ETFCU and LMCU 3% checking - too good to be true? Worth it?

Hi all, I've been seeing buzz about two credit unions that have checking accounts with really high interest rates. Some slight hoops to jump through but not too bad - heard lots of folks do a trick where they make multiple Amazon gift card purchases for around $.50/each, to hit the 10-15ish minimum monthly transactions. These two credit unions are:

1. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union: 3.3% interest on up to $20k

2. Lake Michigan Credit Union: 3% interest on up to $15k

Given that our high yield savings account is just making 0.4% interest right now, this seems like a no brainer. And in our picture, having an extra $50-$60/month would certainly be helpful, i.e. covering our internet bill each month.

Anyone use these or have other thoughts on them? Any risks to opening yet another checking account to capitalize on the rates and earn some extra moo? I read on Bogleheads that LMCU has been around awhile and has kept that 3% rate for a long time, through all sorts of market environments, so it seems like they may be the safer bet. We need to keep a chunk of change in a checking account anyway, for our paychecks, mortgage payments, etc., so why not earn something on it, particularly when it pays more than our "high yield" savings account right now?

Thanks for any thoughts, and happy holidays! 🌲

8replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • The deals are absolutely real and you can do the tiny transaction trick to get the minimum debit spend. Lots of YNABers use these CUs. 

    I personally find that minimum transaction limit too onerous for the return (because there’s also a limit on how much can earn the 3%) but that’s purely a personal decision. There’s not a wrong answer to this one—if you can meet the requirements and are happy to do so and find it worth your time, you will absolutely get 3%, no other strings attached. 

    Like 1
    • WordTenor thanks it’s good to hear this confirmation! Just poking around to confirm others attest to its legitimacy before we move forward. Thank you!

      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Silver Guitar I have been with ETFCU for about 18 months and I'm very happy with them (I don't use direct import so I can't advise on how they perform in that respect, if that's important to you). I like the simplicity of keeping my ETFCU account balance right around the high interest cap of $20K and moving excess funds to my savings account as appropriate, vs. trying to maximize that 0.4% savings account rate by keeping a no-interest checking account balance low (but not so low that I risk overdrafting). 

      Like 1
    • Vibrant thanks that’s great to hear it’s been working out! I’m glad you mentioned direct import, as it’s a feature we use often and I hadn’t thought to check. Just sent a message to YNAB support to ask if it’s available for ETFCU and if it works well. 👍🏻 

  • FYI - sounds like the connection is generally good. Some of what I heard back from YNAB support:

    “As for Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union, historically they’ve maintained a fairly consistent direct import connection, and most issues we’ve come across have been resolved within a reasonable timeframe. Again, updates at the bank can cause this to change at any time, but this financial institution has a healthy connection for the most part.”

    • Silver Guitar did they say how well LCMU is for consistent import connection? I am also considering these, LCMU would have. Local branch for me though too. Unhappy with the connection stability in my current bank Huntington.  Thank you!

    • Purple Lobster unfortunately I only asked about ETFCU, sorry! Speaking of, we’re currently in the process of getting that account set up. Looking forward to having some additional interest!

    • Purple Lobster We can't always give definitive stats on financial institutions (and connection stats are always subject to change), but you can definitely reach out to support to ask if there are any widespread issues (the Status Page doesn't capture all financial institutions). We're happy to give any insight we can!

Like Follow
  • 6 days agoLast active
  • 8Replies
  • 111Views
  • 5 Following