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 cardinalbank.com 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 DepositAccounts.com 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.