• Kale

Millennials, 3 checking accounts that don’t suck

It’s hard to find one and rare for someone who isn’t being paid by these banks to write this, but here we are, folks, doing both.


You’ve had one for years. It’s been with you in good times and bad. But you’ve never really liked or understood it.

Yes, I’m talking about your checking account.

Banking has come a long way since you likely first opened the thing and it’s time for a change.

Some may disagree with me, but from a practical standpoint, you need this thing to do only a few things:

  • Safely hold your money (FDIC/NCUA-insurance)

  • Pay you as much as possible for being a customer

  • Not have a terrible website & customer service

  • Allow for Bill Pay, Direct Deposit, and a Debit Card

  • Have zero fees

  • And reimburse ATM fees (in the rare event you need cash)


That’s it.


So with that in mind, let’s work through the top 3 options you have as of April 2020.

1.) Consumers Credit Union Serious Interest Checking

Leading with the overall winner, your future checking account should be at Consumers Credit Union folks.

  • 4.00% APY** on balance up to $15,000 (and you shouldn’t have that much in a checking account anyway)

**here’s their stipulations, which are completely fair:

“balances up to $15,000 when you have 12 posted debit card transactions per month, a $1,000 average daily balance, $1,000 minimum recurring monthly direct deposit and eStatements”
  • Free debit card (with no usage fees)

  • Online banking + mobile app (decent enough)

  • Bill pay & Direct deposit

  • Free ATM usage (no fees)

  • No other lurking fees

  • Member perks (really only applicable if you live in Michigan, but still cool)

  • NCUA insurance (the same thing has FDIC pretty much)

So, in summation, this checking account kicks ass and you should open & switch to this today.

www.consumerscu.org 2). Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking (surprisingly, not the same entity as number 1)

Again, weird occurrence with the same name but maybe originality is dead in 2020? Who knows and more importantly, who cares. Let’s get to it.

This account has the potential to actually pay you more, but as you will see, the stipulations to earn the rate make doing so a metaphorical maze of required actions.

  • 5.09% APY**

**here’s their stipulations,

“Receive eDocuments (enroll and accept the disclosure), Make at least 12 debit card purchases totaling $100 or more each month, Direct deposits or ACH credit totaling $500 or more monthly, Spend $1000 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases each month; no minimum number of transactions.”
  • Free Debit Card

  • Online banking (decent)

  • Bill Pay

  • No other fees

  • Free ATM usage (no fees)

  • NCUA insurance

So if you’re willing to jump through some hoops and switch credit cards to these guys, you could obtain a pretty strong interest rate on your checking account. I personally think it goes one or two steps too far, so I’d stick with option 1.

www.myconsumers.org 3.) Zero.app Checking & Debit Card

This one’s somewhat of a wild card, but if you’re a big spender, I mean really big spender, you can actually unlock some pretty solid perks with Zero.

  • Great app (way better than 1 & 2)

  • Cash-back on debit card*

*So here’s where it gets fishy:


Assuming you’re a normal person like myself, you may spend $1,000 or so per month (across debit & credit cards). So that places us in the Quartz tier, which then reduces the overall value down to us earning 1.0% cash-back and zero interest on the cash maintained in the checking account.

So, net, we’re really earning less than 1% on our checking.

That being said, if you’re dropping $100k annually on a debit card, this is for you.

  • No ATM fees

  • No other fees

  • Bill Pay & Direct Deposit

  • FDIC-Insurance (via Evolve Bank)

  • Likely future innovation (which is a huge plus in my book)


So to summarize, I think this is a really cool option and the choice for you if you are spending a boat-load of cash on a debit card every year.


For frugal individuals such as myself, not the best choice of the 3 at this point in time. But my money is on these guys to follow-up with great new features over time so certainly worth keeping an eye on. zero.app



Hope you enjoyed this. If not, you still read the entire thing so thanks anyway. Go open one of these today. Trust me, it’s the right call.

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