Reward Checking Accounts

I wrote quite often about banking deals here, mostly high-yield savings accounts (well there probably isn’ t any real “high-yield” account any more if you look at what savings accounts are offering now) but occasionally checking accounts, because I am always on the look out for better places to park our cash. And when I found a savings account that I really like, I usually ended up opening an account with it as switching savings accounts is much easier than changing checking accounts if you, like me, have a lot of external links to the account. So I never changed my checking account and won’t plan to do so.

While I talked a lot about bank accounts, oneĀ  that I almost never touched is reward checking, which is a relatively new product but gaining popularity these days. It’s different from savings accounts and it’s not the same as interest checking accounts either.

What is Reward Checking

Reward checking accounts, often offered at small banks or credit unions, are checking accounts that pay high interest rates, much higher than what you could get from a high-yield savings account, but with a few strings attached. Usually, if you want to get that high interest rate, you will have to:

  • Make a direct deposit (or automatic ACH debit) every month;
  • Use the check card, or debit card, at least 10 times in a cycle;

plus a couple of other minor requirements such as paperless statement, etc. The direct deposit isn’t too bad if it’s the account you eventually use as a primary checking account. It’s the debit card transaction that keeps me away from any reward checking account. It won’t be a problem if you use debit card to make purchases a lot, but since I am a credit card person, that’s not going to work for me. And if you fail to meet the requirements in any given month, you can still earn interests on your deposits for that month, but at a fraction of the rate. In addition to higher interest rates, many banks also reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks for using their ATMs, as long as the same requirements for earning the high-yield are met (ATM transactions doesn’t count though).

Because of the high interest rate for reward checking accounts, most banks put a cap on how much deposit in your account will earn the high rate, usually at $25,000, but can be anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000. Any deposit over the limit will earn a lower yield.

Reward Checking Deals

As you see from the above, reward checking does have a few very attractive features and could indeed be very rewarding if you meet the requirements. Is reward checking a product that you can use? If so, then check out the following banks which offers 5% or more for their reward checking accounts.

Bank APR Direct Deposit
Required
# of Debit
Transactions
Minimum Limit APR If
Requirements
Not Met
Bank of the Wichita 5.25% No 10 No $10,000 $2.25%
Evantage Bank 5.25% No 10 No $10,000 $2.25%
AmericanNet Bank 5.25% No 10 No $10,000 $2.25%
Connexus Credit Union 5.15% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
15 No $25,000 0.25%
Hearland Community
Bank
5.06% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
10 $100 $30,000 0.30%
Coulee Bank 5.01% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
10 $50 $25,000 0.30%
Charter Bank 5.01% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
13 $100 $25,000 0.25%
Olmsted National Bank 5.01% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
12 $50 $25,000 0.15%
West Bank 5.00% Yes (or ACH
auto debit)
12 $100 $50,000 0.20%

You won’t find any bank pays such a high yield on a savings account for sure :)

This article was originally written or modified on . If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed. Or you can also choose to have free daily updates delivered right to your inbox.


Author Info

This post was written by Sun You can find out more about Sun and his activities on Facebook , or follow him on Twitter .

6 Responses to “Reward Checking Accounts”

  1. Erik |  Mar 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Nice list! Also, check out the latest top bank rates from CheckingFinder.com. These are NOT teaser rates.

    Rates with a * signifies this bank rate is available nationwide.

    First Robinson Savings Bank – Robinson, IL 6.01
    Southern Missouri Bank & Trust 6.01
    Bank of Ripley – Ripley, TN 5.26
    LA DOTD Federal Credit Union – Denham Spring, LA 5.25
    Keystone Bank – Auburn, AL *5.15
    Connexus Credit Union – Wausau, WI *5.15
    Community State Bank – Poteau, OK 5.05
    First State Bank – Kansas City, KS 5.03
    State Employees Credit Union – Santa Fe, NM 5.02
    Grand Bank of Texas – Grand Prairie, TX 5.02
    Malvern Federal Savings Bank – Paoli, PA *5.01
    Union State Bank – Everest, KS 5.01
    United National Bank – Cairo, GA 5.01
    First Banking Center – Lake Geneva, WI 5.01
    Noble Bank & Trust – Anniston, AL 5.01
    The Community Bank – Brockton, MA 5.01
    Community Bank of Pleasant Hill – Pleasant Hill, MO *5.01
    Olmsted National Bank – Rochester, MN *5.01

    Hope this helps!

    Erik (CheckingFinder)

  2. Robert |  Apr 07, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Coulee Bank has one of the best reward checking accounts around. They offer great service and it is available nationwide, can’t beat that. http://www.CouleeBank.net