Consumers Credit Union Review

Consumers Credit Union

Overall Rating

9

Bottom Line

Consumers Credit Union offers a comprehensive banking platform that's more accessible than the majority of credit unions. You can become a CCU member no matter what state you live in, and there are plenty of accounts and services to take advantage of.

Pros

  • Plenty of financial products
  • High APYs
  • Few fees
  • Easy to join

Cons

  • Few physical locations
  • No sign-up bonus

Consumers Credit Union (CCU) is an Illinois-based financial institution that has been around since 1930.

CCU has a handful of physical locations but mostly operates as an online banking option with accounts available nationwide.

CCU offers personal and business accounts, home and personal loans, and other financial services.

Today, we’ll cover all of the ins and outs of banking with CCU. From membership benefits to customer service, you’ll get the full picture of what CCU can provide as a financial partner.

In This Article

Consumers Credit Union Checking Accounts

Here are the current checking account options that CCU offers:

Free Checking

The Free Checking account is a no-frills checking option that requires no minimum balance or monthly fees.

Free Checking comes with all of the basics — you’ll get a debit card, digital banking, and unlimited check writing.

There’s an opening deposit requirement of $5, and the account doesn’t include reimbursements for ATM fees, so be sure to find some in-network options in your area.

Rewards Checking

The Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking account is an interest-bearing checking account option that has no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.

The account also comes with unlimited check writing and ATM reimbursements, and you can get paid up to a day early when you enroll in direct deposit.

All that said, the real seller of this account is the annual percentage yield (APY). The rate is tiered based on certain requirements, and you can earn up to 4.09% on balances up to $10,000.

CCU Rewards Checking APYs:

2.09% APY
  • Enroll in eDocuments
  • Make at least 12 debit card purchases per month
  • Receive direct deposits, mobile deposits, or ACH credits totaling $500 or more per month
3.09% APY
  • Meet all of the requirements to earn 2.09%
  • Spend $500 or more with a CCU credit card each month
4.09% APY
  • Meet all of the requirements to earn 2.09%
  • Spend $1,000 or more with a CCU credit card each month

No matter which tier you end up in, balances from $10,000 to $25,000 will earn at 0.20%, and anything higher gets a rate of 0.10%

To open an account, you’ll need a minimum deposit of just $5.

Student Choice Checking

Student Choice Checking is an account available to those between 13 and 17 years old.

The account is designed to help kids safely learn good financial habits and has no monthly fee.

The account comes with a debit card, free electronic statements, and $25 per month in ATM fee rebates.

A parent or guardian is required to be a joint account holder, and you can feel good about keeping spending in check with a $310 daily limit

There are no overdrafts allowed, and your teen can apply for a CCU Visa credit card with your approval.

Once your teen turns 18, you’ll have the option to convert the account into a Free Rewards Checking account.

You can retain the Student Choice account if you choose, but you’ll have to pay a $10 monthly fee once the account holder ages out.

Consumers Credit Union Savings Accounts

Here are the current savings account options that CCU has to offer:

Membership Share Savings Account

Membership Share is a basic savings account that will get you automatic CCU membership when you sign up.

There’s a low minimum balance requirement of $5, and you’ll earn interest with an APY of 0.03%.

Overall, it’s a pretty bare-bones savings account, and CCU has better rates to offer with other options.

Smart Saver

Smart Saver is a high-yield savings account with an APY well over the national average of 1.50%.

To qualify for the max interest rate, you’ll first need to have a CCU checking account.

From there, just make a deposit of at least $50 each month, enroll in eDocuments, and deposit at least $500 into your checking account each month.

If you don’t have a CCU checking account, your APY will be a solid but less exciting rate of 0.25%.

Smart Saver has no monthly fees and a maximum deposit restriction of $1,000 per month.

Money Market

CCU’s Money Market option is a no-fee account that earns interest on your balance at a tiered rate.

For balances up to $24,999.99, the current rate is 0.05%.

For balances between $25,000 and $99,999.99 you’ll get 0.15%, and anything over $100,000 gets the max rate of 0.25%.

Considering the premium rates available with CCU’s checking and savings accounts, there isn’t much of a value add here.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CCU offers CDs with term lengths ranging from 3 months to 5 years.

For a Regular CD, there’s a minimum deposit requirement of $250, and the interest rate varies depending on how long you commit your funds.

You can also opt for a Jumbo CD, which requires a deposit of at least $100,000.

CCU Certificate of Deposit APYs:

Term APY
3 months 0.35%
6 months 0.40%
1 year 0.45%
15 months 0.55%
18 months 0.45%
20 months 0.80%
2 years 0.50%
30 months 0.55%
3 years 0.60%
4 years 0.65%
5 years 0.70%

Consumers Credit Union Credit Cards

CCU offers five credit card options through Visa. Keep in mind that in order to earn the maximum APY with your Rewards Checking account, you’ll need to get and use one of these cards.

Visa Platinum

Platinum is a no-annual fee card that comes with CCU’s lowest APR.

There are no points or rewards, but with no balance transfer or cash advance fees, this is a solid, practical credit card for those looking to boost their credit score.

Visa Platinum Rewards

Platinum Rewards earns one point for every dollar spent, which you can redeem for gifts, travel, or experiences.

There’s no annual fee, and it comes with travel and emergency assistance, plus expanded identity theft protection.

Visa Signature Rewards

Signature Rewards is a no annual fee rewards card that earns triple points on groceries, double points on gas, and single points on everything else.

The card comes with travel insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and 24/7 concierge service.

Visa Signature Cash Rebate

Signature Cash Rebate is similar to Signature Rewards but earns cash back instead of bonus points. Cardholders get 3% back on groceries, 2% on gas, and 1% on all other purchases.

There is no annual fee, and all of the other benefits that come with Signature Rewards are up for grabs.

Student Visa

The CCU Student Visa is designed for students aged 13 to 21 and aims to help young people build a positive credit score. There’s no annual fee, but also no points or cash rewards.

A parent or guardian has to apply for the card, and students are listed as authorized users.

Consumers Credit Union Features

Here are some of the top features that CCU has to offer you as a member:

10 Physical Locations

CCU accounts are available nationwide, but in-person banking services are limited to those in the Chicago area. CCU has 10 brick-and-mortar branches, all of which are located in suburbs north of Chicago.

Online Banking

If you live outside of Illinois, your experience with CCU will be online-only. You’ll have full digital access to your CCU accounts, and you can easily use bill pay, monitor your balance, and transfer funds.

Mobile App

CCU’s mobile banking app allows you to take care of banking needs from your smartphone any time you need to.

You can use biometric authentication to access your accounts through the app, where you make mobile check deposits and take care of any account maintenance.

CCU’s mobile banking experience has mixed reviews overall and might function a little better on Android than iOS.

The app currently has a rating of 3.3 stars (out of 5) in the App Store, and 4.1 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store.

30,000+ Free ATMs

There are more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the CCU network, which you can easily find from the website or app.

CCU also reimburses for any out-of-network fees on certain accounts.

Fees

Overall, CCU doesn’t have too much to worry about when it comes to fees. None of its accounts have monthly maintenance fees or low-balance charges.

That said, there are still some things to keep in mind, so let’s take a look at the most common fees that come along with a CCU bank account.

Overdraft Fees

CCU charges $30 per overdraft on each of its account options. There’s an option to automatically cover the negative balance with funds from a linked account, but there’s still a $10 fee each time you have to.

Overdraft fees can be charged up to four times per day, and if you overdraft your account for six consecutive days, there’s an additional $25 fee.

ATM Fees

Some CCU checking accounts come with out-of-network ATM fee rebates, but not all of them.

CCU doesn’t charge any fees of its own, but if you’re using an ATM that does, you might end up paying for it.

Wire Transfers

CCU doesn’t support international wires, so you’ll only have the option to send and receive wire transfers domestically. The fee for incoming wires is $10, and it’ll cost $25 to send one out.

Getting Started

Unlike some credit unions, joining CCU is easy and open to anyone. To join, you’ll need to become a member of the Consumers Cooperative Association, which you can do from www.myconsumers.org.

There’s a one-time membership fee of $5 to join, which you’ll pay at the end of your application.

From there, it’s pretty standard. All you need to open an account is a valid U.S. ID and a Social Security Number.

You can open a new account online in just a few minutes, or you can opt to do it over the phone or in-branch (if you live near Chicago).

Promotions

CCU doesn’t have any sign-up bonuses for new accounts at the moment, but don’t let that steer you away.

Consider This: If you max out the 4.09% APY on a Rewards Checking account with a $10,000 balance, you’re looking at an annual return of $409. For perspective, if you were to sign up for an alternate savings account — even with a $200 sign-up bonus and a 0.50% APY — you would only net around $250 for the year.

Big sign-up bonuses and bank promotions are always tempting, but it pays to take a look at the whole picture whenever you’re choosing a new account.

Security

CCU is backed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which means that all of your deposits are protected for up to $250,000.

For online security, CCU utilizes 128-bit encryption, automatic timeouts, and multi-factor authentication.

It also keeps tabs on your account with access prevention and fraud monitoring, so you can feel assured that your information and money are safe.

Customer Service

To reach CCU’s customer service team, you can head to the website and send a secure message or browse through FAQs to try and find the answers you need.

You can also give them a call at 877-275-2228. The phone line is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm Central Time, and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.

If you live in Illinois, you can always head to your local branch for support, but keep in mind that many locations are still by appointment only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Plenty of financial products
  • High APYs
  • Few fees
  • Easy to join

Cons:

  • Few physical locations
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Low Money Market rates
  • No international wires

Alternatives to Consumers Credit Union

If you want to look into other nationwide credit unions, check out:

To compare CCU and other credit unions to what’s available with a bank, take a look at online banks like:

FAQs

Is Consumers Credit Union FDIC insured?

Credit union members are covered by the NCUA, not the FDIC, which is only used for banks.

CCU is NCUA-insured, and It’s also an Equal Housing Lender.

Are there two Consumers Credit Unions?

Yes. There’s another Consumers Credit Union based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which only provides accounts and services to members that live in that area.

Where is Consumers Credit Union located?

CCU’s headquarters is located in Gurnee, IL, and it operates 10 physical branches total in the Chicago area.

Is Consumers Credit Union Right For You?

Consumers Credit Union offers a comprehensive banking platform that’s more accessible than the majority of credit unions.

You can become a CCU member no matter what state you live in, and there are plenty of accounts and services to take advantage of.

On paper, CCU stands out mainly because of its eye-popping APYs. Even for a credit union or an online bank, which are both known for high rates, there’s a lot to take notice of with a CCU account.

Couple that earning potential with a low fee schedule, and CCU stands out as a solid partner to get your money moving in the right direction.

On the other hand, if you don’t live in Illinois and you like being able to stop by your local credit union branch, you’re out of luck with CCU.

At the end of the day, CCU is well worth your attention as a financial partner. Whether you’re looking to open your first account or wondering if you should make the switch from a bank to a credit union, you should now be in a better position to take that next step.