One thing that could hurt reward checking accounts is if debit card interchange fees go down. Those fees help pay the high interest rates of reward checking accounts. There was concern that the interchange fee caps that resulted from the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law would force down these interchange fees for all banks, even small banks that were exempt from the law. A new Fed study has shown this has not happened. According to this Wall Street Journal article
Small banks and credit unions last year were able to charge slightly more than double the average fee of large lenders for debit-card transactions in which the customer has to sign a receipt, the Fed study found.
However, there is still concern that interchange fees will trend down. From the article:
Patrick Keefe, a spokesman for the Credit Union National Association, an industry group, said the short-term results were welcome but the data were limited. "We continue to have grave concerns about debit-interchange income for credit unions over the longer term and question whether these results will stand over time," Mr. Keefe said.