Signature Federal Credit Union (FCU) High-Yield Checking Review


Most of the accounts on our list of the best high-yield checking accounts come courtesy of online banks with lower expenses than traditional brick and mortar banks. They pass those savings to customers via higher yields on checking and savings balances.

A few credit unions offer excellent high-yield checking products too. One standout is the Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking account, which yields up to 4.00% APY on eligible balances when you complete qualifying activities. That’s on par with the top high-yield savings accounts.

Signature FCU High-Yield Checking appeals to anyone looking to earn an above-average yield on their day-to-day financial balances. But it’s not perfect for everyone. It has some limitations worth understanding before you apply for an account.

What Is Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking?

Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking is a high-yield checking account that earns up to 4.00% APY on balances up to $20,000. You must complete certain qualifying activities to earn interest in a given statement cycle.

This account has no ongoing maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. It comes with a debit card that’s accepted by millions of merchants worldwide and includes fee-free access to tens of thousands of ATMs across the United States.

What Sets Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking Apart?

This account stands out from the competition in several important ways:

  • Interest rate on par with top high-yield savings accounts. This account’s yield is 4.00% APY on balances up to $20,000 with qualifying activities. If you’re able to earn it consistently, your yield approaches what you’d earn in a top high-yield savings account.
  • No maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. There’s no monthly or annual maintenance fee on this account, nor are there any minimum balance requirements to open or maintain it.
  • Ongoing qualification requirements to earn interest. To earn interest in any given statement cycle, you must complete three qualification requirements, including a minimum monthly direct deposit and a minimum number of monthly debit card transactions. These requirements may not be practical if this isn’t your primary checking account.
  • Must join Signature FCU to apply. Signature FCU membership is open to U.S. citizens without geographic restrictions, but applying still adds time and complexity to the account-opening process. That’s not the case with traditional banks.

Key Features of Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking

Before applying for a Signature FCU High-Yield Checking account, take a few minutes to understand its key features and restrictions — starting with its membership eligibility requirements.

Membership Eligibility Requirements

Signature FCU membership is open to employees of about two dozen companies, organizations, and agencies, plus immediate family and household members of current Signature FCU members.

If you don’t meet any of those criteria, you can still join Signature FCU through the American Consumer Council. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. address.

You can apply for Signature FCU membership while you’re applying to open a High-Yield Checking account. However, the process can take longer if Signature FCU needs to verify that you’re eligible for membership in the first place.

Account Yield & Requirements

This account yields 4.00% APY on balances up to $20,000 in any statement cycle where you complete all three qualification requirements:

  • Enroll in electronic statements, which you only need to do once
  • Receive at least $1,000 in eligible direct deposits
  • Complete at least 15 debit card transactions in-person or online

If you miss any of these requirements, you earn no interest for the period. Balances above $20,000 earn no interest, even when you complete the requirements.

Account Fees & Minimums

This account has no monthly or annual maintenance fee. There’s no minimum opening balance or ongoing balance once the account is open either.

ATM Access

Signature FCU has more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs in its coast-to-coast network, including at thousands of non-Signature credit union branches. Withdrawal fees and other fees may apply at ATMs outside this network.

Mobile Features

Signature FCU isn’t known as a leader in mobile banking technology, but its mobile app has useful capabilities like digital bill payments and remote check deposit. The regular online dashboard works fine on mobile devices as well.

Deposit Insurance

This account comes with deposit insurance up to up to $250,000. If Signature Federal Credit Union goes out of business, the National Credit Union Administration steps in to reimburse any balances up to that amount.

Pros & Cons

Signature FCU High-Yield Checking has a lot working in its favor — and some notable downsides as well.

Pros

  • Excellent yield on eligible balances
  • No maintenance fees or minimums
  • Loose credit union membership requirements

Cons

  • Must complete all three qualifying activities to earn interest
  • No interest on balances above $20,000
  • Joining Signature FCU adds time to application process

Pros

Signature FCU High-Yield Checking is an accessible, low-cost checking account that earns an excellent yield (for a checking account) on eligible balances.

  • Earn up to 4.00% APY on eligible balances. That’s one of the best interest rates offered by any checking account on the market. It’s not far off yields on the best high-yield savings accounts.
  • No maintenance fees. Signature FCU charges no maintenance fees, so you won’t pay anything out of pocket to keep this account open.
  • No minimum balance. There’s no minimum balance to open this account or keep it open. However, the more you have in your account, the more potential interest you can earn.
  • Easy to qualify for membership. Through the American Consumer Council, Signature FCU membership is open to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently living in the country.

Cons

This account limits how much interest you can earn and makes it difficult to earn any interest at all if this isn’t your main checking account. 

  • Must complete all three qualifying activities to earn interest. This account’s requirements to earn interest are challenging for people who don’t use it as their primary checking account.
  • No interest on balances above $20,000. Most people keep less than $20,000 in their checking account anyway, but this is still a downside for people with higher incomes and expenses.
  • Joining Signature FCU adds an extra step to account opening. Despite loose membership requirements, Signature FCU still requires new account holders to apply for membership. This adds more time and complexity to the process of opening an account relative to the process at traditional banks.

How Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking Stacks Up

The Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking account is one of the best high-yield checking accounts on the market. With one important exception, it compares favorably to the Quontic High-Interest Checking account, another popular option for anyone seeking a return on day-to-day balances.

Signature FCU High-Yield Quontic High-Interest
Maintenance Fee $0 $0
Minimum to Open $0 $100
Minimum Ongoing $0 $50
Maximum Yield 4.00% APY 1.10% APY
Qualifying Activities Yes Yes
Maximum Balance to Earn Yes, $20,000 None

Signature FCU High-Yield Checking has a much higher yield and even lower minimums than Quontic High-Interest Checking, so it’s the better choice for most users. Its only drawback is the maximum interest-earning balance. That makes Quontic a better bet for users with higher incomes and assets.

Final Word

The Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking account really lives up to its name. Whereas many so-called high-yield checking accounts earn 1% APY or less, this account earns up to 4.00% APY on eligible balances, close to what the best high-yield savings accounts earn. It’s also free to use, with no ongoing maintenance fees or balance requirements.

However, this account comes with some catches. Its requirements to earn interest are relatively strict, and you don’t earn interest on balances above $20,000 no matter what.

Still, there’s a lot to like about this account. If you’re looking for a rewarding new checking account, it’s a worthy choice.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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