Credit Union West is a reward checking account called Star Checking. It's very typical of a reward checking account. It has a yield of 0.51% APY for the first $25,000 (MMA rates for above). Also, all ATM fees are automatically reimbursed. The high rate and free ATM usage requires 10 debit card purchases per month, Direct Deposit and eStatements. Without these conditions, the rate falls to 0.25% and you receive no ATM reimbursements. The account remains free of monthly fees regardless of meeting these conditions.
Credit Union West continues to offer very competitive IRA certificates. I had last reported on their rates in December. You still can get a 5.80% APY 5-year IRA CD with a $50K minimum deposit.
Field of membership includes anyone who lives, works, or worships in Maricopa County, Arizona. The credit union is located in Glendale. It is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 68421).
Inside Look at Reward Checking Accounts
Credit Union West mentioned that Star Checking Account was being powered by BancVue. I found BancVue's website and read over their Reward Checking pitch that's targeted to credit unions and community banks. I found the following quote interesting:
As a result of this increased balance, increased transactional activity, and increased use of technology, each account will generate $455 or more in annual profit
Seems like $455 is high when you consider they have to pay out the high interest rate and reimburse ATM fees. They do claim the average customer makes 20 debit card purchases per month. I wonder how much per transaction they get from these. If you only use your debit cards for small purchases, I can't see how they would profit much from these. Perhaps they hope you'll get into the habit of using it for all of your purchases.
04/14/11: 0.51% APY up to $25K; 0.10% $25K-50K, 0.20% over $50K; 0.05% base
12/01/09: 2.01% APY up to $25K, MMA rates over; 0.25% base
09/01/09: 4.01% APY up to $25K, 0.80% $25K-$50K, 0.90% over $50K
05/04/09: 4.01% APY up to $25K, 1.50% APY over
03/05/08: 5.01% APY up to $25K, 2.00% APY over
05/23/07: 6.01% APY
Edit 7/04/09: Updated URL of reward checking page. Removed asset/member info.
Edit 1/09/09: Updated rate history and added APY for above cap