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, one 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.
You won’t find any bank pays such a high yield on a savings account for sure
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