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Columbia Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Columbia Credit Union’s checking account options

Free For All Checking

No dividends on this checking account, but you’ll also run into very few fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not

Free For All Checking is Columbia Credit Union’s bare-bones checking account. While it does not earn any interest, it also has no monthly maintenance fee or account balance requirement. On top of that, the minimum deposit requirement is almost nonexistent. If you’re looking for a low-fee checking account and don’t mind giving up dividends, this account isn’t a bad bet.

While there is a small fee for using an out-of-network ATM on all of Columbia’s deposit accounts, it should be noted that Columbia Credit Union participates in the CO-OP Network, which gives you access to almost 30,000 ATMs at different credit unions across the country.

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Income Checking

Columbia Credit Union’s only checking account with a minimum balance requirement comes with an APY that is too low to make it worth it.
APY
Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03% $500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7, though this fee can be waived.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Columbia Credit Union’s Income Checking does not offer a great deal on a checking account. First, the dividends are extremely low. While you don’t necessarily expect to see a sky-high APY on a checking account, there are far better offers out there.

In order to earn that low APY, you will have to keep the required minimum balance in your account. While this minimum isn’t astronomically high, there are other accounts out there that come with no minimum balance requirements.

With that minimum balance requirement comes a monthly maintenance fee. This fee can be waived, though. In order to dodge it, you can maintain the minimum balance requirement or set up direct deposit.

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Bonus Checking

The monthly maintenance fee makes this account attractive only to people who travel abroad or have frequent need of money orders.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Bonus Checking is very similar to Free For All Checking. The bonuses that you receive are one box of free custom checks every year, free money orders and no foreign ATM fees. This checking account may be worth it if you’re traveling abroad or if you have a frequent need for money orders, but otherwise the monthly maintenance fee, which cannot be waived, isn’t worth the spend. This account does not bear interest.

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RewardsPLUS Checking

The perks of Bonus Checking without the fee — but only for people over 50.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

If you’re age 50 or older and like the benefits of Bonus Checking, but not necessarily the maintenance fee, RewardsPLUS Checking could be for you. You get a free box of custom checks every year, no foreign transaction fees at ATMs abroad and free money orders, and you’ll also be eligible for a discount on a safe deposit box. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.

Despite these perks, it is important to note that this account does not pay interest.

How to open Columbia Credit Union’s checking accounts

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident age 18 or older, you can open an account online or in person. You will need your Social Security number and government-issued ID in order to apply. Remember that for RewardsPLUS Checking accounts, you must be age 50 or older.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

If you’re opening a checking account based solely on the interest rate you can get, Columbia Credit Union isn’t for you. The only dividend-bearing account offers a paltry rate— and even its other checking accounts, which have perks such as no maintenance fees or no foreign transaction fees at ATMs, have competitors that offer these same benefits without sacrificing on dividends. Shop the competition on our list of the top checking accounts before deciding which account is best for you.

Columbia Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

This low-yield savings account comes with more restrictions than you’ll find at other financial institutions.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3, though this fee can be waived.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Regular Savings is Columbia Credit Union’s standard savings account. While it comes with no minimum balance requirements, it does come with a monthly fee. However, this fee can be waived if you maintain a balance of $300, possess another deposit account or loan with Columbia Credit Union, or if you’re under the age of 19. While this account does pay dividends, they are extremely low.

All savings accounts in the U.S. fall under Regulation D. This rule states that you are allowed up to six certain convenient withdrawals per month without facing possible fees imposed by the credit union. At Columbia Credit Union, you simply won’t be able to make any convenient transactions after six — the system will not allow it. Convenient withdrawals at this credit union do not include making a withdrawal in person or at an ATM, so you can make more than six withdrawals per month if you use these methods. There is, however, a fee of $0.50 for every withdrawal you make per month after the first two.

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Achievers Club Savings

This savings account for people 18 or younger has a few extra perks but low dividend offerings.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

People age 18 or younger can open an Achievers Club Savings account. The perks of this account include no ATM fees from Columbia Credit Union when you use out-of-network ATMs and a free book of 150 checks for your checking account.

You’re also able to make six certain withdrawals or transfers per month allowed by Regulation D without facing any institutional fees. After six withdrawals of any kind, however, you’ll face a 50-cent fee.

But while this account does pay dividends, they are once again extremely low.

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Holiday Club Savings

Save for the holidays with this separate, but still low-APY, account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

The Holiday Club Savings account allows you to save up for the holidays throughout the year. The minimum opening deposit is extremely low, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. If you maintain the required minimum balance, you will be rewarded with dividends, though the APY offering is minimal.On November 1, the balance of your club account will be automatically transferred to your checking or savings account, depending on which you have designated. While you can make withdrawals before this point, you will be charged a 25-cent fee for doing so. Regulation D limitations are not a concern as the only way to make a withdrawal from this account is with a teller at your local branch or a customer service representative over the phone.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts

U.S. citizens and residents age 18 or older can open these accounts in person or online with their Social Security number and government-issued ID. Minors will need an adult with them when they visit in person to open an account.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts do not pay very much in the way of interest. While free checks for people with a Achievers Club Savings account is a nice perk, they do not make up for low APY offerings. You can find much better rates by shopping our list of the best savings accounts on the market.

Columbia Credit Union’s CD rates

Personal Certificates

Middle-of-the-road rates that get more competitive with higher opening deposits.
TermAPY   Minimum Balance to Earn APY
 3 Months0.50%$0.01
3 Months0.55%$10,000
3 Months0.60%$50,000
3 Months0.65%$100,000
6 Months0.85%$0.01
6 Months0.90%$10,000
6 Months0.95%$50,000
6 Months1.00%$100,000
12 Months1.70%$0.01
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
18 Months1.85%$0.01
18 Months1.90%$10,000
18 Months1.95%$50,000
18 Months2.00%$100,000
24 Months2.45%$0.01
24 Months2.50%$10,000
24 Months2.55%$50,000
24 Months2.60%$100,000
30 Months2.50%$0.01
30 Months2.55%$10,000
30 Months2.60%$50,000
30 Months2.65%$100,000
36 Months2.55%$0.01
36 Months2.60%$10,000
36 Months2.65%$50,000
36 Months2.70%$100,000
48 Months2.75%$0.01
48 Months2.80%$10,000
48 Months2.85%$50,000
48 Months2.90%$100,000
60 Months2.95%$0.01
60 Months3.00%$10,000
60 Months3.05%$50,000
60 Months3.10%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Certificates with terms of 12 months or less will accrue a penalty equal to 90 days’ worth of dividends; certificates with terms of more than 12 months will accrue a penalty equal to 180 days’ worth of dividends.

The APY offerings on Personal Certificates at Columbia Credit Union fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. While you can certainly find lower rates out there, they’re not quite up to par with the best offers on the market. However, as the opening balance gets higher, the gap shrinks between Columbia Credit Union’s APY offerings and those ideal offers.

The minimum opening deposit requirement is low, and the early withdrawal penalties on these certificates are fairly standard.

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Achievers Club Certificates

While you won’t earn the most competitive APY, you will be able to top-off this certificate made especially for youth throughout its term.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 Months1.70%$100
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of dividends

These certificates are only open to people age 18 or younger. The value in these certificates does not lay with its dividend rates, which are relatively low given the term length. Rather, the low opening deposit amount is a draw, plus the fact that you can make additional deposits throughout the term of your certificate in $50 increments.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s Certificates

You can open your certificate online or in person with your Social Security number and government-issued ID. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident age 18 or older to apply, though minors can apply for an Achievers Club Certificate in person with an adult.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Columbia Credit Union’s certificates are more competitive than its checking and savings products. While the rates aren’t the highest on the market, they’re not the lowest either. But you don’t just want “not the lowest” — you want to get the best rate you possibly can, especially when you’re putting your money into an account where you won’t be able to touch it for a set period of time. Be sure to shop our list of the best CD rates on the market so you can get the best rates available.

Columbia Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market Account

Low APY offerings make this account uncompetitive.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.03%$5,000
0.06%$10,000
0.10%$25,000
0.15%$50,000
0.18%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 per month if your balance falls below $1,500
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

While the minimum opening deposit requirement is low on this money market account, so are its APY offerings. Columbia Credit Union offers rates drastically below the best offers on the market. You will also incur a monthly fee if you do not maintain a balance of $1,500, but traditionally the balance kept in a money market account is much higher than that, anyways.

It’s important to note that money market accounts, like savings accounts, are subject to Regulation D. Because of Columbia Credit Union’s policies, you will not face any excessive withdrawal fees or account closures due to making more than six convenient withdrawals per month. The credit union will simply not allow you to make that withdrawal in the first place.

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Money Market Account with Bonus Dividend Plan

Jump through several hoops in order to get a slight boost on your dividends.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.03%$5,000
0.07%$10,000
0.13%$25,000
0.19%$50,000
0.23%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 per month if your balance falls below $1,500
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

In order to qualify for Bonus Dividend rates on your money market account, you must enroll in the Bonus Dividend Plan by calling a customer service representative. You must also have a personal checking account with Columbia Credit Union with a balance of at least $2,500. The final requirement to earn these higher rates is to have direct deposit set up on your checking account or to have automatic payments set up on a Columbia Credit Union loan.

These are a lot of hoops to jump through for less than a tenth of a percentage point increase in APY. Given that Columbia Credit Union’s money market rates were low to begin with, you’d be better off looking at money market accounts offered by other financial institutions rather than contorting your finances to meet the Bonus Dividend requirements.

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Premium Money Market Account

If you’re going to keep this much cash in a deposit account, make sure it’s earning a higher APY.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.90%$100,000
0.95%$250,000
1.00%$500,000
1.05% $1,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

If you looked only at Columbia Credit Union’s other money market offerings, the Premium Money Market Account might look like a good deal. You get higher rates for having a higher balance.But when you compare this offer to the APYs offered by the competition, you start to see that the returns offered are extremely low for the amount of money you’d be keeping in the account. Shop around as your money will earn more elsewhere.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s Money Market Accounts

U.S. citizens and residents age 18 or older can open a regular money market account in person or online with their Social Security number and government-issued ID. After you’ve opened a standard Money Market Account and adjusted your other financial accounts to meet plan requirements, you can enroll in the Bonus Dividend Program by calling (360) 891-4000, emailing a representative or chatting with someone at Columbia Credit Union online.

All Premium Money Market Accounts must be opened in person at your local branch.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Columbia Credit Union’s dividend offerings on money market accounts are not competitive. They fall far below the rates offered by the competition, despite having reasonable minimum opening deposit requirements and potential rate boosts through the Bonus Dividend Plan. Shop our list of the best money market accounts on the market and be rewarded with a higher APY.

Columbia Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA Certificates

These certificates aren’t terribly exciting, but the rates are fairer than those offered on checking and savings products.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3 Months0.50%$0.01
3 Months0.55%$10,000
3 Months0.60%$50,000
3 Months0.65%$100,000
6 Months0.85%$0.01
6 Months0.90%$10,000
6 Months0.95%$50,000
6 Months1.00%$100,000
12 Months1.70%$0.01
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
18 Months1.85%$0.01
18 Months1.90%$10,000
18 Months1.95%$50,000
18 Months2.00%$100,000
24 Months2.45%$0.01
24 Months2.50%$10,000
24 Months2.55%$50,000
24 Months2.60%$100,000
30 Months2.50%$0.01
30 Months2.55%$10,000
30 Months2.60%$50,000
30 Months2.65%$100,000
36 Months2.55%$0.01
36 Months2.60%$10,000
36 Months2.65%$50,000
36 Months2.70%$100,000
48 Months2.75%$0.01
48 Months2.80%$10,000
48 Months2.85%$50,000
48 Months2.90%$100,000
60 Months2.95%$0.01
60 Months3.00%$10,000
60 Months3.05%$50,000
60 Months3.10%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Certificates with terms of 12 months or less will accrue a penalty equal to 90 days’ worth of dividends; certificates with terms of more than 12 months will accrue a penalty equal to 180 days’ worth of dividends.

Columbia Credit Union’s certificate rates remain unchanged whether they are inside or outside of an IRA. These rates aren’t the best on the market, but they’re not the worst, either. Minimum opening deposit requirements are low, and early withdrawal penalties are what you’d expect to see on an account of this kind.Remember, though, that early withdrawals don’t just come with institutional penalties when they’re inside of an IRA. You also need to be conscientious of the fact that except in rare cases, if you’re under the age of 59 ½ you will face taxes and penalties from the IRS if you withdraw money from an IRA.

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IRA Achievers Club Certificates

IRA certificates for customers age 18 and younger.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 Months1.70%$100
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of dividends

Yes, you can open an IRA for your child, too. While not all financial institutions offer IRA certificates for youth, you will want to research before deciding if this is the one you want to open. These rates are once again not the worst around, but they’re hardly the best, either.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s IRA Certificates

Visit your local branch prepared with your Social Security number and government-issued ID in order to open an IRA certificate. If you want to open an IRA Achievers Club Certificate, you will need to open your account with the assistance of an adult at your local branch.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

The rates offered on Columbia Credit Union’s IRA certificates aren’t the lowest around, but they’re not the highest, either. An IRA certificate is already an extremely conservative portfolio holding; you want to make sure you’re not further stunting your money’s growth by earning less of an APY than you have to. Shop around to ensure you’re getting the best IRA CD rates the market has to offer.

IRA savings account

There’s a low barrier to entry on these low-yielding IRA savings accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.10%$5,000
0.15%$25,000
0.20%$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

If there’s a portfolio holding that’s more conservative than an IRA CD, it’s an IRA savings account. Because of the low risk level, there is very little potential reward. But that’s not an excuse to just open an account willy-nilly — although minimum opening balance requirements make this account accessible to almost anyone, you can find rates more than 10 times the highest offered by Columbia Credit Union if you look at other financial institutions.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s IRA Savings

You must open this account in person at your local branch. Be prepared to provide your Social Security number and government-issued ID.

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Overall review of Columbia Credit Union’s banking products

Columbia Credit Union does not, by and large, offer competitive dividends on its deposit accounts. This is more pronounced in some cases, like its checking, savings and money market accounts — where APY offerings are almost nonexistent. If you look at its certificates, you start to see rates that are more on par with market averages, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best around. You’ll want to do some shopping before opening any one of these deposit accounts as you’re highly likely to find a better offer with another financial institution.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

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Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards® Points earned

Through Membership Rewards®, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards® Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards® will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards® site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards® or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fee.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards® site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards® since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

*The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Earning Interest, Reviews

Discover Bank CD Rates Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Discover Bank
Most people know Discover as a credit card company, but it also operates an online bank and offers some of the best rates and terms on checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

As a bank, Discover offers some of the best products on the market. Currently, they’re offering a major deal on their online savings account, which currently earns 1.80% APY. If you apply for their savings account for the very first time by 12/02/19 and deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 12/16/19, you can earn a $150 bonus. If you deposit a balance of at least $25,000 by the same date, you can earn a $200 bonus. Applying for the account is easy as you don’t need to go to a branch. Bonuses will be credited to your account by 12/30/19. You can apply online or over the phone. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM1119 when you apply.

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If you’re looking for CDs in particular, Discover is currently considered to have some of the best CDs due to their customer service and digital tools.

Discover Bank CD rates

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.10%

18 months

2.10%

24 months

2.15%

30 months

2.15%

3 years

2.15%

4 years

2.15%

5 years

2.20%

7 years

2.25%

10 years

2.30%

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How do Discover Bank CD rates compare?

While Discover Bank CD rates aren’t always the highest available, they are consistently among the top offers across all terms. However, you may be able to find a similar or even better rate with a CD that has a lower minimum deposit than Discover’s $2,500 requirement. Currently, several nationwide banks offered a 12-month CD at a rate higher than Discover’s 12-month CD APY, while requiring a lower minimum deposit. For example, at the same time the above rates were available at Discover, there were 12-month CDs with rates as high as 2.10% APY with a lower minimum balance amount to earn the APY.

It’s always great to go for the highest interest rates possible, but keep your CD investing strategy in mind. If you’re investing in CDs using the ladder strategy, it might be easier to keep everything in one bank since you’ll be switching in and out of CDs frequently.

Discover also stands out from its competition in the CD space with its mobile app and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. If you value such features, keep those particulars in mind when weighing Discover CD rates against others’.

What you need to know about Discover Bank’s CDs

Discover Bank is very transparent in terms of fine print. It’s not difficult to understand what’ll happen with your money after you invest it. We’ll cover the basics here about what you need to know to invest in Discover Bank’s CDs.

How to open a CD

It’s very simple to open up a CD with Discover Bank. Go to their CD webpage and click on the orange “Open an Account” button near the top right of the page. You can then choose which accounts you’d like to open. Select “CD,” choose a CD term and enter how much you’d like to deposit.

You’ll then need to complete the application by providing your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, employment status and possibly even your driver’s license. Once your application is complete and accepted, you’ll need to fund the account.

How to fund the CD

You’ll need to fund it within 45 days of submitting your application, which you can do in one of three ways:

  • Transfer funds from another bank account over the phone. (You can only do this when you first fund your account.)
  • Transfer funds from another bank via online transfer.
  • Write a check to yourself and send it to the following address:Discover Bank
    P.O. Box 30417
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

The minimum deposit amount for each of Discover Bank’s CDs is $2,500. Once you open a CD, you can’t deposit more money later, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the cash you want to invest before you open the account.

Withdrawing funds from the CD

When you want to withdraw money from your CD, the biggest thing to consider is whether that CD has matured yet, or finished its term.

If your CD has not matured, you’ve got options: You can take the interest out penalty-free at any time, or you can withdraw the principal (or the money you deposited) at any time as long as you pay an early-withdrawal penalty. This penalty varies depending on the original term of your CD:

  • less than one year: three months’ worth of simple interest
  • one year to less than four years: six months’ worth of simple interest
  • four years: nine months’ worth of simple interest
  • five years to less than seven years: 18 months’ worth of simple interest
  • seven years or longer: 24 months’ worth of simple interest

If your CD has finished its term, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, allow the CD to renew or roll it into a CD of a different term length. (More on that in a bit).

Earning interest on a Discover CD

Your CD will start earning interest on the same business day that you fund the account. The interest will be added to your account once each month, however.

When it comes to what to do with your interest, you have two options: The default option is to allow it to compound within the CD (meaning you’ll earn interest on that interest), or you can have it automatically deposited each month into another Discover bank account.

What happens once the CD matures?

You’ll get a heads-up notice about a month before your CD matures so you can decide what to do with the money. You have two main options: Either reinvest it into another CD (of the same term length or a different term length), or withdraw the money from the CD and put it into another account (such as a checking or savings account, or perhaps a CD at a different institution).

If you don’t let Discover know what you want to do with the maturing CD, the CD will automatically renew into another one of the same term length. You have a nine-day grace period after your CD automatically rolls over to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

The bottom line

As far as big-name banks go, Discover offers great CD products. Wells Fargo, for example, only offers interest rates as high as 1.55% APY on a $5,000 deposit for a 58-month CD. Chase Bank offers even lower maximum rates — an abysmal 1.05% APY, and only if you can commit a minimum of $100,000 for 10 years.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your finances in one place, Discover also has great credit cards, as well as competitive online savings and checking accounts. No matter how long you’re considering putting money in a CD, Discover is worth a look. Even if it doesn’t have the best available rate, it’s usually within several basis points of the top offerings and well above the average APY.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here