Old Florida National Bank has maintained a top reward checking account for over four years. It’s called the Optimum Checking, and its yield has remained at 3.04% for balances up to $25K. Unfortunately, the bank has decided to stop offering this account. Those who currently have the Optimum Checking account are grandfathered in for now, but I was told by a bank rep that customers will be receiving notices in the next 30 to 60 days describing how the account will be changing. Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of these changes.
The bank rep couldn’t say exactly what changes we will see, but I think it’s safe to say the rate will fall. Since they stopped offering new accounts, I have a feeling the rate cut may be substantial.
Update 1/27/14: Old Florida National Bank reps have been calling Optimum checking customers about the upcoming changes to the Optimum Checking account. Effective March 30, 2014, the top yield will fall from 3.04% to 1.65%. All the other terms should remain the same. Later this year around August, the Optimum Checking will be converted into the Interest Checking account which currently pays only 0.25%.
My first review of the Optimum Checking was in December 2009. The yield had stayed at 3.04% for balances up to $25K. We now only have 16 reward checking accounts with top yields of at least 3% for balances up to $25K. None of these are easily available nationwide.
Eight of these 16 reward checking accounts are from credit unions which have limited membership. The best deal continues to be at Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union which offers 4% APY on balances up to $25K. As you might expect, membership is primarily limited to Southwest Airline employees (and other Select Employee Groups).
The other eight of these 16 reward checking accounts are from community banks that are primarily located in sparsely populated areas of the country. For example, the three best bank reward checking accounts are at banks in Iowa.
In June I did an updated review of this Optimum Checking account and reviewed things that can kill a reward checking account. One thing is when the bank is acquired. The new bank often doesn’t want to continue the reward checking. The other thing is when the bank is having financial problems. Neither of these cases seem to apply for Old Florida National Bank. According to the bank rep, management has compared the Optimum Checking with what other Central Florida banks are offering, and they saw how far ahead the Optimum Checking was. I’m not sure why they decided to stop offering new accounts rather than just lowering the rate and/or balance cap. It sure seems this account has lost favor with the bank management.
Other Reward Checking Accounts
Residents of Central Florida don’t have many choices for a decent reward checking account. The best deal for a $25K balance is now from an Oklahoma bank that still offers its reward checking nationwide. It’s Security Bank, and its Kasasa Cash account pays 2.05% APY for balances up to $25K.
To find reward checking accounts that are nationally available or available within a state, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.