Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Update on First Financial Bank’s Reward Checking and Savings Accounts

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First Financial Bank continues to have very competitive rates on its reward checking and savings accounts, and these accounts are now available to more people than when I last reported on this account in April 2013. The reward checking is called Kasasa Cash, and the savings account is called Kasasa Saver. My first report on these accounts was in January 2013, and the rates have held steady since that time. At the time of my first report, the bank was accepting new customers from any state. That didn’t last long, and soon the bank was limiting new customers to their small market area in parts of Arkansas and Mississippi. I recently noticed the bank has expanded the region that’s eligible for this account. In the eligibility section of the online application, it now lists six states. Two of the states are Arkansas and Mississippi. People from any part of these two states now appear to be eligible. For the other four states, eligibility depends on your zip code. Below is the list of states:

  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • Texas - only parts are eligible
  • South Carolina - only parts are eligible
  • Kentucky - only parts are eligible
  • Oklahoma - only parts are eligible
DETAILSINSTITUTIONAPYMINMAXPRODUCT
First Financial Bank (AR)3.00%-$15kKasasa Cash
First Financial Bank (AR)1.00%-$50kKasasa Saver
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of July 31, 2014

The Kasasa Cash account doesn’t have the best rate and balance cap. However, the Kasasa Saver account that links to the Cash account can make this a very good deal that’s better than what you can get from nationally available reward checking accounts. Below is a recap of the features of these accounts. The rates and balance caps are accurate as of 4/18/2014.

Kasasa Cash rates and features if monthly requirements are met:

  • 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000
  • 0.25% interest rate for balances over $15,000
  • 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
  • 0.25% interest rate for balances over $15,000
  • 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.

Bank Overview

First Financial Bank branches are located in Arkansas and Mississippi. Its headquarters is located in El Dorado, Arkansas. The bank has $856 million in assets and $643 million in deposits. It has an overall health grade at DepositAccounts.com of a B+ with a Texas ratio of 15.04% (above average) based on December 2013 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

If you just look at the checking account, this deal isn’t any better than some nationally available reward checking accounts like the Max Checking at Lake Michigan Credit Union. The Max Checking also pays 3% APY on balances up to $15K (as of 4/18/14). The advantage of First Financial Bank is the Kasasa Saver account which links to the Kasasa Cash account. It pays 1% APY on balances up to $50K. This 1% APY might seem low compared to reward checking rates, but it’s very competitive when compared to internet savings accounts. With a sizable Kasasa Saver balance cap of $50K, First Financial Bank is a good alternative to internet banks for those who want to keep a fairly large balance in a liquid account.

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.


  Tags: First Financial Bank (AR), savings account, checking account, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma

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Comments
Comment #1 by kiwi posted on
kiwi
I live in Zip 30062 Marietta, GA, Atlanta Metro Area. Opened 2 joint accounts March 2013. They are very easy to deal with. One user ID and pass word covers both accounts. I think you can have 2 accounts/ ssn with most the rewards checking accounts.  I would rate in order of  for my needs LMCU, FFB1 and INOVA.  I may have to split mine up to get 2 more accounts. Caution: Their cycle is usually the 4th Tues of the month but some vary so you have to mark your calendar. Very easy to deal with. Have 10 rewards accounts but only using FFB1.com and LMCU.org are my most active ones. The other 6 I meet the minimum requirements to keep the accounts from going dormant. I have 2 INOVA accounts ready to go and I plan to start using them the 1st of the month. They required $1,500 min daily balance and I couldn't get the transfers done by the 1st. If you want INOVA you have to move now, so you can meet the daily deposit balance requirements for May 1st,. Very good customer service. Easy and fast opening. They return calls quickly. They always sound so happy and energetic even on Monday. They must drink a lot of coffee.

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