electronic statements
- Log in to online or mobile banking
The above requirements will take effect in March 2013. Currently, any ACH can replace direct deposit. Also, online bill payments currently can't be used to satisfy the first requirement. Only debit card purchases qualify.
There's no minimum balance requirement, and there's no monthly service fee.
Thanks to FW member NutsAboutGolf, I first learned that people from outside of Virginia may now qualify. As I mentioned above, the credit union had restricted this account to just certain counties in Virginia back in 2009. I emailed the credit union and confirmed that they don't have any more restrictions on the CUXcel Checking account. So if you can qualify for credit union membership, you should be able to open this account.
It's now easier to qualify for credit union membership than in the past. However, there are still a lot of hassles. You can qualify for membership by first joining the association, The Arc Greater Prince William. This costs $15, and the application and check must be mailed.
Once you're a member of The Arc, you can apply for credit union membership online. Click on the "Apply for Membership" link in the credit union membership page. At the start of the application, you'll have to select how you are eligible to join. Select The Arc under the option "An Employee, member, or volunteer of one of these organizations". According to the FW member, you'll need to print and sign two forms (one has to be notarized) and mail those to the credit union.
Credit Union Overview
Belvoir FCU branches are located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia and in the Virginia cities of Alexandria, Springfield and Woodbridge.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 5.79% based on September 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Belvoir FCU for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 5356).
How This Reward Checking Compares
Compared to nationally available reward checking accounts, this is on top for a $15K balance cap. The next best offers 3% APY. This is available from both Lake Michigan Credit Union and First Financial Bank. Rates are accurate as of 2/14/2013.
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.