Consumers Credit Union Review

Is Consumers Credit Union a good bank?

Couple checking their account on a laptop in the kitchen
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Headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois, Consumers Credit Union (CCU) has been serving customers for nearly a century. Unlike other credit unions, it's unique in that anyone can join, regardless of where you live or work or your third-party affiliations. While branch locations are limited to the Chicago area, members can bank through over 1,800 CU Service Center partner branches as well as more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide.

What We Like

  • Much higher rates on deposit accounts compared to many traditional banks

  • Relaxed membership requirements

  • No-fee rewards checking

  • Variety of accounts

What We Don't Like

  • Monthly activity requirements to earn competitive APY on rewards checking

  • No cap on daily overdraft fees

Who Is Consumers Credit Union Best For?

Consumers Credit Union may appeal to someone who's comfortable banking online and doesn't necessarily need to visit a branch. It's also a good choice for people who: 

  • Want to earn a competitive APY on checking, savings, and certificates of deposit
  • Are interested in joining a credit union with simple membership requirements
  • Want to avoid paying high fees for checking and savings accounts
  • Are looking to take care of all their banking needs in one place

What Does Consumers Credit Union Offer?

At Consumers Credit Union, you can choose from a variety of accounts and access them in multiple ways.

Accounts

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Money market account
  • Share certificates
  • Credit cards

Services

  • Branch banking
  • Online banking
  • Mobile app

Free Rewards Checking

Consumers Credit Union offers an extremely attractive rewards checking account with highly competitive rates—up to 4.09% annual percentage yield (APY) on your first $10,000. Free Rewards Checking has no monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees. Members can access their account at more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and all other ATM fees are reimbursed.

This is a high-yield account that pays you back when you meet certain requirements.

Free Rewards Checking
Earn a 2.09% APY on Balances up to $10,000 When You: Earn a 3.09% APY on Balances Up to $10,000 When You: Earn a 4.09% APY on Balances up to $10,000 When You:
Complete at least 12 debit card purchases totaling $100 or more each month; post direct deposits or ACH credits totalling $500 or more to your account monthly; enroll in eDocuments Meet the requirements to earn 2.09% APY, plus spend $500 or more with your CCU Visa credit card monthly Meet the requirements to earn 2.09% APY, plus spend $1,000 or more with your CCU Visa credit card monthly

Higher APYs apply to the first $10,000 in your account. The APY drops to 0.20% for balances ranging from $10,000.01 to $25,000 and 0.10% for balances over $25,000.

Other notable features of this account:

  • Unlimited checks
  • Bill pay
  • Visa debit card with chip

Student Choice Checking

For students, Consumers Credit Union offers the Student Choice Checking account, designed for customers ages 13 to 17. Account features include:

  • Debit card with daily limit of $310
  • Free electronic statements and online and mobile banking
  • Up to $25 per month in ATM fee reimbursements
  • ATM access at more than 30,000 surcharge-free locations

This account doesn't come with checks and it doesn't earn interest. A parent or legal guardian must also be listed on the account as a joint account holder.

When the student turns 18, they no longer receive ATM fee reimbursements, and the account must be converted to a Free Rewards checking account before they reach 19 or a $10 monthly fee applies.

Free Checking Account

Finally, the Free Checking Account is a basic checking account with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. It doesn't earn interest, but members do enjoy essential banking tools, such as:

  • Unlimited check writing
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Bill pay
  • ATM access
  • Mobile wallet access
  • Visa debit card

If you need a checking account for paying bills, accessing cash at the ATM, or just everyday spending, this is a great low-cost option.

Membership Share/Savings Account

The Membership Share/Savings Account is the basic account you need to become a Consumers Credit Union member. It's a simple savings account, so there aren't a lot of bells and whistles. The main benefits include:

  • $5 minimum to open an account and maintain CCU membership
  • 0.05% APY on balances (as of May 18, 2020)
  • Online banking access

You'll need to be at least 18 to open a Membership Share/Savings Account. And compared to the Free Rewards Checking Account, this account earns a much lower APY.

Money Market Account

The Money Market Account from CCU also earns interest. Rates are tiered, based on your balance.

Money Market Account
Minimum Balance to Earn APY Rate APY
$0 0.15% 0.15%
$25,000 0.25% 0.25%
$100,000  0.35% 0.35%

The minimum to earn interest on a Money Market Account is $2,000. Dividends are compounded and credited to your account monthly.

Holiday Club Savings Account

The Holiday Club Savings Account is designed to help you set aside money for holiday shopping. You can set up automatic deposits or transfers from your CCU checking account to fund your savings. Account details include:

  • $5 minimum deposit to open
  • 0.25% APY on balances
  • Funds transfer to Membership Share Savings Account on November 1

This account renews automatically. Like CCU's other savings accounts, this one has no monthly fee. If you withdraw funds before November, your account will be closed.

Regular Certificates

Share certificates are the credit union equivalent of certificates of deposit (CDs). Regular Certificates offer a guaranteed rate of return, with dividends that compound daily and post monthly. These account terms range from 91 days to 5 years and require a $250 minimum deposit.

Rates for Regular Certificates are tiered according to the term, not the balance.

Regular Certificate Rates
Term Minimum APY
91 Days $250 0.35%
6 Months $250 0.45%
9 Months $250 0.60%
1 Year $250 0.50%
18 Months $250 0.50%
20 Months $250 0.75%
2 Years $250 0.55%
30 Months $250 0.60%
3 Years $250 0.65%
4 Years $250 0.70%
5 Years $250 0.75%

Jumbo Certificates

Jumbo Certificates are designed for super savers. These certificates have a minimum deposit of $100,000. Maturity dates range from 91 days to 5 years.

Rates for Jumbo Certificates are slightly higher compared to Regular Certificates.

Jumbo Certificate Rates
Term Minimum APY
91 Day $100,000 0.35%
6 Months $100,000 0.45%
9 Months $100,000 0.70%
1 Year $100,000 0.60%
18 Months $100,000 0.60%
20 Months $100,000 0.85%
2 Year $100,000 0.65%
30 Months $100,000 0.70%
3 Years $100,000 0.75%
4 Years $100,000 0.80%
5 Years $100,000 0.85%

If you withdraw your funds before your certificate term is up, Consumers Credit Union may impose a penalty of 60 days' dividends if your term was less than a year and 120 days' dividends if more than a year.

Credit Cards

In addition to helping members save and manage everyday spending, Consumers Credit Union offers several credit card options, each with no annual fee, including:

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

Other Financial Products From Consumers Credit Union

You can finance a car, buy a house, or save for retirement when you bank at Consumers Credit Union. Their other financial products include:

  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Auto loans
  • Personal loans
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Financial planning
  • Insurance (auto, home, life)
  • Business accounts
  • Business loans
  • Business credit cards

Consumers Credit Union Customer Service

If you need help with your account, you can reach customer service by phone at 877-275-2228. Help is only available Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm CST, Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Secure messaging is also available when you log in to your account or by email at ccu_info@myconsumers.org, and you can also use live chat to reach an agent.

You can access your CCU accounts in a variety of ways:

Your accounts are insured through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) up to $250,000 per depositor.

How to Bank With Consumers Credit Union

The first step in banking with CCU is becoming a member. All members must open a Member Share/Savings Account, which requires a $5 deposit, but you can also choose to open a checking, money market, certificate, or loan account when you apply.

As with any financial institution, you'll need to give Consumers Credit Union your personal information, including your Social Security number, to open an account.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

Consumers Credit Union has the distinction of offering some of the highest rates around for rewards checking, far outstripping the competition. As a full-service credit union, it's possible to handle virtually any banking needs, from saving and spending to buying a home or getting a loan for your business. The credit union's extensive surcharge-free ATM network also makes it appealing for cost-conscious spenders who want to avoid expensive ATM fees. And with membership open to anyone, a Consumers Credit Union account is more accessible than accounts offered by other credit unions or banks that only operate within certain states.

DRAWBACKS

One of the main drawbacks is that Consumers Credit Union doesn't have a large branch footprint, which might make banking more difficult if you don't live close to a branch location. And while the APY on Free Rewards Checking is a solid rate, you have to jump through certain hoops to earn that rate. Further, the APYs offered on Consumers Credit Union's other deposit accounts are fairly low; an online bank may offer more impressive rates with a low (or no) minimum deposit and minimal fees.

Article Sources

  1. Consumers Credit Union. "Who We Are." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  2. Consumers Credit Union. "Rewards Checking." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  3. Consumers Credit Union. "Student Choice Checking." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  4. Consumers Credit Union. "Free Checking Account." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  5. Consumers Credit Union. "Savings." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  6. Consumers Credit Union. "Rates." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  7. Consumers Credit Union. "Certificates." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  8. Consumers Credit Union. "Truth-In-Savings Disclosure." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  9. Consumers Credit Union. "Visa Cards." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  10. Consumers Credit Union. "NCUA Federal Insurance." Accessed May 18, 2020.

  11. Consumers Credit Union. "You Can Join." Accessed May 18, 2020.