1st MidAmerica Credit Union Review - Everything You Need to Know

Competitive rates on savings, plus fee-free cash back checking

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Who Is 1st MidAmerica Credit Union Best For?

1st MidAmerica Credit Union could be an excellent choice for people who qualify for membership and want to earn a generous APY on savings, while paying minimal fees for checking. Consider this credit union if you want:

  • Online and mobile banking access
  • Shared-branch banking at more than 5,000 branches and 28,000 ATMs nationwide
  • Free credit monitoring
  • Basic banking options, including checking, savings, and share certificate accounts
  • Business checking, savings and money market accounts
  • Retirement planning services, including IRA savings options
  • Auto, home, personal and business loans at competitive rates
  • A low minimum deposit to open an account
  • Additional perks, including special discounts and cash rewards

Pros

  • No monthly maintenance fee for checking

  • Earn up to 2.25% APY with interest checking

  • Earn up to 2.78% APY on share certificate accounts

Cons

  • Membership eligibility is limited

  • You have to call or visit a branch to open an account

  • Limited branch locations

Types of Accounts

1st MidAmerica Credit Union offers the following types of accounts:

  • Free Checking Accounts
  • Savings Accounts
  • Youth Checking and Savings
  • Business Checking and Savings
  • Loans and Credit Cards

Free Checking

1st MidAmerica offers three checking account options from Kasasa, all of which have no monthly maintenance fee. Each account is designed to fit a different kind of lifestyle. Take a look at this table to see how they compare:

Free Checking
Account Interesting/Rewards Program
Kasasa Cash 2.25% APY* on balances up to $10,000; 2.25% to 0.25% APY on balances over $10,000 depending on balance in account*; 0.01% APY* if qualifications aren't met
Kasasa Cash Back 3.00% cash back on debit card purchases; no category restrictions on purchases; cash back earned on up to $250 in purchases monthly; earn up to $90 cash back per year, $7.50 per month
Kasasa Tunes Earn $10 in iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon.com purchases every mont*; get $20 in refunds for iTunes, Google PLay, or Amazon.com when you open your account

All three accounts have some common features, including:

  • Unlimited refunds on ATM withdrawal fees nationwide
  • Free debit card
  • Free online banking and online bill pay
  • Free paperless statements

To earn rewards, you'll need to meet these requirements:

  • Have at least 12 debit card purchases post and settle
  • Be enrolled in and agree to receive e-statements
  • Be enrolled and log into online banking

There is no minimum balance is required to earn rewards.

Savings Accounts

1st MidAmerica offers several ways to save, including:

  • Basic savings accounts
  • Christmas Club accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Individual retirement accounts
  • Certificates

The minimum to open any new share (savings) account with the credit union is $5, plus a 0.25 cent membership fee. These accounts are insured up to $500,000.

Some accounts, like the Christmas Club account, have a specific purpose. These accounts let you save for holiday shopping all year long, with the balance transferred to a basic savings account on October 31st.

IRA savings are designed for retirement and savers can choose between a traditional or Roth IRA. There's also a Coverdell Education Savings Account option for parents saving for their child's education.

Share certificates and IRA share certificates are the credit union equivalent of CD accounts. Again, these accounts are insured up to $500,000. Early withdrawal penalty fees apply if you take money out of a certificate account before it matures.

Each 1st MidAmerica savings account earns a different interest rate. The following tables highlight how the rates compare for regular savings, IRA, money market and certificate accounts:

Savings Account
Type of Account APY %
Reuglar Savings 0.05%
IRA accounts 0.20%
Money market (Avg. daily balance of $2,500 to $9,999.99) 0.50%
Money market (Avg. daily balance of $10,000 to $24,999.99) 0.55%
Money market (Avg. daily balance of $25,000 to $49,999.99) 0.60%
Money market (Avg. daily balance of $50,000 to $99,999.99) 0.70%
Money market (Avg. daily balance over $100,000) 0.80%

Average monthly balances on money market accounts under $2,500 are subject to a $10 monthly service fee and will not earn interest.

CDs
CD Term Minimum Deposit APY %
6-month $1000 1.00%
11-month $1000 2.32%
12-month $1000 1.26%
12-month Youth Velocity $300 1.25%
18-month $1000 1.41%
21-month $1000 2.78%
24-month $1000 1.51%
35-month $1000 3.03%
36-month $1000 1.91%
48-month $1000 2.12%
59-month $1000 3.29%
60-month $1000 2.42%

Youth Checking and Savings

There are three ways teens can learn money management with 1st MidAmerica:

  • Youth Velocity Checking
  • Youth Savings
  • Youth Velocity Certificates

The Youth Velocity Checking account is a free checking account. It comes with a debit card and offers benefits like:

  • Up to $10 in foreign ATM fee refunds per month
  • Free mobile banking
  • Free gift on account opening

This one doesn't earn interest or cash rewards like the regular checking accounts but it's a good way for kids and young adults to learn the basics of budgeting and spending.

The Youth Savings account is a no-frills savings account that earns interest on deposits. Kids and young adults under age 23 can also save through a Youth Velocity Certificate. These are 12-month certificates that require a $300 deposit to open. They also allow savers to add up to $50 per month to their certificate. The current APY for Youth Velocity Certificates is 1.25%.

Every kid who opens a Youth Savings account is automatically enrolled in the Kirby Kangaroo Club. This is an online educational program for kids 12 and under who want to learn about saving.

Business Checking and Savings

1st MidAmerica offers three checking accounts for business owners:

  • Community Checking: Designed for non-profits, small organizations and church clubs
  • Basic Business Checking: Designed for sole proprietors, small businesses and church accounting offices
  • Elite Business Checking: Designed for corporations

Community Checking has no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement. Basic Business Checking has a monthly service fee of $10, which is waived when the average monthly balance is more than $1,500. Elite Business Checking has a $20 service fee, which is waived for average monthly balances of $25,000 or more.

The Community Checking account doesn't earn interest but the Basic and Elite accounts can help business owners grow their money.

Here are the current APYs for each account. Note, the APY is tiered by balance for Elite accounts:

Business Checking
Basic Business Checking 0.5%
Elite Business Checking ($25,000 - $49,999.99) 0.10%
Elite Business Checking ($50,000 - $99,999.99) 0.20%
Elite Business Checking (Over $100,000) 0.30%

There are also savings accounts for business clients:

  • Business Savings
  • Business Money Market
  • Business Share Certificates

1st MidAmerica doesn't offer detailed information for these accounts on their website. To learn more about them, you'll have to visit a branch or call (800) 345-4216.

Loans and Credit Cards

1st MidAmerica offers loans for just about every borrowing need, including:

  • Auto loans
  • Home loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Personal loans
  • Business loans

Home loans include purchase loans for first-time buyers, construction loans and loans to purchase an investment property. Through 1st MidAmerica's online mortgage center, you can compare and choose from different loan options, including fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, jumbo loans, FHA and VA loans. Borrowers can start a home purchase or home equity loan application online.

If you need money for something other than a home or vehicle, you can apply for an unsecured signature loan. These loans have fixed payments, with funding available from $500 up to $15,000. Repayment terms extend up to 60 months. This kind of loan might be good if you need to finance a dream wedding or vacation, pay for home repairs or consolidate high interest debt.

Business owners have a number of financing options, including loans to pay for:

  • Commercial real estate or rental properties
  • New construction
  • Land and commercial lots
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Inventory

Aside from loans, the credit union also offers business lines of credit and business credit cards.

There's one personal credit card option: the Platinum Visa. This is a low-interest card with no annual fee that you can use anywhere Visa is accepted. The optional ScoreCard Rewards program lets you earn points on purchases.

How to Bank With 1st MidAmerica Credit Union

To bank with 1st MidAmerica, you first have to become a member. Membership is currently open to Missouri residents who live, work or maintain an address in Jackson County.

Illinois residents can join the credit union if they live, work or maintain an address in these counties:

  • Bond
  • Brown
  • Calhoun
  • Cass
  • Christian
  • Clinton
  • DeWitt
  • Effingham
  • Fayette
  • Greene
  • Jefferson
  • Jersey
  • Logan
  • Macon
  • Macoupin
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Menard
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Morgan
  • Moultrie
  • Piatt
  • Pike
  • Randolph
  • St. Clair
  • Sangamon
  • Scott
  • Shelby
  • Washington

You can also become a member if you belong to one of several specialty employer groups.

You can't open an account online; you'll need to visit one of the credit union's dozen branch locations to establish membership. Once you do that, however, you're able to manage your accounts through online and mobile banking. The best features of online and mobile banking include:

  • Online bill pay
  • Person to person transfers through Popmoney
  • Mobile check deposit

If you have a question about your account or you need help, you can call 1-800-345-4216 toll-free. Beyond local branches, 1st MidAmerica partners with other credit unions to offer shared branch banking at over 5,000 branches and more than 28,000 ATMs.

Credit Union Fees

While most of 1st MidAmerica's checking and savings have no monthly maintenance fee, the credit union does charge a lengthy list of other fees. Here are some of the most important fees to know:

Credit Union Fees
ATM Surcharge at Non-Owned Machines $1
Account Closing Fee (Within 90 days of account opening) $20
Statement copy fee $3
Dormant account fee $5/month
Insufficient funds fee (NSF) $29
Money market/savings excess withdrawal fee $15 (per each transaction after 6)
Overdraft transfer fee $5 each for transfers 1-6
Domestic wire transfer fee $10 incoming/$20 outgoing
Foreign wire transfer fee $20 incoming/$50 outgoing

About 1st MidAmerica Credit Union

1st MidAmerica Credit Union opened in 1934 and is the 13th largest credit union in Illinois. As of the credit union's most recent annual report, assets under management totaled $722 million, with membership totaling approximately 68,167 individuals. Headquartered in Bethalto, Illinois, 1st MidAmerica serves Illinois residents in more than a dozen counties, as well as select residents of Missouri.

The credit union has no history of data or security breaches. While not BBB-accredited, 1st MidAmerica currently has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

1st MidAmerica offers some very generous annual percentage yields on deposit accounts and its free interest-earning and cash back checking options make it a standout from other banks and credit unions. Interest rates on loans and credit cards are competitive and shared branch banking, along with online and mobile banking, makes it easy for members to access and manage their accounts from virtually anywhere.

DRAWBACKS

It may be more difficult to join 1st MidAmerica compared to other credit unions, owing largely to the geographic limitations on membership. The low number of branches could also be a problem if you qualify for membership but don't live near a local 1st MidAmerica location or shared branch location. While you can apply for loans online, opening any other type of account would require a branch visit.