Back in 2007 and 2008, several banks and credit unions had offered a rate guarantee on their reward checking accounts. Those have become rare these days, but I came across one at Crescent Credit Union. It's guaranteeing the rates for 1 year from account opening, and the top rate is 4.00% APY. However, it's not the typical reward checking account. It's called eRewards Checking, and it has the following 3 rate tiers as of 5/29/2012:
- 4.00% APY for balance up to $5,000
- 2.00% APY for portion of balance between $5,000 and $25,000
- 0.15% APY for portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.15% base rate if requirements are not met
If you maintain a $25K balance, the blended APY would be 2.40%.
In addition to the the high rates, ATM surcharges are refunded up to $10 per month if the monthly requirements are met.
Monthly requirements include:
- 10 non-PIN debit card purchases
- Pay at least one bill using the credit union's free online bill pay system
- Direct deposit of your net income
An important downside to this account is that there's a monthly fee of $5 if the above requirements are not met. That's not typical for reward checking. Most are free checking accounts even if you don't meet the monthly requirements.
I first reported on this account in July 2011, and the rates have held steady since then. So that may be a good sign that the rates will hold even after the 1-year rate guarantee.
Credit Union Membership
Credit union membership is open to those who live or work in Plymouth, Bristol, Norfolk, or Barnstable counties in Massachusetts. Please refer to the credit union's About Us page for more details.
Credit Union Overview
Crescent Credit Union branches are located in Brockton, Cambridge, Norwell and Taunton.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 3.66% (excellent) based on December 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Crescent Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 68048).
How This Reward Checking Compares
Even without the rate guarantee, the rates are competitive especially for those with small balances. For those with a $25K balance who would be earning a blended APY of 2.40%, it's competitive compared to the best reward checking accounts that are available nationwide. The highest top rate is 2.52% APY at ABCO Federal Credit Union. The rate is accurate as of 5/29/2012.
There are reward checking accounts with higher rates in some parts of the country. To find the highest reward checking rates in your area, please refer to our reward checking rate table. This can also be used to find accounts available nationwide. If you're new to these tables, my rate table guide should be useful.
If you're new to reward checking, my blog post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking, should be useful.