MemoryBank’s Internet Checking Account with a First-Year 1.50% APY

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Availability: Nationwide

Republic Bank & Trust Company recently launched an internet bank called MemoryBank. One thing unique about MemoryBank is that it currently offers a single product, a high-yield reward checking account that it calls the EarnMore Interest Checking Account. The EarnMore Account has two features that make it more appealing than the typical reward checking account. First, the maximum balance that qualifies for the top yield is $250k, which is much larger than the typical reward checking balance caps. Second, the required monthly requirements are easier than the average reward checking account. Below is a summary of the EarnMore Account rates, features and requirements:

APYMINMAXINSTITUTIONPRODUCTDETAILS
1.50*%-$250kMemoryBankEarnMore Interest Checking Account
OTHER TIERS: 0.05% $250k+
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of September 20, 2017.

Account Overview

  • 1.50% APY up to $250k (includes a bonus 0.50% APY for the first year)
  • 1.00% APY up to $250k (current ongoing APY)
  • 0.05% rate for portion of balance over $250k
  • 0.05% rate for entire balance if requirements are not met

Note, the 0.50% bonus APY is available to new EarnMore customers meeting the below requirements for the first 12 statements on balances up to $250k.

The following requirements must be met for each statement cycle to receive the top APYs shown above:

  • At least 1 electronic deposit (can include an ACH transfer)
  • At least 5 point-of-sale (POS) debit card transactions
  • Receive online statements

Minimum deposit to open the account is $50. There is no minimum balance to qualify for the top rate or to avoid a monthly fee.

ATM Access

Unlike the typical reward checking account, there is no reimbursement of ATM fees. However, EarnMore Account holders have access to a network of more than 85,000 surcharge-free ATMs around the world. There are no fees for using an ATM in Memory Bank’s ATM network. There are also no fees if an ATM is used that’s outside of Memory Bank’s ATM network. However, the owner of the ATM may charge a fee, and this fee won’t be reimbursed by MemoryBank.

Other Account Features

  • Paper checks are allowed. According to the FAQs, “When you open your account you can request a starter sleeve of three checks.” These checks are free. Additional check orders are not free.
  • Offers PopMoney to transfer money to others. Free transfers take place in 3 business days. Next business day transfers cost $3.
  • Free online Bill Pay
  • Offers a mobile banking app with mobile check deposit. According to the small print for the mobile check deposit, “Usage and qualification restrictions apply.”
  • According to the Account Fee Schedule, there are no dormant account fees, no paper statement fees and no account closing fee. On the downside, there’s an incoming wire transfer fee of $20 per transfer (outgoing wires services are not offered according to the FAQs.)
  • Customer support through online chat, phone and email. Customer service hours: 7:30AM to 8:00PM ET Mon-Fri

ACH Transfers

Like any internet account, an important consideration is the ability to easily and quickly move money electronically into and out of the account. MemoryBank has an ACH transfer system that is free to use. I was told by a MemoryBank official that the ACH transfer system allows for an unlimited number of links to external bank accounts. Also, I was told that there are no dollar limits on the amounts that can be transferred into or out of the account by using MemoryBank’s ACH transfer system. There are guideline limits in place to protect customers against fraud, but a customer can contact a CSR, and they will lift that limit immediately for the customer.

POD, Trust and Business Accounts

I also asked MemoryBank about designating beneficiaries and setting up trust accounts. MemoryBank currently does not have a procedure for designating beneficiaries to an account (i.e. establishing POD accounts). Also, accounts cannot be opened as trust accounts. The FAQs state that only personal accounts can be opened at this time. Business accounts cannot be opened.

My Take

For the last nine years, reward checking accounts have offered savers a reasonable alternative to internet savings accounts. Their main advantage over internet savings accounts has been higher rates, and this is also true with the EarnMore Account (at least for the first year). The main disadvantage has been small balance caps and onerous monthly requirements. The EarnMore Account lacks both of these. For savers who want a higher interest rate from a liquid bank account without a small cap and without too many burdensome monthly requirements, this looks like a good option.

For savers who want a higher interest rate from a liquid bank account without a small cap and without too many burdensome monthly requirements, this looks like a good option.

The EarnMore Account may also appeal to those who want more simplicity in their banking life. Why maintain one or more checking accounts in addition to one or more savings accounts? It’s possible with the EarnMore Account to consolidate down to just one internet bank account. You may still want at least one brick-and-mortar bank account if you plan to make cash deposits. In MemoryBank’s FAQs, they suggest the best way to deposit cash is to deposit cash into another bank account and then transfer that money using MemoryBank’s external transfer feature.

The main competitor to MemoryBank and the EarnMore Account is Bank of Internet USA and its Rewards Checking Account. That account currently has a top rate of 1.25% APY for balances up to $150,000. That rate has held for over five years. For the first two years, all balances could qualify for that top rate, but that changed in 2013 when a $150,000 cap was introduced. The EarnMore Account has a higher rate, but that's only with the bonus rate added to the ongoing rate for the first year. In a rising interest rate environment, it’s possible that the ongoing rate could rise, but that’s just speculation. The EarnMore Account also has a higher balance cap and easier monthly requirements.

If you want a higher rate and still have the liquidity of a checking account for a large balance, you can maintain multiple reward checking accounts from several banks and credit unions. Of course, that requires a lot of work if you plan to cover a balance close to $250,000.

Availability and Account Application

MemoryBank currently offers accounts to permanent residents of the U.S. and its territories over 18 years of age with a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

The application process must be done online on either a computer or a mobile device.

Funding a new account can be done with a credit card, debit card or a US checking or savings account. The maximum that can be funded with a credit card is $500.

According to a MemoryBank CSR, they only do a soft credit pull in the application process. So it shouldn’t ding your credit score as a hard pull would do. They also use ChexSystem in the application process.

Bank Overview

MemoryBank is a division of Republic Bank & Trust Company (Republic Bank) and operates as an all-digital platform with no account servicing at physical branches. Republic Bank’s headquarters is located in Kentucky. It has a total of 44 branches with most of them located in Kentucky. Other branches are located in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.

Republic Bank (FDIC Certificate # 23627) has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 3.59% (excellent) based on September 30, 2016 data. In the past year, Republic Bank increased its total non-brokered deposits by $524.28 million, resulting in an excellent growth rate of 20.94%. Current total deposits are at $3.23 billion. Please refer to our financial overview of Memory Bank for more details.

How The EarnMore Account Compares

Of all the nationally available Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, the EarnMore Account with the first year APY offers the most earnings for balances of $65k to $250k.

For large balances, the EarnMore Account is the best liquid account by a longshot. This can be seen below where the EarnMore Account is compared to the top nationally available Savings Accounts based on first year earnings with a $250k balance:

The above rates are accurate as of 1/23/2017.

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. To look for the best Internet Checking Account rates, refer to our Checking Account rates table.


Comments
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
No paper statement Fee, but you have to have E-Statements to get the Promo Rate. And I see no rate history so the requirements may be even for 1% rate after 12 months, if the normal rate is below.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Sounds to me like a pretty good deal . . . . . . at least for the first year. Thank you, Ken.
recklessmax
recklessmax   |     |   Comment #5
there is no guarantee of base rate of 1% for first year .. its subject to change at any time
most probably it will come down in a few months
sanemin
sanemin   |     |   Comment #11
* Wrong * I called them up and CS said both the base and bonus are guaranteed for a year if you get in while they are running this deal.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
No beneficiaries or POD accounts makes this unacceptable.
Geoffrey Rechenberg
Geoffrey Rechenberg   |     |   Comment #4
Too much aggravation for 1.5% taxable to be honest. Easier ways to make money.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Sorry... But I got stuck behind a person who must have had a rewards checking. Using a debit card to pay for items separately.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
I got behind a person with a similar situation yesterday at Lowes. Making multiple small item purchases with multiple cards and it was the only checkout register open. Could it have even been someone that checks in on this site and opened so many different accounts just for the bonus money?
unmesh
unmesh   |     |   Comment #14
I'm going to set up a periodic ACH transfer to this account and buy 5 electronic Amazon gift cards for myself once a month to meet the POS requirement. I expect the latter to take approximately 10 minutes.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
No POD allowed = "We don't care at all about our customers"
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
Denied, no explanation from CSRs. Possibly too many new bank accounts. If you have many new accounts you might want to wait a few months.
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #12
also has many inquiries per ChexSystem on mine; did online application but surprised to get instant approval and rec'd account #; However when attempting to access online it shows account is pending review; can oly hope it will go thru when business opens Monday

With so many Internet Banking showing up, Not sure why opening new accounts and inquires have become a negative to getting new approvals
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #13
account opened;
ACH transfer system allows max 5 links to external bank accounts.
Sam
Sam   |     |   Comment #10
Carrying a debit card with $250K to purchase $1.00 items is stupid and irresponsible. If you have that much money in a checking account, you need financial education.
unmesh
unmesh   |     |   Comment #15
It does seem like an edge case when looked at that way. On the other hand, are there risk free alternatives to put one's rainy day funds in?
Frustrated customer
Frustrated customer   |     |   Comment #16
The cutomer service team never answers a question with the same answer. Promices one thing and does the opposite. I asked to talk to a manager and the agent said there wasn't one there. This is obviously a bank that wants to play with the national banks but has no idea how to execute! Probably just a big scam.
Althea
Althea   |     |   Comment #17
Our FICO Score is 842 and we were rejected for a new account! WOW!