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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Reward Checking Accounts When Your Balance Tops $25K

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For high-yield reward checking accounts, most of the focus has been on the top rates. The rates that apply to balances over the balance caps are often overlooked. When many of the banks began offering these in 2007, the second-tier rate was often 1.01% APY. This seemed very low when you could easily get over 4.00% APY at internet savings accounts. However, in today's interest rate environment, this compares favorably to many of the popular internet savings accounts. For example, Ally Bank's savings account currently pays 1.09% APY. So if your reward checking account balance goes above $25K, you're not losing out on much.

Just like the top rates, we have also seen cuts to many of these second-tier rates. So the 1.01% yield for the portion of the balances over $25K is now rare. You can look for these in our reward checking account table by clicking on the "filter accounts" button and increasing the investment amount. The APY column will show the yield in effect for that investment amount. So if you include an investment amount of $30K, The APYs will be the second-tier yields for accounts with $25K balance caps. The column for the 1st year estimated earnings will combine the earnings from the first $25K and the earnings from the portion of the balance above $25K.

If you specify a search for only nationwide reward checking accounts with an investment account balance of $30,000, the first four banks as of 12/13/2010 should be the four banks that are still offering around 3% APY for the first $25K. These include:

Liberty Bank is on top since its second-tier rate is currently 1.01% APY. The second-tier rates of the others are much lower (0.30% and below).

If you think there will be times in which you'll have over $25K in your reward checking account, Liberty Bank will have an advantage. These second-tier rates are another factor to keep in mind if you're looking for a new reward checking account.

  Tags: checking account

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3 comments.
Comment #1 by glxpass posted on
glxpass
Some FIs (financial institutions), such as Bank 2, have a high-yield savings account you can link to the RCA (reward checking account).  Bank 2 (no longer nationally available) pay 4.01% APY with a cap of $15K on their RCA, and 2.01% APY with a cap of $35K on a high-yield savings account linked to the RCA.  Meet the requirements of the RCA, and you'll earn the 2.01% APY for the amount in the high-yield savings account.

One thing to note:  interest earned on the RCA automatically gets transferred to the linked savings account.  You'd want to transfer it back to the RCA if you're still under the CAP for the RCA.

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
With poor rates, decreasing limits, and increasingly onerous requirements, are reward checking accounts as a savings vehicle really that relevant? 

Unless it really is your primary transaction account, it simply does not seem worth the effort to maintain one of these.

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Comment #3 by glxpass posted on
glxpass
"Anonymous - #2, Monday, December 13, 2010 - 11:30 AM

With poor rates, decreasing limits, and increasingly onerous requirements, are reward checking accounts as a savings vehicle really that relevant? 

Unless it really is your primary transaction account, it simply does not seem worth the effort to maintain one of these."

 

Ironically, although I disagree with your post, since popularity seems to have an adverse effect on RCA rates and even availability, I totally support your statement.  :-)

 

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