Update 3/05/10: Centennial Bank has been closed by regulators, and the FDIC was not able to find a buyer. Please refer to the FDIC press release for more details.
Centennial Bank has a new internet division called CBDirect Bank which offers a reward checking account and an online savings account. The reward checking account has an APY of 3.00%, and it applies to all balances. Details of this account are provided at the bank's Smart Checking Account page. The following monthly requirements must be met to receive the high yield:
- 10 Visa Check Card purchases
- one direct deposit
- pay at least 4 bills using the online bill payment
If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.50% APY. Minimum initial deposit is $100, and there are no monthly fees. Online bill pay is free. There doesn't seem to be any refunds of ATM fees, but they do provide free access to the Allpoint ATM network.
The savings account appears to be like a typical online savings account. The APY is 1.50% as of 12/18/09 (had been 2.80%). Minimum balance to open is only $1. There doesn't appear to be any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
The online applications for these accounts use the Cashedge service. The application appears to allow electronic funding which is typical for Cashedge. The Smart Checking page states that 3 free bank-to-bank transfers per month are allowed. If it's through Cashedge, transfers will probably be a little slow.
Update 1/05/09: I called the bank today and confirmed that the account is available to people in any state. Also, the top yield applies to all balances without any cap. On the downside, I was told they do a hard credit pull. The reward checking account has been offered since August 2008 with this same yield.
CBDirect is an online division of Centennial Bank which is based in Utah. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1997 (FDIC Certificate # 34430).
Thanks to the reader who mentioned CBDirect in the finding-the-best-deals post.
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.
03/20/09: 3.00% APY if requirements met; 0.50% APY if requirements not met
02/01/09: 3.00% APY if requirements met; 0.75% APY if requirements not met
01/04/09: 4.00% APY if requirements met; 1.26% APY if requirements not met