When it comes to managing money, some people prefer traditional banks, while others prefer credit unions. Credit unions are often able to offer more competitive rates and banking products than typical banking establishments.
However, they are often limited to specific geographic locations or other factors. Luckily, there is one credit union that is able to cater to everyone.
Consumers Credit Union is a groundbreaking credit union that offers membership to nearly everyone and offers amazing perks, such as high-yield APY on checking accounts.
You may consider Consumers Credit Union if you want to earn competitive rates on checking, savings, and certificates, or if you would like to take care of all your banking needs in a single place.
Check out our review of Consumers Credit Union to find out if they are the credit union for you.
About Consumers Credit Union
Headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois, Consumers Credit Union is a credit union with a unique national presence when compared to other credit unions. CCU has been around since 1930 and has since accumulated more than $1.2 billion in assets.
You might be asking yourself what’s the difference between a bank and a credit union.
Well, the main difference is that a bank is there to ultimately make a profit while a credit union is a not-for-profit organization.
You can find the same products and services at a credit union as you would in a bank with many of the same features. Like all other things, credit unions also have their pros and cons. We will look at these a little bit later.
What makes Consumers Credit Union distinctive is that anyone can join regardless of where you live, work, or what affiliations you have.
They have over 30,000 ATMs across the country and over 5,000 branch locations. While their dedicated branches are limited to the Chicago area, they have over 1,800 partner branches, and their ATM locations are available nationwide.
There is a “common bond” for Consumers Credit Union, called the Consumers Cooperative Association, which anyone can join by filling out an application and paying a one-time membership fee.
Consumers Credit Union offers many financial products and services to both personal individuals as well as businesses.
From cashback credit cards and loans to high-yield savings accounts and free checking accounts, CCU offers a selection of each to meet your banking needs.
There are also business accounts without any monthly maintenance fees, as well as high-interest business money market accounts.
When it comes to banking, Consumer Credit Union offers a range of different accounts, as you would find in any bank.
Here you’ll find checking accounts, savings accounts, as well as IRA accounts to help you plan for your retirement.
Consumers Credit Union offers three different checking accounts to suit different financial needs and requirements.
Rewards Checking Account
The Rewards Checking account can earn you an APY rate between 2.09% and 4.09% on the first $10,000 in your account.
The rate you get will depend on the requirements you meet. These are set as follows:
Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking at a Glance
|Min. Opening Deposit||$0|
|Min. Balance Required||$0|
|Interest Earned||Up to 4.09% APY|
|ATM Access||Over 30,000 ATMs|
To earn 2.09% APY on your balance, you must:
- Complete at least 12 debit card purchases each month that total at least $100
- Enroll in eDocuments
- Post $500 or more in direct deposits or ACH credits to your account each month
To earn 3.09% on your balance, you must:
- Meet all previous requirements
- Spend $500 or more on your Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card each month
To earn 4.09% on your balance, you must:
- Meet all previous requirements
- Spend $1,000 or more on your Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card each month
Do remember that this rate is effective on the first $10,000 only. Anything above this and up to $25,000 earns a 0.20% APY rate while anything above $25,000.01 earns an APY of 0.10%
There is no minimum balance to hold, and you also get a Visa debit card with your account. CCU will refund any ATM charges you may incur, and there are no account maintenance fees either.
Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union offers great interest rates on their checking account, along with no fees and no minimum account balance.
Student Choice Checking
The Student Choice Checking account is a checking account for students aged between 13 and 17.
Responsibility and liability fall in the hands of a parent or legal guardian who much co-sign as a joint account holder.
Once the student turns 18, they have one year to convert the account to a Free Rewards Checking account or pay a $10 fee each month.
The account comes with some restrictions and limitations but still has a lot of features and perks. These include:
- $310 limit on the debit card per day
- Overdrafts not allowed
- Checks not included
- Free online banking
- Free mobile banking
- Electronic Statements
ATM reimbursement is limited to $25 per month, with access to 30,000 ATMs surcharge-free.
Free Checking Account
The Freee Checking account is a very basic checking account. There are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees.
The account does not earn any interest whatsoever but includes access to over 30,000 ATMs, internet and mobile banking, mobile deposit, and unlimited check writing, among other things.
Consumer Credit Union has a number of different savings account to help customers find an account that suits their needs and requirements the best.
In this section, we will be looking at the different accounts on offer, including interest rates and requirements.
Membership Savings Account
The Membership Share Savings Account is the default Consumers Credit Union savings account.
All credit union members need to open one in order to join the membership, and there’s a $5.00 minimum balance requirement to keep the account open.
This $5.00 represents your share in the credit union, and withdrawing it risks closure of your account.
The bank account has an APY rate of 0.05% and includes basic account features such as online banking.
Smart Saver Account
The Smart Saver Account is there to help you save money. It does this in a number of ways.
Firstly, the account enjoys an APY rate of 1.50%, which is very competitive. To get this rate, you need to hold a checking account with CCU as otherwise, the rate will drop down to 0.25%
There is also a monthly deposit requirement. This starts at $50 and tops out at $1,000 each month.
To make it easy for you, the account features automatic transfer capabilities making it a breeze to stay on top of your finances.
You can do this from your CCU checking account or from an account held elsewhere.
Money Market Account
The Money Market Account is a savings account that earns interest based on your balance. It also is eligible for dividends, which are credited to your account on a monthly basis.
Anything below $25,000.00 earns an APY rate of 0.15% while sums between $25,000 and $99,999.00 see the APY rate go up to 0.25%.
To make the most out of this account, you need to have $100,000 and over with the applicable APY rate, in this case, being 0.35%.
The Consumer Credit Union’s IRA Savings plan lets you plan for your retirement covering different IRA plans, including Traditional, Roth, and Educational.
At $10.00, the account has a very low opening deposit requirement, and you can contribute to the plan on your own terms.
The credit union guarantees yield on whatever you have saved. This currently stands at 0.25%.
The account is also insured under NCUA up to $250,000.
IRA Money Market Account
The IRA Money Market account provides a better yield on what you save with larger amounts enjoying a higher APY.
Just like an IRA Savings account, you can have a Traditional, Roth, or Educational IRA fund; however, the minimum opening deposit requirement stands at $2,000.
You can issue up to 6 checks a month, and dividends are compounded and paid monthly.
As we said earlier, the applicable APY rate will depend on how much money you have in the account and works out as follows:
- $2,000 – $24,999.99: 0.15%
- $25,000 – $99,999.99: 0.25%
- $100,000 and above: 0.35%
Holiday Club Savings Account
The Holiday Club Savings Account is a special savings account that lets you save up for the holidays.
You need a minimum deposit of $5.00 to open the account, and funds will automatically be transferred to a Membership Share Savings account come November 1st.
You can set up a direct deposit or automatic transfer to make sure your holiday budget savings remain on track.
The account renews automatically each year, but if you withdraw money before November 1st, the account will be closed.
The Holiday Club Savings account has an APY of 0.25%
Certificates of Deposit
Regular certificates are offered by credit unions to act as an alternative to certificates of deposit (CDs.) Consumers Credit Union’s regular certificates offer a guaranteed rate of return and compound dividends daily and post monthly.
The minimum account balance for a regular certificate account is $250. Rates are dependent on term length rather than account balance.
Here are the rates that you can qualify for based on account terms:
If you are interested in saving more in a certificate account, the Jumbo Certificate account may be a better fit.
Much like the regular certificates, Jumbo certificates have maturity dates that range from 91 days to 5 years.
The major difference is that the minimum account balance to open a Jumbo certificate account is $100,000.
The APYs also alter slightly and may offer better returns.
Super Jumbo Certificates
Super Jumbo Certificates have a maturity term that starts from 9 months and goes all the way up to 5 years.
The minimum account balance for these certificates is $250,000 with APY rates ranging from 0.70% to 0.95%
IRA certificates follow the same APY and minimum structures as normal certificates.
You can get Traditional, Roth, Simplified Employee Pension, as well as Education certificates.
These can be either IRA Certificates, IRA Jumbo Certificates, or IRA Super-Jumbo Certificates.
In addition to the checking and savings accounts, Consumers Credit Union offers its members several credit card options and is probably most well known for the CCU Visa Credit Card.
Each of these cards offered by Consumers Credit Union features no annual fee.
As always, credit cards provide an excellent way to boost your credit score – but you do have to be mindful of your spending.
Members can choose from the following cards:
- Visa Platinum
- Visa Platinum Rewards
- Visa Signature Rewards
- Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card
- Student Visa
Consumer Credit Union also offers mortgages and a number of different loans, including auto loans and personal loans.
If you’re looking to purchase a new home or refinance an existing one, CCU promises an easy and streamlined process, and you can even get pre-qualified online.
This can help you save time while understanding the options available to you.
CCU offers a number of different loans, including signature loans (unsecured loans), motorcycle loans, loans for recreational vehicles, as well as secured loans.
You can check the rate applicable to you through their website or by reaching out to their customer service team.
CCU’s auto loans can finance up to 100% of the cost of the vehicle for qualified buyers.
APR rates start from 2.69%, and you can check the rate applicable to you on their website.
Interest is paid on the remaining unpaid balance only.
The loan includes mechanical repair coverage and 24-hour emergency assistance.
Members also get a rate reduction of 0.50%.
For the most part, Consumer Credit Union does not charge any fees on its accounts. Of course, this does not mean that there are no fees involved.
To join CCU, you’ll have to pay a $5.00 fee; however, this will be deposited to your account and must be kept as a minimum balance where applicable. Should you decide to close your account, this will be returned to you.
Accounts may also be subject to fees such as the case with the Student Choice Checking once the student reaches 19 years of age. Having said that, this can easily be avoided by switching the account to a Free Rewards Checking account.
CCU also charges for NSFs (insufficient funds), replacing a lost or stolen debit card, and a few other things. You can find the schedule of fees and charges in their terms and conditions.
Signing up to Consumers Credit Union is easy. You have the option of visiting one of their locations or doing it online, saving you the trouble of having to physically visit one of their locations.
On the Consumer Credit Union’s website, start by clicking on the blue Open an Account button. You can find this at the top right corner of the web page. Clicking on this button will open a menu where you can then click on Membership Application.
This will start the process with a nice progress bar at the top of the page, letting you know how far along the application process you are at any given moment in time.
The first page will inform of what you should have at hand to make sure the application can proceed as smoothly as possible. These include:
- Be 18 years or more
- Have your SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)
- State ID or Driver’s Licence
Depending on how you plan to fund the account, you should have one of the following at hand:
- Electronic transfer – Account number and routing number
- Credit or Debit Card – Card number, expiry date, and CVV number
If you’re new to Consumers Credit Union, click the first option, after which you will need to agree to the credit union’s disclosures. Once set, you will be able to select the product or service you want to apply for and complete the application.
Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union offers great interest rates on their checking account, along with no fees and no minimum account balance.
From time to time, CCU may offer promotions to new and existing customers. Most of these are tied to signing up for new accounts and can include anything from cash bonuses to higher APYs.
At the moment, there is an offer on Certificates. Here, you can get a special rate for certificates with a term of 10 months or 22 months. This offer is open to both current, as well as new CCU members.
Other offers can be made available at the discretion of the credit union. In most cases, these are communicated via email, so keep an eye open on your inbox for any offers you might receive.
Like most financial institutions, Consumers Credit Union will require you to provide some information in order to get started. You will need to provide your Social Security number or tax ID, a government-issued ID, your address, birth date, contact information, and employment information.
This information is securely held by the Consumers Credit Union and protected by administrative, technical, and physical safeguards. CCU adheres to all state and federal regulations regarding data security and protection.
Credit unions, unlike banks, are not protected by the FDIC. Instead, Consumers Credit Union accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This means that your accounts are eligible for up to $250,000 in insurance coverage so that you can rest assured that your money is safe with this credit union.
If you have questions about becoming a member, opening an account, or anything else regarding Consumers Credit Union, their customer service team is available to assist.
Consumer Credit Union’s customer service team can be reached by calling their service center (877-275-2228), email ([email protected]), live chat, or secure messaging.
To access live chat or secure messaging, go to the company’s website, or use your mobile app.
Their team can be reached Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. They are not available outside of these hours, which could be limiting for some customers.
Pros and Cons
Where you put your money is very important, so it’s crucial to examine all the benefits and drawbacks that come with using a bank or credit union.
Here are a few points to consider before opening an account with Consumer Credit Union.
- Membership available everywhere: Most credit unions either cater to local populations, certain affiliations, or particular employers. Consumers Credit Union is available to everyone, which means that you can benefit no matter what your situation is.
- High APY: Consumers Credit Union offers much higher rates compared to traditional banks. As long as you meet the requirements and your balance is under $10,000, you can earn up to 4.09% APY.
- Variety of accounts available: You have more options than simple checking and savings accounts through Consumers Credit Union. You can choose from specialized accounts such as the Holiday Club Savings account, the Student Choice Checking account, and more.
- Must meet APY requirements: Sadly, the high rates for checking accounts are not automatically available to customers. Consumers Credit Union has monthly activity requirements in order to earn the most competitive APY You will need to meet these targets each month in order to earn the best rates.
- No cap on daily overdraft fees: Depending on your activity, you could rack up overdraft charges for each time that you try to charge or withdraw from your account each day. This could lead to a mountain in overdraft fees.
Alternatives to Consumers Credit Union
If Consumers Credit Union doesn’t seem like the best fit for you, there are other options. Here are some alternative banking options to Consumers Credit Union.
If you are comfortable with a totally online banking experience, you may want to consider Axos Bank.
Formerly Bank of Internet USA, Axos Bank offers all of their banking options, customer service, and more online. There are no branch locations, so you will need to be comfortable with having to reach out to customer service through phone, email, chat, and other remote options.
Axos Bank does not charge any monthly fees for their checking and savings accounts, and they offer full reimbursement for domestic ATM fees. Their rates aren’t nearly as impressive as Consumers Credit Unions, but you can earn up to 1.3% on checking and savings accounts.
Are you looking for your money to give back to you and the greater good? Aspiration is a company that focuses on building its customers’ finances and giving back to the planet.
It’s rare to find a company that is willing to give 10% of its earnings to charity, but that is exactly what Aspiration does. They pride themselves in being a socially conscious banking firm, and they encourage their customers to do good as well.
The Spend and Save account allows you to take advantage of a large ATM network with practically no fees.
They offer 1% APY on balances up to $10,000, but you must spend at least $1,000 on your debit card per month.
Overall, Aspiration is best for people that want a basic savings account with a firm that is willing to give back.
Is Consumers Credit Union For You?
Credit unions are a popular alternative to banks, and Consumers Credit Union is among the best out there. With their national presence and outstanding rates, there is little to dislike about Consumers Credit Union.
Consumers Credit Union is best for people who have less than $10,000 in their checking account and spend at least $1,000 per month on their Consumers Credit Union credit card. If you have more than this in your checking, you won’t earn the 4.09% APY that is advertised.
Be sure to review alternatives banking institutions before making a final decision. You want to make sure your money is working hard for you so that you can earn as much as possible.