While reviewing some of the old reward checking accounts, I came across a few interesting ones that still offer competitive rates. One is the Ultimate Checking Account at Florida Central Credit Union. I first reviewed this account in November 2007 when the rate was 6.01% APY on balances up to $25K. The rate has fallen, but not by that much. The top rate is now 4.50% APY as of 4/8/2011. However, there have been two significant changes that hurt this deal. First, a change that has been common with reward checking is the reduction in the balance cap. The Ultimate Checking's top rate now only applies to balances up to $15K.
The other change is unique. The credit union added the requirement of maintaining a $5,000 loan balance to qualify for the 4.50% APY. If the other typical reward checking requirements are met except for this loan requirement, the rate falls to 3.51% APY. This loan requirement excludes credit cards and secondary market mortgages so it won't be easy to meet for the typical saver.
In addition to the top rate, the Ultimate Checking offers refunds of ATM surcharges. The other monthly requirements besides the loan balance include:
- 12 debit card purchases
- One direct deposit or ACH auto debit
One nice thing about this credit union is that its field of membership includes a large area of Florida. Membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Orange, or Lake County. Please refer to the credit union's membership page for more details.
Florida Central Credit Union branches are located in several West Central Florida cities including Tampa, Clearwater, Saint Petersburg, Bradenton, Largo, Lakeland and Port Charlotte.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 5.88% (excellent) based on December 2010 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Florida Central Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67668).
Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts
To find reward checking accounts in your state or to find those available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.