It has been almost 3 years since I first reviewed the reward checking account at Jeff Davis Bank. Both the rate and the balance cap have gone down since then, but it remains fairly competitive. The account pays 4.01% APY on balances up to $15K as of 1/21/2011. The monthly requirements to qualify for the rate are pretty typical: 1) 10 debit card purchases, 2) one direct deposit or ACH payment, 3) access online banking, 4) receive e-statements. As is common with reward checking, there are no monthly fees regardless of meeting the requirements.
Another change that the bank has made is to convert the account to the Kasasa brand, and the reward checking is now called Kasasa Cash. Another Kasasa product offered by Jeff Davis Bank is Kasasa Tunes for those who prefer iTunes rewards instead of high interest rate. If you're mainly concerned with yield, Jeff Davis Bank's Kasasa Saver is a nice addition to the Kasasa Cash account. It currently pays 2.00% APY on balances up to $25K if you meet the Kasasa Cash monthly requirements. So if you have a $40K balance with $15K in the checking and $25K in the savings account, your average yield would be around 2.75%.
Update 1/28/2011: At the bottom of the Kasasa application page, it now states "To open an account at Jeff Davis Bank you must reside within our service area of Southeast Texas and Louisiana."
There's an online application link at the bank's Kasasa Cash page which takes you to Kasasa.com. The first page of the application currently accepts all zip codes so the account is available nationwide. I also confirmed this with the bank. Please note that banks often change the availability of these accounts. So if you see that the application doesn't accept your zip code, they might have changed their policy. After you apply online, I was told you'll be instructed to mail in copies of your driver's license, social security card and a bill that has your address.
Hopefully, we'll see more nationally available reward checking accounts, but with news like we had yesterday, it might be more likely that we'll see fewer. As I mentioned in the discussion forum, Danversbank is being acquired by People's United Bank. It's too early to know what will happen to Danversbank's reward checking account (one of the best reward checking accounts available nationwide), but I'm not optimistic based on People's United's history.
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.