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Best Nationwide Reward Checking Account Now Has Online Application (used to be nationwide)


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.

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darkdreamer4u   |     |   Comment #1
Went the paper route and received the Disclosure Addendum. RCA rates are guaranteed until 12/31/10; there is an early closure fee (before 6 months) of $20; also, if acct. becomes dormant for 12 months they'll slap a $5 per month fee on it. The rest is pretty much standard. So far so good.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
I give it a month before they lower the rates and or restrict it.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
I don't like the requrement that the transactions must be a minimum of $5.00 each to qualify.
darkdreamer4u   |     |   Comment #4
Well, they guarantee the rate until the end of the year, so it's more likely that they'll restrict availability once they see the flood of applications from all over the US and they say we have enough now.
darkdreamer4u   |     |   Comment #5
To #3: I somewhat agree, but then again, I can understand it. And if thereby they are able to offer such a great rate as they do, then I don't mind - I've been using my RCA debit cards more or less that way already.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Now restricted to North Carolina residents only. Boy, that didn't take long!
51hh   |     |   Comment #8
"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."

As expected.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
I opened an account online before they disabled access; hopefully they still open an account for me. In the disclosure they say:

Determination of rate – At our discretion, we may change the interest rate on your account after 12/31/2010.

Frequency of rate changes – The initial interest rate on this account is guaranteed until 12/31/2010 (if all requirements stated on the Extra-Mile Choice disclosure are met). After 12/31/2010, at our discretion, we may change the interest rate on your account at any time.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
Be advised that checking disclosure states that the rate is guaranteed until 12/31/10.  Nice feature!
jshannon   |     |   Comment #12
Wrong about this one being best when it's not likely to last and only 25K limit. Viewpoint bank has been steady for about 2 years.
51hh   |     |   Comment #37
#12/#15: Now that  Viewpoint is limited to $25K, what shall you do?:-)
51hh   |     |   Comment #13

It was stated as best "nationwide" RCA (it changed soon after) while ViewPoint is limited to Texas residents.  The 4.75% vs. 4.01% APY is a no brainer, even though the limit is different. 

Anyhow, it was correctly stated as the best nationwide RCA ... for only a few days.
jshannon   |     |   Comment #14
51hh, so you will make $1187.50 in a year with this one and $2005.00 with viewpoint. That's a no brainer, if my math is right ; ).
51hh   |     |   Comment #16
Yes (my favorite line: Frankly...), not that matters:-)  But, Apple-to-Apple comparisons, please:

4.75% vs. 4.01% based on the same amount ($25K)

If I have $50K, I would do two Randolph accounts:

4.75% vs. 4.01% based on $50K.  of course, one needs more debit transactions as additional effort.

That is a non-issue.  My point was the original title (best nationwide RCA) was correct.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18
I wish the geniuses on here who keep saying "buy bonds 5 percent" would bother to tell us WHICH bonds are paying 5 percent. I cannot find any bonds paying 5 percent with a term of under 15 years.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #19
When is the monthly purchase cycle (1st of month, 1st Xday of month, or certain other day of month) for this account? 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
What is the ABA# of this bank?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
ABA# 053111577
darkdreamer4u   |     |   Comment #27
Got a voicemail from them today telling me that they've received my stuff (incl. deposit), but wanted to talk to me. So, I was all worried that they would have bad news for me (I'm out of state). But when I called back and talked to the account manager, it was all good. She simply wanted to explain what's coming next: basically within the next 10 days or so I should get my debit card and access to online banking. Very friendly:-)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #29
There's no "grace month" with this account.  It's unclear if the requirement for the current month is met using the current or previous month.
glxpass   |     |   Comment #30
"Anonymous - #29, Friday, August 6, 2010 - 3:11 AM

There's no "grace month" with this account.  It's unclear if the requirement for the current month is met using the current or previous month."

The debit card transaction requirement for the current month is met using transactions posted during the current month.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
Bond people you are liars and I do not believe you, you just don't want to share
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
This bank offer no grace period for the rewards program requirement, which means you have to meet all the requirements in your first month, otherwise you can't get the high yield.