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High-Yield Reward Checking News - Growing Popularity

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Bloomberg just came out with this article on reward checking accounts. More banks and credit unions continue to launch new accounts. The main supplier of these reward checking accounts, BancVue, has now helped 460 institutions implement these.

One interesting thing mentioned in the article is the potential effect of the FDIC proposal for rate restrictions on troubled banks. This shouldn't have much effect. According to BancVue, less than 2% of BancVue members are inadequately capitalized.

The article didn't give many details about how profitable these accounts have been for the banks. It repeated the point about how electronic features of these accounts (such as e-statements) help the banks save money. This may help the banks keep the rates higher than other brick and mortar accounts, but this won't help them maintain rates higher than online savings accounts which already have all these electronic features.

One other aspect of reward checking that helps banks is that reward checking customers tend to be more profitable customers. The CFO of Sutton Bank, which offers reward checking, stated that "combination of products a reward checking account holder has is more profitable than a regular account holder."

Another indication that these accounts are profitable to the banks is how BancVue is paid. According to that CFO, the "bank pays BancVue a fee that is tied to the performance of the product." Since BancVue continues to add new banks, it appears these reward checking accounts must be doing well for the banks and for BancVue.

For the banks, there's not much risk. They're free to lower the rates at any time. Unfortunately, many have been doing that over the last few months. In my list of 321 reward checking accounts at my High Yield Checking website, the average APY is 4.38%. This continues to drop, but it's still a decent yield when the average online savings account yield is below 3%. I'll keep using reward checking as long as they can keep rates at least 1% higher than my online savings account rates.

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Comments
8 comments.
Comment #1 by Noah (anonymous) posted on
Noah
Thanks for all your work, Banking Guy.

Update on Verity (WA), they have lowered (again) to 3.5%. About 6 months ago they were at 6% :(

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The spread between all types of accounts (checking, savings, CDs) are going to narrow as the Fed keeps rate levels close to 0%. Short term treasuries are yielding close to nothing. You cannot continue to offer very high rates in this environment unless you want to cut your own throat and see your bottom line go into the red.

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Comment #3 by Hustler (anonymous) posted on
Hustler
Definitely worth it! Signing up for that $50K 5% APY now rewards checking.

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Comment #4 by Erik (anonymous) posted on
Erik
Thanks for the great post! These banks offering reward checking are able to provide high APY by requiring online banking, direct deposit and minimum debit card transactions. All of these either save or make the bank money which is why they are able to offer higher interest rates than online savings accounts.

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anyone know a downside to use these debit reward card? I heard that protection is less. If fraud occurs for credit card, we are only responsible to $50. I heard that these debit card have no such protection from the law.

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Comment #6 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
About debit card downsides, I just recently did a post on this. I just added a link to it at the bottom of this post.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
are you familiar with banking in Mexico?

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Comment #8 by Erik (anonymous) posted on
Erik
Check out the latest top bank rates from CheckingFinder.com.

First Robinson Savings Bank - Robinson, IL 6.01
Southern Missouri Bank & Trust 6.01
Bank of Ripley - Ripley, TN 5.26
Communication Federal Credit Union - OK 5.25
LA DOTD Federal Credit Union - Denham Spring, LA 5.25
Keystone Bank - Auburn, AL 5.15
Connexus Credit Union - Wausau, WI 5.15
Altra Federal Credit Union 5.05
Farmers and Merchants - Nashville, IL 5.05
Community State Bank - Poteau, OK 5.05
First State Bank - Kansas City, KS 5.03
State Employees Credit Union - Santa Fe, NM 5.02
Grand Bank of Texas - Grand Prairie, TX 5.02
Harbor Credit Union - Green Bay, WI 5.01
Malvern Federal Savings Bank - Paoli, PA 5.01
Union State Bank - Everest, KS 5.01
United National Bank - Cairo, GA 5.01
First Banking Center - Lake Geneva, WI 5.01
Noble Bank & Trust - Anniston, AL 5.01
The Community Bank - Brockton, MA 5.01
Bank of Little Rock - Little Rock, AR 5.01
Community Bank of Pleasant Hill - Pleasant Hill, MO 5.01
Community Bank of Raymore - Raymore, MO 5.01
Olmsted National Bank - Rochester, MN 5.01
Royal Banks of Missouri - St. Louis, MO 4.78
Texas Citizens Bank - Pasadena, TX 4.76

Hope this helps!

Erik (CheckingFinder.com)

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