Update: I'm afraid it didn't take long for Randolph Bank to be overwhelmed. A few hours after this post was published, the bank added the following to their reward checking page:
Due to overwhelming volume, we have restricted our Extra-Mile Choice high interest checking account to residents in North Carolina only. At this time, our online account opening link has been suspended.
Randolph Bank & Trust Company has added an online application for its nationwide reward checking account. So you can now sign up online for what is currently the best nationwide reward checking account. As of 8/03/2010, the rate is 4.75% APY for balances up to $25K. I first reported on this account in mid July. At that time the application process required mailing documents.
New Savings Account
Another thing I noticed in the bank's online application is a new savings account called Extra Mile Smart Savings Account. In the online application the rate was 1.29% APY as of 8/03/2010. When I clicked on the account name, a paragraph popped up stating that the initial rate is guaranteed until January 31, 2011. Here's the entire paragraph:
Randolph Bank’s Extra Mile Smart Savings Account is a high yield savings account that is only offered online. Open with $50. No monthly fees, ATM card available, e-statement required. High interest rate earned on all balances; initial rate guaranteed until January 31, 2011. No minimum balance requirements.
Unfortunately, the checking account does not have the same rate guarantee. As you can see in my list of the best five nationwide reward checking accounts, Randolph is way above the others. Please note that this is unlikely to last. Randolph is a small bank with only $236 million in deposits. Based on what has happened at other banks that have offered hot nationwide deals, one or more of the following is likely to occur:
- Reduced availability for new customers (Could change to be limited to to just a few states, its state only (NC) or to just its local market area (Asheboro))
- Accounts of out-of-market customers are closed or changed to a low paying account (This has been rare)
- Reduced rates (Could quickly fall by 100 basis points or more)
- Reduced balance cap ($25K could fall to $15K or $10K)
The latest example of a bank making one of these changes is ViewPoint Bank which just started to limit new applicants to only Texas residents.
You may want to go with a bank that has more history with its reward checking account. I reviewed five of the best nationwide reward checking accounts last month. With ViewPoint removed, the list is now down to four. But there are several other nationwide reward checking account available, but most have rates under 3.50% APY for balances up to $25K. You can see the full list in the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. You can also use this to find reward checking accounts in your state.
Thanks to the readers who mentioned this change in the discussion forum.