BankNewport has started a reward checking account it calls Go Checking which pays 2.51% APY for balances up to $50,000 (0.40% over) and refunds ATM fees if the following monthly requirements are met: 1) 12 debit card transactions, 2) one direct deposit or ACH debit, and 3) receive electronic statements. If these requirements are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. The minimum initial deposit is $25. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees regardless of meeting the above requirements.
Update 4/03/08: The website now states "Available to residents living in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts."
Branches are located in the Rhode Island cities of Newport, Jamestown, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Barrington, Bristol and Warren. The bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 18129).
Other Reward Checking Accounts
The best reward checking account deals with the highest yield and the highest qualifying deposit seem to be in the Northeast. In most other areas of the country, the top yield often only applies to the first $25K. I just reported yesterday on a Rhode Island credit union with a reward checking account which also has a $100K deposit cap. I've reported on several Massachusetts banks offering these reward checking accounts including Middlesex Savings which is still offering 6.25% APY on balances up to $100K.
For other reward checking accounts in other parts of the country, please see my reward checking account page and my best checking account post.
11/04/09: 2.51% up to $50K
8/07/09: 2.76% up to $50K; 0.40% over; 0.10% base
6/03/09: Top yield now 3.55% APY.
3/03/09: Top yield now 4.14% APY.
1/05/09: Top yield now 4.65% APY.
7/04/08: The balance cap fell to $50,000.
4/03/08: The top yield fell to 5.05% APY.
10/12/07: The initial yield was 6.06% APY for balances up to $100,000.