First Financial Bank has started offering a reward checking account called Kasasa Cash. There's also a linked savings account called Kasasa Saver. Both offer very competitive interest rates, and the accounts can be opened online. Thanks to DA member 51hh who first posted on this in the forum. There is some worry that this deal may not last long, but as I show below, it's not really a hot deal compared to other reward checking accounts. So hopefully, it will last for some time.
Kasasa Cash rates and features if monthly requirements are met:
- 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000
- 3.00% – 0.61 % APY on balances over $15,000 depending on balance in account
- 0.05% APY if qualifications aren't met
- Unlimited nationwide ATM fee refunds
Kasasa Saver rates if Kasasa Cash requirements are met:
- 1.00% APY on balances up to $50,000
- 1.00 – 0.50% APY on balances over $15,000 depending on balance in account
- 0.05% APY if qualifications are not met on Kasasa Cash
Monthly requirements for the Kasasa Cash account:
- 12 debit card purchases post and clear
- Access online banking
- Receive free eStatements
The accounts are free with no monthly service fees and no minimum balance requirement. There's a limit of one account per social security number. Also, ATM receipt must be presented for reimbursement of ATM fees of $5.00 or higher.
Update 4/3/2013: The bank changed their policy in the last week of March. They are now only accepting applications from their market area (see where they have branches below).
There's an online application link at the bank's Kasasa Cash page.
I and other readers have been told by bank representatives that people in any state are eligible to open these accounts. As we have seen many times before, banks often change the eligibility rules. If you see a change, please leave a comment. First Financial isn't a small bank, so hopefully, it will be able to handle customers from all states.
First Financial Bank branches are located in Arkansas and Mississippi. Its headquarters is located in El Dorado, Arkansas. The bank has $812 million in assets and $615 million in deposits. It has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 10.39% (above average) based on September 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of First Financial Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 28905).
How This Reward Checking Compares
As I mentioned above, I don't consider this as a hot deal. This is due to the $15K balance cap of the 3% Kasasa Cash account. We already have a nationally available reward checking account that pays 3% APY on balances up to $15K. That's the Max Checking Account from Lake Michigan Credit Union. This is an all-access credit union in which anyone can join via an association membership. The Max Checking has been paying 3% APY since 2009, so there's some hope that First Financial Bank can keep these rates and balance caps for awhile.
First Financial Bank does have one advantage over Lake Michigan CU. It also offers a Kasasa Saver account that pays 1% APY on balances up to $50K. This is a nice account if you have more than $15K that you want to keep liquid. You can get a little higher interest rate at some internet money market accounts, but this Kasasa Saver rate is close enough to make it a good alternative to the internet accounts.
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.