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.
- 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