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Revisiting Reward Checking Accounts

It’s been almost two years since I last looked at reward checking accounts [3] and I thought it was about time we checked them out again to see what had changed. Two years ago, most reward checking accounts offered over 5% interest on deposits of up to $10,000 (sometimes $20,000 or more) if you satisfied certain requirements. Those requirements often included a dozen charges on the debit card, online banking, and paperless statements.

Reward Checking Today

Evantage Bank [4] was one of the banks I looked at two years ago. They offered 5.25% APY on a checking account for balances up to $10,000 with a requirement that you use their MasterCard CheckCard at least 10 times a month and sign up for paperless statements. Back then, interest rates on high yield savings accounts [5] were much higher.

I was surprised to learn that Evantage has kept the same requirements (10 charges, paperless statements) and their interest rate is still a healthy 3.75% APY. You earn that on your balance up to $10,000 and you earn 1% on amounts over $10,000, which is only slightly lower than what many online savings accounts are offering.

In fact, since many of the banks work through the same rewards checking program, BankVue [6], their interest rates have been about the same – about 3.75%. Bank of the Wichitas, AmericaNet Bank, and First New England FCU all had rates around 3.75%, which is much much higher than prevailing CD rates [7] and online savings account rates.

So, if you’re looking to get a little extra interest and are willing to deal with the hassle, I think reward checking accounts still offer a good opportunity.