Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) is a free, nationwide credit union that I recommend to readers for two reasons. First, DCU has a $20 referral bonus if you open a free DCU checking account with a referral link. Second, DCU has a savings account that gives you 6.17% interest on your first $1,000. This makes DCU an excellent bank account that you should use as part of a super-high-yield savings strategy. The fact that you can get a $20 signup bonus is just icing on the cake.
Earning your $20 referral bonus is simple. To earn your DCU referral bonus, you have to do the following:
- Open a free DCU checking account with a referral code sent to you by a DCU member.
- Within 90 days of opening your account, have at least 5 qualifying transactions in the same calendar month or a recurring direct deposit.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what you need to do to earn your DCU referral bonus. We’ll also go over how the 6.17% interest savings account works and why it’s worth doing. Before we get started though, let’s quickly go over what DCU is.
What Is DCU?
DCU is a not-for-profit, federally chartered credit union that serves over 900,000 members in all 50 states. As you can probably guess by its name, DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union) is primarily an online-based credit union, with most transactions completed via its website or mobile app. They offer the same products as any full-service bank (i.e. checking and savings accounts, loan products, etc), making DCU a solid and reliable choice for anyone looking for a bank.
There are two banking products DCU offers that are relevant for our purposes. The first is a free checking account. This account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, which makes it an easy bank account to maintain. They also (at least temporarily) reimburse all ATM fees. Importantly, DCU also offers a $20 referral bonus if you open a free checking account and meet some fairly easy requirements. We’ll talk about that more in the bulk of this post.
The second banking product that DCU offers is a free savings account that offers an astounding 6.17% interest on the first $1,000 in the account. Everything above $1,000 earns 0.15%, which isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either when you compare it to regular savings accounts. This makes DCU an excellent savings account to park $1,000 of your emergency fund. We’ll go into more detail about this savings account later in this post as well.
DCU Referral Bonus: Step-By-Step Directions
Opening a DCU checking account isn’t difficult, but there are a few nuances that you need to know about. Here are the steps you need to follow to open your DCU checking account and earn your $20 referral bonus.
1. Open A DCU Checking Account With A Referral. The first thing you’ll need to do is get a referral. The only way you can get a referral is to be directly referred by a current DCU member. When you’re referred, you’ll receive an email from DCU inviting you to open an account and giving you a referral number that you need to input when you open your account. This will ensure that you will earn your bonus after meeting the requirements. If you forget to type the referral code during the application process, you won’t earn the bonus – so make sure to do it!
To get a DCU referral, feel free to contact me. I just need your name and email address and then I’ll be able to send you a referral from my DCU account. There are no public referral links because each referral is uniquely generated and requires your name and email address. Accordingly, if you want a referral, you have to get in touch with a current DCU member.
2. Donate $10 To Reach Out For Schools To Qualify For Membership. DCU is a credit union, which means membership is limited. For our purposes, everyone can qualify for membership with DCU so long as you are a member of one of their partner organizations.
In this case, the cheapest organization you can join is Reach Out For Schools, a non-profit that raises money for schools. It costs $10 to join this organization and it’s a one-time fee. During the application process, you’ll see an option to make your donation. Once you’re a member of DCU, your family members will be eligible for DCU membership based on their relationship with you.
If you’re opening a checking account, you’ll earn your money back via the signup bonus. More importantly, though, the main reason we’re opening up the DCU checking account is to gain access to the savings account. In any event, there are worse ways to spend $10 than giving it to an organization that helps schools.
3. (Optional) Fund Your Checking Account With $250 Using A Credit Card. One advantage of opening a DCU checking account is that DCU allows you to fund up to $250 using a Visa or Mastercard. If you’re earning credit card rewards, this is an easy way to get some spending on your card without having to actually spend any money. Simply fund the account with a credit card, then pay the card with the money you funded into your account. You don’t have to do this, but I do recommend doing this if you can. Be sure to make sure that your credit card won’t charge the funding as a cash advance (Chase credit cards have the biggest risk of doing this).
4. Do 5 Debit Card Transactions In One Calendar Month. The terms require you to do 5 debit card transactions in one calendar month to earn your $20 bonus. An easy way to do this is to reload your Amazon gift card balance using your DCU debit card. Amazon lets you reload as little as 50 cents at a time, so doing five 50 cent transactions is all you need to do to meet this requirement.
5. Bonus Will Post After You Meet The Requirements. After you’ve met the requirements, your $20 bonus should post relatively quickly. I’m not sure how long it takes to post, but if someone can let me know in the comments, that’d be great. The bonus will post in your DCU savings account.
DCU Savings Account Strategy
Opening this account just for the referral bonus isn’t worth the time or effort. After you pay the donation, you’re only netting $10. What makes it worth taking the time to open this account is the super-high-yield savings account that DCU offers.
You’ll get 6.17% interest on your first $1,000 in your savings account. Everything over $1,000 will earn 0.15% interest, which is a pretty middling rate. Interest is paid monthly, so you’ll see the interest at the beginning of each month.
Doing the math, you’ll earn about $61 of interest per year on your $1,000. As a comparison, in a typical savings account earning about 0.5% interest, you’d need to have a little over $12,000 to earn the same amount of interest. That’s a huge difference that I think puts things into perspective and emphasizes why it’s worthwhile to take advantage of a savings account like this.
The best thing you can do is take $1,000 and park it in there. Since interest is paid monthly, if you don’t want to leave more than $1,000 in there, just pull the interest out each month into a different savings account that earns more interest.
Refer Your Friends And Family
DCU is a credit union that I support. And after you’ve opened your accounts, you’ll probably feel the same way. An easy way to earn a little bit of extra money is to refer your friends and family members using your referral. You’ll get $10 when you refer someone and they complete the requirements. They’ll get $20 for using your referral.
It can be a bit tricky to find the referral section on the DCU website. When you’re logged in, click the “Account Manager” section at top of the page. Next, on the menu section of the next page, scroll down to the bottom and click “Share DCU.” Then click “Refer a Friend.”
On the next page, you’ll see a section where you’ll input your contact’s first and last name and their email address. They’ll receive an email from DCU with instructions on how to earn their bonus.
You’ll also be able to track the status of your referrals on the referral history page. If your contact can’t find the email, you’ll be able to send them another one through this page also.
DCU is a good credit union that I recommend because of the 6.17% interest savings account. It’s the highest-paying savings account currently available – nothing else even comes close. If you combine it with my strategy for other 5% interest options, you can have a decent chunk of cash earning a good rate of return in FDIC-insured savings accounts. The fact that you can earn a referral bonus as well makes this account one that I think everyone should open.
If you’re interested in learning more about bank account bonuses, be sure to check out my post, The Ultimate Guide to Bank Account Bonuses.
For other mega-high-yield savings options, check out these posts:
- Where To Get 5% Interest Savings Accounts
- Netspend Account: The Ultimate Guide to a 5% Interest Savings Account
- The H-E-B Debit Card 6% Interest Savings Account
And if you’re interested in earning your DCU referral bonus, please contact me with your name and email address and I can send you a referral.