Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion
Cardinal Bank1.01%-$100kFirst Choice Checking
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of August 22, 2014

Checking Account Rate Deal at Cardinal Bank in VA, MD & DC - Local Only


Cardinal Bank

Cardinal Bank is offering a good checking account deal. Its First Choice Checking has a 2.01% APY for balances up to $100,000 (0.31% over). These rates are listed in the bank's First Choice Checking page as of 1/31/2012. It's a limited time offer, and there's no mention how long this rate will last. Credit to iBankDesign member ichaelm for this find.

Unlike the typical reward checking account, you can qualify for the top rate without debit card usage. To qualify for the top rate, they give you the choice between direct deposit OR 10 debit card purchases per statement cycle.

One downside to this account is a potential monthly fee of $15. To avoid this fee, you have to maintain a $5,000 minimum daily balance. The bank has more First Choice Checking details in its FAQs page. On the question about how long the 2.01% APY will last, it states "While we cannot guarantee our rates will never change, no formal end date to the offer has been set." The FAQs also mention that there is no minimum amount for the direct deposit.

There's an online application for accounts. However, at the bottom of the rate sheet, the following is mentioned:

Accounts opened online through are available to customers who reside in the Cardinal Bank market which includes the Washington DC metropolitan area of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Most of their branches are in Northern Virginia with one branch in DC and one in Bethesda, Maryland.

The bank's overall health score at is 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 5.31% (excellent) based on September 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Cardinal Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1998 (FDIC Certificate # 34733).

Finding the Best Reward Checking Account

Compared to other reward checking accounts, this Cardinal Bank checking account rate is a little low. However, its balance cap is way above average, and that may make this account worthwhile for some.

If you're new to reward checking, my post on the common reward checking traits should be useful. To compare reward checking accounts based on interest rates and balance caps, you can use our reward checking rate table. Refer to this post for details on how to use the rate tables.

  Tags: Cardinal Bank, checking account, Virginia, Maryland

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
"minimum daily balance" as opposed to "minimum average daily balance." Is this another unfriendly trend?

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
current customer are not eligible for the 2.01% rate. =(

Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Can you close your accounts and then open this account as a "new" customer?

Comment #5 by emory posted on
FYI:  Below  is the message I received upon opening a Cardinal  First Choice Checking  account online:

"Thank you for requesting a new checking, savings, money market, CD and/or IRA account. 
Your request has been forwarded to a branch near you. A branch representative will contact you shortly to schedule an appointment to complete the account opening and funding process. "

I'll follow up when I receive the phone call.

Comment #6 by Kojack22 (anonymous) posted on
I completed the on-line application on Tues. Jan. 1 and was contacted by phone on Wed. morning informing me that I was approved and that the necessary paperwork was sitting at the branch awaiting my signature. Drove to the branch and finished the process. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. A good deal with hardly any hoops to jump through.  Kojack22

Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
I opened an account several years ago and never had to visit a branch office even though I am in the local area.  They mailed me the signature forms for opening the account and I mailed them back.  Has that procedure changed?

Comment #8 by emory posted on
We applied for an account on 2/1/2012, late in the day.  I have not received any contact from them.   Very odd. 

Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Hit the submit button early by accident.


I will be interested to how subjectively they apply the term Washington D.C. Metro Area.  I can easily walk to Laurel where I am sure it is covered, but I where I actually live they could probably argue it either way.    What a dumb rule. What is the point?

Comment #10 by emory posted on
I am Emory #5 and #8 above.

I applied for the account on 2/1/2012.

I still have not received any followup from the local Cardinal branch with my request to open this account. Nothing by email or voice.

FYI:  I am eligible for the account.  We live in the Washington DC metro area.  Our Cardinal branch is local to our home address.


Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
I applied for an account late on February 9 and have not received any contact from the bank (by meil, email, or phone).  I see their ads in local newspaper about the account every week since I applied.  I guess they must be swamped with applications and are taking their time?  Or the ID verification information is slow to complete?

Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Update from Anonymous #11.

I just got a phone call today from Cardinal Bank.  Apparently, they opened an account soon after I applied online and did not get around to calling me until today.  They asked for a time to meet to sign the signature card and to make the initial deposit.  I guess they must be slow and have an application backlog?  I am going to move my Money Market Mutual Fund money (with a pitiful 0.01% rate) over to this bank.

Comment #13 by JS (anonymous) posted on
Bummed...I've had this account since early August and love it. However just noticed in my account that the rate is no longer 1.99% (which yielded APY of 2.01%), its now 1.203%. Sigh, figured it'd drop at some point just didn't expect it this soon. Still double the PNC Growth rate.

Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
I opened the First Choice checking account back in March, 2012 and the rate from last month's statement shows 1.97%.  It was 2.0% which I opened it in March.  So, it has not changed much at all.  I only add a small direct deposit amount twice a month, so the balance has not increased by much since I opened it.

Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Yes, I noticed that the rate has been lowered to approx 1.20%.  Oh well, it's still a good rate in this extremely low rate environment.