Update 12/03/10: The top rate has fallen to 2.09% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.
Bank of the Sierra is offering a reward checking account that pays 2.09% APY on balances up to $25,000 (0.50% for above) and refunds ATM fees nationwide up to $25 per cycle if the following monthly requirements are met:
- 12 check card purchases
- one direct deposit or automatic payment
- one online bill payment
- Receive eStatements
If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.12%. The minimum initial deposit is $50. Bill Pay is free, and there are no monthly service charges and no minimum balance requirements. Multiple accounts can be opened, but requirements for each account must be met to receive the high yield.
The account can only be opened online. I called the bank, and according to the banking rep, it's available to people in any state. The online application uses the andera.com service, and it appears to allow electronic ACH funding. Update 4/25/2010: The start of the application now states that the account is limited to residents of CA and WV.
Branches are located in several Central California cities including Fresno, Bakersfield, Hanford and Porterville. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1978 (FDIC Certificate # 22597).
Other Reward Checking Accounts
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.
Edit 8/08/09: Added ATM fee refund info and estatement requirement.
12/03/10: 2.09% APY up to $25K; 0.50% over
07/03/10: 3.09% APY up to $25K
04/23/10: Account is now limited to CA & WV
12/03/09: 4.09% APY up to $25K
12/03/08: 4.51% APY up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.12% base