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High-Yield Reward Checking Account at a Wisconsin Bank (Coulee)

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Coulee Bank

Update 6/01/11: The top rate has fallen to 2.55% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

Coulee Bank has a Reward Checking Account that pays 2.55% APY for balances up to $25K (0.30% for over) and refunds ATM fees (up to $20/month) if the typical monthly reward checking requirements are met: 1) 10 debit card point-of-sale transactions, 2) one direct deposit or one auto debit, and 3) receive electronic statements. If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly service charges regardless of meeting the above requirements. The minimum opening deposit is $50.

Update 6/1/11: Coulee now only accepts Free Rewards Checking applications from applicants residing in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Update 4/30/08: I received confirmation from the bank that accounts can be opened online without a branch visit.

Branches are located in La Crosse and Onalaska, Wisconsin. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 18361).

Thanks to the reader who emailed me info on this checking account.

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.

Rate History:

  • 06/01/11: 2.55% APY up to $25K
  • 04/01/11: New accounts limited to WI,MN & IA
  • 11/01/10: 3.03% APY up to $25K; 0.30% over
  • 02/01/10: 3.33% APY up to $25K
  • 07/01/09: 4.04% APY up to $25K; 0.51% over; 0.10% base12/01/08: 5.01% APY
  • 08/01/07: 6.01% APY up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.30% base
  Tags: Wisconsin, Coulee Bank, checking account, reward checking account

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Comments
25 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anyone know if this is a hard or soft pull?

1
Comment #2 by TacoShredder (anonymous) posted on
TacoShredder
Their online application system asked four LexisNexis-like ID verification questions, one of which I could not answer. After calling a rep and answering another set of similar questions, they pulled Chex, and approved my account. I have EX and EQ frozen, but do not think they even tried to pull.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anybody know if you have to be a resident of WI to open account at Coulee? And whether they pull Transunion TRW?

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened an account at the end of May 2008 and have not yet seen a hard pull on my credit report.

1
Comment #5 by Kym (anonymous) posted on
Kym
Do they let you link external accounts? I just finished opening a Charter account, only to find out I can't link an external account. Extremely disappointing.

1
Comment #6 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Kym, That's a good point that I probably haven't covered much. I think most of these reward checking accounts lack the feature that allows you to create links to external accounts.

However, if you have an online savings account like at ING Direct or HSBC, you should be able to use the online savings account to create a link with the checking.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Like many other Reward Checking accounts, Coulee has low daily ATM withdrawal maximums.

1
Comment #8 by Curtis (anonymous) posted on
Curtis
Can anyone tell how long it takes for Coulee to open an account online? It's been about a week for me now, and my application is listed as "Referred" when I log in to check it, with no apparent movement.

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Curtis, I think you failed one of there verification questions. I think I failed as well, some phone number from 10+ years ago I don't remember at all other than the area code.

If you didn't get to the funding part then I think you failed.

Tacoshredder's posts indicates he failed as well and needed to call in to further his application.

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Of all the Reward Checking Accounts I've opened, this is the most streamlined and most straight forwarding allowing you to do pretty much everything online--including select you pin, do an ACH transfer for your initial funding method, and select your log-in info. So far, so good.

1
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My experience with Coulee has been very bad. I tried diligently to meet all the requirements and even specifically asked near the end of the month if I had. Mary Horstman, a CSR, told me that I had. Turns out she lied. Then, when the statement closed, I was notified that I hadn't qualified for "bonus interest" after all. I had assumed two trial deposits from an external account would satisfy the direct deposit requirement, but after it was too late, Horstman told me that there was a $1 minimum. I've never seen this fact before, not on their website or on anything I received in the mail. I don't know if Coulee is deceitful or just incompetent, but regardless, I pulled my money out. They're scumbags as far as I'm concerned.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does anyone know if they give you any free checks with this account (i.e. starter checks or 50 "regular" checks)?

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I did not receive any free checks ... I believe I paid $9.95 for a set. I've been pretty happy with them overall - they've been very responsive in regards to customer service whenever I have had questions.

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
looks like the rate has been dropped to 5.01%

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
True. Just received an email today."The interest rate on your Rewards Checking account at Coulee Bank will be changing effective December 1, 2008 to 4.90% (5.01% APY). Given the state of the economy, we are very proud that we were able to keep our rate at 5.85% (6.01% APY) for 18 months while other financial institutions began lowering their rates over a year ago. "

1
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I've had an account with Coulee for several months. I'm reasonably happy with them - customer service is always prompt and efficient with returning emails. However, it has been hard for me to tell what payments are processed as debit and what as credit based on their (rather limited) website. I would recommend them to anyone who is diligent about keeping up with the 10 transactions minimum.

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rate will drop from August cycle to 4.01%.

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Source?

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just got a reply from Mary Janzen confirming the rate change.

-----------------------------
the rewards checking interest rate will be changing from 5.01% APY to 4.04% APY effective July 1st 2009


Mary Janzen , O/T AVP
Phone: 608-784-9550
Fax: 608-784-1069
mhorstman@couleebank.net
www.couleebank.net

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Sad to hear. I really liked the ability to withdraw $500 per day with the debit card too, hard to find a bank account anywhere that lets you get that much off your debit card each day.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just opened an account. Sorry to hear about the rate drop, as I opened it for the 5%, but I guess I should have known it was coming.

Note that I tried to open two accounts, and was told they are limited to one per person:

[6/17/2009 3:49:51 PM CST] Lorraine Wilson: Unfortunately we are limiting this to one per person.

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
4.04% from July 1st is on their website now,

http://www.couleebank.net/rewards_checking.php

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rumor has it that the rate is 3.66% as of 1 February, must be by e-mail notices.

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Correction to above post: 3.33%.

1
Comment #25 by 51hh posted on
51hh
Rate 3.33% as of 2/1/2010 was conirmed by bank CSR.

1