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3.01% Reward Checking Account at a Colorado Bank (1st SouthWest)

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1st SouthWest Bank
Update 1/06/09: The top yield has fallen to 3.01% APY.

1st SouthWest Bank is another bank offering a reward checking account with a very high yield and ATM refunds as long as you meet the typical reward checking requirements. It has a yield of 3.01% APY for balances up to $25,000. Above $25K you earn the standard rate of 0.25% APY. The requirements include 1) make at least 10 debit card transactions (excluding ATM transactions); 2) have 1 direct deposit or ACH auto debit; 3) agree to receive your monthly statement electronically. If these requirements aren't meet you'll receive the standard rate and won't get the ATM refunds. The ATM refunds apply automatically and can be up to $30 per month.

Branches are located in the Colorado cities of Alamosa, Center, Cortez, Del Norte, Durango, Pagosa Springs and Saguache. I haven't called yet to see if accounts can be opened by mail. It seems likely that they require a branch visit. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 57741). It's a new bank that was established in 2004.

For other high yield reward checking accounts at other banks and credit unions, please refer to my best checking account summary post.

Rate History:
10/07/09: 3.01% APY up to $25K; 0.25% over
01/05/09: 3.01% APY
11/22/08: 4.01% APY
02/08/08: 5.01% APY
04/13/07: 6.01% APY up to $25K; 1.25% APY over
  Tags: 1st SouthWest Bank, Colorado, checking account, reward checking account

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Comments
10 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
So do you earn $30 reward each month PLUS 6% APY

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
haha, please tell me you are joking about asking this.

1
Comment #3 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Not exactly a money making strategy :-) You actually have to use the ATMs that charge the fees before you get the automatic refunds.

Many banks that refund ATM fees require you to send in the receipts before they give you the refund.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The "rewards checking" program has automatic refunds of United States ATM fees if you meet the requirements. No work needed.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This account is a no brainer - it is always free and you high interest rate!

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I wanted to say that while I'm not sure if this account requires that you be in state or not (I live in CO), I do know that it does not require a branch visit. I sent an email to the branch president and she sent out an application to me. All I had to do was fill it out, include a copy of my DL and I received everything in the mail. So far I've had a few questions come up and they've all been answered promptly via email.

I love this account!

1
Comment #7 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for the info. Glad to see you don't have to visit a branch. I'll have to check if it's okay for those outside of CO.

Also glad to see they're still offering 6.01%.

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I emailed the bank and they said out of state was OK but a branch visit was required for proper identity verification.

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
As an update - the APY is now 5.01%

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The top yield has fallen to 3.01% APY. Other rates remain the same.

1