First Advantage Bank (TN) Ups Maximum Earnings Checking


UPDATE April 15, 2018: $10k+ up to $50k now earns 2.01% APY

UPDATE April 4, 2018: First Advantage Bank is now limiting new accounts to residents of Kentucky and Tennessee.

UPDATE March 16, 2018: The Maximum Earnings Checking account is available nationwide.

Deal Summary: Maximum Earnings Checking - 4.50% APY up to $10k; 2.01% 1.40% APY from $10k+ up to $50k; and 0.05% APY on balances of $50k+ and non-qualifying balances.

Availability: Maximum Earnings Checking is available to residents of Kentucky and Tennessee nationwide.

First Advantage Bank (FAB) has added 146 bps to its Maximum Earnings (ME) Checking account, giving it a 4.50% APY on qualifying balances up to $10k. The ME Checking account is structured differently than the standard rewards checking account, in that it has a second competitive APY tier: 2.01% 1.40% APY on qualifying balances of $10,000.01 up to $50k. Qualifying balances of $50k+ and non-qualifying balances earn 0.05% APY.

4.50*%-$10kFirst Advantage Bank (TN)Maximum Earnings (ME) Checking
OTHER TIERS: 0.51% $50k+ | 2.01% $10k - $50k
Rates as of April 20, 2018.

DA has been tracking the ME Checking account since March 2010, when the APY was 2.75%. Over the next year, the APY fell to 1.50%, where it remained for more than five years. In the past six months, a total of 310 bps were added in two rate increases.

ME Checking Qualification Requirements

  • At least 10 debit card purchases per statement cycle.
  • At least one Direct Deposit or one ACH per statement cycle.
  • Sign up for eStatements.

The ME Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fees, although it does require a minimum $100 opening deposit. There is a limit of two accounts per household. Unlimited nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed if the above qualifications are met each statement cycle. Receipts are not required to receive refunds, no matter the amount of the ATM fee. There is no companion Savings account.


Headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee, First Advantage Bank’s market area is primarily north central Tennessee, but the Maximum Earnings Checking is available to residents of Kentucky and Tennessee. nationwide through FAB’s online banking platform

UPDATE: Existing FAB customers are permitted to open new accounts, regardless of residency. FAB has changed the address drop-down menu on their online application, with only Kentucky and Tennessee listed. CSR confirmed that anyone, regardless of residency status, is welcome to apply for the ME Checking account.

Opening a ME Checking account can be done online, or at any of the eight Tennessee branches located in Clarksville (5), Franklin (2), and Nashville.

Bank Overview

First Advantage Bank has an overall health grade of "A+" at, with a Texas Ratio of 4.63% (excellent) based on December 31, 2017 data. In the past year, FAB has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $38.64 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 9.5%. Please refer to our financial overview of First Advantage Bank (FDIC Certificate # 30698) for more details.

First Advantage was founded in 1953 as First Federal Savings Bank, for the benefit of Clarksville, a small town of about 20,000 residents at the time. While reading FAB’s website concerning the history of the Bank, there was one statement that stood out:

The very nature of banking as a service demands
constant adaptation to mirror that of the people it serves.

By 2011, Clarksville had become a vibrant city, with a population of approximately 140,000, and the Bank had become more than a simple savings and loan. The philosophy of the tail not wagging the dog probably contributed to the 2011 decision to change the federal charter to a state charter and rebrand as First Advantage Bank. FAB is currently Tennessee’s 34th largest bank, with assets in excess of $571 million.

How the Maximum Earnings Checking Compares

When compared to the 53 High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by, which are nationally available in the Bank’s market area and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $10k, First Advantage Bank’s Maximum Earnings Checking APY currently ranks second.

The above rates are accurate as of 3/16/2018.

To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account rates table page.

Related Pages: Nashville checking accounts, reward checking accounts

Ally6770   |     |   Comment #1
Another great find Ken!!!
Morris   |     |   Comment #10
I see it from analytical point of view. If I can get 3%+ on the $10K without working for it, makes this deal weak.
The 4.5% - 3.2% = 1.3% minus driving around to make 10 purchases, the time spent, gas and inconvenience, makes the cost of doing business goes up by at least 2% and when you subtract that from the (1.3%) or the $40 you are making per month, makes it a negative return, even if you do not count the taxes.
gregk   |     |   Comment #12
This is a pretty idiosyncratic reckoning, Morris. I'll complete the transactions in two trips to the grocery store (that I would be making in any case), by breaking up my total purchase into 5 separate charges (most grocery checkers know how to process this quite efficiently). Alternatively you can run your card multiple times at the gas pump. I've never had an FI express disapproval over this pattern (though have heard stories of such). I think what they might sometimes object to is clusters of very tiny amount transactions, - say one or two dollars, - but my own are rarely less than $10. My beloved and I will each open one of these accounts and complete the 20 total transactions (and other requirements) quite painlessly, without all the tedious maneuvers you describe.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Yes you do those 10 separate transactions month after month after month - that sounds silly to me. If people didn’t do that nonsense this would not exist. Not for me. Finally debit cards are not protected like a cc if the number falls into the wrong hands.
Bogie   |     |   Comment #20
@#13, I totally agree.
lou   |     |   Comment #15
That may be a good use of time if the 4.5% was subject to higher balances, but not worth the effort for $450 ($10,000 X 4.5%).... or a couple hundred dollars more than the highest yielding liquid accounts. No thanks
Ally6770   |     |   Comment #16
There are many younger people that this $10,000 is a lot of money.
lou   |     |   Comment #19
$10,000 is not the number you should use to justify this deal. Instead, your focus should be on the couple of hundred dollars you would gain over the course of the year from having the $10,000 in this account rather than a liquid account without the playing the debit card games.
111   |     |   Comment #18
"I see it from analytical point of view. If I can get 3%+ on the $10K without working for it, makes this deal weak." Apples and oranges in one sense - the 3% is almost certainly going to be a non-liquid rate (perhaps one of the 5-year, 3%-plus CDs on Ken's website, for example). The 4.5% is on a completely liquid checking account.
gregk   |     |   Comment #22
I wouldn't bother with this either if the transaction requirement were in any way onerous, but as I described, a 5 charge turnover at the grocery store takes me hardly much longer than the more typical routine (just push "accept" on the card reader machine a few times more than you otherwise would after the checker has primed the amounts, - less than a minute in my case). Like any habit this one gets to feel entirely normal after not much repetition. I suspect some individuals "problem" with it would relate to the impact on their self-image and the "observing others" view of them, - that they were in some fashion "idiosyncratic", "different", "abnormal", and such, which some people (but not I) get very sensitive over. They like to observe the accepted protocols in every respect and not stand out in any way, which multiple charges at a retail outlet would represent a violation of.
Morris   |     |   Comment #23
111 #18, you wrote:
"The 4.5% is on a completely liquid checking account."
If you close the account before the billing cycle ends, you pay potentially of one month penalty, so it is not 100% penalty free. What about you made 9 instead of 10 purchases, innocent over sight, still one month penalty applies. Many small merchants do not post the transaction until after few days have past, another potential penalty if the purchase posts after the closing date (monthly cycle ended).
Many online purchases do not post by law until the merchandise is already shipped, another potential penalty by not filling the 10 requirements. (look in your online account for pending purchases, some are there for long time).
At the end, you can make up the difference between the 3% CD and the reward checking account if you buy with your 2-3% credit cards that pays immediate bonuses (like Synchrony bank), I make 3% bonus on all purchases at walmart and 2% on the rest of it, there are many to chose from them if you look around.

And the most annoying thing to me is to occupy your mind of things to do, like 10 purchases month after month and to keep logging in just to see what is cleared and what is pending or sometimes the purchase did not go through in the billing cycle that already ended. What about natural perils like storms that knock the power out when you intended to do the purchases or your vehicle is in the service station waiting for parts to arrive from long distance, but you have not already made the 10 purchases and no other means to travel (live in the country where only one road is to get in or out and is cut off for whatever reason).
I'm sure I missed few more what ifs, but you get the picture of what I think about the reward checking accounts.
Occupying your mind with chores is not my way of healthy living.
gregk   |     |   Comment #25
Evidently these types of accounts are not for you, Morris. But I myself have been using multiple RCA's for many years quite seamlessly, without any of the imagined scenarios you concoct ever being live issues. Like with anything one does over and over again, one learns the ropes very fast, with no sense of any "chore" being endured that you speak of. Your own financial routines (as stated) seem every bit as consuming.
Morris   |     |   Comment #27
gregk #25, I spend around $1200 on purchases at walmart a month for the whole family, for food, clothes, cleaning supplies, papers and so on and that almost gives me the same amount of bonus (3%) as a reward checking account without using any of my savings, in reality I make more money when you include the monthly payouts of the 3,25% I currently earn, according to the simple mathematics, I make almost twice as much more money with the same $10K invested in a CD + purchase with reward credit card (3%) than if I had any reward checking account and tie up the $10K as hostage money in order to be rewarded.
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #33
Seems to be lot of math involvement here, so might as well go ahead and say it's $37.57 (if my calculator is correct) not $40.00 on the 10,000.
Morris   |     |   Comment #41
Sammi Smith #33, you must always keep $1-2K above the $10k to maximize the return, money used to make the 10 purchases per month with direct deposit are applied to make it around $40/mo.
Chickenfoots   |     |   Comment #2
Pretty good deal. Contemplating opening an account there, but always been paranoid about storing more than what is needed to cover short term bills in my checking account due to the potential for fraud.

I know there are fraud liability protections, but still would suck to have the money tied up for a few months waiting to get reimbursed. Though my comments aren't specifically aimed at this bank, just fraud and checking accounts in general.
YM1   |     |   Comment #3
What do you mean with fraud on checking accounts ?
Chickenfoots   |     |   Comment #6
The frequent use of a debit card, while unlikely, potential opens up your account to risk that unauthorized transactions will be made. At least if or when it happens on a credit card you are typically shielded from the expense. If it happens on a debit card your money is gone until, in many cases, you jump through hoops and wait a while to get it back.
Ally6770   |     |   Comment #17
I have an email or text notice sent every time my credit card is used without the card being present. This can also be done with a debit card. I use my debit card only the 10 times a month that is required. The debits are made at the same 3 stores each month and rarely do they go much over $1. Checking accounts are usually locked and only normal debits are allowed until the customer is notified when fraud is suspected.
Even when my sister-in-law's credit card was compromised when she used it on line without getting a virtual number they called and asked if she wanted her checking account changed. I have had reward checking accounts since they paid either 6 or 6.5% up to $25,000 and never have had a problem. It is not an inconvenience for me to do 10 debits a month. It is a good place to have emergency money and that is what I told my children when they were out of college. I have my balance sent to me daily on my checking account, credit card and the savings account that is in the same bank as my debit card.
Morris   |     |   Comment #21
Ally6770 #17, aren't you afraid of somebody hacking your e-mail and see all those accounts, balances and or transactions?
Putting your faith in an UNSECURED e-mail account is very dangerous thing. Any web-master can get access to your e-mails, I know, I have seen it happened many times in my life, the e-mails are archived by the web-masters on daily bases and they can read it without you ever knowing about it. What will stop a rogue employee to sell the content of your e-mails to the bad guys?
Bugaboo45   |     |   Comment #7
First Advantage has debit cards that you have the ability to “turn off and on”. You can also set up parameters like only use in certain areas or states or with so many feet on your cell phone, this puts control back to the customers. You can receive alerts every time your card is used so you know immediately when a transaction is made. There spare other features but these are the main ones I wanted to highlight. Great bank and even better customer service. ??
Robb   |     |   Comment #4
Under the fine print states that this is not FDIC insured....FYI:
Cycles   |     |   Comment #5
One perk is not FDIC insured. The account is. They are members of the FDIC. "Member FDIC"
The perks: FREE Identity Restore****
****Insurance underwritten by member companies of Travelers. The description herein is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage not available to residents of New York and may not be available in other jurisdictions. INSURANCE PRODUCTS: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY • NOT GUARANTEED BY THE BANK
Bugaboo45   |     |   Comment #8
They are a FDIC Bank. I have several accounts with them. I’ll let them know of the error of their website.
Bugaboo45   |     |   Comment #9
Got some more information. The Identity Restore Insurance is not FDIC insured but the checking account is. Their personal accounts are insured under the same guidelines as all FDIC banks.
BBER   |     |   Comment #11
Is it a hard inquiry to open the account?
aaa   |     |   Comment #14
Oh yes ... quite hard ...

They ask me about my Credit Card account balance for 5 different Credit Cards I have.
deplorable 1
deplorable 1   |     |   Comment #24
If you could get this rate on $100,000 it may be worth jumping through all the debit card and direct deposit hoops but for only $10,000 not really worth the time. It is good to see rates on rewards checking accounts go up though as that will push other banks to do the same.
Billpayer   |     |   Comment #26
It is good to see the rates go up. Anyone aware of any other institutions at 4% or above without a hard pull?
Morris   |     |   Comment #28
deplorable 1 #24, do you know what will happen to your money in that account if you lose your debit card for few days and you though the card is still in your wallet?
The lucky finder will buy a ton of untraceable gift cards, have field day at the merchants and if the huge amount is known to the finder, he/she may buy an ID card (on the black market) with your name lifted from the debit card and take a vacation around the world.
How you gonna prove to the bank it was not you purchasing those gift cards, merchandise and the five star restaurants you dined with your unknown friends and the massage parlor among the other purchases and services?
Bogie   |     |   Comment #29
Precisely why I never did and never will own a debit card. Absolutely no desire or need for a debit card.

It's just two credit cards for me. And the only reason I have two credit cards is incase I loose one while on my travels and freeze my account, I have the second credit card account to fall back on. Accts paid in full at the end of every billing cycle, not a penny of interest ever paid.
Morris   |     |   Comment #30
Good for you Bogie #29, those are smart moves you did. You can also do better if you shop around for credit cards that return money back. I have several such credit cards with 3% cash back on all purchases and 5% in certain months at certain establishments and gas stations. I rake close to a $1000 a year tax free without any reward checking accounts or debit cards nonsense.
uneducated2   |     |   Comment #44
Several credit cards with 3% cash back on all purchases? Tell me your secrets!
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #31
Robb, FAB FDIC status is active, FDIC number is 30698.
Robb   |     |   Comment #36
Thanks Sammi and was a bit confusing.
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #32
deplorable 1, It is definitely a good sign to see the rates increasing.
gregk   |     |   Comment #34
Contrary to comment #14, an FAB phone rep told me this morning the credit check for this account is a soft pull.
Chris   |     |   Comment #35
Above says 1.40 APY, for balances 10K-50K, but fine print says:
an APY range of 4.50% to 2.01% on balances from $10,000.01 up to $50,000. I don't know what a range means, but where does it say 1.40?
The review also doesn't mention that the minimum ACH deposit is $500.
Chris   |     |   Comment #37
Oh i think i get it, so if i put in 50,000 it will average to 2.01% overall considering the first 10K is 4.5 and next 40K is 1.4.
Morris   |     |   Comment #42
Chris #37, you can make twice as much money if you get 3% CD with the 50K and make purchases with reward credit card that pays back 2-3% on every purchase.
kaight not kaight
kaight not kaight   |     |   Comment #38
A cash rebate credit card is going to provide a bigger return, less hassle, and more security.
tightwad   |     |   Comment #39
Does this account have ACH transfer capabilities that can be initiated from the account? If yes, how many linked accounts can you have. Thanks
gregk   |     |   Comment #40
Yes, you can intiate ACH transfers from the account.

But why not call them directly with these kinds of inquiries? You'll get faster and more reliable (even if not entirely reliable, hehe) answers.
tightwad   |     |   Comment #43
Thanks gregk...I'm kind of a hermit who doesn't use a phone unless I absolutely have
And I find the info given here is usually more accurate than most answers I get from poorly trained service reps at most banks/cu.
tightwad   |     |   Comment #52
I see they have bill pay and popmoney but I see no ACH bank transfer capabilities.Hopefully it just isn't enabled yet.
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #45
I knew one of the requirements to get the 4.50% APY was to have a direct deposit. I just now noticed on their website when looking at the requirements on the ME account *** Direct Deposit Requirement is $500 per month. Just commenting in case anyone else didn't realize this.
tightwad   |     |   Comment #51
I wonder if they just changed that because I sure don't remember seeing it when I applied last week.
gli   |     |   Comment #54
Where do you see this Sammi? no such fine print exists on their website:
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #55
Click on checking (under personal accounts) and you will see a table with columns. Look at the ME checking column and you will see the check mark in direct deposits required (has 3 asterisks by it), then go to the the bottom of the table and you will see this: *** Direct Deposit Requirement is $500 per month. But I have been assured by 2 different people there is no min.amount on the DD required and the person who called today to tell me my 2nd account was opened said it must be an error in their website and he would check into it when I asked him about it.
tightwad   |     |   Comment #56
It would be nice if that's true. Please post if you find out more, Sammi.
Nick   |     |   Comment #46
For anyone still interested in applying, they have limited the rewards checking to Tenn residents. I went to apply and the state selections were for Kentucky & Tennessee. And they have no idea when it will be nationwide again
Anon Y. Mousse
Anon Y. Mousse   |     |   Comment #47
I can confirm you are correct. They took down nationwide availability coincident with this morning's opening of the bank. They had far too many applicants for new accounts . . . many more than they wanted.
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #48
Thanks Nick and Anon. I just now verified this information as well. I guess we can apply the old adage of 'you snooze, you lose' here.
Anon Y. Mousse
Anon Y. Mousse   |     |   Comment #49
Agreed. What is unknown is whether or not, if you are an existing out-of-state customer of the bank, you will be permitted to open additional accounts.
Sammi Smith
Sammi Smith   |     |   Comment #50
Anon, that's a good question. I had applied for 2 accounts but when they called and told me last Friday they had opened my account they said couldn't find my other application when I inquired about it (I had submitted them the same time). They told me to re-submit it which I did. So, when I saw the news today they had stopped the nationwide applications I called them and ask if my application would be ok since I had submitted it last Fri. and he said it should be since I already had an account with them (I just assumed since I had applied last week as well). I told him I also had the emails with both applications and their ID # they sent me last week. .But I'll .ask about this and post the answer when they call me on the 2nd account in case someone hasn't already answered the question. They have been overwhelmed with the response they received with this account.
Anon Y. Mousse
Anon Y. Mousse   |     |   Comment #53
Existing bank customers, regardless where they live, will be permitted to open new accounts going forward. But if you are not already a customer of the bank with an existing account, and if you live in states other than TN and KY, then you will not be permitted to open an account with the bank.

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