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:
|1.50*%||-||$250k||MemoryBank||EarnMore Interest Checking Account|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.05% → $250k+|
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.