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Checking Bonus In California And Illinois

finger above a calculatorEarn a few extra bucks just for opening an account at Citizens Equity First Credit Union — or CEFCU as it’s commonly called — and taking a couple of simple steps.

The Peoria, Ill.-based credit union has two special account offers that, combined, pay $75.

The first offer is available if you open a new checking account by June 30.

While the credit union offers two checking accounts — regular checking and dividend checking — the dividend checking isn’t worth your while. It only pays 0.10% APY, and you need to have at least $2,500 in your account to earn interest and avoid monthly fees.

Instead sign up for CEFCU’s non-interest-bearing checking account, which has no minimum balance requirement and no fees, though you need to make at least a $25 deposit to qualify for the bonus.

Then you’ll need to make at least five debit card purchases, have a recurring direct deposit of at least $200, or use online bill payment at least once within the first full calendar month of opening your account.

Once you do one of those things, and sign up for eStatements, you’ll receive a $50 Visa gift card and a free pack of checks four to six weeks later.

Like many credit unions, you need to pay a small fee to join.

CEFCU requires a $1 membership fee and a $5 deposit into a savings account. The savings account pays 0.15% APY on all balances.

Once you’ve joined and opened a savings account, you can establish your checking account.

Any CEFCU member who hasn’t used online bill pay also can earn a bonus.

The credit union will pay $25 if you make two online bill payments. You have to sign up by June 30 and make the two payments in the month you signed up for the service. Within six to eight weeks of that, the credit union will deposit $25 into your savings account.

The credit union was initially established to serve Caterpillar Inc. employees.

CEFCU still serves Caterpillar employees and retirees. But now anyone who lives or works in 14 downstate Illinois counties can join, as well as anyone who works or lives in Alameda, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties in California.

You can open an account online (www.cefcu.com). CEFCU also has 20 locations in Illinois and three in California where you can open an account.

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