High-Rate Reward Checking Account at Bank of Blue Valley But There's a Catch


It has been almost five years ago since I first reported on Bank of Blue Valley and its reward checking account. I'm happy to see the bank is still offering a competitive reward checking account, but there have been several changes. The new reward checking account is called Ultimate Checking. It has a top rate of 3.00% APY on balances up to $25,000. There's also an online application, and according to the bank CSR, people in any state can apply. This might sound like a hot deal, but there's one big downside. I've listed the details of this account below:

Ultimate Checking rates are listed at Bank of Blue Valley page as of 1/6/2012:

  • 3.00% APY up to $25,000 if level-1 requirements are met
  • 2.00% APY up to $25,000 if level-2 requirements are met
  • 0.55% APY for portion of balance over $25,000
  • 0.20% base rate if requirements are not met

The level-1 requirements are probably a deal killer for many people. The main requirement is:

  • Spend $1,000 or more in signature-based, point-of-sale (POS) transactions per statement cycle

The main level-2 requirement is:

  • Spend $300 to $999.99 in signature-based POS transactions per statement cycle

The other level-1 and level-2 requirements are more typical. For each statement cycle, you must have one direct deposit (or ACH auto debit) and enrollment of eStatements.

Reward Checking Spending Requirements?

It's interesting to see another institution requiring a certain purchase amount. Most reward checking accounts are powered by BancVue, and they ensure their accounts comply with Regulation DD. According to an FDIC bulletin, "Banks may not require that transactions be of a certain dollar value (individually or in aggregate)."

Bank of Blue Valley's old reward checking account used to be powered by BancVue. So I would think the bank's management is familiar with BancVue's interpretation of this part of Regulation DD.

Many people may spend $1,000 per month on their expenses, and they probably use a cash back credit card that pays between 1% to 2%. So if they replace their cash back credit card with this checking account, they'll lose out on between $10 and $20 of cash back rebates per month. That could be worthwhile if they keep a $25K balance. The extra interest they would earn over a 2% reward checking account would be $250. That's equal to over $20 a month of cash back (excluding taxes).

Online Application

The bank has an online application for the Ultimate Checking account. Click on the "apply now" link on the bank's Ultimate Checking page. This takes you to an Andera.com application which is a common service for online banking applications.

I called the bank, and according to the CSR, they accept applications from any state. In the past they have restricted applications to their local area. Perhaps with the $1K spending requirement, there won't be enough demand for them to restrict it.

Bank of Blue Valley Overview

Bank of Blue Valley branches are located in the Kansas City metro area.

The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 45.86% (below average) based on September 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Bank of Blue Valley for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1989 (FDIC Certificate # 32722).

Other Reward Checking Accounts

If you don't want the spending requirement, you may have to settle on a lower rate. The highest reward checking rate for a $25K balance that's nationally available is 2.52% APY at ABCO Federal Credit Union. You can get 4.00% APY at Consumers Credit Union that's guaranteed until July, but this is only for balances up to $10K.

To find reward checking accounts available nationwide or in your state, please refer to our reward checking account table, and please refer to this post for details on how to use the rate tables.

Related Pages: Bank of Blue Valley, Topeka, Kansas City, checking account

  |     |   Comment #1
$1,000 and signature-based debit transactions?  That basically rules out all the people!!
  |     |   Comment #2
Lets see the numbers, I already receive 2% cash back on all purchases from my visa card,
that puts the effective rate to 1%  (3%-2%) using this account.
Further more, I receive 1.5% interest on my $25K in a 18 month CD, that makes it negative of 1/2% using this bank and I don’t have to spend $1000 per month.

No thanks.

For people without cash back card, the numbers are as follows:
If you can afford to spend $1000 per month after month, you don’t need the hustle for just $35 ($67-$32 interest received on your $25K in CD).

If you try to fulfill the option #2, it will be a total waste of time for just few extra dollars in interest received.
  |     |   Comment #3
I have this account and consistently achieve the Tier 1 requirements. Spending $200 a month of fuel really helps get there. With an average balance around 2-3k a month, the extra 80 bucks a year has come in handy.


Interesting the FDIC hasnt put the smack down on this account yet for the disregard of Reg DD.
  |     |   Comment #4
Responding to Poster #2

"Lets see the numbers, I already receive 2% cash back on all purchases from my visa card,
that puts the effective rate to 1%  (3%-2%) using this account."

Right there, I am making more money with my 2% Cash Back Card. The 3% interest paid by the bank is fully taxable. The cash back is not taxed. Three percent minus 35% (combined federal and state tax) = 1.95% effective interest rate. 

Cash back card offers more money and no work.

  |     |   Comment #6
Bank of Blue Valley is good bank. Good customer service. They used to pay 4% with the same promotion.

Now that only pays 3%, I just put money on CD and wait for better deals.
  |     |   Comment #7
I think that Randolph Bank&Trust was one of the first to require a minimum dollar amount for each transaction for reward checking qualifications.  So, how is what Bank of Blue Valley any different, except that they want a total dollar amount met to qualify for the reward checking high interest.  I used cash back to meet the requirement for Rnadolph Bank&Trust.... so why can't I do the same thing to meet the $1000 monthly spending requirement for Bank of Blue Valley reward checking?
  |     |   Comment #8
The bank has a bonus offer of up to $350 if you open a checking account. I went to their website to open an account. I got a response that I was outside of their market region. I emailed the CSR about this and the person responded that only people who are in specific zip codes (within roughly 30 miles of their Kansas City branches) can open accounts online. So the information for this bank is inaccurate and not correct that anyone in the USA can apply for their accounts. The accounts are targeting Kansas City regional residents and anyone with an outside zip code address are not eligible. Note that this bank is the successor to Morrill and Janes Bank which closed all out of state accounts back in 2012. Heartland Financial Corporation bought out Morrill and Janes bank in 2013. They later bought out Bank of Blue Valley merging the Morrill and Janes branches over to the new bank name. Heartland Financial operates 11 community banks in the central and western USA. All 11 banks offer a similar account bonus, but they all restrict accounts to people living in the area of their branches. The offer ends on Sept. 3.
4.01% Reward Checking Account at a Kansas Bank (Bank of Blue Valley)
Update 9/19/09: The top rate has fallen to 4.01% APY.

Bank of Blue Valley is offering a reward checking account it calls Performance Checking. You can earn 4.01% APY on balances up to $25k if you make at least 12 signature-based debit card transactions per month and either one direct deposit or ACH auto debit per month. If you don't meet these requirements, the yield is 0.25% APY. The yield on balances over $25K is 0.85% APY. Meeting the requirements also gives you free ATM refunds up to $25 per statement....

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