Courtesy of Connexus

Courtesy of Connexus

Checking accounts offer lousy interest rates, but few restrictions on moving your money in and out. The best savings accounts pay 1 percent APY or more, but don’t encourage frequent transactions.

Here’s a possible solution: Wisconsin-based Connexus Credit Union offers two options that combine the best attributes of both savings and checking accounts. And, get this, any adult can become a member.

What’s more, the two accounts, Xtraordinary Checking and MyRewards checking, pay higher rates than the best savings accounts.

Which one is right for you? Here’s the rundown.

Xtraordinary Checking

This account:

  • Pays 1.75 percent APY on balances up to $25,000.
  • Charges no monthly fees.
  • Has no minimum opening balance requirement, although you’ll need to deposit at least $5 in the personal savings account Connexus automatically opens for when you become a member.
  • Charges no ATM fees when you use a Connexus ATM or ATMs in the MoneyPass or Co-Op networks. Account holders will get six free ATM transactions per month when using ATMs outside these two networks.
  • Rebates up to $25 per month (and $5 per transaction) on ATM fees charged by other institutions.

To qualify for the top rate, each month customers must make 15 debit card transactions, receive one direct deposit (of any amount), sign up for electronic monthly statements and make one-third party online bill payment.

MyRewards Checking

This account:

  • Pays 1.35 percent APY on balances up to $25,000.
  • Charges no monthly fees.
  • Has no minimum opening balance requirement, though you must deposit $5 in savings.
  • Charges no ATM fees when you use a Connexus ATM or ATMs in the MoneyPass or Co-Op networks. Account holders will get four free ATM transactions per month when using ATMs outside these two networks.
  • Rebates up to $25 per month (and $5 per transaction) in ATM fees.

The interest rate on this account is lower than on the Xtraordinary Checking account because there are fewer requirements.

Instead of 15 debit card transactions, customers must make just 10 a month to earn the top rate. Account holders also must receive one direct deposit (of any amount) and sign up for electronic monthly statements.

When you don’t meet the requirements

If you fail to meet the monthly requirements with either account, you’ll earn 0.2 percent APY. Accounts with a balance above $25,000 will earn 0.25 percent on the excess balance. Neither account comes with a checkbook, and the most basic one will cost $15.95.

If this seems like too much work, compare rates from other top checking accounts.

Connexus checking account fees

Although there are no monthly fees Connexus will charge account holders:

  • $2 (after first six transactions for Xtraordinary and after four transactions for MyRewards) when you use ATMs not owned by Connexus or within the two authorized networks.
  • $8.95 when money is automatically transferred from one Connexus account to another to avoid an overdraft.
  • $29.95 if you overdraft the account.

How to join

The credit union is open to employees, families, retirees, students and alumni of select companies and residents of various Midwestern communities. Anyone can qualify by first joining the credit union’s charitable arm, the Connexus Association, which requires a one-time $5 donation.

How to open a Connexus checking account

To open a checking account, you’ll need the following:

  • Government issued ID (driver’s license or a passport with current address)
  • Physical mailing address (from anywhere in the world)
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth

About Connexus Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union is headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin. Deposits up to $250,000 are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

The credit union earned four out of five stars on Bankrate’s latest Safe & Sound Ratings, which measures the financial health of banks and credit unions throughout the United States.

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