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Reward Checking Account Update - Another Nationwide Deal

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I've identified a new nationwide reward checking account. It's at Reliabank Dakota, and they're offering 4.07% APY on balances up to $25,000. One downside is that they require 12 debit card purchases a month rather than the more typical 10. Refer to my account review for more details.

I first posted on Reliabank's reward checking account in January. Since that time, they have added an online application. I contacted the bank last week, and according to the CSR, they do accept applicants from outside their market area. I'll soon be adding this to my nationwide reward checking list.

The 4.07% APY is near the top of my nationwide list. There are only three with $25K caps that have higher rates. The two best ones are Bank of the Sierra with a 4.51% APY and Royal Banks of Missouri with a 4.30% APY.

Reliabank is a small bank, so beware that availability policies often change at small banks. Unfortunately, we've seen many banks this year restrict their reward checking accounts to their local market areas. Three popular banks that started offering their accounts nationwide but restricted their accounts to their states are First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Bank2 and West Bank.

The other possibility is that the bank will cut the rate rather than reducing availability. State Bank of Toledo is a good example of this. It started offering its reward checking account in June 2007 with a 6.01% APY with no balance cap. This lasted until the end of 2007 when the rate dropped to 5.01% with a balance cap of $70K. This slowly dropped to 3.01% in 2008, and then last month it dropped to 2.51% APY. This may seem low, but it's still about one percentage point higher than most online savings account rates. Considering that it still offers the top rate on balances up to $70K, it has been a respectable deal for those who opened accounts in the last two years. Also, it should be noted that it's a small bank with only $100 million in assets.

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.

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Comments
6 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
i'm curious how the institutions with nationally available reward checking accounts handle disputed debit card transactions.

is it ever necessary to personally appear?

or can the entire matter be handled via email/fax/phone?

1
Comment #2 by Doug (anonymous) posted on
Doug
I had a debit card dispute and was able to handle it without having to travel 1000 miles.

There were several unexpected gotchas though.

First, I was liable for the first $50 in losses. In order to have gotten that waived, MasterCard demanded the card acct to be ACTIVE. Turned out the card number theft happened on a card I had not used in almost a year.

Second, a police report would have had to have been filed (if my acct had been active). Turns out this can be done at the federal level online.

Third, my particular bank had a $25 dispute fee that was assessed for EACH disputed transaction. As a result, unless the transactions were more than $25, it wasn't worth disputing and the thief got away scott free.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
thanks for the anecdote.

as you were not actively using the card, do you have any idea how the thief got access?

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Debit/credit card liability is a complicated one, with the added PIN/non-PIN options. In addition, purchase dispute is a problem as well.

1
Comment #5 by Doug (anonymous) posted on
Doug
I probably used the card 100 times during the six months the account paid a decent rate of interest..

My guess is that one of those times, an unscrupulous waiter or online merchant copied my number, eventually selling it to the thief.

Needless to say, I now avoid banks with dispute fees and promptly close unused accounts.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
For banks like Sierra, they limit the number of accounts by imposing strict acceptance criteria.

1