1st SouthWest Bank is another bank offering a reward checking account with a very high yield and ATM refunds as long as you meet the typical reward checking requirements. It has a yield of 3.01% APY for balances up to $25,000. Above $25K you earn the standard rate of 0.25% APY. The requirements include 1) make at least 10 debit card transactions (excluding ATM transactions); 2) have 1 direct deposit or ACH auto debit; 3) agree to receive your monthly statement electronically. If these requirements aren't meet you'll receive the standard rate and won't get the ATM refunds. The ATM refunds apply automatically and can be up to $30 per month.
Branches are located in the Colorado cities of Alamosa, Center, Cortez, Del Norte, Durango, Pagosa Springs and Saguache. I haven't called yet to see if accounts can be opened by mail. It seems likely that they require a branch visit. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 57741). It's a new bank that was established in 2004.
For other high yield reward checking accounts at other banks and credit unions, please refer to my best checking account summary post.
10/07/09: 3.01% APY up to $25K; 0.25% over
01/05/09: 3.01% APY
11/22/08: 4.01% APY
02/08/08: 5.01% APY
04/13/07: 6.01% APY up to $25K; 1.25% APY over