Last week I reviewed some of the best Texas reward checking accounts. This week I'll review some of the best in Florida. For those not familiar with reward checking, you may want to review my recent post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts.
If you live in Florida, you probably know how hard it is to find decent deposit rates. The Florida market hasn't been kind to savers. Since the financial crisis, interest rates in Florida have tended to be lower than in other markets around the country. Readers discussed possible reasons for this in my Texas reward checking post. As was mentioned, it could be a supply and demand issue. Florida may have more depositors with bigger savings than other states. Also, Florida was one of the states hit especially hard in real estate bust, and many Florida banks and credit unions had major losses. In 2010 Florida had the most bank failures than any other state.
Even though Florida doesn't have as many reward checking accounts as other states like Texas, there are a few that remain good deals with rates and balance caps close to the nationally available reward checking accounts (see our reward checking account table). Below are some of the best:
Rates & Balance Caps Accurate as of 4/28/2011
- Old Florida National Bank - 3.04% APY up to $25K. My first review of this account was in December 2009, and the rate and balance cap have held since that time. Branches are located in the Orlando metro area.
- FirstAtlantic Bank - 3.04% APY up to $25K. My first review of this account was in November 2008 when the yield was 5.01% APY for up to $30K. The currently $20K balance cap makes this a little less attractive than some of the nationally available accounts. Branches are located in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.
- Florida Central Credit Union - 3.51% APY for up to $15K (4.50% for those with $5K of loans). My first review of this account was in November 2007 when the yield was 6.01% APY for up to $25K. I just recently did a new review of this account. As I described, this has a very unique requirement to qualify for the 4.50% APY: you have to maintain a $5K loan balance. Otherwise, the top yield is only 3.51% APY if you meet the other typical reward checking requirements. Credit union membership is open to residents in many counties in West Central and Central Florida.
- Priority One Credit Union - 2.50% APY up to $25K (1.50% APY with no debit card usage). I just recently reviewed this account in February 2011. For those who don't like to use debit cards, they offer a lower-rate account that's still competitive. Credit union membership is open anyone who lives or works in Broward County.
Available to all Florida Residents
The following two Florida banks currently offer their reward checking accounts to anyone in Florida (one is nationwide). Both have online applications.
- Atlantic Coast Bank - 3.01% APY up to $15K. My first review of this account was in July 2008 when the yield was 5.08% APY for up to $25K. The bank now calls this account iKasasa Cash, and the bank also offers a linked savings account called iKasasa Saver which offers 1.26% APY for up to $100K. Branches are located in the Jacksonville metro area and in Southeast Georgia. However, there's an online application for these accounts, and these are available nationwide.
- First Bank - 2.51% APY up to $25K. My first review on this account was in June 2009 when the yield was 4.01%. Branches are located Southwest Florida cities of Clewiston, LaBelle, Fort Myers and Moore Haven. The bank has an online application, and it's open to all Florida residents.
To view can view other Florida reward checking accounts in our reward checking account table. If Florida isn't selected by default for you, you can change the state setting by using the "Filter Accounts" button above the table. Then select "Florida". You can also change the state setting to show all nationally available reward checking accounts.
It's important to note that many of the listed accounts for a state are not available for everyone in the state. Click on the plus sign to the left of the bank name to view account details. More info on the bank can be viewed by clicking on the bank name.