I just received confirmation from Commonwealth Bank & Trust Company that they are accepting applications nationwide. This bank is currently offering a reward checking account with a 4.50% APY (up to $25K) that's guaranteed to last until May 2010 (see account review). I first reported on this bank a year ago when the APY had been 5.25%. The rate fell to 4.50% in January, and they started the rate-guarantee in May. I just recently noticed their new online application, and today I received confirmation that they accept applications nationwide. The bank appears to be in good financial condition with 4 stars from both BauerFinancial and Bankrate based on 3/31/09 data. It's not a large bank with $536 million in deposits, so if they get a big upswing in deposits, the deal may not last long.
Hot deals that end quickly have been common this year. Banks either change their policy and restrict new accounts to a smaller region or they cut rates and end rate guarantees. The latest example of this is at Countybank which is offering a 4.75% APY on balances up to $25K. In May they were allowing people from any state to apply online. They've recently started to restrict certain states. First it was the West Coast states, and readers have recently been reporting other states that are being rejected. By entering your zip code in the online application, it'll tell you if you're eligible to join (see post).
Don't forget that these reward checking accounts require monthly debit card usage. Also, they typically require direct deposit or ACH debit. I've found most that require direct deposit will also accept an ACH transfer initiated from a bank. To learn more about reward checking accounts, refer to my reward checking overview.
Commonwealth Bank & Trust is the only bank offering a rate guarantee for an account that's available nationwide. There are rate guarantees that are even better, but they are local-only deals. Below is a list of these:
- 6.01% up to $25K guaranteed to 1/1/10 at United FCU in MI, OH, OK & AR (account review)
- 5.15% up to $25K guaranteed to 5/15/10 at MBT Bank in Iowa (account review)
- 4.50% up to $25K guaranteed until May 2010 at Commonwealth Bank & Trust Company in KY -
Available Nationwide(account review)
- 4.01% up to $25K guaranteed to 12/31/09 at Artisans' Bank in DE (account review)
- 4.01% up to $25K guaranteed to 11/1/09 at Leominster CU in MA (account review)
- 3.25% up to $30K guaranteed to 12/31/09 at Community Bank in MS, AL & TN (account review)
- 2.75% up to $250K guaranteed to 9/30/09 at Allegiance Bank in PA (account review)