Best Credit Unions, 2020
These member-owned not-for-profit banking institutions are open to the public to join.
Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions owned by their members, and the ones listed here offer membership to anyone in the U.S. These credit unions also participate in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, through which customers can get account services at any participating credit union branch.
GOLD: Connexus Credit Union
- Why it won: All of Connexus's checking and savings accounts are free, and some of them offer enticing interest rates, too.
- Standout accounts: Xtraordinary Checking yields 1.75% if you meet certain activity requirements. Among CDs, a one-year certificate yields 1.01%, and a five-year CD has a 1.56% rate.
- Where it is: 11 branches in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Connexus offers a solid set of free checking accounts. Xtraordinary Checking has a 1.75% rate on balances of up to $25,000 (0.25% on the portion higher than $25,000) and reimburses up to $25 monthly for out-of-network ATM surcharges in the U.S. if you receive electronic statements and either make at least 15 debit card purchases monthly or spend $400 or more each month with your debit card. Have a child between age 10 and 17? Steer him or her to Teen Checking, which earns 2% on a balance of up to $1,000 (0.25% on the portion higher than $1,000). If you want just the essentials, Innovative Checking does the job, with free access to more than 54,000 ATMs in the CO-OP and MoneyPass networks.
CDs require a $5,000 minimum, and the money market deposit account pays interest on deposits of at least $1,000. If you have an active checking account with Connexus, the money market rate ranges from 0.5% on balances between $1,000 and $10,000 to 1.15% on $100,000 or more. The savings account yields 0.25% on $100 or more.
Headquartered in Wausau, Wis., Connexus opens membership to anyone who makes a one-time, $5 donation to the Connexus Association and deposits $5 into a savings account.
SILVER: Hiway Federal Credit Union
- Why it won: A new high-interest checking account gives Hiway a boost, and the CDs pay pretty good rates.
- Standout accounts: Meet activity requirements to get an impressive 2.22% rate with the free Hi Yield Checking account. A one-year CD yields up to 1.1%, and a five-year CD up to 1.6%.
- Where it is: Three branches in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Hiway Federal Credit Union opened in 1931 for employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. You can become a member by joining the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation with a $10 fee or the Association of the U.S. Army ($40 for a two-year membership). Members must also keep $5 in a savings account.
Hiway's Hi Yield Checking account offers a 2.22% yield on up to $25,000 to those who keep a $1,000 minimum balance (0.1% on the portion of the balance higher than $25,000), make 15 or more Hiway debit or credit card purchases monthly, and receive electronic statements. The Free Checking account is a good basic option, and Minnesota Wild checking is a fun choice for fans of the state's professional hockey team. The money market account yields up to 0.5%, and the savings account yields up to 0.15%. Recently, a five-year CD offered 1.4% with a balance of at least $500, and 1.6% with at least $25,000.
BRONZE: Bellco Credit Union
- Why it won: Bellco offers a well-rounded group of checking accounts and a few savings options with decent yields.
- Standout accounts: Boost Interest Checking yields a remarkable 2.25%, and the Premier Money Market Account has a 1.25% rate if you keep a substantial balance.
- Where it is: 25 branches in Colorado, mainly in the Denver area.
Bellco's free Boost Interest checking rewards customers with a 2.25% rate on balances of up to $25,000 if each month they make at least 15 debit card purchases, have a direct deposit, and log in to online or mobile banking at least once. Even if you don't meet those requirements, the account yields 0.05%. Platinum Checking waives the $12 monthly fee if you keep at least $15,000 in deposits and loans with Bellco, and it provides free standard checks, cashier's checks, money orders, wire transfers and overdraft transfers (it yields 0.03% to 0.15%, depending on the balance). Free Checking is best for customers who want a simple account.
Keep at least $50,000 in the Premier Money Market to earn a 1.25% rate (lower yields apply to smaller balances, and you must keep a $10,000 minimum balance to avoid a $10 monthly fee). The Youth Savings account yields 2% on up to $500 and 0.5% on higher balances. With a $500 minimum deposit, Bellco’s one-year CD yields 0.95%, and a five-year CD has a 1.25% rate.
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