Freestar Bank in Illinois is offering a high-yield reward checking account called Green Account. I would have liked to have found a new reward checking account in a state like New York, Nevada or California which doesn't have many banks offering reward checking. Illinois is a state that already has quite a few reward checking accounts especially for areas outside of Chicago. Nevertheless, it's always nice to report on a new reward checking account, especially one with a top rate.
Freestar's Green Account has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 7/09/2010):
- 4.00% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.25% APY on balances over $25,000
- 0.25% base rate if requirements are not met
Monthly requirements include:
- 10 debit card purchases
- One automated direct deposit
- Pay at least one bill through online bill pay
- Don't write paper checks
- Maintain under $25,000
Note, the last two requirements are not typical for reward checking. Here's the last sentence of the small print:
The lower rate will also apply if any checks are posted to your account or your average balance exceeds $25,000 at any time during the statement cycle.
These are two new gotchas that I haven't seen in reward checking accounts at other banks.
Also unlike other reward checking accounts, I don't see any mention of ATM fee reimbursements.
It appears that a branch visit is required to open the account. Branches are located in the Illinois cities of Pontiac, Bloomington, Gridley, Downs, Champaign, Urbana and Mahomet.
The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are strong: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial, 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com and an overall health score of 4 out of 5 at DepositAccounts.com (see our Freestar Bank financial overview). These ratings are based on 3/31/10 data except for Bankrate which is based on 12/31/09 data. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 14736).
Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts
Please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com to find reward checking accounts in your state or that are available nationwide.