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earn 2-6% on limited balances with credit unions : personalfinance

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With online banks dropping rates to 0.6% and lower, many people may be wondering if they have better options for their savings or emergency funds.

The answer is yes, especially if you are willing to manage multiple accounts. Some people won’t find this worth the hassle, but I find it easy to connect an external checking account and automatically transfer the interest out of each MYSA every month to keep the account active. I have alerts set up to email me in the event of unusual deposits/withdrawals into the accounts, and I keep the apps in folders on my phone. Pretty easy.

Plus, being a member of several credit unions gives you the opportunity to shop around for CD/loan rates and take advantage of other benefits like free AD&D insurance.

Here is a list of nationally available credit unions and how to join them:

Name Rate How to Join Other Info
Digital Federal Credit Union 6% on your first $1000 & 0.50% on your next $25,000 $10 donation to Reach Out for Schools (part of application) $20 referral bonus, free monthly Equifax mortgage score, ATM rebates with direct deposit, good mortgage/auto loan rates
Blue Federal Credit Union 5% on your first $1000 $5 donation to Blue Foundation (part of application) Total balance including accrued interest must remain under $1000 to qualify, requires $5 monthly deposit
St Mary’s Bank 5% on your first $500 & 3% on the next $500 Non-refundable $5 membership fee open to the entire United States Requires monthly deposit of $25 and limited to one withdrawal per month; this is actually the oldest credit union in the USA; $100 free checking bonus
Service Credit Union 5% on your first $500 & 3% on your next $3000 Free membership through the American Consumer Council, join with promo code ‘SERVICE’ Free quarterly Experian mortgage score, international payment features, ATM rebates with $500+ ACH credit or direct deposit, high CD rates
Premier Members Credit Union 2% on your first $2000 & 0.50% on the next $3000 Free membership (credit union donates $5 to charity in order to qualify you) $50 referral bonus
Patelco Credit Union 2% on your first $2000 & 1% on the next $3000 Free membership through the Financial Fitness Association (part of application) $50 referral bonus until November 2020, $250 bonus on their Passage Rewards credit card with the $85 annual fee waived for the first year, 47-month CD’s with a low early withdrawal penalty (90 days of interest)
Affinity FCU 2% on your first $2500 $5 donation to New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education (part of application) $200 bonus on their Visa Signature credit card
Redstone FCU 2% on your first $2500 Become a member of the Financial Fitness Association (usually $8, but Patelco offers a free year of membership, see above) $150 bonus on their Visa Signature credit card, and they offer some unique long-term CD’s with the option to raise your rate
Affinity Plus FCU 2% on your first $25,000 & 0.75% on the rest $25 donation to the Affinity Plus Foundation (part of application) Hard pull on Transunion, requires $500 payroll/pension direct deposit
Elements Financial 2% on your first $20,000 Join TruDirection for $5 (part of application) Requires 15 ACH transactions per month (can be automated with external accounts)
Read about:   Does a Pre-qualification Affect Your Credit? | Finance

There are a couple dozen more high yield credit unions that are geographically limited, so there’s a decent chance there may be more options in your area. You can do searches on depositaccounts.com for savings/money market accounts in your location with smaller deposit sizes ($499, $999, $1999).

In the event that you need to withdraw money immediately, most of these credit unions participate in shared branching so you can go to a credit union shared branch and withdraw cash using an ATM or teller.

If you want to accumulate multiple of these accounts, space out your applications by several months. There are datapoints of Blue, Patelco, and St Mary’s Bank closing/denying accounts because of too many recent applications (they look at a credit bureau called Chexsystems). Service CU is more lenient on this.

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