The savings account rate is 1.85% APY as of 8/10/09 for all balances up to $250,000. The checking account has tiered rates, and unlike ING Direct, all the tiers under $250K are very competitive. As of 8/10/09, the rates include:
- 1.65% APY up to $10K
- 1.75% APY $10K-$25K
- 1.85% APY $25K-$250K
- 0.50% APY over $250K
- No monthly fees
- no paper checks
- Waives up to $20 in ATM fees each month
- Free online bill pay
- Deposits can be done by an ACH bank-to-bank transfer or by mailing a check
One pleasant surprise is when I make an interbank transfer in the morning, it ALWAYS shows up in my account that day...and is still showing up in the other account for at least a day. I love double interest! I also made one small transfer out and it was in the bank the next day. Very speedy.
On the downside, the ACH service has limitations. Here's a summary of the features based on my online chat with the CSR today:
- Link up to 3 external accounts
- Daily limit is $50.000 for an outgoing and $100,000 for an incoming transfer
- Limit of 6 outgoing transfers per month (savings account only per federal regulation)
- Limit of one transfer per day, whether it's an incoming or outgoing transfer
- Confirmed that there are no paper checks
- You can add 3 beneficiaries to an account
- No hard credit inquiry
Clear Sky Accounts are FDIC insured through Chesapeake Bank of Virginia. There's a link to the Clear Sky website on the left side of Chesapeake Bank's front page. Chesapeake Bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6862).
Chesapeake Bank is not a large bank. Based on the FDIC data in 3/31/09 it has about $594 million in assets and $502 million in deposits. In December 31, 2008, total deposits equaled $430 million. I wonder if the Clear Sky Account promo resulted in the added $72 million in deposits in the first quarter.
Chesapeake Bank continues to have decent ratings for safety and soundness. However, the rating went down a bit at BauerFinancial: 4 stars (excellent) based on 9/30/08 data to 3½ stars (good) based on 3/31/09 data. Bankrate.com still gives the bank a 4-star rating (sound) based on 3/31/09 data.
Other Checking Account Options
Refer to my weekly rate summary for the best nationwide checking, savings and money market accounts. Note, money market accounts typically offer limited check writing (up to 3 checks per month).
If you want a higher rate on a checking account, your best bet is a reward checking account. You can find these at my High Yield Checking website.
Edit 6:05pm PDT 8/10/09: Added clarification of the old deposit restriction.
Edit 8/13/09: Received info that the 6 outgoing transfer limit is only for the savings account.