Carolina Premier Bank is offering a reward checking account with the following rates and features if certain requirements are met:
- 5.00% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.50% on portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.50% base rate if requirements are not met
- ATM fees refunded nationwide
The monthly requirements include:
- 12 debit card purchases of at least $5 each
- One direct deposit or auto debit
- One online bill pay
- Receive e-statements
Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:
- Requires that you open and maintain another account (savings or CD)
- $200 minimum initial deposit
- No minimum balance requirement
- No monthly service charge
Most of the above details are not listed at the bank's website. A reader mentioned this account, and I called the bank for the details. According to the CSR, the other account that must be opened can be the passbook savings account which currently has the rate of 2.10% APY on all balances regardless of the above monthly requirements. Minimum initial deposit is $200, and it has no monthly service charges.
The requirement of the additional account is not typical for reward checking accounts. Another aspect that's not typical is the $5 minimum purchase to meet the debit card usage requirements. Since banks make a certain amount off of each debit card purchase, banks depend on heavy debit card usage to fund the high interest rate. As I described in this recent post, banks sometimes will put pressure on customers to spend more with their debit cards.
A branch visit is required to open accounts. The bank is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It's a small bank that was just established in 2007. Consequently, it's still labeled as a start-up without any rating by BauerFinancial. Bankrate.com gives the bank a safe and sound rating of 3 stars (performing) based on 6/30/09 financial data. The bank has been a FDIC member since 2007 (FDIC Certificate # 58516).
Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this reward checking account.
Update 2/10/2010: I just called and verified the above rates are still valid.
Other Reward Checking Accounts
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation or to learn more about these accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website (Just updated yesterday! - 11/09/2009)