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4.00% Reward Checking Account at Evantage Internet Bank

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Update 4/22/09: The top rate is scheduled to fall to 4.00% APY starting 5/5/09.

Evantage Bank is an internet banking division of Southwest State Bank. It offers a reward checking account and a high yield savings account. The rewards checking account pays 4.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 (1.00% for above) and refunds ATM fees worldwide if the following monthly requirements are met:
  • 10 check card purchases
  • receive electronic statements
If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.25%. There are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Minimum initial deposit is $1.

Online Savings Account

Update 4/22/09: Starting 5/05/09, the rate is scheduled to drop to 2.00% APY for up to $35K, 1.00% for above.

Their internet savings account is called Mega Money Market. The current APY is 3.10%. This looks like a pretty typical online savings account with no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Like the checking, minimum initial deposit is $1. It should really be called a savings accounts since there doesn't seem to be any check writing privileges. However, it does come with a check card.

Bank-to-Bank Transfers

Once the account is opened, bank-to-bank ACH transfers are limited to $1,500 a day (per FAQ). The best way to get larger amounts into and out of this account will probably be to use another online bank to push and pull funds.

Checking Accounts for those with Bad Credit

Evantage Bank also offers a checking account for those with bad credit or no credit. It's called You're Approved Checking. You pay the price for not having good credit. There's no interest and there's a $5 monthly maintenance fee.

Totally Online Application Process

According to one of Evantage Bank FAQs, it's a totally online bank that allows people to open new accounts "online without having to wait on signatures, faxes or the U.S. mail." Another FAQ describes the application process. It states that the entire process usually takes 1-5 business days depending upon how you fund your account. It allows electronic ACH funding. They use the trial deposit method to verify account ownership. You also have the option to mail a check.

The online application uses the Cashedge system. Accounts are available nationwide. The only restriction shown is in the first page of the Cashedge application which states "All applicants must be U.S. residents and at least 18 years of age."

Financial/FDIC Overview

Evantage Bank is the internet banking division of Southwest State Bank. Evantage Bank is listed in the left sidebar of Southwest State Bank's website. Southwest State Bank is a small bank located in Oklahoma. According to the FDIC data on this bank, it has 16 employees, $119 million in assets and $61 million in deposits based on 9/30/08 data. It has been FDIC insured since 1934.

The bank has some strong ratings for soundness: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 9/30/08 data.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this bank.

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.

Rate History:
05/05/09: 4.00% APY up to $10K; 1.00% APY over $10K / MMA 2.00% APY up to $35K; 1.00% over
03/12/09: 5.25% APY up to $10K; 2.25% APY over $10K; 0.25% base rate / MMA 3.10% APY up to $35K; 1.65% over
12/13/08: 5.25% APY up to $25K; 2.25% APY over $25K; 0.25% base rate / MMA 3.10% APY

Edit 4/4/09: Updated ACH limitations.
  Tags: Southwest State Bank, Evantage Bank, checking account, savings account, Oklahoma, reward checking account

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Comments
11 comments.
Comment #1 by Google Group (anonymous) posted on
Google Group
You may want to add the information about their online bill pay system. It's located under Other Services.

Not very good.

1
Comment #2 by Bill M (anonymous) posted on
Bill M
Seems like a useless product, maybe they want to limit the inflow/out flow of cash by rate chasers.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I try to avoid Banks that use the Cashedge system. It is too slow and restrictive and expensive if you want to send the money next day.
Waiting for 3-5 days to complete the transfer it is prohibitive for my needs.
And $500 limit, you got to be kidding me. I wonder what else unpleasant surprise is hidden behind the practical side of this Bank.

It a no go for me.

1
Comment #4 by gaelicwench (anonymous) posted on
gaelicwench
Practical, my foot! I've had my share of "unpleasantries" with brick-and-mortar banks; specifically and currently, National City Bank. There's no such thing as using the K*I*S*S method. But that is largely due to federal rules and regs; what's worse is that every year more and more of those rules are added to the banks' disclosures. Nothing more than confusion to the masses.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If couple of thousands of people open accounts at such a small Bank,
they will be flooded with interest liabilities. They might even go under, unless they lower the interest rate bellow 3%.
Many small banks tried that route to new customers by offering such teaser rates. Most of them are out of such offers after just 5-6 months.
Look at State Bank of Toledo, First National and many many more, who were forced to lower the interest rates or be downgraded to 1 or 2 stars, because of unsustainable payments of high interest rates. Banks used to count on sloppy customers for outrages fees, but that no longer apply. Customers are aware of the trick and gimmicks buried deep in the disclosure statements.

U would not like to deal with such a small Bank.

1
Comment #6 by Doug (anonymous) posted on
Doug
I could not read the FAQ because it required Flash, but from the rest of the site it seems they want you to be from Oklahoma and the surrounding states.

1
Comment #7 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Yes, they're not clear on the availability of these accounts. I just sent an email to get confirmation. I'll update the post when I get a reply.

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Fyi, the cap at this bank's sister bank, AmericaNet Bank, may have just been lowered to $10,000. Evantage Internet Bank's web site still shows its reward checking cap at $25,000, but it is unclear how long that $25,000 cap will be available.

1
Comment #9 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
ichaelm
Evantage also now caps the 5.25% rate at $10,000; on balances above that they pay 2.25%.

1
Comment #10 by uptempo777 (anonymous) posted on
uptempo777
Effective May 5, 2009, they are lowering their APY on balances less than or equal to $10,000 to 4% on their Rewards Checking accounts.

1