BCU is a moderately sized credit union that ranks as the 56th largest in the nation by asset size. A state chartered credit union based in Illinois, BCU serves just over 250,000 members. When it was founded in 1981, BCU was known as Baxter Credit Union and was created for healthcare industry employees of Baxter Healthcare.
You don’t have to live in Illinois or work for Baxter to qualify for membership with this credit union, but eligibility is employment-, community-, and family-based. BCU isn’t able to offer high rates on their deposit products and user experience is varied, so it probably won’t be your first choice for those reasons. But if a bank with a personal feel and decent loans appeals to you, then it might be worth checking BCU out.
BCU CD Rates + Account Details
BCU CD Rates
|CD Term||Regular APY||Rewards APY|
|13 months, no-penalty||1.00%||NA|
To give the above offers some context, the current market average for a 12 month CD is only 0.29% APY. That said there are a number of online banks with APYs on certificates of deposit and savings accounts that are still higher than this. BCU’s Rewards Rates are a bit better, but still not enough to make these accounts attractive when pitted against the top rates available online.
To qualify for Rewards Rates, you must meet at least two of the following requirements:
- Direct deposit at least $500 monthly into a BCU checking account
- Have at least $25,000 total on deposit with the credit union
- Have a home loan, home equity, or auto loan with a balance or a credit card with a transaction in the last 30 days that is in good standing with the credit union
The 13 month no penalty certificate option is one of the most attractive deposit products available from BCU. It offers withdrawal flexibility without compromising the APY – either through fees or reduction of rate.
The minimum deposit needed to open a BCU certificate of deposit is $500. This applies to both Rewards and Regular deposits. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly. You may choose to have this interest paid to another account or redeposited back into the certificate.
BCU CDs come with a six day grace period—withdraw funds in this window after your certificate automatically renews to avoid early withdrawal penalties. If your term is one year or less, you will be charged 30 days’ interest for early withdrawal; if your term is between one and two years, you will be charged 90 days’ interest; if your term is between two and three years, you will be charged 180 days’ interest; and if your term is greater than three years, you will be charged 270 days’ interest.
BCU Money Market Rates + Account Details
BCU money market accounts are similarly underwhelming in terms of APY, but they still manage to beat the national averages by a hair. Current national averages sit at roughly 0.10% APY for money market accounts.
BCU Money Market Rates
|$1,000 – $24,999||0.05%|
|$25,000 – $99,999||0.10%|
|$100,000 – $250k||0.15%|
|$250k – $499,999||0.30%|
When many online banks are offering over 1.00% APY on balances as low as $1, it’s hard to get excited about BCU’s MMA rates, but remember these rates are variable and can change at any time.
“Money Market Special” accounts are also available to those that make a deposit of $15,000 of new money, meaning money not already on deposit with BCU or in another account, when they open an MMA. If you can deposit this much, you’ll get an APY of 1.00%.
BCU does not require a minimum balance in a money market account and therefore doesn’t charge any fees for low balances, but if you have less than $1,000 in your account, you will earn an even lower APY of 0.01%, so you probably wouldn’t want to open an MMA with less than that.
Dividends are compounded and credited monthly on all money market accounts. Per Federal Regulation D, you can make only six withdrawals or transfers from this account per month. You will be charged $10 for each transaction in excess of this limit.
Other Savings Accounts Offered by BCU
Your share in BCU will cost only $1, and the credit union will cover this for you. Money you deposit upon becoming a member goes into a regular savings account, which earns an APY of 0.01%. The national average rate for a savings account is 0.07%, so we’d recommend moving your funds to a different account once you’re a member.
There are no monthly maintenance fees or low balance charges, but you’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of $1 to stay a member. An excessive ATM transaction fee of $1.50 is charged for each transaction over 5 in a single month. Interest is compounded and credited monthly.
BCU also offers a “Rainy Day savings account.” This account is much more rewarding in terms of interest, but they’re a bit more complicated.
To open, you need to deposit anywhere between $25 and $1,000. Then, you need to schedule monthly payments of between $25 and $500 a month for deposit into this account. If you exceed this, the extra money will be transferred to your regular savings account. Following these rules will ensure that you earn the coveted APY of 2.00%. The catch is that you can only make two free withdrawals in a year or you’ll be charged $25 per. Also, you will need to keep depositing regularly into the account to avoid defaulting to the regular savings account APY of just 0.01%.
About BCU (Baxter Credit Union) + Membership Eligibility
BCU is based in Illinois, but individuals across the country can join if they meet any of the following eligibility criteria:
- You work for a qualifying employer
- You live in Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, or Cook county in Illinois
- You are an immediate or extended family member of someone that qualifies for membership
The primary way that those living outside of Illinois qualify to join BCU is through the first criterion, employer groups. The partner companies BCU accepts are spread out across the country and there are 87 of them—among them CVS Health and Target—so you might just qualify this way.
There are 42 BCU branch locations—mostly, of course, in Illinois. The credit union also participates in co-op shared branching with thousands of other credit unions and shares over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs with other credit unions as well. So if you don’t live in Illinois you might not get to walk into a BCU in person, but you can almost definitely access your money via a nearby credit union and/or ATM.
In 2018, BCU held about $3.48 billion in total member assets and 3.12 billion in net member loans and reported a capital ratio of 10%. They have more than 250,000 members today.
At the end of the day, BCU is unlikely to be a good fit for you if your sights are set on earning high yields through a federally insured credit union. Their savings products fall short when compared to the top rates available nationwide.
They do have fairly positive reviews on the loan side of their business, and the rates that can be had there are much more attractive. Albeit largely due to our current interest rate environment rather than a tribute to BCU alone.