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4.01% Reward Checking Account at Countybank in SC

POSTED ON BY

Countybank

Update 1/29/2010: Countybank cut its top rate to 4.01% APY. Also, the online application is now only accepting zip codes from South Carolina.

Countybank is offering a reward checking account called Kasasa Cash. The account offers the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:

  • 4.01% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 1.01% on balances over $25,000
  • 0.02% base rate if qualifications are not met
  • Refunds of ATM fees nationwide

The monthly requirements include:

  • 10 debit card purchases
  • one direct deposit or automatic payment
  • sign in to your online banking
  • receive e-statements

Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:

  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • no minimum balance requirement
  • no monthly service charge
  • Online Bill Pay appears to be $7.95/mo (see summary) - according to CSR, it may be free. Contact bank for details.

There's an online application at the bank's Kasasa Cash Page. The "Apply Now" button takes you to the Kasasa website that provides an online application. You can also search at Kasasa.com for reward checking accounts. The Countybank application used to allow all zip codes. However, a reader has reported that it now only accepts zip codes from the following states:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Tennessee

Update 1/29/2010: I checked zip codes for the above states at the Kasasa application page, and only SC zip codes were accepted. It appears they have reduced availability to only SC.

I thought Kasasa.com was another reward checking provider to give BancVue and FIRST ROI (the main provider and marketer for reward checking accounts) some competition. But according to Kasasa's About Us Page, "Kasasa products are created, marketed and serviced by BancVue and FIRST ROI." Perhaps they wanted to give reward checking a fancier name.

Countybank is based in South Carolina with branches in Greenwood, Lexington and Greenville. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 9155). Update: The bank has strong ratings for safety and soundness: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 12/31/08 financial data.

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.

Account History:

01/29/10: 4.01% APY up to $25K (application only accepts zip codes from SC)
05/04/09: 4.75% APY up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.02% base

Edit 1/29/10: Application only accepts zip codes from SC
Edit 8/08/09: Application only accepts zip codes from some states
Edit 7/10/09: Application no longer accept West Coast zip codes.
Edit 5/31/09: Corrected 2nd tier rate.
Edit 5/27/09: Corrected cost of bill pay. It appears to be $7.95/mo instead of free (5/28/09 - may actually be free)


  Tags: Countybank, South Carolina, checking account, reward checking account

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Comments
34 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
First Arkansas Bank and Trust is now calling their rewards checking account "Kasasa Cash" as is Southern Missouri Bank and others:

https://www.kasasa.com/kasasa-providers

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I could not check out this bank on Bankrate or Bauer. Also it looks like this checking account is not listed as being FDIC insured!

1
Comment #3 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Make sure you search for countybank (one word). I've updated the post with this info.

I would be very surprised if it's not FDIC insured. They describe the account as a free checking account. I've never seen a case that a checking account is not FDIC-insured at a bank that's a member FDIC. The only products that I've seen that are not FDIC-insured include things like annuities and mutual funds.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Public Service Credit Union of Fort Wayne is offering 5.5% on balances up to $40,000.00 through their "Smart Checking." Link: https://www.mypscu.com/

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The disclosures require some fees uncommon to other reward accounts:

$15 fee for account closeout by mail

Failure to provide deposit slip when making a deposit at a Countybank ATM, night depository, or by mail = fee

Account closed within 6 months = $25

$1 charge for ATM at non-Countybank

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Countybank neg'd me when I applied for this account, based on "information obtained from a consumer reporting agency". I have to believe that this is code for too many ChexSystem inquiries, since I have opened 5 reward checking accounts in the last 6 months and there is no other derogatory information on my credit history. Has anyone else had the same experience?

1
Comment #7 by M (anonymous) posted on
M
me, too. Rec'd this email: "We regret to inform you that we are unable to open your Kasasa Cash account at this time, based on information contained in consumer credit and checking account history records. More specific information on the consumer reporting agency we use is on its way to you by mail in the event that you want to contact the agency to inquire about or correct information in your records." Even my local credit union called yesterday about the account they opened for me the day before saying I have too many inquiries from all over the country and they suspect identity theft. I explained it is me. They saw me in person with photo id and i live within miles of their branch. Branch manager said the activity wasn't normal, corrected herself and said it wasn't average. I asked if it wasn't ok to be not average at her credit union and she said she was going to have to run the account by her manager and let me know today what to do. I was at their branch 2 hours the day before opening the rewards checking account, required savings, and required $5 membership fee which was electronically pulled from the originating bank already. I asked her again what her concern was as I came in person with photo ids and she said she didn't know what the concern was. I like the return coupled with the insurance which you don't get with cds or on wallstreet now. I need advice on what to do as for me I thought the rewards checking account is a good solution for me as I like using my debit card at my local grocery store and have direct deposit but it seems odd to me that the fin instit wants to monopolize my business. I don't have my local grocery store manager calling me saying they have seen me at other grocery stores and so they don't want my business. I electronically stay on top of my credit bureaus including Chex and the only dings are for opening or trying to open these reward checking accounts. Advice and solutions appreciated.

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I believe their Online BillPay is $7.95 per month according to their Online_Account_Opening_Disclosure document availabe for download when applying online.

1
Comment #9 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks. Looks like I might have confused free online banking with free bill pay. I've updated the post with this correction.

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
After I read the terms and posted above I had some more questions, that I then emailed the CSR about, one of which to confirm Bill pay was 7.95...he responded, no BillPay was Free...eventhough this conficts with the terms I read and what their website says...so I am confused. They do say on your link, "Ask how this can be free." I haven't investigated this yet, but thought I'd post the contradiction I received.

1
Comment #11 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for the update. It is confusing. I'll just instruct readers to check with the bank to find out if they can get it free.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied and received an account only to find out you can't link other accounts into it for ACH transfers. Would have liked to know that going in. I guess the only alternative is to mail in deposits.

1
Comment #13 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I'm afraid there are very few banks with reward checking accounts that have decent ACH transfer capabilities. I would recommend opening an online account at a bank like Ally, and use their ACH service to transfer money into and out of the reward checking account. Another plus is that this can often be used to satisfy the auto debit/direct deposit requirement.

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied for a Kasasa Cash account with CountyBank on the 28th, received a mail from them on the 1st thanking me for opening an account. Once I registered online and it says the current interest rate is 4.65% while the website still said 4.75. The web interface is a bit primitive, that's all I can say for now. I'll keep posting

1
Comment #15 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for the info. The 4.65% is probably the interest rate. The APY is typically a little higher since it includes the effects of compounding.

1
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I too got rejected for too many ChexSystems inquiries.

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does they perform a hard or soft credit pull?

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Sorry, DO they perform a hard or soft credit pull?

1
Comment #19 by Matthew (anonymous) posted on
Matthew
No longer available nationwide. Like FABT, Countybank is now rejecting CA ZIP codes.

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It bably is not nationwide anymore. Got rejected for a Zip code in WA as well.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
MA zipcode was also rejected.

1
Comment #22 by Christine (anonymous) posted on
Christine
My Chicago zip was accepted. It was difficult to find the routing number, but it's 053206819.

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They took my opening deposit - I'm in NYS. I have a fraud alert on my credit file, so they didn't get access and requested a notarized copy of my driver's license and SS card. So, now it seems the account opening process will go as planned.

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The allowed states must have just gotten a LOT more restrictive at this bank. Just got rejected for zip codes in Maryland and Virginia. However, Florida worked.

1
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
So I had a little time to waste, and experimented with a bunch of zip codes.

Based on this, I think the only states this account is still open to are:
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Florida
Tennessee

all the bordering states failed, as did random midwestern states. and we know states further west and north have already been nixed.

I think this one should not be considered nationwide any more.

1
Comment #26 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for checking out these zip codes. Later today I'll remove Countybank from the nationwide list and just label it available in the 5 states that you listed.

1
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You can ACH in and out of the Kasasa account using your ING account to do the transfers.

1
Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Public Service CU (above) is down to 4%...

1
Comment #29 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hi - I am in one of the states that apparently can still open an account at Countybank.

My question (asked previously by others but not answered):

1. Do they pull a credit report? If so, do you know which one. (I'm sure they pull Chex, but I'm interested in which, if any CRA they use.

2. Is it a hard or soft pull?



Thanks so much.

1
Comment #30 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yes, it's hard pull on Trans union. I only checked on this one so not sure about other report agents. My application online went smoothly and got a welcome email right away (in one of the allowed states). But a week late i got a rejection letter - due to too many chex system inquires. So there goes my RCA hope - sucks!

1
Comment #31 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
From their website news section:
Countybank has elected NOT to participate in the FDIC's optional extension of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP). This means additional insurance on the entire amount of balances in non-interest bearing accounts will expire December 31, 2009. Please note that these accounts are still insured under the FDIC's general deposit insurance rules.

Countybank has elected to opt out of extended coverage because we are well-capitalized, with a long-standing history of safety and soundness. Therefore, in our opinion, the emergency coverage enacted at the height of 2008's financial issues is not needed. We appreciate your continued trust in Countybank. Should you have additional questions about FDIC Insurance programs, please do not hesitate to contact your relationship manager.



Hm, curious...

1
Comment #32 by Andy (anonymous) posted on
Andy
Countybank seems to have dropped its rate to 4.01%

1
Comment #33 by Countybank employee (anonymous) posted on
Countybank employee
Just to clear up some confusion, Countybank is FDIC insured, and online banking and bill payment services are free on all checking accounts. We have reduced availability to South Carolina at this time.

1
Comment #34 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Effective April 15, 2010, balance cap is lowered to $15K, with 0.50% APY above. They're also introducing a "Kasasa Saver" account with 1.25% APY up to $50K.

2