Update 6/6/11: The balance cap has fallen from $25K to $15k. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.
Blackhawk Bank has a 3.01% APY checking account called the EasyMoney Checking. It's a reward checking account, and the APY applies to balances up to $15K (0.25% for over). The main requirement for this EasyMoney Checking is that you make 10 point-of-sale debit card transactions per statement cycle. There's no direct deposit requirement. Also, there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Another perk is automatic refunds of all ATM transaction fees worldwide. If requirements are not met, the rate falls to 0.05%.
According to the bank representative, they require a branch visit to open the checking account. Branches are located in the Wisconsin city of Beloit and in the Illinois cities of Roscoe, Machesney Park, Rockford, Belvidere and Capron.
The bank has been FDIC insured since 1934. It has an average safe and sound rating at Bankrate.com of 3 out of 5 stars (performing) as of 10/10/06.
Thanks to the reader who mentioned this checking account in the finding deals post.
- 06/06/11: 3.01% APY for up to $15K; 0.25% for above; 0.05% base (not sure when this took effect)
- 08/17/09: 3.01% APY for up to $25K
- 12/23/08: 4.01% APY for up to $25K; 1.00% for above; 0.15% if req's not met (updated 1/14/09)
- 10/10/06: 5.01% APY (initial post)
Edit 3/22/09: Updated eligible ATM fee refunds from domestic to worldwide