2.75% Reward Checking Account with a $100K Balance Cap at Pacific Mercantile Bank in CA - Local Only

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Pacific Mercantile Bank is offering a high-yield reward checking account called Premium Interest Checking. It has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:
  • 2.75% for balances of $1,500 to $100,000
  • 0.40% for under $1,500 and balance over $100,000
  • Up to 8 ATM fees of up to $25 are waived per month
One thing to note is that it's a blended APY which ranges from 0.40% for a $1,500 balance to 2.75% APY for a $100,000 balance.

If certain transaction requirements are not met, the CSR said the account would be converted to their regular interest checking account which has a 0.10% interest rate. The monthly requirements include:
  • 5 debits of any type or amount except one has to be done through online bill pay of least $25 to a third party
  • 1 deposit of any type
Additional features of this account include:
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • $10 monthly fee if balance drops below $1,500 (according to CSR)
The above rates and some of the above features are described at the bank's home page. However, the transaction requirements are not listed. I had to call the bank for these. According to the CSR, the rate has been 2.75% APY since the end of the third quarter of 2008. Before that it was 2.85% APY. The next time the rate may change is the start of 2010.

A branch visit is required to open this account. Branches are located in the California cities of Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa, La Habra, La Jolla, Long Beach, Newport Beach, San Juan Capistrano and Ontario.

The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are a little weak: 2 stars (below peer group) at Bankrate.com (based on 6/30/09 data) and 2 stars (problematic) at BauerFinancial (based on 9/30/09 data). The bank is a FDIC member (Certificate # 34940).

Other Reward Checking Accounts

To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.
Comments
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
There are (will be) all knids of variation for RCA, but the bottom line (at the end of the day) is the cold cash APY.

Nowadays, 5% is pretty top of the line; if one can hack it.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Well you can't get 5% in CA, and most nationally available RCAs are below 4% now. This is a good rate and great max (100k), but I fear a rate drop. I'm going to wait a month or so.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
2.75% is not a good RCA rate, one can get 4% and slightly above even with nationally available RCAs.

The 100K limit means little for this low rate.

JMHO.
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