Reward checking accounts  have become very popular in the last few years because they offer high interest rates on accounts that typically offer none at all. They would routinely crush the rates offered by high yield savings accounts  because the banks are passing on their transaction revenue to you in the form of higher interest rates (that’s why they require you to make 10-15 debit transactions a month!).
The hardest part about qualifying for the higher interest rate is that 10-15 transaction requirement. The others, like online banking and paperless electronic statements, are trivial. If you’ve been wondering whether the additional hassle is worth it, let me offer up a few ideas on how to hit the 10-15 transaction requirement and then you can decide if the hassle is worth the interest you’d earn.
Make It Your Regular Card
The easiest way to reach 10-15 transactions a month is to use the debit card as your main card. If you’re using credit cards for the rewards, think about how much you spend each month on your card. Our average is around a thousand dollars a month, which is about $10-$15 in rewards based on our mix of usage and our cards. It’s nice to get $10-$15 but if I had a reward checking account, I’d probably earn more with the checking account and I’d be rewarded on my savings, not my spending.
Donate to Charity
My personal favorite is to make small donations to charities. Keep in mind the minimum dollar donation, it’s usually $1.00, and you can’t go wrong. This is by far the easiest way to reach the 10-15 transactions a month because you don’t have to travel anywhere, you just log onto a charity’s website and make the donation online. If you itemize deductions, save the receipt and you can get a tax deduction at the end of the year (if you don’t mind keeping all that documentation around!)
If your local grocery store has self-serve checkout lane, go when the traffic is lower (after or before lunch on a weekday) and break up your regular purchase into individual ones. You don’t have to buy sticks of gum, unless you like sticks of gum. Buy whatever you’d buy normally and break it up into individual purchases. Be sure to go during slow periods so you don’t hold up the line. If you don’t want to do it at the grocery store, some home improvement stores, Home Depot, also have self-checkout lanes.
Those are the three easiest ways to reach that 10-15 limit. Other classics include filling up small amounts of gasoline and other “small but frequent transaction” types, but they all require a significant amount of time (which these three ideas seem to cut down on).
In the end, you’ll have to decide if a few percentage points on your savings is worth having to do this each and every month.