I first posted on Reliabank's reward checking account in January. Since that time, they have added an online application. I contacted the bank last week, and according to the CSR, they do accept applicants from outside their market area. I'll soon be adding this to my nationwide reward checking list.
The 4.07% APY is near the top of my nationwide list. There are only three with $25K caps that have higher rates. The two best ones are Bank of the Sierra with a 4.51% APY and Royal Banks of Missouri with a 4.30% APY.
Reliabank is a small bank, so beware that availability policies often change at small banks. Unfortunately, we've seen many banks this year restrict their reward checking accounts to their local market areas. Three popular banks that started offering their accounts nationwide but restricted their accounts to their states are First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Bank2 and West Bank.
The other possibility is that the bank will cut the rate rather than reducing availability. State Bank of Toledo is a good example of this. It started offering its reward checking account in June 2007 with a 6.01% APY with no balance cap. This lasted until the end of 2007 when the rate dropped to 5.01% with a balance cap of $70K. This slowly dropped to 3.01% in 2008, and then last month it dropped to 2.51% APY. This may seem low, but it's still about one percentage point higher than most online savings account rates. Considering that it still offers the top rate on balances up to $70K, it has been a respectable deal for those who opened accounts in the last two years. Also, it should be noted that it's a small bank with only $100 million in assets.
To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation or to learn more about these accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website.