A reader has been emailing me his experiences opening the reward checking accounts at Danversbank and ViewPoint Bank. As of 6/18/2010, these two have the best rates for a reward checking account that's available nationwide (4% APY). Both are sizable banks that are financially healthy. At first look, ViewPoint Bank's Absolute Checking may look the most appealing with a 4% APY on balances up to $50K. One obvious downside is the 15 debit card purchases a month (most only require 10). However, there's another downside that's not obvious until you attempt the application process. Many readers have reported problems in ViewPoint's application in the ViewPoint Bank reviews. The experiences reported by this reader show the hassles and difficulties.
The obvious downside with Danversbank's reward checking as compared to ViewPoint Bank is the lower balance cap of $25K. There is one big advantage. Danversbank's application process is much easier, quicker and smoother. In this post, I'll share with you his experiences trying to open the ViewPoint Absolute Checking Account. I'll review Danversbank in a future post.
Many readers have reported that their ViewPoint Bank application was rejected due to ChexSystem. At first that appeared to happen to this reader. Here's an excerpt from the rejection email he received from ViewPoint Bank:
Thank you for considering ViewPoint Bank. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you an account at this time. Please see the detailed notice attached. Please Note: The information reported by ChexSystems is not necessarily derogatory. The number of inquiries reported (other accounts you have recently applied for) may have exceeded the acceptable standard for this region.
After spending 45 minutes on the phone with a ViewPoint rep, he learned it wasn't ChexSystems. It was due to the employment details that he entered in the application. Since he has been retired for several years, he didn't provide a detailed description of his former employer and his former job. He resubmitted the application with these details, and his application was accepted a day after the submission. Here's an excerpt of the acceptance email:
Thank you for choosing ViewPoint Bank! Your application has been approved, pending completion of the identification and verification process. We look forward to offering you even more innovative financial solutions! Attached please find instructions, the new Consumer Account Agreement along with the necessary document(s)
There was still much work to be done to complete the application process. Below is the list of documents and items that he had to mail back to ViewPoint:
- Consumer Account Agreement - signed/dated at the bottom to certify Taxpayer ID Number to IRS
- Affiliate Opt-Out form
- Notarized ID Certification (they say it's required if account is not opened in person)
- Scanned image of my State Driver License
- VISA Check Card Application - signed/dated
- Proxy Authorization - signed/dated
- $100 personal check made out to myself and endorsed (as per CSR). The amount is for the minimum required to open this account (Not option for electronic funding)
Note the ID Certification. This has to be notarized if you can't visit a branch. The reader has mailed in all of the above items and is now waiting for ViewPoint. He says he's unable to register for online banking because he's waiting on the required bank-assigned 10 digit User ID and his account number. Here is how he described the ViewPoint application process:
This whole process is clearly designed to accommodate the walk-in customer - where customer service asks for an ID then passes various documents across the desk for the applicant to sign. This is by far the poorest online adaptation of that traditional, in-person process that I have ever encountered. There is practically no 'online' to this online process.
Other Reward Checking Accounts
Even if a bank or credit union allows you to open an account online and/or by mail, it can be a lot easier if you open at a nearby branch. There are also other advantages of opening a reward checking account at your local bank or credit union. Unfortunately, they may not be easy to find. Hopefully, with our reward checking tables, you'll be able to find one near where you live.
Share Your Experiences with a Bank or Credit Union
Have you had problems with a bank's application process? Or did the bank make it easy to apply? Or did you have other problems with a bank. A reader recently described problem he had with ViewPoint in that they placed a long hold on his opening deposit (It's always best to open these accounts with the minimum). Please consider sharing your experiences in our Bank and Credit Union Reviews forum. In this forum you can share any online or brick-and-mortar experience that you had with any bank or credit union.