Consumers Credit Union Review

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Consumers Credit Union

Overall Rating

9.3

Bottom Line

Consumers Credit Union offers numerous banking products, such as rewards checking accounts, savings and money market accounts.

Pros

  • Available Nationwide
  • High APY
  • Variety of Account Options

Cons

  • APY Requirements
  • Limited Branch Locations

Interest Rates

9.0

Customer Support

9.5

Fees

9.5

Product Offerings

9.5

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 has a unique national presence among other credit unions. They have been around for over 100 years and have an especially strong presence in the Chicago area.

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.

If you are looking for a high yield checking account, Consumer Credit Union has one of the best. They boast a high APY on checking balances under $10,000, $0 in monthly fees, and $0 account balance requirements on most accounts.

Features

There is an impressive range of financial products available through Consumers Credit Union. Here are some of the accounts that you have access to through Consumers Credit Union.

Free Rewards Checking Account

The Free Rewards Checking Account offers extremely competitive annual percentage yield rates (APY.) These rates are available on balances up to $10,000, and you must meet certain requirements in order to earn the highest APY.

Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking at a Glance

Min. Opening Deposit $0
Min. Balance Required $0
Monthly Fees $0
Interest Earned Up to 4.09% APY
ATM Access Over 30,000 ATMs
Availability Nationwide

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

It is important to understand that these high rates only apply to the first $10,000 in your account. Once you go above this, the APY drops to 0.20% for $10,001 to $25,000. It drops again to 0.10% for anything above $25,000.

This account has no monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees. You can also enjoy a bill pay feature, unlimited checks, and a Visa debit card with a security chip.

Student Choice Checking

The Student Choice Checking account is designed for customers from 13 years old to 17 years old. This allows children and young adults to learn the importance of saving and managing your money.

In order to create this type of account, the account holder must have a parent or legal guardian listed as a joint account holder. Additionally, the account must be converted to a Free Rewards Checking account when the account holder turns 18.

If it is not converted before the account holder turns 19, they will begin to accrue a $10 monthly service fee. They will also no longer be eligible for ATM reimbursement after they turn 18.

The Student Choice Checking account comes with a debit card with a daily limit of $310. This account does not offer checks and does not earn interest.

The account can be accessed at all ATM locations. The account holder is eligible for up to $25 per month in ATM reimbursements. Online and mobile banking are also available for the Student Choice Checking account.

Free Checking Account

The Free Checking account is Consumers Credit Union’s basic checking account option. This is a great option for people that want a low-cost way to pay their bills and manage their money.

Like other Consumer Credit Union accounts, the Free Checking account has no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees.

While it doesn’t earn interest, it does offer basic features that customers can use to manage finances. This includes online and mobile banking, bill pay feature, ATM access, Visa debit card, and unlimited check writing.

Learn More:

Membership Savings Account

The Membership Savings account is the basic account to become a Consumers Credit Union member. You must be at least 18 to open a Membership Savings account.

Overall, this is a very simple account, but it does include some basic features. There is a $5 minimum to open and maintain the account. There is also a 0.05% APY on all balances, and account holders have access to online banking.

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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.

The minimum account balance to begin earning interest is $2,000. You will earn 0.15% APY on balances from $2,000 to $39,999, 0.25% APY on balances from $40,000 to $69,999, 0.5% APY on balances from $70,000 to $99,999, and 1% APY on balances over $100,000.

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Holiday Club Savings Account

The holidays sneak up on everybody and finding money for everyone’s gifts can be a challenge. The Holiday Club Savings Account is meant to help you save money for holiday shopping.

The minimum balance to open a Holiday Club Savings Account is $5, and there is a 0.25% APY on all account balances. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account so that you don’t have to think about building your account balance.

The funds you save in this account will transfer to your Membership Share Savings account on November 1 just in time for Christmas shopping. However, you are not allowed to withdraw funds from your Holiday Club Savings Account before November. If you do, your account will close.

Regular Certificates

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:

Term Length APY
91 days 0.35%
6 months 0.45%
9 months 0.8%
1 year 0.5%
18 months 0.65%
20 months 1%
2 years 0.7%
30 months 0.75%
3 years 0.8%
4 years 0.95%
5 years 1%

Jumbo Certificates

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.

Term Length APY
91 days 0.35%
6 months 0.45%
9 months 0.9%
1 year 0.6%
18 months 0.75%
20 months 1.1%
2 years 0.8%
30 months 0.85%
3 years 0.9%
4 years 1.05%
5 years 1.1%

Credit Cards

In addition to the checking and savings accounts, Consumers Credit Union offers its members several credit card options. Each credit card offered by Consumers Credit Union features no annual fee.

Members can choose from the following cards:

  • Visa Platinum
  • Visa Platinum Rewards
  • Visa Signature Rewards
  • Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card
  • Student Visa

Fees

You may be curious about what sort of fees are associated with Consumers Credit Union. Luckily, there are no monthly fees and no minimum deposit to open an account. You will also receive total reimbursement on all ATM fees if you meet the minimum interest requirements.

Unfortunately, Consumers Credit Union charges a few fees for infractions. You will face a $30 fee for overdrafts and a $30 fee for nonsufficient funds.

Getting Started

While you can open a Rewards Checking account with $0, you will need to apply to become a member of Consumers Credit Union and make a one-time payment to Consumers Cooperative Association. Luckily, this process can be completed on Consumer Credit Union’s website and takes a matter of minutes.

To begin this process, you will need to become a member of Consumers Credit Union. They are notoriously lenient with their membership requirements, and you need only make your payment to the Consumers Cooperative Association. You can become a member through the phone, online, or at any branch.

From there, you are able to open any of the above accounts. This can be done easily online, over the phone, or with a teller at one of their branch locations. Each account has specific requirements, so be sure to check with their team if you have any questions.

Security

Like most financial institutions, Consumers Credit Union will require you to provide some information in order to get started. You will need to provide a Social Security number or tax ID, a government-issued ID, your address, birthdate, contact information, and employment information.

This information is securely held by Consumers Credit Union and protected by administrative, technical, and physical safeguards. Consumers Credit Union adheres to all state and federal regulations regarding data security and cyber protections.

Credit unions, unlike banks, are not protected by the FDIC. Instead, all Consumers Credit Union accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration or NCUA. This means that your accounts are eligible for up to $250,000 in insurance coverage. This means that you can rest assured that your money is protected with Consumers Credit Union.

Customer Support

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 phone (877-275-2228), email (CCU_info@myconsumers.org), live chat, and 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 of Consumers Credit Union

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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 rates. 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.
  • Limited branch locations: Even though Consumers Credit Union is available nationwide, they only have physical locations in the Chicago area. If you are someone that prefers to visit a branch, you may want to consider another credit union or bank.

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.

Axos Bank

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.

Next Steps:

Aspiration

Are you looking for your money to give back to you and the greater good? Aspiration is a company that focuses on building their customer’s 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 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.

Next Steps:

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.

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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