Meadows has a physical branch at Arlington Heights, Illinois where you can visit, and it's also a member of the CU Service Center Network. Meadows is one of the few credit unions which has easy eligibility requirements. Actually, it has the easiest. Having an email address qualifies you for membership (Refer to my previous post about Meadows and other credit unions with easy eligibility requirements.)
A high-interest rate checking account may be useful for those who keep a large average balance to pay off many expenses. You might not want to constantly transfer money to and from high-yield savings accounts. Also, the transfers can take a day or two to go through. If you average $5K in your checking account during the year, a 4% checking account will pay $200 per year.
Other High Interest Checking Accounts
There are other high interest checking accounts that have been around for awhile. One of the highest is from Presidential Bank. It also has a 4% APY checking account. The 4% applies only to the first $25K. One important note about Presidential is that its rates are not promotional rates. Presidential has offered very high checking account rates for years. The rate on Meadow's Savy Checking account could go way down next July. Some advantages of Meadows' checking account over Presidential's include free checks and rebates of ATM fees from other banks.
Three other banks with high-interest rate checking accounts include EverBank, ebank and AmericanBank. Their checking account rates are only around 3% but none of them have direct deposit requirements.
EverBank's FreeNet Checking offers interest rates between 3.01% and 3.40% APY (depending on balance). In addition, it offers an introductory 3-month rate of 4.50% APY. It does offer some rebates for ATM surcharges, but it doesn't offer free checks.
ebank's 3% ePremium Checking has many of the same perks as Meadows. In addition, ePremium Checking customers get a 0.25% rate bonus on CDs. With this rate bonus, a 1-year ebank CD currently has a rate of 4.85% APY with only a $1K minimum deposit requirement.
AmericanBank's 3% American e-Checking doesn't offer free checks. Also, you don't get any CD rate bonuses. AmericanBank has two nice features not offered by the other high-interest-checking banks. It freely offers SecurID Token devices as an extra layer of internet banking security. Also, it has a nice referral program that's similar to ING Direct's program.