The Berkshire Bank has made some big changes to its reward checking account. The new version is called Super Power NOW Checking, and it no longer requires debit card usage. So I don't know if this should still be called a reward checking. The rate is also a little low for reward checking. It's currently 1.20% APY for balances up to $50,000. On the plus side, this rate is guaranteed to last until April 30, 2012. According to the bank's checking page, it requires "direct deposit in the minimum monthly amount of $500 from salary or pension." If all account terms are not met, the rate on the account will no longer be guaranteed. Another downside to the account is that it has a monthly service fee of $10 if a minimum daily balance of $1,500 is not met.
The old version of this account used to require 6 debit card purchases totaling at least $100 per statement cycle. It's interesting to see the bank drop this debit card requirement. It's a small bank with under $10 billion in assets, so it should not have lost any debit card interchange revenue from the recent debit card regulation.
Thanks to reader Wil who posted on this account change in the discussion forum.
It appears that a branch visit is required to open an account. The Berkshire Bank branches are located in New York City, Brooklyn, Harriman, Goshen, Bloomingburg. They also have branches in Ridgefield and Teaneck, New Jersey.
The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 4.29% (excellent) based on September 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of The Berkshire Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1989 (FDIC Certificate # 27503).
How This Account Compares to Other Checking Accounts
Since it no longer has a debit card requirement, this 1.20% APY for balances up to $50K may be appealing to those who don't like debit cards. You currently can get 1.30% APY on all balances at UFB Direct. However, there is no guarantee how long this will last. Flagstar Bank has a promotion on its savings account in which it's guaranteeing 1.25% APY for 4 months of account opening. You can also get 1.15% APY in a savings account and 1.10% APY in a checking account at least through December at Alliant Credit Union. These rates are accurate as of 12/02/2011.
Searching for the Best Checking, Savings & Money Market Rates
To review other top rates on liquid accounts, please refer to our savings account and money market account rate tables. You can often get better deals on checking accounts. To find the best rates, please refer to our checking account table for regular checking accounts and our reward checking account table.