Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) has expanded its field of membership which should give many more New Yorkers access to its high-yield reward checking account which is paying 4.00% APY on balances up to $25K as of 7/18/2010. The credit union is now open to all those who live, work, worship or attend school in Suffolk or Nassau County, New York. Previously, it was only open to certain professionals in those counties. Please refer to the credit union's eligibility page for the full details.
I first reviewed this reward checking account in December 2008. It's nice to see that the 4.00% APY has held since that time. However, there have been a few small changes for the worst. First, the rates for the portion of the balances above $25K have fallen a little since 2008. Also, they now require online bill pay usage in addition to direct deposit and 12 debit card purchases (signature based) per month.
You can still find a few nationwide reward checking accounts that pay around 4.00% APY. Also, I just reported on a nationwide reward checking account that's paying 4.75% APY on balances up to $25K (see review).
If you're trying decide between a nationwide reward checking account and one that's local to you, it may be better to choose the local one. The institution that only offers its reward checking to its local market area will likely attract fewer rate chasers and more average Joes who will be more profitable for the institution. So it should have a better chance in maintaining a higher rate.