Orion Federal Credit Union (FCU) has a
Membership eligibility. Orion FCU is based in Memphis, Tennessee and has a field of membership open to nearby residents and employers of local companies. However, you can also join as a “volunteer” for one of their affiliated nonprofit organizations:
Volunteers for Orion Gives Back organizations are eligible for membership in Orion. You can qualify as a volunteer fundraiser simply by choosing an organization and asking us to make a $10 donation.
Yes, you read that right – they will even make the donation for you. Choose from Habitat for Humanity Greater Memphis, Hope House, Porter-Leath, Ronald McDonald House, and Wolf River Conservancy.
Note that the application states that you will need your Social Security number and Driver’s License number. In addition, reader Bill reports that they will perform both a ChexSystems inquiry and a hard credit check through Equifax.
Premium Checking requirements. To qualify for the 4% APY on balances up to $30,000 and up to $10 in ATM fee rebates per month, you must have the following:
- Electronic deposits totaling at least $500 per month. Electronic deposits include: direct deposit, mobile deposit, and electronic transfers from another financial institution.
- Perform at least 8 signature-based card transactions per month. When using your card, choose the credit option and bypass using your PIN.
Note that amounts in excess of $30,000 will only earn 0.05% APY. If you meet these requirements, there is no monthly fee. If you don’t, then there is a $5 monthly fee and your rate goes down to 0.05% APY.
It is nice that the deposit requirement is not restricted to “payroll direct deposits”. You can set up an automated monthly transfer from another bank account.
Good deal? In my opinion, the relatively easy requirements, high interest rate, and moderate qualifying balance make this the best nationally-available “Reward Checking” account currently available. (“Rewards Checking” = requires a minimum number of debit card transactions + other activity each month.) While it is indeed a solid offer, the main question is how long it will last.
At the same time, I will not be joining. First, I don’t like accounts where I have to keep jumping through hoops (that I can’t easily automate like
I’d rather open a credit union CD where I know the rate is guaranteed for a fixed period (i.e. past offers from
Bottom line. Orion FCU has opened up their Premium Rewards checking account to anyone nationwide. You can get 4% APY on balances up to $30,000 if you meet certain direct deposit and debit card transaction requirements. However, if you don’t meet those requirements, you will earn virtually no interest and be subject to a $5 monthly fee. If this interests you, I recommend creating a reliable system where you satisfy the requirements early on in the month.
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