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5.01% Reward Checking Account at Southern Bank

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Update 4/3/2011: The balance cap has fallen from $25K to $15K.

Southern Bank is offering a reward checking account called Kasasa Cash. It pays 5.01% APY on balances up to $15,000 (1.01% for above) and refunds ATM fees nationwide if the following monthly requirements are met:

  • 12 check card purchases
  • one direct deposit or automatic payment
  • receive electronic statements

If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. The minimum initial deposit is $100. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly service charges.

Update 4/06/09: The bank has changed their policy an account availability. It's now only available to residents of Missouri and Arkansas. This account is listed at CheckingFinder with an online application, but only for zip codes in MO and AR. Refer to the bottom of this post for the history of the policy changes.

Also, a reader has reported being told by a bank rep that they have closed many accounts recently because "those customers only spent small amounts of money to get the interest", and that new customers have to promise to use it as their "primary checking account".

Branches are located in Missouri cities of Poplar Bluff, Dexter, Sikeston, Kennett, Doniphan, Van Buren, Qulin and Matthews. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1951 (FDIC Certificate # 28332).

Thanks to the reader who sent me email on this bank.

Other Reward Checking Accounts

Six percent reward checking accounts are getting harder to find, but there are still several out there. To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation or to learn more about these accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website.

Account History:

  • 04/03/11: 5.01% APY up to $15K
  • 06/01/09: The bank's name has changed from Southern Missouri Bank to Southern Bank
  • 05/04/09: 5.01% APY up to $25K. Name changed from Premium Rewards to Kasasa Cash.
  • 04/06/09: Available for residents in MO and AR.
  • 01/09/09: Available for residents in MO, TN, KY, IL and AR
  • 10/17/08: Available nationwide: 6.01% APY up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.10% base rate

  Tags: Missouri, Arkansas, checking account, reward checking account

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Comments
23 Comments.
Comment #1 by cjdtech (anonymous) posted on
cjdtech
Their online banking interface is FundsXpress/CheckFree, but their incoming wire fee is $10.

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Do you know if FDIC insures the money in the Premium Rewards checking account?

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Do they require checkingfinder.com application or just apply on their web site is OK? I'm out of MO state. thanks.

1
Comment #4 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Looks like checkingfinder.com's application allows online funding, so that may be a quicker way to open and fund it.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
stay away from SMB! I tried to open a Reward Checking account and faxed all my documents over. The CSR emailed me saying she needs to ask some "ID authentication questions". I tried to reach her by phone or email for 3 days but got no reply. Finally I caught her on phone, without saying a sorry, she told me upfront that they have closed many accounts recently because "those customers only spent small amounts of money to get the interest", and I have to promise to use it as "primary checking account" or she wouldn't bother opening my account. That's nonsense, I told her I won't use a debit card for online purchase, and I only use it for groceries, gas, or utility bills. But I was told this is not enough as a "primary account". I decided to drop my application.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just tried to apply and received an email saying they weren't accepting any out of the area accounts.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied mid December and have been approved even though I'm in NY. I have online access now after I called a csr (who told me they had some problems with out of state people complaining about long time until account is setup, but they need paperwork mailed), still waiting for the debit card, etc.

Here's what their website says now:
This account is intended to function as a primary checking account. MasterCard check card transactions should be for ordinary and customary expenditures, not simply 12 de minimis transactions designed to qualify for rewards requirements. Limit of one account per person within our market area of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois. Available to personal accounts only.

I guess I'll have to tread lightly and make a bit higher debit card charges - as an out-of-state account holder I'd be first in line to get the account closed by them.

1
Comment #8 by Andrew B. (anonymous) posted on
Andrew B.
Anyone know the routing/ABA/transit number for SMBT's PremiumRewards checking?

Thanks!

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
SMBT's routing number is 281573259

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Any routing number you ever wanted, find it here:
http://www.routingnumbers.org/

1
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Be very careful if you use online websites to satisfy your debit card purchases. Even selecting process as a credit card for my purchases, SMBT treats online purchases as ATM transactions.

This means that not only does it not count towards your monthly total, they also charge a $1.00 ATM fee for each online purchase.

This will be my first and last month with this bank.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Kasasa is taking over: now it seems the Premium Rewards will be called Kasasa Cash with the same requirements, but an APR of 5.01%.

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just confirmed with them, the former Premium Rewards account is automatically converted into the new Kasasa Cash account with the same requirements and the stated 5.01% APR.

1
Comment #14 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
To: Anonymous, at 1:43 PM, April 14, 2009

I've done online debit card transactions for SMBT and they've always counted towards the requirements and haven't been classified as ATM withdrawals.

The key is to specify that you're using a credit card (not a debit card) and, if offered an option to use a debit card network, to not choose that option.

It's possible that some internet sites might not give you a choice in the matter and will use the debit card network (which causes the ATM withdrawal classification), but that's very rare.

I've seen this reported for paying one's AT&T cell phone bill, which is a different site than paying one's AT&T landline.

I wonder if SMB&T will continue to insist that people using their Reward Checking account as a primary checking account and warn against "de minimis" transactions. I don't see that language anymore on their web site.

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It is now called Southern Bank (expanding to Arkansas).

1
Comment #16 by IMPRUDENT DRIVING - Cave Springs (anonymous) posted on
IMPRUDENT DRIVING - Cave Springs
I have been using this Southern Bank for 6 months now and have not had any problems. I meet the needed 12 transactions and single Auto Deposit.

What others may be seeing as a $1 Fee it the Pre Authorization Charge. I get this as a place holder while the transaction is being completed. It is replaced with the actual amount spent on that bill at the close of the day.

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If one wants to high rate to continue or steady, one definitely should do one's part of daily sizable usage of debit card transactions (not small purchases). Numoerous banks stated rightfully that safegurads thier high rate. Even with that endeavor from consumers, it is not guranteed that the bank will not reduce rate; e.g., FAB&T. But without that, rate will surely drop after the bank has gathered enoguh cash and finds it less profitable to keep rate high.

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My prediction: This bank will be the next to drop out of the 5% club...12:20 PM, 1/9/10.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Bank2 has dropped out of the 5% race as of yesterday: 4.0%, $15K... waiting for this shoe to drop anytime now...

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This bank has the longest history for rate 5.01% now, thus for sure, will be the next to fall.

Like Bank2, they took in a lot of out-of-state rate chasers; which would be non-profitable.

How it survives financially without a loss is due to its strict warning to use their debit cards handsomely. That, in itself, would not sustain the RCA, unless a sizable set of customers do not meet requirements on a regular basis.

Let's wait and see; and count the days, 4,3,2,1,...

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Has anyone else having problem with this bank's online banking sign in today?  The sign-in screen seems to be gone.  Don't know what's the problem.

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rate is dropping Oct 1st (I forgot to what %). And the cap on balances is going down to $10,000. Plus they gave a strict warning that they will close accounts that are abusing the POS requirements by making tiny charges.

1
Comment #23 by 51hh posted on
51hh
Anon. #22: I do not see any pending rate/limit drop yet, false alarm?

1