For the last several years high-interest reward checking accounts have allowed savers to earn decent interest rates on small balances. The rates have been higher than CD rates, and unlike CDs, you don’t have to worry about locking in your money in an uncertain rate environment. An important downside with reward checking is the monthly activity requirements, especially the debit card usage. Another downside is the potential of rate and balance cap cuts. We have seen many cuts in the last few years, but some accounts have held up fairly well. I thought it would be useful to list three all-access credit unions with competitive reward checking accounts and with long histories:
Lake Michigan Credit Union has a reward checking account called Max Checking that has been available for over 6 years. When I first reported on Max Checking in 2007, it had a 5.00% APY for balances up to $15K. The rate has fallen, but the cap has held. It now has a 3.00% APY for balances up to $15K.
Belvoir Federal Credit Union has a reward checking account called CUXcel Checking. I first reported on this account in 2008 when it had a 5.01% APY on balances up to $50K. Both the rate and the cap have fallen, but the account is still competitive. It now has a 2.53% APY for balances up to $15K.
ABCO Federal Credit Union has a reward checking account called Premiere Checking Account. This has a shorter history than the above two. I first reported on this account in July 2011 when it had a 2.52% APY on balances up to $25K. It now has a 2.02% APY for balances up to $25K.
Note, the above rates and balance caps are accurate as of 9/19/2013.
Not all reward checking accounts have maintained attractive rates and balance caps. This is especially the case for accounts that are nationally available. One example is AmericaNet Bank along with its two sister banks, Evantage Bank and Redneck Bank. All three of these offer a reward checking account with a 2.00% APY on balances up to $10K. In 2009 these used to have a 5.25% APY on balances up to $25K. At least these have a 2% APY. Many reward checking accounts now have yields of around 1%. One of the oldest reward checking accounts is the Hometown Reward Checking Account at State Bank of Toledo. I first reported on this account in 2007 when it had a 6.01% APY on all balances. The account now has a top yield of only 1.00% for balances up to $25K.
It’s nice to see there are a few old reward checking accounts that continue to be attractive compared to other deposit account alternatives.
To learn more about high-interest reward checking accounts, please refer to my post 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts.