Joining Credit Unions 4F&P

I have joined many credit unions that it is not obvious that I should be eligible for. I have gotten some great products from these credit unions such as a killer car loan from NRLFCU and a great home loan from penfed, others sometimes offer the best CD rates our great sign up bonuses for new accounts; NRLFCU and Quorum FCU come to mind here. Almost all of these deals were publicized on the old fatwallet site. I am now asking for help on how to get into a couple more credit unions that interest me:

Earn Up to 4.99% APR on Checking and

It would be nice to consolidate some smaller savings accounts into a 20k interest checking account, but I don’t see an easy way to get into St. Paul FCU when I have no connection to the area currently.

I thought that I read once that you could basically chain relationships to get into Navy such as this: If your uncle qualified, then your dad could join as an immediate family member, at which point you could join as an immediate family member of a member. I can not find any references to this technique searching recently, but I could potentially complete a chain if that would be allowed.

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I would love to get into Navy as well. Replying to get updates on that.

I know people who plan layovers around doing stuff like this. Take a flight somewhere and connect in MSP and walk into a St Paul FCU branch open the acct?

So for making 60 debit purchases the checking account will give you $55/mo more in interest income than the current top “no requirements” HYS account. Are you going to automate those purchases? Otherwise it’s too much work for too little profit.

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This is correct. Gaining NFCU entrance is not as easy today as once was the case. But it remains very doable based on military service. For example, if your mother or dad ever served in the military, any branch, then you are in. This is true even if the former service member is now deceased. Of course you must provide proof of their military service.

Ditto for the chaining you mentioned. For example, if your uncle served but not your dad, and if your uncle is a member, then your dad can gain membership first based on your uncle’s service, whereupon you can join based on your dad’s membership.

If there is no military service, either present day or in the past, anywhere in your family, it could be a problem gaining entrance to NFCU.

Up until not too long ago, anyone could become a member of NFCU by first joining the Navy League, San Diego chapter. That was then, this is now. That route to membership is today closed.

I have carted a case of dollar coins to the bank for 50 bucks. Setting up a few debit card transactions seems like a no brainer. Now that northpointe ultimate account is dying I am looking for a replacement. What do you suggest?

There were reports that it was closed earlier, but turned out to just be an uninformed csr. Has it officially been closed now?

Eta: “it” being the backdoor

We carry “multiple” (i.e., very many:smile:) Reward Checking Accounts (RCAs) with ($25K, 3.5% - 4%) for more than eight years. It takes a lot of work (mainly on debit card transactions) for the first three days of every month. But we get used to the routine like clock work after a while.

Recently the 3.5% RCAs reduced rate to 3%, no longer of interest to us. The 4% RCAs, that we have the most of our RCAs, now requires $5/transaction from 4/1/18. It is a reasonable qualification. We already figured out the cost-effective way to meet that qualification without sacrificing credit card cashback (e.g., from utility/phone bills).

It is not for everyone; i.e., most difficult to get in and to acquire multiple accounts, requiring skills/innovation/computer labor for huge number of debit card transactions; but it has been the best and most profitable liquid approach to invest my the fixed-income portion of my portfolio.

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My best knowledge is that Navy League entrance was terminated when NFCU went over to this new system. If not, that would help people with no military tie.

I’ve done this sort of thing before… (not the layover part, but the walking in part). I’ll say that I just got a new job at the local payday loan shop (joke… fill in whatever job you want to say) and will be moving to town soon… wanting to set up a local account. I’ve usually been rewarded with an account. (Not Navy! )

I have always done this with an actual job in the cards… I’ve never lied. (I travel a LOT for work). But I’ve never been asked for proof of the job, a local address, etc. I just give them my home address and say I’ll change it when I buy a house (hint… a house is more permanent than an apartment… ). Anyway, I just act like it is all just me moving to town…

Can you list some of those accounts?


old times: Pelican State Credit Union (rate dropped from 4% to 3%, limit from $25K to $7.5K), Erie GE Credit Union (Now Widget), etc, etc.

Recent: NavyArmy FCU (TX): RCA Rate dropped from 3.5% to 3% 2-3 months ago - 4 accounts. Tough to get in.
Southwest Airlines FCU (TX): Luv RCA (4%, $25K) - now limit is 2 RCAs per SS #, now (4/1/18) requires $5/debit transactions. One of the toughest to get in.


Would you share some of your approaches for plowing through all the debit card transactions in just a few days each month?

I did not automate the process, but use the old-fashion manner across Verizon, T-Mobile, and several unnamed online processors (not naming them due to “FW effects”); each has some sort of daily limit (on # of debit transactions). Once I get the drift of it, I typically spend about one hr a day (or a bit longer) for three days (at the first three days of each month) to cover all debit card transactions.

It is a pain but tolerable, considering the interest earned for each month.

Can you join SW Airlines FCU through a family member employed by SW? I could not find much eligibility info…

Yes, Membership in Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union is open to employees of Southwest Airlines or another select employer (150 SEGs) or for immediate family of those eligible.

You are right, unfortunately they hide the 150 SEGs list, guess you may get it by calling them. Most SEGs are located in the Dallas/Houston areas as I recall. They do detailed check (e.g., via employee’s ID) for those qualifications.

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If I had the list I could get an Air BNB for 2 weeks, get a job at one of those companies, get my company ID, sign up for the credit union, and then resign.

I wonder if TSA employees can get in. We evidently can get into the American Airlines Federal Credit Union, who has decent Savings and CD rates.

I didn’t see TSA or a few other variants I tried. You can type in a letter or two in the “I’m eligible for membership at SWACU through this employer” drop down box and see lists of employers / groups that provide eligibility. (It’s in the “join” page)

I believe Orion FCU offers a 4% checking up to $30k (.05% after $30k) and all it requires is 8 signature (processed as credit, not debit) debit card transactions per month and $500 incoming transfers per month (DD, ACH, or ATM deposit I believe). I am debating it, but just went through the effort of opening a Discover savings at 2%. I guess double the interest is worth it, but then I have to track debit signature transactions. I hate using debit cards at POS terminals and doing so with $30k behind it makes me a little ehhhh.