Update 4/06/10: The top rate has fallen to 3.00% APY. Please refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.
First American Bank is offering a reward checking account called First Rewards Checking. The account has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:
- 3.00% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.20% on portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.15% APY base rate if requirements are not met
Note, these rates are based on a conversation with a bank representative on 8/31/09. The website currently doesn't list the rates. The monthly requirements include:
- 12 electronic transactions for purchases
- 1 direct deposit or ACH credit (see note below)
- Receive e-statements
Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:
- $100 to open account
- No minimum balance requirement
- No monthly service charge
- Free bill payment
- Check images not returned
- Bank allows up to 2 accounts per household
There is no mention on the website about foreign ATM fee refunds, but when outside of their service area one should look for these logos: VISA, NYCE and CIRRUS.
Branches (banking centers) include Alamogordo, Artesia, Chaparral, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Lovington and Roswell.
The bank has some strong ratings for safety and soundness: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com based on 3/31/09 data.
The bank began in 1903 and has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 2240).
Thanks to the reader Steve who mentioned this account in the comments.
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.
Note 2/12/10: The reward checking account rate is no longer listed on the website. I called the bank and verified the 5% is still valid.
Note 9/12/09: A reader emailed me the following info regarding the direct deposit requirement:
FAB Rewards Account requires an ACH deposit, but only accepts SS or Payroll--no phone or utility bill w/ds and not an ACH from another bank.
04/01/10: 3.00% APY (not listed on website. Phone call is required)
08/31/09: 5.00% APY