High-Yield Reward Checking Account at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Virginia


Update: The top yield has fallen to 2.74% APY.

Farmers & Merchants Bank is offering a rewards checking account that pays 2.74% APY on balances up to $50,000 (0.74% for above) and refunds ATM fees without limit if the following monthly requirements are met:

  • 10 check card purchases
  • one direct deposit or ACH debit
  • receive electronic statements
  • access NetTeller online banking

If these are not met the rate falls to 0.10%. The minimum initial deposit is $10. There are no monthly service charges or minimum balance requirements.

More details of this account are listed at the bank's Platinum Reward Checking webpage. According to the FAQ page, you can open multiple checking accounts, but requirements for each must be met to receive the top yield.

Update 12/12/09: Readers have reported being told by the bank's reps that they are no longer offering this account to out-of-state customers.

Update 8/04/08: It was just reported that out of state applicants are welcome. The bank's Marketing VP provided the following details:

Farmers & Merchants Bank does open accounts for customers outside the immediate trade area. Bank representatives contact the applicant via phone or e-mail, and request identifying documents to be mailed to the bank; the entire transaction can be completed via mail. Out of state applications welcome!

Update 8/08/08: I received some new information from the bank's customer service rep: You may be required to have some forms and copies of IDs notarized. The CSR said the application process does pull your credit from the bureaus so this may be a hard credit pull. The first box of 100 checks is free.

Branches are located in the western part of Virginia in the cities of Timberville, Broadway, Elkton, Bridgewater, Edinburg, Woodstock, Harrisonburg and Luray. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 8668).

Other Rewards 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.

Rate History:

  • 11/18/10: 2.74% APY for up to $50,000; 0.74% over
  • 07/22/10: 3.25% APY for up to $50,000
  • 12/17/09: 3.51% APY for up to $50,000
  • 05/17/09: 4.01% APY for up to $50,000, 1.04% APY for above; 0.10% base rate
  • 12/18/08: 4.51% APY for up to $50,000, 1.54% APY for above
  • 06/25/08: 5.02% APY for up to $50,000, 2.05% APY for above; 0.15% base rate
Sue Olson, V.P Marketing
Sue Olson, V.P Marketing (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #1
Farmers & Merchants Bank does open accounts for customers outside the immediate trade area. Bank representatives contact the applicant via phone or e-mail, and request identifying documents to be mailed to the bank; the entire transaction can be completed via mail. Out of state applications welcome!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
I have an account with this bank and I got an e-mail today that said:

The new interest rates, effective December 18, 2008, are:

4.4193% rate, 4.51% APY* on balances up to $50,000

1.5292% rate, 1.54% APY* on balances over $50,000
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #4
Thanks. I've updated the post. Sorry to see the rate cut.

One interesting thing to note is that APY for balances over $50K has been the inverse of the APY below $50K.
Collin (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #5
Here are some questions I have about these accounts. Can anybody with direct experience with this bank share what they know about these matters:

For the 10 debit card transactions, do purchases made online count or do they have to be made in person with a swipe of the card. For example, my cable tv and cellular phone company allow payment by Visa card. Would I be able to make payments on my FMB debit card and have those transactions count towards my 10 for the month?

Do they have online bill payment services available linked to the account?

Do they allow transfers of money in or out of the account using ACH transactions and what fees, if any are associated with this?

Thank you.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
This is my second month with this bank, but I've been using reward checking (other banks) for a couple of years now. To answer your questions: 1. I believe online purchases ARE counted in the 10 debit card transaction requirement (although personally i've not used that way). 2. They do have online bill pay available that linked to the account (although can't set up recurring entries which is disappointing to me). 3. They don't charge for ACH debit or credit to this account that you initial the transactions through your other banks (that's how i funded this account).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
Is there a hard credit pull?
Matthew (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #8
Rate is falling to 4.01% on 5/21
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
The Platinum RC webpage is already reflecting the rate cuts: 4.01% up to $50K, and 1.04% over.
Mike (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #10
Just posting the fine print from the application:

I/we understand that this account is intended to function as a primary checking account.

Visa Check Card transactions should be for ordinary and customary expenditures, not simply 10 deminimus transactions designed to qualify for rewards requirements.
M (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #11
Farmers & Merchants fee to receive incoming wire transfer is $15 and outgoing wire fee is $20. There is no fee from them to receive electronic transfers but they don't have the capability to initiate electronic transfer on their end.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
With the West Bank Iowa reduction of limit from $50K to $25K, this account is becming more appealing. But the "ordinary/customary usage" is ambiguious.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
I signed up for this account and the people are friendly.

BUT the ATM card is stuck with the auto-assigned PIN if you are out of state. No way to change it. None. TO me this is both insecure and a PITA to remember random numbers that have no personal meaning.

I believe if you are in state their atm machines may be able to change it for you.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #14
They do pull a hard credit inquiry. The first 50 checks are free, but there is $2 S&H fee.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
4.01% offer with $50K limit is suddenly becoming attractive; with FAB&T gone out of the window.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
The account is not available to out of state customers any more. "Suspended indefinitely"
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
boutime. rate drop next...stay tuned.
google_prp (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #18
The phone rep I spoke with today said that they are no longer accepting non-local applicants for this account.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #19
Rate drop effective Dec. 17, 2009:
3.45% rate, 3.51% APY* on balances up to $50,000

1.0255% rate, 1.04% APY* on balances over $50,000

.10% rate on all balances any month you do not qualify for rewards
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #20
Truly sorry, I was the one that predicted the follow-up rate falls.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
Arggh! I just mailed them the initial paperwork this morning, then read about the rate drop this evening.

Ken, I appreciate your putting the rate drop info in the weekly wrap-up, but could you also put a quick blurb in the daily posting? Could of saved me some time and postage...
dunker (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #22
F & M dropped their APY to 3.25% as of 7/22.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
going down to 2.74% soon..argh..
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #24
Actually 2.7%
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
2.51% on 5/19/2011
5.01% Reward Checking Account at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Wisconsin - Local Only
Farmers & Merchants Bank is offering a rewards checking account with the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:
  • 5.01% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 1.00% on portion of balance over $25,000
  • 0.05% on all balances if requirements are not met
  • Refunds ATM fees nationwide up to $15 per cycle
The monthly requirements include:
  • 14 check card purchases (excludes PIN-based and ATM transactions)
  • 1 or more ACH transaction per cycle
  • Have online banking and receive e-statements
Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:
  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly service...

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I just confirmed that Farmers & Merchants Bank is allowing people from any state to apply for its reward checking account. The yield isn't that great for a reward checking account (5.02% APY). However, the top yield applies to balances up to $50,000 rather than the typical $25,000. As you can see in my nationwide reward checking list, I only have one credit union and one bank with yields around 5% and balance caps of $50K. I'll soon be adding this bank to the list. For more details of this...
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