Banks have a hard time paying high reward checking rates on large balance caps. The latest example is City National Bank which has no balance cap on its reward checking account. They recently cut the yield from 2.05% to 1.68% APY. Rate cuts are not the only worry for reward checking customers. Banks have also cut their balance caps. State Bank of Toledo is one example. They used to pay their top rate on all balances (back in the good old days). The first cut took the balance cap to $70K. Now it's down to only $25K.
Reward Checking/Savings combo accounts can help a little in allowing those with balances over $25K to earn a competitive rate on their entire balance without having to manage multiple reward checking accounts. These combos have a reward checking account that looks like the typical reward checking. The top rate is usually limited to $25K and you have to meet the monthly debit card usage requirement plus a few other requirements (ACH and e-statements). If you have more than $25K, the savings account becomes useful. The savings accounts typically have rates lower than the checking accounts, but many have rates that are still higher than most internet savings account rates. If you have very large balances (i.e. over $100K), these savings accounts may not be too useful since many have caps from $25K to $100K.
An important feature of these savings accounts is that you have to meet the reward checking account requirements in order to qualify for both the top reward checking rate and the top savings account rate. If you don't meet the requirements, you'll just get the base rate which is usually pretty close to zero.
Another thing to note is that in BancVue's new Kasasa terminology the reward checking is called Kasasa Cash and the savings account is called Kasasa Saver. I wonder how they came up with those names?
I went through my old posts and identified the best reward checking/savings combo accounts. The following are a few that I found with rates high enough that they have an advantage over Alliant Credit Union's 2% savings account.
Rates as of 3/04/2010:
- Farmers Citizens Bank - Checking: 4.01% up to $25K, Saver: 2.75% on all balances, OH only (checking account review)
- First Arkansas Bank & Trust - Checking: 3.50% up to $35K, Saver: 2.04% on all balances, AR only even if you're a current checking customer (checking account review)
- Atlantic Coast Bank - Checking: 3.25% up to $25K, Saver: 2.00% up to $50K, Nationwide? (checking account review)
- The Bank of Fayetteville - Checking: 3.20% up to $50K, Saver: 1.31% up to $50K, Nationwide (checking account review)
- Farmers and Merchants State Bank - Checking: 3.36% up to $25K, Saver: 2.01% up to $50K, OH & IN only (checking account review)
- Bank of Idaho - Checking: 3.51% up to $25K, Saver: 3.01% up to $50K, ID only (checking account review)
Note, I did not include RedNeck Bank and its two sister banks (AmericaNet and Evantage) which offer a reward checking account and a savings account. The savings account rate doesn't depend on the customer meeting the reward checking requirements. In fact, you can open the savings account without the reward checking account. The one downside is that only the first $35K qualifies for the top rate (2.00% APY as of 3/04/2010). Please refer to my account review for more details.
Please leave a comment if you know of any other reward checking and/or savings accounts that are good deals for those with large balances.
Other Reward Checking Accounts
To find nationwide reward checking accounts and reward checking accounts in your local area, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.