Update 1/01/11: The top yield has fallen to 2.25% APY. Please see bottom of the post for the rate history.
Southern Community Bank & Trust just started a reward checking account called Maximum Earnings Banking. It pays 2.25% APY on balances up to $25,000 (0.10% for over) and refunds ATM fees if the following monthly requirements are met: 1) 10 debit card purchases, 2) one direct deposit or automatic draft payment, and 3) receive e-statments. If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. The minimum opening deposit is $100. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. The first 50 checks are free.
Branches are located in several North Carolina cities including Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Raleigh. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1996 (Certificate # 34321).
Update 12/8/10: I've confirmed with a CSR that the account continues to be available nationwide. They now have an online application. Once you submit the online application, they will mail you documents to be signed and returned. Once they are mailed back, they will assign you an account number and fully open the account. They do use ChexSystem. The CSR did not think that multiple ChexSystem inquiries had a negative effect on the review process.
Update 2/13/08: After reading that this reward checking is available nationwide in the Wall Street Journal (see post), I sent an email to this bank asking again about the branch visit requirement. I just received the reply. They had a large response from the WSJ article, and seem to be developing a process to allow enrollment without a branch visit. Once they have the process ready, I'll provide another update.
Update 2/19/08: I just received a call from this bank saying they can now send the application package by mail. To receive this package, please contact the bank.
Thanks to the reader Khun who emailed me info on this reward checking account.
Other High Yield Reward Checking Accounts
Please see my reward checking overview for general information and a history of these reward checking accounts. For other reward checking accounts please see my list of reward checking accounts around the nation and the best checking account post.
- 01/01/11: 2.25% APY; 0.10% over; 0.10% base
- 04/01/10: 3.00% APY
- 11/01/08: 4.00% APY
- 8/30/08: 5.00% APY
- 2/05/08: 6.00% APY (initial post); 0.15% over; 0.15% base