Last Friday I reviewed four top reward checking accounts that not only have top rates but are also available in large populated areas. I did some more searching, and I have some additional ones.
Reward checking accounts have helped savers quite a bit over the last couple of years as interest rates have plummeted. Reward checking rates have also fallen, but many continue to pay rates from 1% to 3% higher than internet savings account rates. The reward checking accounts do require some work to qualify for the high rates (like the 10 or more debit card purchases per month) and the high rates are limited to balance caps (range from $10K to $50K). Nevertheless, they provide savers a way to get better rates on federally-insured liquid bank accounts.
To be on the list the reward checking accounts must have rates higher than what's available from reward checking accounts available nationwide. The best of these are currently paying around 3.00% APY on balances up to $25K (see post).
Another requirement for this list is that the top rate must apply to balances up to at least $25K. There are some nationally available reward checking accounts with rates over 4% but only for balances up to $10K.
The third requirement for the list is that the reward checking account must be available to a large populated area. We have many reward checking accounts with yields of 4% and higher. However, most banks and credit unions offering these are in low populated areas. I mentioned a few of these last Friday including two with 5% yields. I don't have any hard and fast rule on the size of the area. If the account isn't available for an entire state, I was looking for metro areas with populations of at least one million.
Rates, Balance Caps & Availability Accurate as of 1/20/2011
- 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia's reward checking account pays 4.01% APY on balances of up to $25K. My first post on this account was almost one year ago. The account is available to anyone in the Washington DC metro area. A branch visit to its Arlington office is required to open an account. Hat tip to the reader who mentioned this account in the comments.
- First Bank's Kasasa Cash account pays 3.51% APY on balances up to $25K. My first post on this account was June 2009. The bank has an online application, and it's open to all Florida residents.
- FAA Credit Union's Optimum Checking pays 4.10% APY on balances up to $30K. My first post on this account was in March 2008. The credit union is open everyone in the Oklahoma City metro area.
- Commercial Bank and Trust's Choice Checking is paying 4.09% APY on balances up to $25K. This account doesn't have much history. My first post was last December. The bank has branches in Memphis and a few other Tennessee cities.
- Bank of Nebraska's Investment Checking is paying 4.07% APY on balances up to $25K. I also don't have much history on this account. My first post was last November. Branches are located in the Omaha metro area.
Please note that the above rates, balance caps and availabilities can change at any time. Make sure you check with the bank or credit union for the latest information.
If you know of any other good reward checking deals that are available to a large group, please leave a comment.
Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts
To find reward checking accounts in your state or to find those available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.