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High-Yield Reward Checking Account at Beacon Federal in Parts of NY, MA, TN & TX


Beacon Federal Bank

Beacon Federal is offering a high-yield reward checking account with the following rates if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 2/1/2011):

  • 3.00% APY on balances up to $20,000
  • 0.90% on portion of balance above $20,000
  • 0.25% base rate if requirements are not met

The monthly requirements include:

  • 15 debit card purchases
  • 1 direct deposit or ACH transfer
  • Receive e-statements

These details are listed at the bank's reward checking promo page. Some additional features are listed in the truth-in-savings document that's in the online application. These include:

  • $20 minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Free first box of checks
  • Free Bill Pay and Bank to Bank Transfers
  • Surcharge-FREE ATM access on the AllPoint ATM network

There doesn't appear to be any ATM surcharge reimbursements. You'll have to use the AllPoint ATM network to avoid fees. For those who just want the high interest rate, this might be better since the bank won't be wasting money paying ATM fees.

There's an online application, and it appears it may be available nationwide. I've sent an email to confirm. Update 10/12/2010: (see 11/7/2010 note below) I called the bank and confirmed that you can open the account online from any state without a branch visit. Once you apply, they will mail you the required documents.Only one account is allowed per social security number. Update 11/07/2010: The online application includes the reward checking account for selection only for certain zip codes which appear to be in the bank's market areas in parts of NY, MA, TN and TX.

I reported on this bank last year when it was offering some high CD rates. At that time I was told that they allow people from any state to open accounts by mail as long as they included copies of two forms of ID.

Branches are located in Central New York, in Central Tennessee, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and in Tyler, Texas.

You might be wondering why they have branches scattered across the nation. The bank used to be a credit union serving the employees of the Carrier Corporation. According to the bank's About page

In 1999, we became a depositor-owned, federally insured bank, and in 2007 a publicly traded thrift-holding company.

The bank has an overall health score of 4 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 15.13% (excellent) based on 6/30/10 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Beacon Federal for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1999 (FDIC Certificate # 35329).

Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts

The two downsides with Beacon Federal's reward checking is the $20K balance cap vs. the typical $25K cap and the 15-a-month debit card purchase requirement vs. the typical 10. However, it is paying a yield that's higher than average.

To find reward checking accounts in your state or to find those available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of

Rate History:

  • 02/01/11: 3.00% APY up to $20K; 0.90% over; 0.25% base
  • 09/12/10: 4.00% APY up to $20K; 1.25% over; 0.50% base

  Tags: reward checking account, checking account, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Beacon Federal Bank

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Comment #1 by adityanm posted on
Thanks but no thanks. 

Comment #2 by 51hh posted on
While I do not need more RCAs for my fund, it is a good sign that more banks are offering 4% RCAs.  It keeps the RCA market competitive.

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
15 transactions is just too much.

Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Limited to one rewards checking account per SS#. A promotional mirage for

deep pocketed savers.

Comment #5 by WhataBummer (anonymous) posted on
BEWARE!!! Besides obtaining a ChexSystems report (as all banks mostly do), this bank also does a "hard pull" inquiry that will appear on your TransUnion credit report for up to 2 years and will most likely lower your credit score with them by a few points.  So, if you don't want an inquiry to appear on your credit report, don't bother to apply.  And, they refuse to remove it as a courtesy from your report.  Shame on you, Beacon Federal!

Comment #6 by Seth (anonymous) posted on
I really like the bank. I'm not in their market area so I'm glad I got in while I did. Sure beats Danvers which dropped the rate by a whole percent mid cycle

Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
I have had this account for 2-3 months now. My credit score has not moved one number. Still 799. Opened a checking, closed 2 checkings and closed 2 credit cards during this time.

Comment #8 by 51hh posted on
I just applied online... with the Randolph pending rate change in January 2011.

My expectation for RCA is getting lower and lower; now 15 debit transactions is ok, $2,000 direct deposit is ok, take my arm/leg may be ok in the future...

Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Can anyone tell me the monthly cirle date for this bank?  Thanks in advance!!

Comment #10 by 51hh posted on
Anon. #9: BF goes by the calendar month (1st day of month to the last); no "grace period" for meeting requirements.

Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Thank you, 51h!  I guess i don't need to worry about the bank cycle anymore as I have not heard anything from the bank since I applied on last Sunday.  I had quite a few chex system inquires this year.  I'm ok of not getting this reward checking, but pretty upset to add another "hard pull" to my credit report.