Update 2/4/2012: The top rate has fallen to 0.80% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.
Community West Bank has started a reward checking it calls Great Rate Checking. It offers 0.80% APY on balances up to $15K (0.15% above) and ATM fee refunds (up to $5 per transaction and $20 per statement cycle) if the typical reward checking requirements are met: 1) 10 check card transactions per cycle, 2) 1 direct deposit or automatic debit, 3) receive electronic statements, and 4) access online banking at least once each cycle. If these conditions are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. There are no monthly maintenance fees regardless of meeting the above conditions.
There is an online application which seems to allow applicants from any state. However, at the bottom it states: A "representative will contact you within 24 hours or the next business day to complete the account opening at your nearby branch. At that time, you will be asked to bring one or more forms of identification to establish and confirm your identity."
Branches are located in the California cities of Ventura, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Westlake Village. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 27572).
Other Reward Checking Accounts
For other reward checking accounts in other parts of the country, please see my reward checking account page and my best checking account post.
- 02/02/12: 0.80% APY up to $15K; 0.15% above; 0.10% base
- 04/01/11: 2.53% APY up to $15K
- 01/02/11: 3.04% APY up to $15K
- 09/03/10: 3.04% APY up to $25K
- 12/01/09: 3.49% APY up to $25K
- 07/01/09: 3.75% APY up to $25K (shown in the small print)
- 01/25/09: 4.00% APY up to $25K
- 05/14/08: 4.50% APY up to $25K
- 03/31/08: 5.00% APY up to $25K
- 07/23/07: 5.50% APY up to $25K; 0.55% above; 0.25% if req's not met