Southcoast Community Bank continues to offer a good deal on its free high-interest reward checking account. While the interest rate and balance cap have fallen since my first report in February 2009, the account remains competitive. The top rate is 3.00% APY for balances up to $35,000 (0.50% for over) as of 6/27/2011. The monthly requirements have remained reasonable: 1) 10 debit card purchases, 2) direct deposit or ACH debit, and 3) e-statements.
As is typical with reward checking accounts, it's also a free checking account with no monthly fees regardless of balance or meeting the monthly requirements. However, nationwide ATM fee refunds do require meeting the monthly requirements.
New Reward Products
One thing that has changed since my 2009 review is the bank added a few additional reward products. One is the Rockin' Rewards Checking Account. Instead of paying interest, it rewards the customer with up to 10 Free iTunes downloads each month. This will probably only interest young adults who don't have much savings. If you only keep a couple of thousand in savings, the iTunes downloads could be more valuable than a high yield.
Another new product that will be of more interest to rate chasers is the reward savings account. This savings account links to the reward checking account. When the reward checking requirements are met, the savings account has a 1.65% APY on balances up to $35,000 (0.50% over). Like the checking account, the savings account has no monthly fees.
New Online Application
Another change since my 2009 review is that the bank now has an online application. The application link is located at the reward checking page. The first page of the application states that only residents of the South Carolina counties of Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley are eligible to apply.
Southcoast Community Bank Overview
Southcoast Community Bank branches are located in the South Carolina cities of Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Moncks Corner, Johns Island, Summerville and Goose Creek.
The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 47.27% (below average) based on March 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Southcoast Community Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1998 (FDIC Certificate # 34774).
Other Reward Checking Accounts
If you're new to reward checking, my post on the 10 common traits of high-yield reward checking accounts should be useful. To review reward checking accounts, you can use our reward checking account table. Use the "Filter Accounts" button on top of the table to select either nationwide accounts and/or your state. Also, you can use this button to select the investment amount. This allows you to compare accounts with different rate tiers.