Update 10/01/10: The top yield has fallen to 2.53% APY. See bottom of the post for the rate history.
Citizens Bank Minnesota has a reward checking account called Woo Hoo Checking. It pays 2.53% APY for balances up to $15,000 (0.51% for above) and refunds ATM fees (up to $25 per cycle) if the following monthly requirements are met: 1) 10 check card transactions, 2) one direct deposit or automatic payment, and 3) receive electronic statements. If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.25%. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charges.
Update 4/22/08: A reader reported being told by the bank that there is a $0.42 per online bill-pay transaction fee when you go beyond 5 per month.
Update 5/23/08: A reader reported that the bank is no longer accepting out-of-state deposits due to abuse. As of 8/10/08, the application now states that you must be a Minnesota resident to apply. The reader was also informed that existing accounts may be closed due to multiple small debit card purchases (few cents).
I asked the bank about opening an account by mail, and I was told that it is allowed. They will need to have a copy of your driver's license, a copy of your utility bill, and a phone number of an employer to verify employment. There's an "Apply link" on their webpage, but this pops up a PDF application to be printed and mailed in. Please contact the bank for the full application details.
Update 4/18/08: After reading reports that the bank's policy regarding opening accounts by mail may have changed, I emailed the bank again. Here is the reply I receivied:
We can open your account online. Once we receive your online application we request a copy of your drivers license and a copy of your payroll check or recent utility bill. After we receive that we will mail out the original documents for your actual signatures.
Branches are located in the Minnesota cities of New Ulm, Lafayette, La Salle and Lakeville. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1934 (Certificate # 8200).
Other High Yield Reward Checking Accounts
I've created a new label for all high yield reward checking accounts with nationwide availablity. My posts of all of these accounts are available at this page. For general information, history and discussion on these reward checking accounts, please refer to my reward checking overview. For a complete list of all of my reward checking accounts, please refer to my list of reward checking accounts around the nation
- 10/01/10: 2.53% APY for up to $15K; 0.51% over
- 06/30/10: 3.05% APY
- 09/02/09: 3.51% APY
- 01/07/09: 4.01% APY
- 11/06/08: 5.01% APY
- 02/19/08: 6.01% APY for up to $25K; 1.01% over; 0.25% base