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High-Yield Reward Checking Account at Randolph Bank & Trust Company in NC - NC Only


Update 9/13/2011: The rates have fallen. Please refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

Randolph Bank & Trust Company is offering a high-yield reward checking account with a yield that is rarely seen these days. It's called the Choice Checking Account, and it has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 9/13/2011):

  • 2.25% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 0.75% APY on portion of balance over $25,000
  • 0.10% base rate if requirements are not met
  • Free nationwide ATM withdrawals

Monthly requirements include:

  • Effective 1/1/2011: 6 debit card purchases (minimum $20 each) Before 1/1/2011: 12 debit card purchases (minimum $5 each)
  • Effective 1/1/2011: 1 direct deposit or 1 ACH withdrawal. Before 1/1/2010: One direct deposit or one Bill Pay or one Auto Draft
  • Receive your monthly statement electronically

Other features of the account include:

  • Minimum amount to open is $100
  • No monthly service charge
  • No minimum balance requirement

Note the $5 minimum that's required for each debit card purchase. I almost did not notice this requirement. It's listed in the small print right before the typical warning that ATM transactions don't count.

Update 4/25/2011: The bank now states that anyone in the following states can apply online: NC, SC, GA, FL, TN and VA.

It should be noted that small banks often change their policy on account availability.

Branches are located in the North Carolina cities of Asheboro, Burlington, Mebane and Randleman.

The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are fair: 3½ stars (good) at BauerFinancial, 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com and an overall health score of 3 out of 5 at DepositAccounts.com (see our financial overview of Randolph Bank and Trust Company). These ratings are based on 3/31/10 data except for Bankrate which is based on 12/31/09 data. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1978 (FDIC Certificate # 22746).

Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this reward checking account.

Finding the Best Reward Checking Account

Please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com to find reward checking accounts in your state or that are available nationwide.

Unlike Randolph Bank, the vast majority of banks and credit unions which offer reward checking accounts don't have a minimum for each debit card purchase. With the passage of the financial reform, banks may not feel it necessary to set minimums since retailers will be allowed to set minimums as high as $10.

Account History:

  • 09/13/11: 2.25% up to $25K
  • 03/04/11: Available to NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, VA
  • 12/31/10: 2.50% up to $25K; 0.75% over; 0.10% base
  • 08/03/10: Available to NC only
  • 07/16/10: 4.75% up to $25K; 1.00% over; 0.10% base
Related Pages: reward checking account, checking account

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  |     |   Comment #2
The bank said you do not have to live in the market - it is open to the entire US. They said they will be opening accounts online starting on August 1st at www.randolphbank.com
  |     |   Comment #3
I also found out today that accounts can be opened over the phone until they start opening accounts online. Just call 336-625-1000. This is an option for anyone who wants to open one before Aug. 1st. Very customer friendly.
  |     |   Comment #4
Thanks for checking on this. They replied promptly to my email with info inline with what you all received. I just updated the post.
  |     |   Comment #5
Great deal but don't expect that rate to last and/or the nationwide acceptance. Question is will they still be competitive after they lower the rate?
  |     |   Comment #6
Not such a great deal as the minimum debit amount of 5 bucks eats up most of the interest earned on this account. It's the first time I have seen this minimum purchase amount required on a debit card , although most reward checking programs will probably be forced to impose these requirements in response to the infinite wisdom of Congress Financial Reform.
  |     |   Comment #7
"Not such a great deal as the minimum debit amount of 5 bucks eats up most of the interest earned on this account."

It's thinking like this that's causing banks to lower interest rates and restrict RCAs to local customers.  Basically, this type of investor wants to earn at least 4% on a $25K deposit while spending under $15 on cheap convenience store items.  In my mind you're basically ripping off the bank.  Where else are you going to earn 4%?  Not with a CD.  And how much are you going to have to spend with your 2% cash rewards credit card to earn $75?  Are you prepared to spend $3,750 a month to get that $75.  At a time when interest rates are so low, RCAs offering at least 4% are a God-send.  So give them a chance to earn a little money on your deposit.  Spend at least a couple hundred dollars a month on your debit card.  All you're giving up is $4 by not spending it on your 2% cash-back credit card and you're making at least $75 in interest from your RCA. 
  |     |   Comment #8
Do PIN-based transactions count, as well as signature based?  Most banks allows this.  If so, the $5 limit is nothing to worry about, because at most merchants you can request cash back on your transaction, bringing the amount over $5.  Then it just becomes a hassle to keep withdrawing cash, and deposit it locally, and keep topping up the rewards account electronically so it stays around $25K.

I have 4 rewards accounts now.  It is becoming a challenge to do all the transactions.  Adding a 5th one is tempting though.  I can borrow money on my HELOC at 2.25%, and put it in one of these at 4.75% and get $625 a year profit.  If the HELOC which is at prime-1% ever goes up in rate, or the checking account come down, I can simply close the account and pay off the HELOC at any time.  Of course I would want no risk with this money at all, so corp bonds etc are out.  But an FDIC insured checking account seems like a no brainer. 
  |     |   Comment #9
I spoke to a CSR at Randolph today.  Very friendly.  I asked about interest the first month on the Extra Mile Choice account.  She said that this time, you will only earn the 4.75% APY the first month if all the qualifiers are met.  This is different than I have encountered with most other RCAs.
  |     |   Comment #10
Why is this not showing up under "Rewards Checking Accounts"?
  |     |   Comment #12
$5 minimum is reasonable, $10 is high if you have multiple accounts.  Good idea to weed out the people who make 12 $1 (or less) purchases.   Personally I don't care about "eating up the interest" since I'm not saving for anything.  Bank depositors aren't necessarily "savers" but they all are lenders.
  |     |   Comment #13
This bank's rating at Bankrate.com is 2 stars now (down from 3).
  |     |   Comment #14
"however, we can open an account for you by mailing the documents."

They have stopped opening accounts by mail because it requires too much work for them. So they ask everyone to wait until August 1st, when the online application will be available.
  |     |   Comment #15
I too got the initial very friendly response via email, since I live out of their area. And the initial account opening requirements as explained to me in email by one rep were fine and the norm.

But then, when the accounts person sent me a follow-up email, she indicated they will require anyone not opening an account in branch to submit a notarized document as part of the app, meaning you have to go out and pay for the notary service.

I wish I knew what exactly they're asking to have notarized. But the secure email they sent me with the account opening documents I've been unable to open in either Firefox (where it crashes my browser) or in Internet Explorer (where clicking the link in the email to proceed does nothing).

It seems strange to me that no one else here has mentioned the issue about being required to submit a notarized document of some kind as part of the application process.

  |     |   Comment #17
#15 posting again here... I don't have access to free notary republic services... If I want to do that, I'm going to pay. Last time a bank asked for that, the fee in Los Angeles where I live was about $20 at a notary...for a 5 min. process.

It's not a big deal, but I find it irksome when many other banks are perfectly fine to open new accounts based on them running a credit or ChexSystems report and receiving a copy of your DL or other similar identify--without having to go thru the trouble of getting something notarized.

If other banks can perfectly well satisfy the Patriot Act et al without requiring a notarized document, then why should Randolph Bank have a problem doing the same.

  |     |   Comment #16
Anon. #15:

Notarized document is just one page to autheticate your identity: Go to "your" bank, show the driver's license, and have the notary sign on the page.  The bank rarely charges a fee for such a service.

The bank sent us the scanned version of application forms vai e-mail that we filled out and mailed back to them.  One can not open account online yet.  They claimed that the online application would be available on 1 August.

Hope this helps.
  |     |   Comment #18
Anon. #17: Yes, fewer banks requires notarization than not requiring it.  FAB&T, Marine federal CU, and Cornerstone Bank are three examples that require notarization, FAB&T dropped this requirement at a later date.   
  |     |   Comment #19
As of 7/31/2010, it accepts online application now. Also allow credit card funding up to $1000.00
  |     |   Comment #20
I was able to apply online early on 7/31/2010.  The process was very smooth.

The chex systems questions were very confusing, though.  On at least two questions, I could have chosen two of the fivesupplied choices. (For instance, one of the questions asked for the county associated with a previous property address, and two were correct.  Another asked for the taxes paid for a property?!?)   Luckily, I chose the correct answers, as the application went through.

Off to order a new Chex systems report.  They must have added a lot of new information.
  |     |   Comment #21
@ Anon #19:  Would you please explain how you know the cc funding is maxed at $1k?  For instance, did you attempt to fund at a higher amount and the system rejected the amount?  Thanks.
  |     |   Comment #22
I made a huge mistake by opening the account on 7/21 and funded it with $25k!  Like someone mentioned above (too bad i didn't see it earlier), they don't waive the requirements for the 1st month, so they have my money practically free for a week. :( 
  |     |   Comment #23
Can anyone who has applied online tell us: do they still send you documents to be notarized? I applied by mail last week and got papers to be notarized, which I doubt I will bother with. If I can avoid it by applying online that's what I'll do.
  |     |   Comment #24
Today, Randolph Bank & Trust accepts applications online. Online application process is slow, but easy. You can fund the account with a charge card, debit card, or transfer money from another bank account. One hundred dollars is required to open the account. You do not need to get the signature card notorized. Just print out the bank signature card at the end of the process, sign it and mail it to them. Also there is a overdraft protection opt-in or opt-out form to print, fill out  and mail to them. I cannot comment on how quick is the online access or debit card arrival, since it is the first day and I await those activities to occur in the next week.
  |     |   Comment #25
I just applied online and did not get approved because some of my identification answers were wrong? I was very sure that I did answer them correctly except one or two questions were confusing. They just gave 1-888 number to contact. Geezz.
  |     |   Comment #26
Does anyone know that an inquiry still shows up on Chexsystem even though you failed answering the identity questions correctly? I failed it last night and they asked me to re-appy.
  |     |   Comment #27
I had the same application problems as the last few commenters. The final page of the app said that I failed the verification process and gave an 888 number to call. I tried applying again, 2 more times. Each time there was no explanation as to what had failed to verify.

So I called the 888 number on the verification fail page. The CSR was nice, but unable to help me. I asked if I could fill in an app & mail or fax it in. She told me I had to use the online tool, that they're not taking paper apps any longer & have maxed out on the # of out-of-state applicants they'll let apply via non-online method, and that 2 fails with the online method means you have to wait 30 days to reapply.
  |     |   Comment #28
Need I mention the horrors of this "chexsystems" system.  You have to out-think them on some questions.  Shared credit cards and joint accounts trigger incorrect responses.  For instance, suppose you live in CA have a joint account with someone who lives in NY.  Chexsystems asks "have you ever lived . . . (info connected to NY address)?"  The answer is most likely YES whether you've lived there or not.
  |     |   Comment #29
The Chexsystem or similar online application system is an automatic way to screen out the "unwanted" from the bank's perspectives.  It can be as easy as 1-2-3, or it can be as difficult and mysterious as a huge road block.  Examples of such contradictory results were FAB&T, BotS, and the infamous ViewPoint system.  The good part is once one gets through the hurdle of such a system, the questions/answers are often similar, if not identical. 

Good luck!
  |     |   Comment #30
i am scared of this bank........they only have 2 star rateing.....with all the bank closing every week....i need more than 2 star rateing
  |     |   Comment #31
"Go to "your" bank, show the driver's license, and have the notary sign on the page.  The bank rarely charges a fee for such a service."


I went to a Chase branch and, of course, they was told that they don't notarize anything.
  |     |   Comment #32
I opened an account online and had no problems.
  |     |   Comment #33
If you deposit $26,000, will you earn 4.75% on the first 25k and 1% on the remainder?
  |     |   Comment #34
Anon. #31: I can find no-fee notary from BofA as well as my work place. 

Anon. #33: Yes, if requirements are met.
  |     |   Comment #35
that bank is in trouble..............check....bankrate.com        0nly 2 star  rateing
  |     |   Comment #36
I got this message after entering my info.

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but there is a problem with the accuracy of the information you provided.

In order to provide the highest levels of security around your personal information, we cannot proceed with the account opening process.

If you have questions please contact us using the information below:"

This is not my first time submitting an application to this sort of thing, so I don't know what's going on.  I did it twice with the same result.  Frustrating.
  |     |   Comment #37
I am debating if I should apply the second time since I doubbt I will get the same result like the first time. I was vey sure that I answeres the questions correctly but the got the same message with Anonumous #36.
  |     |   Comment #38
If you're concerned about the info, get a copy of your chexsystems report.  By the way, banks can place multiple inquiries w. chexsystems without you knowing it
  |     |   Comment #39
It looks like this account is now limited to North Carolina residents only.
  |     |   Comment #40
I'm glad I signed up on 7/30/2010 as soon as I noticed the online application. I almost missed this one!!!
  |     |   Comment #41
Any idea on what the date schedule is for making the purchases (i.e. calendar month or from 7th day or 1st Wednesday of month etc...)?  Also, do debit and credit purchases count or only credit? 
  |     |   Comment #42
To #41, the cycle is calendar month, and both debit and credit purchases count.
  |     |   Comment #44
According to Randolph Bank's website, they are now allowing online account opening for the following states: NC, VA, TN, SC, GA, and FL
  |     |   Comment #45
You can't open an account on line if you have a credit freeze on your account. I was told that the verification runs through Equifax and if you have put a fraud alert on your account that  the application will fail.

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