Update 11/22/09: The top rate has fallen to 2.00% APY.
Amegy Bank is offering a reward checking account called Smart Yield Checking. It has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:
- 2.00% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.50% APY on portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.05% base rate if requirements are not met
- Free ATMs nationwide
- 10 debit card purchases
- One direct deposit or two ACH debits
- Login to online banking at least once a month
- Receive e-statements and maintain valid email address
- $50 minimum initial deposit if opened at a branch; $1,000 minimum when opened online
- No minimum balance requirement
- No monthly service charge
- Free online Bill Pay
Amegy Bank also offers an internet money market savings account (see account review).
Branches are located in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas.
The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are fair: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial (based on 6/30/09 data) and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com (based on 3/31/09 data). The bank has been a FDIC member since 1982 (FDIC Certificate # 24107). It's a sizable bank with $11.6 billion in assets based on 6/30/09 FDIC data.
Other Reward Checking Accounts
There are definitely many other nationally available reward checking accounts with better rates and balance caps than this one from Amegy Bank. One thing I found interesting about Amegy Bank is that it's one of the largest banks offering a nationally available reward checking account. Also, Amegy Bank offers an internet money market account which has a rate of 1.20% APY as of 9/27/09. The money market rate has been falling over the last year, but the reward checking rate has held. I've always thought the long-term rates for reward checking will be about one percentage point above online savings 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.
11/20/09: 2.00% APY up to $25K; 0.50% over
09/27/09: 2.12% APY up to $25K; 0.75% over; 0.05% base