Consumers Credit Union
The biggest appeal of Consumers Credit Union is its checking account, thanks to a rate that can be up to 4.59% APY.
The bottom line
- With Free Rewards Checking, you have to meet several transaction requirements to earn the full 4.59% annual percentage yield
- It’s easy to become a member of Consumers Credit Union, even if you don’t live near its Lake County, Illinois, headquarters
- Beyond the nine Chicago-area branches, members have access to a nationwide network of 1,800 shared branches and 30,000 fee-free ATMs
» Want to explore more options? See more top credit unions
Read on for more details about Consumers Credit Union’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, bank experience and fees.
4.5 / 5.0
Consumers Credit Union offers a free checking account with a free ATM network, and goes a step further by providing one of the highest rewards rates available. But the rate, which has three tiers, has monthly requirements that can be challenging. (If you want an easy way to earn high rates, consider a high-yield savings account.) For those willing to go all in, here are the requirements for each tier:
- Earn 3.09% APY on up to $10,000 by making at least 12 debit card purchases that require your PIN monthly, having one electronic transaction per month (direct deposit, ACH transfer, online bill payment), accessing online banking once a month and receiving e-statements
- Earn 3.59% APY on up to $15,000 by making $500 in Consumers Credit Union credit card purchases monthly plus all the previous requirements
- Earn 4.59% APY on up to $20,000 by making an additional $500 in credit card purchases monthly plus all the previous requirements
If you have one of the above rates, you earn 0.10% or 0.20% APY for amounts beyond your tier’s balance limit ($10,000, $15,000 or $20,000). Alternatively, if you don’t complete the initial four requirements in any month:
- Earn 0.01% APY on all balances
» Want to see other options? Browse NerdWallet’s best checking accounts
3.0 / 5.0
All Consumers Credit Union members must open a share savings account to establish membership. This account has a minimum balance requirement of just $5, and it doesn’t have a monthly fee. But the account doesn’t earn much.
How does Consumers Credit Union compare?
No Monthly Fee
at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,
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High Yield Savings Account
at Synchrony Bank,
No Monthly Fee
» Want to see higher rates? Check out our list of best savings accounts
1.5 / 5.0
You need only $250 to open a share certificate, the credit union version of a CD. Term lengths go up to five years, but rates aren’t generally worthwhile. The five-year CD earns 2.00% APY, which is better than the average national bank CD, but other rates don’t make it to 1%. For contrast, online banks currently have APYs above 2% for one-year and five-year CDs. (See our best picks for CD rates.)
4.0 / 5.0
Although Consumers Credit Union is based in the Chicago area, it participates in a shared national network of 1,800 branches and a surcharge-free ATM network that’s 30,000 strong. Customer service is available by phone and web chat on weekdays during normal business hours and on Saturday mornings.
To be eligible to apply for membership, you must join the Chicago-based organization Consumers Cooperative Association for $5 and then open the credit union’s membership saving account.
2.0 / 5.0
Consumers Credit Union charges a $30 fee per overdraft transaction, and there’s no cap on how many fees you can be charged a day. Alternatively, you can link a Consumers savings account to your checking to provide overdraft protection, which costs $10 per transfer.
A rewarding checking option
Consumers has average savings and certificate options, but Free Rewards Checking is where the credit union really shines. If you want to maximize interest earned in your checking account — and you can meet the transaction requirements — then this institution is worth a look.
NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.
Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.
Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.