Consumers Credit Union (NCUA Insured), “an open-to-the-public, not-for-profit institution,” offers the best interest rates for checking accounts I have found in the U.S. There are some strict rules to consider, but given the attractive rates, it is well worth your consideration.
The best place for large checking accounts is Consumers Credit Union, though it has some strict rules to earn the higher rates. You may recall an earlier post about getting as much as 5% on deposits up to $20K. Sadly, as of February 1, 2016, the interest rate paid on your balances is going to go down a bit if you are in the top two tiers. Even with the reduction, this is still (by far) the best deal out there.
The short explanation is you have to do 12 transactions on the debit card for 3.09% (rate is unchanged, and ceiling is unchanged at $10K), 12 transactions on the debit card plus 12 transactions on the credit card for 3.59% (rate drops from 4.09% to 3.59%, and ceiling drops from $20K to $15K, and now you need to have a minimum of $500 in purchase transactions), and 12 transactions on the debit card and $1,000 of transactions on the credit card for 4.59% (rate drops from 5.09% to 4.59%, ceiling is unchanged at $20K). The rules are worth it if you typically use your cash at this level of activity.
Bottom line is that for 3.09% on 10K, it is $25.75 per month, for 3.59% on $15K, it is $44.75 per month, and for 4.59% on $20K, it is $76.50 per month. By contrast, if you spent $1000 a month on a 2% travel rewards card, you would earn just $20 a month. Seems to me the best deal is to go for the 4.59% rate by spending $1,000 a month on the CCU credit card plus doing 12 debit transactions (each at any amount). I figure that means spending about $1,300 a month to earn $76.50 on a $20,000 balance. Amex savings would otherwise provide about $15 a month for this balance. If I instead spent $1,300 on a 2% travel rewards card and put the $20K in the Amex Savings, I would earn only about $41 a month total vs. the $76.50 with CCU.
The old (higher) rates will apply for December and January. I expect they are guaranteeing the 2016 new rates only until 2017, so it too may not continue into 2018. As I mentioned in the previous post, even though the rates have dropped, they still offer rates far more attractive than their competition.
They have been around since 1930, and they are a very large credit union, and have arrangements with credit unions all over the country to provide members “shared branches.” This means they provide brick and mortar banking as well.
A note of caution: there is another “Consumers Credit Union” so make sure you find the right one.