If you live in the Houston metro area, you have access to some top reward checking accounts. Just like in other areas of the country, there have been a few reward checking accounts in Houston that have made large rate cuts. Several readers had opened accounts at Texas Citizens Bank in Houston when it was offering a reward checking account paying 5.01% APY on balances up to $25K. That rate was slashed to 2.50% last December. That's a good example of the downside with reward checking. Like any liquid account, there's no guarantee about future rates.
The 5% reward checking for balances up to $25K is not only history in Houston, but also in the U.S. However, there are still many banks and credit unions offering 4.00% for balances up to $25K. These aren't available nationwide, but only in certain areas of the country. Houston is currently one of those lucky places.
For Houston as of 4/19/2011:
The best reward checking deal in Houston is currently at Integrity Bank, SSB, a small bank located at 4040 Washington Avenue. I first reviewed this account in October 2009. Since that time they have been offering 4.01% APY on balances up to $25K. A reader just commented that they require new customers to come into the branch to open new accounts.
The second best reward checking deal is at Plus4 Credit Union which has a field of membership that includes many parts of Houston. It currently offers a reward checking that pays 3.50% APY on balances up to $25K. My first review of this account was in August 2009 when the top yield was 4.01%.
For Texas as of 4/19/2011:
Not only those in Houston, but everyone in Texas can currently qualify for two top reward checking accounts. Both offer online applications, and they currently accept applications from any Texas resident. Note, it has been common for banks to reduce the availability of their accounts. So make sure you check with the bank before applying.
The first one is the Absolute Checking Account offered by Viewpoint Bank which is based in Plano, Texas. They're still offering 4.00% APY on balances up to $25K. There's an online application, and anyone in Texas is eligible to apply. My first review of this account was in May 2008 when the 4.00% applied to balances up to $50K. It also used to be available nationwide. This changed last July when the bank restricted applications to Texas residents. One thing to note is that many readers have experience problems in the application process.
The second notable Texas reward checking account is offered by TransPecos Bank which has branches in West Texas. It doesn't have the best rate, but it has some features that can appeal to those with large savings. The reward checking account, Kasasa Cash, is currently paying 3.33% APY on balances up to $25K. Over $25K, it pays 1.33% APY which is an excellent second-tier reward checking rate. That rate is higher than the rates of almost all internet savings accounts. For those who want higher rates for balances over $25K, TransPecos Bank offers Kasasa Saver. If you meet the Kasasa Cash monthly requirements, this Saver account pays 1.75% APY on balances up to $250K. These rates have held since my first review in June 2010. You can apply for these accounts online if the application accepts your zip code. Currently, it appears to accept all Texas zip codes.
Other Cities and Reward Checking Accounts
When I reviewed the best reward checking accounts in Austin, I also provided an overview of how reward checking accounts work and their history.
You can view the top reward checking accounts that are available nationwide in our reward checking account table.
As I described for Texas, you can often find higher rates that are only available in your state. To find these in our reward checking table, use the "Filter Accounts" button above the table. Then select your state.
It's important to note that many of the listed accounts for a state are not available for everyone in the state. Click on the plus sign to the left of the bank name to view account details. More info on the bank can be viewed by clicking on the bank name.