Rewards Checking Accounts: Higher Interest Worth The Extra Trouble?

UPDATE: Rates have dropped, but these checking account still maintain around 2% APY edge over traditional online savings banks and 3% APY over big megabanks.

You may have seen some billboards or heard a radio ad around town for a local credit union offering a curiously high interest rate. 4% APY? Even 5%? They usually go by names like TurboChecking, Great Rate Checking, SuperRewards Checking, or similar. What’s up?

Background
It would seem that small local banks and credit unions are being squeezed on one side by megabanks offering “free” checking and a million ATMs, and on the other side by lean online savings accounts paying higher interest. It’s hard to compete. But then a company called BancVue came up with a different solution for all those small banks and credit unions who want to differentiate themselves.

The basic idea: Offer customers a really high yield and ATM fee rebates, but only if they jump through certain hoops. Hopefully, this carrot will attract lots of new customers. If they don’t, then they just get a plain “free” checking account with piddly interest. In the meantime, you try to make more money with credit card transaction fees and cross-selling other products. BancVue actually guarantees that “Reward Checking relationships will be twice as profitable as your Free Checking relationships”.

The “Catches” and Requirements
So what are the hoops? Usually you have to satisfy all of these restrictions to earn the advertised rate and get ATM fee rebates:

  • Make 8 to 15 “signed” debit card transactions each month (use it like a credit card).
  • Make one qualifying direct deposit, auto-debit, or online bill payment each month.
  • Receive electronic statements only (no paper).
  • Log into your account at least once a month.
  • The rate only applies to the first $25,000 (varies). Balances over that earn significantly less.

As you can see, most of these activities strongly encourage you to shift all your banking activities to this new bank. You have to put money in, spend the money, and even check your balance online every month.

The Potential Profit
The interest rate offered varies from bank to bank, but is usually between 4% and 6% APY. I would say the average no-fee, no-minimum high-yield savings account earns about 3% right now, maybe more. Since these are exactly that – no fees, no minimums, no hassles – I’ll use that as one comparison. If you somehow leave exactly $25,000 in your account at all times:

$25,000 x 6% APY = $1,500 per year

$25,000 x 3% APY = $750 per year

So the 3% interest gap results in a maximum gain is $750 of taxable interest per year, or $62.50 per month. Not bad for those with lots of cash available. But lets say your average balance is $5,000. Then your maximum gain is only $150, or $12.50 per month. The monthly number is probably more appropriate because it is anyone’s guess how long the gap can stay this large. To estimate more accurately the potential gain for your situation, you can use my Ultimate Rate Chaser Calculator.

Concerns and Strategies
Here’s the key thought. If everyone satisfied all of the requirements and earned a FDIC-insured 6% yield, the bank would be losing money like crazy. They are either depending on many people to either forget or screw up somehow. And even if you do, there is the potential that you’ll have to argue with some customer service rep about it. This is in comparison to the relatively stupid-proof no-minimum no-fees savings accounts. For every month you don’t fulfill every requirement, you’ll essentially be losing interest. You might even lose money because ATM fees will not be rebated in that case either.

So first of all, you need a reliable system to satisfy all of the requirements every month, preferably early on in each cycle. Some banks treat electronic transfers from other banks as direct deposit, so scheduling a monthly repeating transfer would work there. For the monthly login requirement, perhaps a monthly Google Calendar or IWantSandy e-mail reminder would be a good idea.

Next, you’d want to make your balance large enough to take advantage of the higher interest rate, but not too high as to you exceed the limit and bring your overall effective interest rate down.

The biggest pain is the ~10 debit card purchases per month (ATM visits don’t count). You don’t want to switch all of your purchases because you’ll be losing out on the potential 1-5% cash back from a cashback or rewards credit card. One strategy is to pay bills like your cell phone or cable bill online, but only in partial amounts like $5. Others make repeated small purchases (i.e. a few stamps) at the Post Office. Here’s my silly but practical solution – each month I take a post-it and cut out only part with a sticky backing. I draw 10 boxes, stick it on the card, and I check off a box each time I use the card for a small purchase.

Finally, these rates can drop at any time, and they often do. Which means if you are really a rate chaser, then you might be finding yourself constantly switching banks, waiting for ATM cards to arrive, and trying to satisfy multiple accounts while moving money around. Since these are small banks, most of them have no online interbank funds transfer system. Result: Lots of hassle.

So, Is It Worth It?
As always, I leave this ultimately up to each person. If you are a real rate chaser, have at least $20,000 in cash, and are very discipline and organized, then this is one way to get some extra yield from your money. If you have low balances or tend to get busy at times, then your chances of actually coming out behind a no-brainer savings account are very real.

For me, the hassle hasn’t been worth it until now, mainly because many of these rates seem to drop right after I consider applying. However, the current the gap between the interest rates offered by online savings accounts is still around 2%, my Vanguard municipal money market yields are pathetic again, and also a local credit union I was going to join anyways is now offering one of these accounts, so I decided to try it out with a bit of cash. So far, it’s okay but I really don’t like having to pray each month that I get the proper interest credited.

Local Banks May Be Best
All things considered, I would recommend first looking for a local bank that offers this program at a good rate. This goes back to the fact that banks are counting on lazy/apathetic people to counter the hardcore rate chasers. If they start losing money, they will lower the advertised rate. A credit union with restricted membership may offer a less diligent customer mix. In addition, I continue to find better customer service if you can simply walk in and talk to a real human. You can find a list of participating banks by state here.

Comments

  1. I’m a big fan of these Reward Checking accounts since I can make the most interest plus have fairly easy access to the money. I started using a local bank for it, but have since opened one of the Nationally available ones too since local didn’t offer the 6.01%. The pain is the 10 Debit transactions, but I use penny transactions online so I don’t lose out on using my other rewards CCs for normal purchases. Plus I have 3 of the accounts, so I do 30 pennies a month now, but its not too bad of a time drain. Hopefully the plain online savings will jack up again so I can just rely on them with less hassle.

  2. For those who just want a checking account at a local bank or credit union, these accounts become a no-brainer.

    You get the benefit of a free checking account with no monthly fees regardless of meeting the monthly requirements.

    However, unlike most all local checking accounts, you get the potential of some very high yields if you do meet the monthly requirements.

    The only other option that comes close is if you have a nearby WaMu where you get a nice free checking along with a high yield online savings account.

  3. "Mo" Money says:

    I have this type account at our credit union. For me it works, my income is direct deposit, and I use debit for most transactions. I like the higher interest and have no problems with the conditions.

  4. Kshitij says:

    Are these accounts FDIC insured?

  5. I just opened one of these up at our local CU (came with a free $70 bc it’s their 70th bday… hurrah).

    We’ll see how it works out, but I think it’ll probably be ok because I’ll either make the full 5.5 by fulfilling the pretty easy-for-me requirements, or I’ll make 1.9 or so if I don’t. Either way, that’s more than I’d get with my previous checking account!

    I was considering just buying my groceries in steps at the self-check-out lanes to get up to the 12 required, but I like the idea of buying stamps one at a time with the card… :)

  6. For me, the ATM fee refunds were what pushed me over the edge (none of my other checking accounts offered this).

    I also have an easy way to make $1 and $2 payments through my university, so meeting the debit card requirements is no problem.

    That said, I did “miss” one month — I had enough transactions, but the last couple posted one day late. No sympathy from the CSR whatsoever, and I lost about $45 in interest + ATM refunds.

  7. Im pretty sure that most ATM purchases CAN be debit transactions. Ive done 13 this month and it says Ive qualified.

    Its really not THAT hard for the excess interest on $25k.

    Im at 5.01%.

    Mine is also giving me $25 for making 10 billpayments which I knocked out along with the first full months requirements in no time.

  8. “Are these accounts FDIC insured?”

    -Yes, at least all of the ones I’ve seen

  9. Most credit unions are insured by NCUA, which is similar to FDIC an also limited to $100,000.

    Daniel – It’s nice to see someone admit that they “missed”, because I’m sure it happens. :) I didn’t qualify my 1st partial month either because I had no ATM card. I hear some banks give you the high rate by default the 1st month, but mine didn’t.

  10. the first month at charter bank, you automatically qualify for the 6 %. however, the second month, because of the e-statement requirement that i had not met, i did not qualify. i called them, and told them about difficulty and how the instructions were hard to follow…and they very graciously gave me the 6 % interest for that month. now everything is set up.
    as far as the 10 pos purchases, i go to the gas station, and fill up the car. i just make 10 seperate transactions to do it. $3…re-swipe the card…$3….reswipe the card. i treat the account like a savings account and am sure to put in more than the $30 i get out every month.

  11. FYI Most of the reward banks have caught on to dollar purchases and have started to not count those. As more people sign on, I can almost bet you all banks will start to have minimum purchase requirements

  12. Matt.

    I havent heard about any bank “not counting dollar purchases”.

    Of my 13 so far this month, 5 or 6 of them were under $2.50.

    And its telling me Ive qualified.

    I havent seen or read any fine print saying the transactions must be a certain $ amount.

    Do you have any links ?

    Thanks

  13. I too hesitated to open a rewards checking account because I wasn’t sure that it would be worth losing the cashback rewards from using my credit card, but if you look at the numbers, you’ll see that it’s not much of an issue.

    Say you have $25,000 and a choice between putting it into a HYS account at 3.5% or into a rewards checking account at 6%. The first will pay roughly $875 in a year, the second $1500. The difference is $625. $625 works out to about $52 per month. In order to make $52 per month with a rewards credit card, even at 5% you’d have to spend $1040 per month. So even if you are silly enough to use your debit card for all your purchases, you’d still come out ahead if you spend less than $1040 per month.

  14. With my swiss army of credit cards I have a label on mine and my wife’s debit cards. It says “use for all transactions less than $5″. We always have around 15-20 of these ranging from cents to $5. It’s our local bank actually and was a no brainer choice.

    I didn’t feel like going with a national 6% bank as that’s just too much work. So, we’re stuck with 4%.

  15. I concur with Matt that the banks are indeed catching on. Just because you haven’t heard about nor seen this doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you/your bank.

    I don’t make these kinds of transactions. I do buy my groceries in “steps” because it’s all I can afford a week until I deposit my weekly paycheck. But even those transactions certainly come to more than $2.50 each.

    What I do is simply set up the account in spreadsheet format with categories such as fuel, groceries, postage/shipping, personal, pet food and the like and allocate amounts accordingly. Trust me when i say I have no trouble meeting the required debit amounts each month. Then, once the month is up, whatever’s left over in those categories are moved over into another category titled “6.01%.” That’s the impetus right there to watch my earnings grow. It might be slow initially depending on how much is spent and deposited/compounded, but in the end it’s worth it.

    You can bet I will be an unhappy camper if mine pull out because of the practices that others have been using. But by the same token, it’s doom on the banks themselves for realizing that this was bound to occur. Their need for pulling in new money and keeping their regular customers overshadowed the potential that people will find easy ways to make a quick and easy buck, especially if it’s legal.

    So, you can take this in any way you want; it matters not to me. I will certainly be curious to see how long their rates do last. But I am willing to bet that they’re going to lose a shite-load of customers if they do pull their rates.

  16. I recommend you all look into Schwab High Yield checking or Fidelity smartCash accounts. They pay interest, 2% and 1.5% respectively, and provide free checks, ATM fee reimbursements, and free Bill Pay. They even send you prepaid envelopes so you can send in deposits. I set up direct deposit and you can perform ACH transactions for free (although you have to do it via phone for Schwab). The rates are lower but you don’t have to jump through hoops to earn them. Sure beats the 0% I was earning in my prior “free” checking account. Money is FDIC insured.

  17. My longtime interest checking only pays 2%, the best money market accounts are around 3.5-4% so even 5% is a premium rate.

    The way I compute it is… It earns me 1% extra which is $250 a year. Net of say 28% tax is $180 per year. Or $15 extra PER MONTH. I figure I lose about 50 cents a month on creditcard rewards so my net gain is $14.50 per month.

    But, I have to make 12 debit card transactions and log on as well as pay one billpay per month. The billpay is already set up and automatic $5 a month to Chase. I make probably 4-6 debitcard transactions per month at Aldi anyway so its really $174 a year for remembering to make the extra 6-8 debitcard purchases per month and logging on once.

    For those that wont maintain near the max, it may not be worth it depending on your current checking deal.

    Im considering opening 4 or 5 more. Anymore than that would be nightmarish.

  18. I use my once local CU for this deal. I only get around 4% now even though they started at around 6. Luckily they have only cut the rates when the fed did and nicest if all there is no max. The CU has been around for a decently long time (30 years or so) so I am not worried about it tanking and its NCUA insured anyway. I use it as a repository for my emergency fund and pay for groceries out of it. We haven’t been able to find straight savings accounts that are this easy to use and give such a good rate. I love it even if it is only 4%.

  19. I’m looking into signing up with a CU to get this feature, but had a question:

    “simply sign up for free eStatements, complete 10 VISA debit card transactions and just one direct deposit or auto debit ACH transaction each cycle.”

    Does anyone know if the auto debit ACH transaction can come from my WaMu account? I’d rather not direct deposit my company salary into the CU account.

  20. The easist way to meet the obligation is to do an automatic billpay once per month.

    I pay $5 to the creditcard I use the most every month automatically.

    But, you could also make deposits from other accounts I suppose.

    The billpay is a lot easier than setting up a direct deposit.

  21. I’m considering trying one of the online high interest checking accounts for a 15k balance, but I’m wondering if it’s worth the hard credit check? Would the credit check be the same as credit card pulls?

  22. Tip for keeping track of your transactions—If you have several accounts which I wil have to have –the Avery Color coding labels which come 3/4″ diameter will work. 308 to a package and get the pastel ones–These will stick a little bit better to the card and you will have to work to get them off.

    I put numbers 1-9 around the circle and then number 10 in the middle and will X them off as I charge on them. At a glance then I will know how many more charges I need per card. If you need more debits just add more numbers. That way I can split up some of my grocery shopping and put it on different cards. I also paid my Verizon bill today. I paid $1.00 on it and used 2 cards ($1.00 each) and that worked.

    This interest sure beats the savings account the has nice benefits of the checking account too.

    I stopped paying for checking accounts years ago.

    If you are paying for checking accounts you are throwing money out the door.

    I have accounts now at Legacy Bank which just lowered their rates to 4% :( and another account at State National Bank of Texas which is at 5.01 with 15 debits and goes up to 100K. You have to apply in person at both banks tho.

    I will be moving money to higher paying banks and just leave these accounts open so I can move money back into them again if I need to.

    I was very satisfied with the banking at both banks.

    Reason for leaving is lower interest rate!!

    I use Ing as a method of moving money.

  23. credit check shouldn’t be a hard one.

    I opened two of them and I have identity theft protection and I never got a credit check report.

    They mainly check to see if you left a bank and owed them money etc.

    You can probably apply on line and they will check you out before mailing you an application in the mail or just call them and ask them about the credit check.

  24. elizabeth says:

    i am applying for numerous rewards cards. I notice midwest offers 7%. I read an email here about someone who is able to make debits for a penny online to meet the debit requirement. Where do you go online to make under a dollar purchases. I will probably have 5 or 6 of these cards and need help with this!

  25. I feel that there will be trouble if we try and make these really small charges for pennies. I will do a few of them for less money and then a few of them for the good old ONE DOLLAR. I will also have to do 60 debits next month. I’m currently doing 27 but moving money to make more $$$. I usually charge around $20 a month on these debits. They will balance each other out as I will ring up bread by itself etc.

    Yesterday I went to Kroger’s grocery store and they had some items on special if you bought 10 of them. I got to the check out counter and asked them to put $1 on this debit card and $1 on this debit card etc and then I had them put $1.50 on one of the same cards. Then the balance of the order went on my airline rewards card. I also did this at Walgreen’s. They might tell you that they can’t do it but they did it once for me so now I KNOW that they can do it and they did it again the other day for 2 cards for me.

    I paid my verizon wireless phone bill on the internet using the debit card. I made 2 payments for $1.00 each and then I will go back in and pay the balance on my airline reward card. I am going to try this on my water bill.

    Separate your groceries and use self check. Don’t be afraid to make a few different price charges tho. They will close these accounts down if they see all the same amounts coming through. Buy stuff that you need anyways and enjoy the $$$$ in interest.

    Another person posted that he get’s gas and just fills up a few dollars at a time and pays for it and then starts pump again. I did this and it does take more time and it’s harder to regulate the gas at this price. You turn around and you are at 5 bucks. If you are used to using debit cards this is an ideal way of getting the same amount of gas for alot of different debit charges. There are alot of people that are using debit cards only. NOT me I’ve been a credit card person that earns the points for travel :).

    I am opening 2 accounts at 3 differnt banks.(6 total) The reason I’m chosing different banks, is to spread the risk of the ineterest rate being lowered. If it does go down hopefully it will only affect 2 accounts at a time. I have 2 now and one of them is 5.01 up to 100K and 15 transactions but I”m moving that money to a 6.01. I will move my other money to the 7.01 I will leave these accounts open in case they change their interest rate. The bank that is up to 100K is in Wichita FAlls, Tx and U must apply in person, so we made the long trip there. Great bank just lower interest.
    My preference is the banks that have the statement start on the first and end at the end of the month and then get those charges done the first 2 weeks.

    If your at the store you would then have 6 different debit cards to have them ring up $1.00 or so and u could do it a few times if you needed to. Trust me we will all figure a way to spend those few $$$ at the end if we need more transactions.

    Have an awesome day and I sure appreciate this website and the people behind it. That is how I found out about the 7.01 and I mailed my finished notorized application in today :).

  26. My experience with Coulee has been very bad. I tried diligently to meet all the requirements and even specifically asked near the end of the month if I had. Mary Horstman, a CSR, told me that I had. Turns out she lied. When the statement closed, I was notified that I hadn’t qualified for “bonus interest” after all. I had assumed two trial deposits from an external account would satisfy the direct deposit requirement, but after it was too late, Horstman told me that there was a $1 minimum. I’ve never seen this fact before, not on their website or on anything I received in the mail. I don’t know if Coulee is deceitful or just incompetent, but regardless, I pulled my money out. I’m sure next month I’ll fail to meet another mystery requirement. Scumbags.

  27. I have been with 2 different banks on the rewards checking since March or April and have met all the requirements. Most of the FAQ’s do mention that you must have at least $1.00 in ACH’s to qualify. They should have been able to see that when you asked if you were qualified.

    If you are using a Credit card for other charges go to their website (Chase, etc) and do a small payment to them and set it up so you know it will always be in the early part of the statement. If your statement closes on a Tues or Weds of a month then you can probably set it up for the lst of the month and it will always fall in the statement time. You might need to set up 2 of them the first time to make sure that you are qualified. 1 for immediate to hit the statement and then one for the following month.

    When I called Coulee and spoke to a representative while searching for banks they left me with a feeling of imposing on them and I decided to take my business somewhere else. They were not very friendly but then anyone can have a bad moment so I will not hold it against them and they also sounded like they didn’t like those $1.00 charges.

    Rudy, don’t be sure you will fail to meet another mystery requirement or that will turn true. Your subconscious will find a way to make that statement come true.

    Another suggestion is to print out the requirements and check them off at least your first qualifying month. I did that because of having 2 different banks and their requirements were different. One of them had a bill pay requirement so I just said let’s make this easy–I paid a credit card $30 at the first of the month and this did 2 things for me. If I were ever late it was close to the minimum payment so I had protection of a late fee and it also set me up with an auto bill pay.

    I pay my credit card through their own website (chase) and this gives me a few more days of interest in rewards checking and it would also put the fault on Chase if the payment didn’t get there on time. It also counts as an ACH.

    If you don’t have another credit card that you are using, nor another payment that has to ACH out a checking account then open up an account at Ingdirect.com and you can set up a monthly ACH there.

    Yikes, I have 6 accounts to make sure that I meet the requirements for Sept. I will get them set up so they are all auto and all I have to worry about is the 60 debits. GEEZ, that’s enough to worry about but the higher interest will make it worth while.

    Like I said in an earlier post, I will go to Krogers, Walgreens & other stores and have them put $1.00 on each card and then the rest of it on my CC that I get airline rewards. Each Store will give me 6 of them do it 10 times and I’m done LOL

    I will also pay my Verizon cell phone bill on line doing the same thing and possibly my water bill and gas bill. I will try them when the new bills come out and see if it works. If that works then between the 3 bills I’m on a good start.

    Make sure that you get your POS done in the first 2 or 3 weeks of your qualification time. I am done with mine for the month of August and have until the end of month to do it. If one of them doesn’t show up or I miss counted then I still have time to get one in. HMM that’s where the cell phone or other bill on line will come in handy.

    The banks are making there money when people don’t make the qualifications and I’m sure their banking on that :).

  28. I have applied at 3 new banks now and awaiting for the final paperwork.

    They were prompt on sending the papers out to be signed. I signed them and sent them back on Monday. I called the bank (Southern Community) on Friday and they still haven’t received the paperwork back.

    I also mailed the application to Midwest America FCU on Tuesday and as of Friday they haven’t received it either.

    Here is what I think is happening. They send you a postage paid envelope. I returned my paperwork in it and I think the Post office is either holding it for scanning to charge the banks, or sending it by Pony Express. The one gal at Southern Community said it seems to be taking 7 to 10 days for them to receive the paperwork back.

    My suggestion would be, if you want to get this process going as soon as possible–Mail it in your own stamped envelope.

    There shouldn’t be any place in the US that mail can’t be sent out on Monday and received on Friday. Southern Community get’s their mail a few times a day and I checked with her after the last delivery.

  29. I just checked my rewards for the month and realized that I only had 10 POS instead of the 12 that I needed. However, I still have plenty of time as my cycle ends the end of the month.

    Lesson—Get them in early and double check them.

    Another suggestion is to try and get banks that require the same amount of POS. The new accounts that I’m opening up now all require 10 and all end at the end of the month. The 2 banks I had early had different requirements. One had 15 and the other had 12 so I always had to double check them and really be careful that I did get the 15 for the one that needed it. They also had different cycle times which wasn’t too bad when working with only 2 accounts. I would work on one and get that one done and then work on the other one. I usually had 2 weeks of NO POS’s needed. I was doing 27 a month.

    This mistake was because of my mind going with the 10 that I will need for all the new accounts I am setting up.

    If your going to do this type of banking then take the time to double check your requirements before it’s too late. It doesn’t take long to go to the store and get some candy, gum, bread etc to get the requirements in if you check it early enough.

  30. elizabeth says:

    just curious, does anyone have any personal experience with lee county bank or midwest credit union , which pays a whopping 7% interest?

  31. URGENT information

    I have been trying to get an account set up with Southern Community Bank. They seem to be a really great bank and very helpful.

    As I suspected before on the mail taking forever to get the PrePaid envelopes delivered–This is a reality!

    The bank confirmed with the post office that these do come 3rd class and they can be delivered whenever they choose to. They are holding these envelopes and when they get time then they will add up the postage due by the receiver of them and then they will have to be paid for and picked up.

    The bank is working with the post office now to try and get them to deliver them on a more timely method but it doesn’t help mine that was mailed 10 days ago and they still don’t have it in their possession.

    If you want your accounts opened up without this hassle—USE your own envelope and address it the same as the one you receive from these banks.

    I have applied at 3 different banks and all of them have sent the Prepaid envelope and 2 of the accounts are opened and functioning now and awaiting the 3rd one.

    All of these accounts would have been opened and functioning at least 5 days earlier if I would have used my own STAMP and envelope.

    Don’t use their envelope and put a stamp on it either as they are bar coded and also have the First class permit.

    I just called the bank and the envelope says first class but the post office is not treating it as first class.

    PUT YOUR OWN STAMP ON AND USE YOUR OWN ENVELOPE IF YOU WANT THIS PROCESS TO GO QUICKER

  32. Not sure where my other post went but here is another quick one

    USE YOUR OWN ENVELOPE AND STAMP AND YOUR APPLICATION WILL GET PROCESSED SOONER.

  33. Went to Albertson’s Deli and had some Turkey Breast put in small bags ranging from $.42 to .72. It’s pretty easy to do as you can see how much the first one costs and then tell them how many pieces of the Meat to put on there to get the $ amount you want. I did 6 charges this way. My other charges on this 15 required debit card were alot higher so I didn’t feel too bad doing this. There are times that it’s just easier to put those $3 and $4 charges on debit and getting through them. I will also pay Verizon bill and other small bills $1 at a time this month. It’s money I would have spent anyways it’s just taking away from my airline rewards card.

  34. Southern Community Bank in North Carolina is changing their interest rate to 5% as of Sept. 1st. I have an account there and have received NO notification. I called about transferring money into the account and had them check and they said they just received an email indicating that the interest rate will be 5% as of Sept 1st.
    Nice of them to give us notification :(!

  35. Talked with Charter Bank in NM and they are changing their POS requirements to 13 instead of 10. The person I talked with thought it was effective 9/1/2008 but she double checked it and found out it will be effective 10/1/2008. Looks like the interest will remain at 6.01% for now.

  36. I jsut finished talking with a representative at Southern Community on their chat and their response on the interest change is their customers will find out from the website rather then taking a few minutes to send an email or a letter via mail. This rate change is effective 9/1/2008 with NO notice.

    It will be changing Sept 1st to 4.88 % APR with 5.00 % APY

    Please post this at other sites so people won’t spend time opening up an account there hoping to get the 6%

  37. I am really curious how to do penny transactions online. Anyone can give me some tips?

  38. anonymous says:

    Just checked my rewards checking account statement issued today. Noticed 4 cents interest but had big balances and plenty of debits listed and 2 required bill pays.

    Customer rep stated you have to look at the account history for September 1-31st to check the 12 debits, two bill pays etc. and I was one short. The reason for this is that the bank posts the pending debits as MEMO at the top of any statement leading one to think they are relevant to that statement not today’s so obviously I counted a Memo (pending debit) in my count at that time. The shocker was that my October debits and earned interest will not post until Dec. 2nd’s statement.

    Is this the way everyone’s rewards checking works because you are missing one month of interest if it posts to the next month’s statement.

    I re read the fine print on my bank policy statement and this is not clear. It’s somehow confused by the terms “qualifying period” and “statement period” and those dates are different.

    Is this a ripoff?

  39. My interest posts on the last day of the month. Or its posted on the first and backdated for the last day.

    Either way, Ive never had to wait a whole month for the extra interest.

    But, I always make sure I have my 12 debitcard transactions knocked out and showing well before months end.

    On my account, I click on “statement” before the months end to see that I have met the qualifications.

  40. I have had these accounts at 4 banks and 1 credit union and the debits that have cleared will show up immediately and the interest shows up the day after closing or if closing is on a friday or weekend it will show up either Monday or Tuesday. Might need to wait until Monday night posting.

    I have one bank that will post things as memo but I get all my charges in the first week of statement cycle so all memos are always posted.

    What bank are you with?

    I just finished paying some of my bills for electric, water, and gas bill with my debit/credit card. I make small charges on them and they do work towards the debit/credit charges required. You do need to watch how they post tho as the credit union did post a verizon wireless payment as a bill pay instead of pos charge.

    If your shopping and use your card, might be wise to make smaller $$ amount of purchases and get those debit/charges in asap.

    I double check 3 or 4 times during the cycle to make sure that I am qualified.

    It’s too costly to miss the interest.

    I would call your bank again and see what is going on and if they will count that memo debit/credit charge.

  41. elizabeth says:

    hey guys, lee county bank and trust is lowering their rewards to 4% next month! Beware

  42. charter bank is dropping their’s to 5% next month

  43. Yes Charter is changing their rate but not until Feb 2, 2009

    See info below from Charter.

    6.01% APY* on balances to $25,000 through February 1, 2009
    . 5.01% APY* on balances to $25,000 beginning February 2, 2009

    I think it’s great that they did give us a month’s notice. 5.01 is still a decent rate but–sure liked the 6.01 and would love to see a 10% rate again :).

  44. southern missouri bank is still offering 6%, even to people out of state!

  45. Definitely worth it. Look into Checking Finder (https://www.checkingfinder.com/). This search tool will find community banks in your area paying up to 6% reward checking. Just type in your zip code.

  46. Marguerite says:

    What and where are the penny transactions one can do online? I’ve never heard of them.

  47. I pay my Atmos Gas Bill, Electric Bill and Fort Worth City Water with smaller amounts. I haven’t done penny transactions but I do different change amounts. Some companies do have a requirement of $1.00 or more. Verizon Wireless will let you do them $1.00 a day or you can add a penny each time and do more then one in a day. $1.00, $1.01, $1.02 When grocery shopping, you can usually find small items that will ring up $1.00 or less or misc. stops. The last few months I have done all of mine (70) on line paying elec, gas, and water bill. After I’m done paying the small amounts then I finish paying that bill with my airline rewards card or a cash back card.
    I won’t do the penny deals tho. I think using small change up to $1.00 is the lowest that is really fair to them. If we all did penny transactions then they would get rid of this program and we are all benefitting from it. You can go to post office and buy one stamp at a time too. They had candy bars on sale and I bought them one transaction at a time. I also went to Walgreens, Krogers, Walmart and bought groceries on one transaction and asked them to put a $1.00 on this card and they were happy to do that and then put the rest of grocery bill on my airline card.

    Charter Bank will be dropping to 5.01 as of Feb 1st, Midwest America Credit Union changed their eligibility rules and you have to live within 100 miles of the Spca or have a relative as a member.

    See what Utilitiy bills you can pay on line and what amount. Also, Atmos gas has a limit of 10 or 11 transactions and then they won’t let you pay on your bill on line the rest of the month. I found that out the hard way and I just called in and paid the balance over the phone. I just make sure that I stay within that limit of payments.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

  48. I agree with those who don’t worry so much about the tiny payments. I’m doing 50 a month and it is easy; a mix of some $1.10 for coffee at work, might do two txns for a gas stop, but just buying groceries, and overall necessities I have no problem with the 50. I’ll be going to 60 soon and then will likely have to be more creative but will keep a mix of small and medium purchases on each bank so they will look at my acct favorably and I don’t want to be one to spoil these programs of 4.5 – 5% on all my savings right now. I just grabbed 100k on an equity loc that is at 2.99 and I’m getting 5% (not even my money) Let’s keep this alive, banks will be looking at their reports on these plans and penny txns can only ruin this. just my .02
    Jim

  49. Does buying things online (like amazon) count for the debits?

    Thanks!

  50. @Curious As long as you have your debit card set up as your form of payment, online purchases count. Getting up to the minimum debit purchases has been very easy to achieve.

  51. I borrowed 69,000 on a credit card from BOA with a $75 cap fee and 1.99% and put in checking accounts paying over 6%.

    Made a minimum of $200 a month profit. Some months more and then a month where they lowered rate and I was caught off guard for a few weeks because of being out of town. But I probably averaged a profit of at least $250 a month. I also had 50K in the WT/Direct promotion and averaged 9.31% for the 2 months.

    What was really cool about this is it went from BOA right into a rewards checking account and then I made the payments out of the rewards checking account with BOA’s money.

    All good things come to an end tho :( I have to pay the money back in the next few days :(. It was probably over a 2K profit tho.

    Let’s hope that these banks hold this interest rate.

  52. @Sandy, What was the WT/Direct promotion?

    RE: I just finished paying some of my bills for electric, water, and gas bill with my debit/credit card. I make small charges on them and they do work towards the debit/credit charges required. You do need to watch how they post tho as the credit union did post a verizon wireless payment as a bill pay instead of pos charge.

    …I haven’t proven that I can do this yet (paying some of my bills) but I have some tests out there. …we’ll see. …Jim

  53. The wt/Direct promotion that I received was $100 to $250 bonus for opening up a savings account for 10,000 to 25,000 or more and keeping the money in there for 2 months. (1% bonus but you couldn’t touch the money for 2 months) It also paid 3.31% interest. Turned out to be 3.31% plus $125 a month for 2 months! They have some promotion going on now but it’s 50% of what we received so it might not be worth it vs the 6.01% reward checking.

    I would suggest doing the tests on the bills and watching your on line bank account and see how they post vs regualr charges at stores.

  54. @Sandy, ok thanks, I just Googled it, WilmingtonTrust… I did not now that. I see the $250 for Jan and Feb for $50k dep by 12/31/08. Too late now anyway. I’m at 4.65 overall on 5 banks right now (3 have just lowered from 5% to 4.5% so things should hold for a bit.) As you know 0% BalXfers with no max on fee are very rare (GMFlexibleEarnings is one, $99max) but I just grabbed $10k from Pulaski Bank for 6 mos, 0% and NO FEE. They make you jump through a few hoops and I almost said forget it but forged ahead on principal. I have a couple CD’s in the low 4′s maturing in March that will likely fall into Rewards Checking, that’s why I’m interested in a way to pump out more POS txns with even greater ease.

    p.s. If you hear of (know of) any good current BalXfers @ 0% let me know, k? thanks, Jim

  55. southern missouri bank is 6.01 but I really need to stay with the $50k banks for now (a couple were $100k but lowered to $50k; can have multiple accts though) $25k banks mean double the debits; I’m doing (4) @10 and 1@ 12 for 52 debits a month and another 10 coming in March for 62. If I need to go to $25k banks I’m gonna have to pay an admin to keep track of this. And as you all know it’s more than just the debits, many require you to open the e-statement in the month and have an ach-debit or auto deposit. I’m already doing a $50 auto deposit from my payroll to 4 bank accts. If rates keep falling though I’ll have to reach out around the country. Elizabeth, you say southern missouri will open to customers out of state? Any state in lower 48? …Jim

  56. You guys are SO much more hardcore than me.

    I have ONE rewards checking and the rates down to 4.05%.

    I did the WT Direct deal but kept the money in there for some kind of bonus rate. Has that bonus ended ?

    I havent tried paying bills to have them count as a debitcard transaction. Not sure about the security of that either.

    I usually get really small amounts of gas a number of times. And every month I have to call in and tell them my card hasnt been stolen and have it reactivated. Its a hassel but Im not about to forgo my other CC rewards just to meet my 12 per month.

    And multiple rewards accounts would be too much trouble.

    I may look into switching to one that allows $50k and still pays a decent rate over that.

    Its just Im afraid if I go for too many, I may forget something and miss out on the interest which would KILL it for me.

  57. Jim
    I will let you know on balance transfers when and if I see them.
    I moved money into Southern Missouri bank and it seems to be working out great. They are still at 6% and it sounded like they were going to stay there but who knows. You can also have as many accounts as you need but it is up to 25K.

    I was with a bank that was up to 100K at 6.01 then lowered it to 5.01 and I think they are down to 4.01 now. I will do the small transactions to get the extra interest.

    I suggest you put in the figures into a calculator and look at the difference. I figured I could go and buy that stuff in the extra $$$’s earned. But then again I have more time then most to do this stuff too. So time is an important factor for most people.

    I did 70 by paying a small amount on electric bill, gas bill, and water bill. Had it done in a few days.

    Buy your groceries at a self check out lane and pay for them 1 item at a time. the extra interest will pay for some of your groceries.

    Here is how I satisfy the auto deposit/ACH debit–
    I go to my chase credit card and make small payments that will work as an ACH out of my reward checking account. You can also do this with an internet banking company like Ing Direct. Make small ach deposits/withdrawls from your rewards checking account.

    I have the 2 accounts at Midwest America FCU set up so I max the 6.31 and do the small 10 debits on each account (1 per SS#) and pay make a payment equial to what I figure the interest will be each month to my chase airline credit card. This is usually around $125.00 a month. This allows me to get 6.31 on 25,000 most of the month and then pull out the payments for cc right before the interest is added to account. Keep in mind it’s NOT done through bill pay it’s originated from the Chase credit card website as a payment. It then helps to pay off my airline charge card and also is my auto deposit/ACH for that account. I use my Cash Back or Rewards credit cards for everything that I can so they do need to be paid off every month.

    I found that having most of the bill payments coming out of one or 2 checking accounts is the easiest and put the others on simple debit transactions and ONE ACH payment. Keep in mind those ACH payments can be $5.00 or more so you can make several of them out of different accounts to pay off another credit card. Make sure that you know what the ACH $$ amount required is. I think most of them have to be $1.00 or more.

    Here is another thing to think about.

    There have been several banks that offered their checking accounts Nationwide. Alot of them have closed down to Nationwide people and only allow the local people to open up accounts now.

    It won’t hurt to have the accounts open and put money in them for a month or so and see how it works and if it’s too much just leave $1.00 in them. It’s better to have them open then not be able to open them up when you need them. I have accounts opened up at banks that lowered their interest rates and leave $1.00 in them. If they ever raise the rate, I might go back to them again. I don’t order checks from these Rewards checking accounts tho. Some have given me free checks and You can probably request free checks from them too. I use very few checks.

    Charter Bank is going down to 5.01 as of Feb 1st and they are only allowing 1 account per household now. When I signed up for it, they were allowing at least 2 per household. so you can see what they are allowing has changed.

    When I was looking for the Rewards checking accounts that paid at least 6.01 there were several that had just stopped allowing out of state people to open them.

    In fact Midwest America FCU is now one of them that has changed since I opened up my account with them. You have to live within 100 miles of their SPCA or have a family member who has a membership.

    Just food for thought for you!

    Southern MIssouri is allowing anyone from the 48 states to open up accounts. Not sure if it extends any further but it’s open to the continential US for now :).
    This is my 2nd month with them.

    Have an incredibe day and Prosperous 2009 and thanks to everyone that is sharing their knowledge and information.

    2009 here we come!

    Sandy

  58. rjm
    You might want to check with WT Direct. I’m not sure which bonus you got in on. The one I got in on was $250 bonus for keeping your money there for 2 months then it only paid 3.31% so it was time to get the money moved out of there.

    Keeping track of the small charges is pretty easy. I find it easier to pay bills on line with small amounts then you won’t have to worry about them calling you to see if your debit card was stolen. I’ve never had that happen.

    Hard Core LOL There are 2 ways of making money. One is working for money and the other is having money working for you. I really like having money working for me! But it’s something that takes time.

    I try and get my qualifications in early and then don’t have anything to do the rest of the month but to double and triple check and make sure they all posted and that each account is A OK! Doesn’t take that long.

    Where it can be tricky is if there are different qualifications. I have found all require the one ACH or Auto deposit but the debits are different. This month I have 6 accounts with 2 at each bank so that’s 3 different banks and 3 different monthly requirements. But that’s ok I made a file folder for each Bank (on inside cover I tape a piece of paper with banks info, acct #s, routing #’s and REQUIREMENTS) as I do the small charges, I write it on notebook paper and in the beginning of the month I wll number lines 1-10 with account numbers on top (put all debits for the accounts at that bank), then in the other Bank file there will be another lined piece of paper 1-12, then in the third file there will be another lined piece of paper 1-13. I can usually get a few months on them and then will flip over and use same piece of paper. The numbering system and me writing down the debits works when I try and get them all done in a few days in the early part of month.

    All of my accounts end at the end of month now but I did have one that ended on the third Tuesday and I did the same with that one just had to check it and do charges at different times.

    Not that difficult if you like the money!

    It also depends on how much money your talking about too. But every little bit does help to pay another bill or save more money for U.

    If you have Quicken or Microsoft Money, you can download all transactions into your computer. MIght be a little easier that way but I like the paper trail as I can see them when it might take a few days for them to post.

    I have been very fortunate and have had all these accounts in qualification since starting with these Rewards checking accounts in March 2008. I will usually do 1 or 2 more transactions then necessary and count them very carefully and make sure they are not processed as a bill pay like my Verizon one was through Midwest America (just there way of processing the Verizon payments)

  59. The bonus promotion at WTdirect is an extra half % for 4 months through 3/31. I previously got the $250 but then left the money in there.

    Currently thats 3.52% the rep said.

    I guess Im not clear on how you guys are doing your transactions.

    I do a $1 a month billpay to a CC for one part but the 12 other transactions I have to do manually.

    I know all my utilities and so forth charge extra for using a credit card. I havent checked on a debit card. Do you like set up multiple small payments (but not billpays) via the merchants ?

    The point I was making is it IS work applying and then dealing with all the requirements. You have to divide your extra earnings by your time and trouble.

    How many accounts do you have ? How often do you switch ?

    Which ones are nationwide with the best rates right now ?

    Im not opposed to opening more if I can get a system down.

    Im just concerned that most will lower their rates in a few months as many have.

  60. rjm
    I have Atmos, charter cable, city water, coop for electric, and verizon wireless. I go to their website and make small credit charges to pay the bill. None of them charge when we use credit cards. Check with your utility companies. Most don’t charge extra for payments via credit cards anymore. You do have to make sure that they don’t charge you to use a credit card. If they charge you to use a credit card then they will charge you to use a debit card. I do them all on line in a very short time. I find it hard to believe that you can’t pay phone bills with a credit card without getting charged. Verizon makes you do $1.00 or more charges. You can do several in a day but it has to be different amounts $1.00, $1.01, $1.02 etc.

    I’m not sure what you do with bill pay for $1.00—A little confused about how your doing it.

    You can also use your debit card at grocery store, gas stations, etc for small amounts. I went to Krogers and bought small $ items and went through self check and checked out at least 20 times one night. The clerks there were interested in what I was doing and why I was doing it that way. They were going to check into it.

    Southern Missouri will allow you to have as many accounts as you need and is at 6.01%. It’s nationwide as far as I know. (until they change it)

    I only switch when the interest rate goes down and there is a bank that is offering more. It will depend on how much of a rate drop and how easy it is to move the money. I haven’t found it a challenge to move the money tho. I will call the new bank to make sure that they are still offering the higher rate.

    Having the money in WT Direct was kind of cool not having to do anything for the interest but had to move it when they came back with the 3.52 or whatever they offered. That isn’t close to the 6.01%

  61. The billpay that I do every month simply takes care of the one “automated transaction” that is required. I have never had to do anything else to meet that requirement. The get statements by email does not require anything so the only thing else is the 12 card transactions per month.

    I have checked with every single montly bill I have and not a single one allow payments by credit card. Believe me, I looked into it because Chase will give me 3% cash back if they would.

    The self serve line at walmart always has a line. Plus, I get 2% back at walmart and 3% at other grocery stores and restaurants and 5% on gas so I dont want to forgo those rewards.

    I guess I have not checked with AT&T since it was bellsouth but my guess is they will charge extra for paying by credit card. And really, if you think about it, they should.

    It probably costs them 2-4%.

    The only store I use a debitcard at regularly is Aldi but I only go there 2-5 times per month. They wont take CCs.
    I have split up my orders when there arent people behind me in line at Aldi. But, I like to knock out the 12 as soon as possible so I dont forget.

  62. Just found out that AT&T takes credit card payments.

    I dont think Bellsouth used to. Or if they did, I hadnt been using it. Signed up…I think via fax for recurring payments.

    I should get 3% back which will help get me to $200 which then becomes $250 for an effective cashback of 3.75%.

    Also tried to make a single payment via my rewards card.

    Since my current balance was zero, it wouldnt accept my payment.

    This should give me over $2 every month in cashback that I wasnt getting in the past. Good deal.

    Checked with my power and gas company and they both use a 3rd party that charges to pay via credit or debit card. You cant find out how much they charge without going through a lengthy sign up process.

  63. rjm

    Awesome! Our coop for Electric used to charge us for using a credit card. At that point I refuse to pay to use a credit card so I had them take it out of checking account. They now allow us to use credit card and don’t charge so keep checking with your companies.

    Most of these companies use 3rd party to take credit cards. In fact I don’t know how they would do it without third party.

    Keep in mind if you have it set up for auto payments on credit card then you won’t be able to use your reward checking card unless it’s that card that you are using and that kind of defeats the use of other reward credit cards unless your paying small bills. Our gas bill is usually $20 in the summer so that would work.

    Your power and gas company surely should know what the charge is. I would simply ask them what the 3rd party charges. Our electric company knew. Duh it has to show up on the bill if they are charging you unless they put through a seperate charge for the charge which VISA would really get upset about. AT one time Visa told me that their clients could not charge the 3% fee or any fee to the consumers for using a Visa. If they did charge it then Visa would take take their Visa account away from them and not let them accept Visa payments. Not sure what is going on now tho.

    You want to try and put as many things against a rewards credit card and pay it off every month. Then do small charges with your rewards checking debit card unless you are the type that don’t like using credit cards.

    I’m actually shocked to see how many people use only debit cards and refuse to use credit cards. They probably got in trouble with credit cards and are afraid to use them again and use them correctly.

    Alot of those people haven’t found out about the High Yielding rewards checking account either or have found out about it and haven’t switched.

    I have a sister in law that is pretty sharp and uses only debit cards. I informed her about these checking accounts but she hasn’t made the switch and probably never will. She is a very sharp gal and financially stable but doesn’t have all her money working for HER!

  64. My five High Yielding rewards are all debit cards(VISA and MC). I have some credit cards BUT those I got only to run my 0%BalXfer fund raising program :-) Sometimes a vendor like an auto rental co won’t take a debit VISA or MC so I use the credit card and pay off the balance before 30 days. I don’t pay interest (don’t believe in it :-) unless I’m getting a margin of interest profit on the same money. i.e. my HELOC that is 2.99% and returning 5%. Aside from grabbing some 0% money from a credit card or needing one for the vendor exception I mentioned, is there something I’m missing as to why I would have a credit card? I only use one 2 or 3 times a year and have a FICO over 800 so using them isn’t a factor there. Someone pls tell me if I am missing something; always looking to learn from others. thanks, Jim

  65. Well, Jim,

    5% OFF GAS, 3% off groceries, and 2% at walmart adds up.

    THAT, and extra time to pay while my money is earning interest is why I pay pretty much everything I can with a credit card.

    Debitcards, on the other hand, are LOTS RISKIER if it were to get lost or stolen.

  66. oh btw, I just did an $1.00 atm-debit and a $1.01 credit card payment on my Verizon bill. I have auto pay to Verizon from BankA but did this using BankB. All looks good but I’ll need to check and see if either one or both of these count in 10 txn criteria of BankB. I have another test in Discover Card on a BankC rewards account. I’ll let you all know the results of these tests. This could be helpful as banks lower their acct limits to 25k and more accts are needed thus more txns. (or the highest yields are with lower limit accts) Might be doing a hundred or more txns so need an fast online mechanism to facilitate this. It’s looking promising. …Jim

  67. Jim,
    I have certain credit cards that I do the balance transfers on and then I have credit cards that offer either airline miles or cash back.

    I use the credit cards that offer cash back or airline miles for all charges! That means all utilities, groceries and anyone that will take a credit card without charging a fee.

    I ONLY use my rewards debit cards for small charges to get the qualification done.

    If you can handle credit cards, yes you are missing an opportunity to earn cash back money and/or other rewards from credit cards.

    We used to charge enough on our Southwest airline credit cards that I flew FREE whenever hubby flew on Southwest for 1 year at a time. Now that is huge because he also got the FREE tickets so we both had at least 8 FREE trips a year! We don’t have that $$$ amount of charges anymore but do get a few FREE airline tickets a year.

    The key to having credit cards is only spend what you would normally spend and pay them off every month. Both of our credit scores are above 800 too and that’s a great feeling. I pay all insurance by credit card that I can also.

    So in summary balance transfers are great I just finished one :( had to pay it back today before the rate went up but I made over $200 a month PROFIT! Great while it lasted–will look for other opportunity now. I haven’t opened up new cards just using the ones that we have.

    Never use a balance transfer card to charge on unless it offers same low rate for purchases! I usually take those cards that I do a balance transfer on and put them away so we don’t charge on them.

    Use Credit cards with cash back or airline or other rewards for ALL purchases, paying bills and anywhere they accept them and pay them off MONTHLY so no finance charges are applied.

    Use the REWARD CHECKING ACCOUNTs and keep them in qualification with smaller charges and keep your working money making money for you.

    The above is what I do so if anyone else has any other money making ideas please let me know. This has worked for me for several years. I did add the rewards checking account this year when the savings account interest dropped.

    Hope this helps.

    Have an awesome day

    Sandy

  68. rjm, can you pls explain further. Do you earn interest on your credit cards? (every rewards I’ve seen up here in the northeast is debit VISA/MC) From what you are only probably getting about 2.5% and that’s just on the amt you spend; I’m talking about 4.5% – 5% on a BIG number (total of all rewards accts)

    Not sure how VISA/MC “Debitcards, on the other hand, are LOTS RISKIER if it were to get lost or stolen.”

    No one knows the pin but me and on the back I have “SHOW ID”; yeah maybe someone could run off with $50 somewhere but from a protection on lost cards can you explain how the VISA/MC debit is more risky than a VISA/MC credit card. Am I not protected somehow upon fradulant use of my VISA/MC debit card? thanks, Jim

  69. Sandy, that helps. I don’t fly often but it seems I should have at least one credit card that has cash awards (you might recommend one or two) I’m just thinking that since I can barely get my rewards txns in each month that I won’t get that much out of the credit card rewards. I recently put in a hot tub but that was 0% and I’m having new sliding doors put in by Pella in a few weeks but that too had a 0% off season promotion. …couldn’t use credit cards there. Small purchases are on rewards now, big ones are at 0%. Seems like the “bill paying” by credit card would be something I need to look at though. …and then the occasional medium purchase. I’m already doing 52 debit txns a month and going to 62 soon. …and I have to try to have a life too :-)

    Thanks for the info!!!! …Jim

  70. Jim

    The two things are not mutually exclusive. In other words, you can still have all the rewards checking accounts you want and still take advantage of cashback credit cards.

    I use a Chase card that gives me 3% back on my top 3 categories…Groceries, AT&T and either Restaurants or Drug Stores depending on which I use more. And 1% on everything else. (I do the Free after rebate stuff at Drug Stores)

    For gas and walmart, I use another card that pays me 5% and 2% as well as 1.25% on everything else.

    The time value of money comes into play because not only do I get rewards, I get 15-45 extra days to pay whereas your money comes right out of your interest bearing account at the time of sale.

    The risk of Debitcards is someone can use them as credit cards, and unlike creditcards, the money is GONE from your account and then after a month of fighting with them, they give it back. But you could bounce a bunch of checks in the meantime. Yes, you are “protected” in that you will eventually get your money back. But probably not the lost interest and any bounced check fees.

    To me, paying for everything with a cashback CC is a lot easier than dealing with multiple rewards checking accounts.

    Think about how much cashback you are foregoing by NOT using cashback cards for Groceries, gas and large purchases ! Not to mention the extended warranty coverage that some of them have.

    Not only that, your interest income is TAXABLE, credit card rewards are NOT.

    I dont know how much you spend on gas and groceries, but if you spend $400 a month on groceries and $200 a month on gas, you are missing out on $264 a year after tax. And you will make extra interest income on the time from purchase date untill the due date.

    And that $264 doesnt require dozens of transactions every month or else you lose it all.

    Penfed is where the gas card is at. I joined because of high CD rates in the past.

    Visa Platinum Gas Cash Reward
    Earn 2% cash back on supermarket purchases*
    Earn 5.00% cash back from gas purchases paid at the pump*
    Earn 1.25% cash back from all purchases** you make with the card during each billing cycle
    Up to $50,000 limit
    No Annual Fee
    Cash Rewards credited each month
    No special restrictions to earn your cash rewards

  71. rjm, I hear ya. I think I can weave in a cash rewards credit card. You’re $264/annual is a valid and pretty good example for me. However I get almost $200 a month on one 50k rewards acct; and I have 6 of these, so I’m already maxing my ability to run all these txns each month. They are typically POS pin txns and I only keep the one in my wallet that is in progress. This is why I am now testing the small amt Verizon and DisvoverCard online payment technique to see if these will qualify at the respective bank.

    But yeah, I’ll look at cash rewards credit and keep in my what you have said about the “lost card” issue. Thanks rjm for the great input!! …Jim

  72. rjm

    Great detailed explanation.

    I love using the credit cards for the ease of charging everything on one or two cards and paying all of those charges one time and having the FREE time while my money is in one of the Rewards checking accounts earning over 6%.

    I have never been one to use a debit card. In fact this is the first time I’ve ever used debit cards. I don’t like anyone having access to my checking accounts for the reason you mentioned.

    I have 6 rewards checking accounts. Last month I did over 70 transactions. That is in addition to using my credit cards for over $1500.

    Jim,

    Look at what you are spending on your debit cards that could be transferred over to a regular credit card. Add that total $$$ volume up and see if it’s worth it to you. I find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t pay to do it that way and then do smaller transactions on your debit cards like I’ve been doing.

    It’s free money if you can handle all the transactions. You are the one that has to determine that. I know it can get to be a hassle doing it every month.

    Also, watch for the gas, electric bills to stop charging the extra fees for credit cards. It might get such that they will gladly take any money without any charges as people won’t have the money in checking accounts. Ours used to charge us a fee of $3.75 to use a credit card. It’s a co-op and they stopped charging that fee and I’m able to do small charges now.

    Keep in mind that alot of your transactions can probably be split up to do them in eaches rather then one transaction.—ring up single items at gas station, grocery store and anywhere you purchase anything.
    If you need to do a large order at one time then ask them to put $1.00 on this debit card and $1.00 on this one and the rest on this one. I’ve done that at the grocery store and at wal-mart. $1.00 on debit and the rest on my cash back credit card.

    The last credit card that I started using was HSBC weekend one. It has 0 interest for a year and 2% back on weekends. I planned on purchasing a 60″ tv and also have been purchasing furniture etc. So I just plan on using the card for those big ticket items on the weekend.
    I also used it whenever out on weekends to get the 2%. I took at look at this when I was looking at the Big TV and knew it was going to be around the $1500 and also the new dining room and living room furniture. I managed to put all those purchases on a 12 month no interest and get paid for doing it. Best Buy and the home theatre places did offer FREE financing but didn’t offer me the cash back! So I went with the cash back and tried to use it on the weekends. I bought TV on black Friday so I missed the 2% but that’s ok I saved alot of money on it. I’ve already earned $50 back on this card. Another advantage is the furniture came from different store then the TV and would have had to have 2 credit checks, and 2 different credit cards to get the financing free–This way it put all of it on one credit card and one credit card check which is a ding on your credit.

    BTH–I had a $15,000 open discover card that hadn’t been used in years and Discover kept calling me and I never activated it and received a letter in the mail saying they had cancelled it. Rather then let that $15,000 put a ding on my credit (which it will) I used it for a few months to receive the 5% at restuarants and grocery stores. Challenge is that they limit you to $400 purchases for that and then it’s back to 1%. I did get the $400 done and used the card so that one will probably go into retirement for awhile. It all depends on your useage of a card. We don’t buy alot of gas so some of these cards don’t work for us.

    Sure wish we could go back to the high interest SAVINGS account and not have to mess with the reward checking accounts. Having one or two would be ok but I know it’s not easy keeping up with all of them and it would be so painful to miss that month of interest.

    Sandy

  73. Sandy, (and rjm too) all great info guys. The ultimate for me would be to run the 60 rewards txns on small amts and the rest on cash back credit. Now this is a bit easier said than done for me, at least right now. My investigation at this time is in testing the online $1 or so rewards txns. This is looking promising as I may be able to sit at the computer and bang out the 60 in a flash while never leaving the house with the cards. Then basically every purchase would be on cash back credit. Can it be any more efficient than that (assuming I can make this happen, which it is looking so right now) Thanks for all the insight, etc guys (and gals) …Jim

  74. just a quick update.

    My electric company called me and was questioning the charges on my debit card. It was the fraud dept. and they said that they get charged for every charge. I said sorry and I wouldn’t do it that way anymore. It is a co-op so it does cost everyone money if I do it that way. I might make a few charges but they will be larger ones.

    I will probably go back to buying things at grocery store and checking out seperately. Deli meat–have them put it in small packages, anything you buy by the # put them in seperate bags and pay for it separately. U can all get creative with it and still have it work for us.

    Sandy

  75. I don’t know if it’s already been said, but for my rewards checking transactions I go to the gas station and run 10 .01-.02 cent transactions at the pump around the first of each month. No cashier asking questions and it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

  76. Isn’t it difficult to just pump .01-.02? I don’t think I could do that if I tried :-) But yeah, I get gas more frequently and pump a couple txns of $4-$5. I’m doing 52 txns a month with ease. One thing for sure though is that if most folks do the penny txn thing, all the rates will drop to where this isn’t worth it anymore. …main reason I don’t do this.

    BTW, southern missouri bank is NOT still offering accts to people out of state! I tried and no way. If anyone knows of a bank that will write Rewards out of state do chime in please. thanks, Jim

  77. Most every station I have been to cuts me off at 2-3 transactions. I think I got 4 out of one by doing 2 debit and 2 credit.

    Oftentimes the secruity department will LOCK the card up, its happened almost every month after 5-6 small transactions.

    I usually pump between 3-8 cents.

  78. Check out the best rates on short term deposits at big banks versus those at select community banks from CheckingFinder.com. Community banks continue to offer higher yields on short term deposits to serve as economic engines.

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    Florida Central Credit Union 6.01 FL
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    Keystone Bank 5.15 AL
    First New England Federal Credit Union 5.15 CT
    Three Rivers FCU 5.01 IN
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    Community Bank of Pleasant Hill 5.01 MO
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    MEGA BANKS

    • ING decreased their highest rate offered by 25 basis points, from a 2.50% APY on a 1 year CD to a 2.25% APY on a 4 year CD.
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    • E*Trade decreased their 5 year CD rate by 30 basis points, from a 1.70% to 1.40% APY.
    • E-Loan increased their 6 year CD rate by 50 basis points, from a 3.50% to 3.70% APY
    • Washington Mutual decreased their 5 year CD rate by 50 basis points, from a 3.00% to 2.50% APY.
    • AARP Financial Savings Center decreased their savings rate by 50 basis points, from a 2.00% to 1.50% APY.
    • Wachovia increased their 17 month CD rate by 15 basis points, from a 1.85% to 2.00% APY.
    • E-Loan currently has the highest rate at 3.70% APY on a 6 year CD.
    • E*Trade currently has the highest savings rate at 3.01% APY.

    Courtesy of BancVue.

  79. Any nationwide reccomendations for new accounts ?

    I would prefer one that gives a good rate up to $50k and only requires 10 transactions.

    Westbank pays 5% with 12 transactions.

    Any better deals nationwide ?

    Thanks

  80. It appears westbank requires all 12 transactions to be CREDIT-based. I would rather not have to do that but it seems this may still be my best deal on a nationwide $50k account.

    My current rewards account is down to just 4.01% with a 25k limit.

  81. Any from my list above (excluding the credit unions) are good national APY reward checking programs.

    Most have a 25K limit, do require online banking, direct deposit, and 10 debit card transactions.

    I complete these requirements without even trying.

  82. Erick, I want a $50k limit. And I prefer to use my rewards credit cards for my substantial transactions.

    Westbank, is not listed at checkingfinder but seems to have the best deal with a 50k limit. Except debitbased transactions dont count toward the limit.

    Except, I just found out that Online Bill Pay does not count towards your 1 Direct Deposit or 1 Direct Payment requirements. Sheesh.

    But, ach from GMAC will suffice

    By the way, are you employed by bankvue ?

  83. Unfortunately none from this list have a 50k limit.

    I use my rewared credit cards for all my substantial transactions as well, but will buy my morning coffee or something insignificant with my debit. This has been the easiest method for managing these charges.

    I do work on behalf of BancVue.

  84. Is Westbank nationwide? Any nationwides you can let me know of? thanks, Jim

    yeah, I only have 50k limits, but I suppose I’ll chase a 25k for the int rate, still at 4.50% out here in MA and RI. …but that is likely to drop as well.

  85. Westbank IS nationwide. I just called and verified and applied. Well, partially anyway. It was not a full application and they are going to call me back to complete it.

    The only things are online billpay does not count for direct deposit and pin based transactions do not count toward the 12.

    There are a couple nationwide at checkingfinder with 50k limits but the rates are 4.44% and 4.00%.

    With all of them, I suppose we are at similar risk for a lowering of rates.

    The only thing I forgot to ask westbank is if a bunch of small transactions will suffice. I tend to try and knock them out early in the cycle at gas stations a few cents at a time.

    Although it will be harder since they have to be credit based. Most stations cut you off after 2 transactions but you can get 4 if 2 are credit and 2 are debit.

    Also, westbank doesnt go by the calander month, rather the 3rd tuesday or something odd like that which might make it harder to keep up with.
    —————
    Thank you for submitting your application for your new Reward Me CheckingSM account.
    A confirmation email has been sent to your email address and a West Bank representative will contact you within two business days to complete the enrollment process.

    Please note your Reward Me Checking account will not be opened until the enrollment process has been completed.

    Additionally, a West Bank representative may ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents at the time of enrollment. We reserve the right to use the information collected in the application to verify your identity and background before opening your Reward Me Checking account. We may also gather information about you from a consumer reporting agency and obtain a copy of your credit report before opening any account.

  86. So the gas station, insert card, no pin, that’s a Credit in for Westbank?
    Essentially anytime no pin then it goes as credit? …even if no signature?

    All my banks are 4% now with one at 4.5% and they will likley change very soon; all are going down UGH!!

    If anyone knows of national banks over 4.5% that would open accts out of state (I’m in MA) please let me know. Thanks all. …Jim

  87. At http://www.highyieldcheckingdeals.com/ there is a large list of rewards checking and whether they accept customers nation wide.

    Evantage Bank, Bank of the Wichitas, and AmericaNet Bank all currently offer 5.25% APY with $25,000 limits.

    I have an account with Bank of the Wichitas which is accually called “Redneck Bank” the only requirements are 10 tx’s and e-statements. No direct deposit required.

  88. Thanks so much Mark. Guess I’ll need to be a lot busier with the 25k limit but the 5.25 vs low 4′s is important. …Jim

  89. So when they say debit card transactions, does that mean it has to be processed as a debit (with pin)?

  90. With all the rewards checking accts I have used in the past, Southern Comm. (only 4%, closed that acct.) and Redneck Bank, I have used my debit as a credit without using a pin b/c it’s faster and it has always qualified.

    About the Redneck Bank, I just received notice from them that they changed their terms and the %5.25 APY now will only include balances up to 10 K instead of 25 K, begining next month or something. Over 10 K is 2 something. But you are allowed 2 accts. per SSN. Twice the tx’s though.

  91. Yep, Redneck/AmericaNet last month at 25k. Starting 4/15 it’s 10k. I’m on the verge of losing control of so many txns. …over 80 now. UGH!!!! Have to take a fresh look at online payments that will qualify… this is getting very difficult/time-consuming.

  92. I am now up to 2 accounts and 24 transactions. The 2nd one took weeks to get open and get my debitcard and so forth but it has a $100k limit at 4.01%. My other one is $25k at 4%.

    Am thinking about a $50k account at West Bank too. But I dont do online transactions to meet the requirements, usually just knock them out at gas stations but they seem to be cutting me off after 1 or 2 small transactions nowadays.
    ———
    Vern Says:

    March 16th, 2009 at 5:12 pm
    So when they say debit card transactions, does that mean it has to be processed as a debit (with pin)?
    —–
    Vern, most accounts will accept either debit or credit. West Bank requires that you do credit only for them to count toward your limit. I have never seen one that said Debit only.
    Banks earn more and merchants lose more when we use credit. One gas station I go to automatically uses credit, most others ask as its more profitable for you to use debit.

  93. i think Charter Bank is still at 5.01% not sure what they will be doing next month tho. I pulled money from their to open up 2 accounts at 6.01%. Still getting the 6.01 but not sure how long that will hold either. That’s at Southern Mo Bank and only open to local area people now.

  94. Yep, Southern Mo Bank only open to local area people now. …found that out ;-( Evantage and AmericaNet are nationwide and 5.25% but just moved to 10K UGH!!!! Ripley is my best at 5.26% at 25k. Rest are 4′s, all 50k’s. Yeah, gas stations typically shut you off at 2 txns but you can bring 4 cards or so and run 2 on each. I keep thinking the attendant is gonna come out and ask me what the heck I’m doing. I’m scoping out some 24hr stations so I can go after hours and do this. It’s getting to be like a part time job for me, not to mention the fact that I have to keep chasing new banks and opening accts and billpay into them. I need an admin asst to help now :-)

    Been putting 4k into the market each month starting with Jan 09; have 8k in from Jan and Feb, no limit orders have hit in Mar yet. Not going to chase stocks when the market is going up and the economy is still in a downward spiral, so nothing bought in Mar yet. Win or lose, there’s no debit txns (lol). I’ve done very well with my Jan and Feb stock purchases; they are still worth 8k (lol)

  95. I just cant see myself with a half dozen cards. I am NOT doing 65-72 debit card transactions per month.

    Thats why i like this new local bank I am with with the $100k limit. Only 4.01% but only 12 transactions too.

    Im not positive its only for local folks but they did tell me I had to come in to a branch.

    This debitcard, I just got recently and did 12 transactions fairly quickly. But when I went to check on them, they all showed as $1 authorizations. My other firm didnt show that, they only showed up when the transactions were complete.

    Another thing I dislike is this firm does not have a way to check to make sure you have met your qualifications like my other one during mid month. The branch mgr just said you have to manually count them.

    She also said an ach in from another bank qould qualify as a direct deposit.
    I sure hope so as I just transfered $25k in and will be putting another 75k there probably today or tommorow now that I have met my 12 transactions.

    I did find one off brand gas station that let me do multiple transactions without shutting me down. Its not in a great area but I had stopped there before and did 3-4 without incident so the last time I was over there, there was a cop sitting there in the lot which made me feel better about standing there doing a dozen transactions. Anyway, i would swap between choosing Debit and Credit and it never shut me down.

    Other stations have cut me off at 1-2. Like you, I worry that the clerk is going to come out and say something. But what can he really do ? I bought and paid for 2 cents worth of gas. The most they can do is cut us off at 1 transaction i guess. And frankly, If I owned a station, i probably would too.
    If they pay like 20-30 cents per transaction plus 2-4% then they lose money everytime we buy 2-7 cents worth of gas.

    I have been in stocks for many years. Ive been nibbling for some time and most of the time the stocks go lower. But Ive been doing it long enough to know that picking the exact bottoms is very difficult.

    Im just glad I had pulled so much out years ago because there were times, many years ago where I was fully invested, nearly so and a few times even maxed out on margin.

    I already carry too many dang cards. I have a gas/walmart card. I have a grocery/drug card. I always carry a Walgreens giftcard as I have done their rebate deals for a year now. Thats coming to an end soon though so I may not be carrying it much longer. Combine those cards with my license, blockbuster card, insurance roadside emergency card and so forth and my darn wallet is too full.

    Westbank is my next one. I have the application sitting here just havent sent it in. (That was what they sent me after I did their online thing which was really nothing but basic info that they printed out and sent to me already filled in)

    The concern with westbank though is there month runs weird, like the 3rd tuesday of every month or something like that. And only credit based transactions count.

    So 3 accounts, $100k, $50k and $25k should be enough for a few months anyway. Besides, if I keep buying stock, I wont need all three anyway. LOL

    I also have some CDs still earning good rates although one came due at 5.25% a few weeks ago. I had laddered them when rates were higher so most of them are 5.5-6.25%.

    Theres something to be said for simplicity. And with all these bank accounts, CDs at different places and so forth, it gets confusing. Like whats where and when does the bonus rate end ?

    WTdirect has a bonus rate that ends later this month so I have to pull out of there. But ING, once a rate leader SUCKS now. Even with $100k in there.

  96. I “hear ya”! I only carry 1 or two cards but I haven’t found a 100k bank yet and two just dropped from 25k to 10k, that’s 50 to 20 total forcing me into more cards or the market. You are “right on” in so much of what you have written. good luck with all this :-)

  97. If anyone has any national Rewards banks at 5%+, other than Ripley, Redneck, Evantage, AmericaNet can you please clue me in? thanks, Jim

  98. Introducing Reward Me CheckingSM

    Earn 5.00% APY* on your FREE checking balance up to $50,000 plus:

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    f.. FREE unlimited check writing
    g.. Earn 1.25% APY on balances over $50,000
    Requirements***:
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    a.. 12 signature-based point of sale debit card transactions per cycle
    b.. 1 direct deposit put in or 1 direct payment taken out of your account
    c.. Receive an electronic statement
    Visit RewardMeChecking.com for complete details

    What are the requirements that must be met to qualify for the rewards?

    a.. 12 Non-PIN Debit Card Transactions
    b.. 1 Direct Deposit or Direct Payment
    12 Non-PIN Debit Card Transactions
    To qualify for the rewards, you must conduct 12 Non-PIN debit card transactions each cycle. If you make a debit card purchase and do not enter your PIN you have conducted a qualifying transaction.

    Examples of qualifying Non-PIN transactions include:

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    b.. Choosing CREDIT when paying at the pump for gas
    c.. When in doubt, simply verify with the cashier your purchase is being run as CREDIT transaction.
    An easy way to remember is…No PIN = Big Rewards!

    1 Direct Deposit or Direct Payment
    Online Bill Pay does not count towards your 1 Direct Deposit or 1 Direct Payment requirements.

    Examples of qualifying deposits include:

    a.. Payroll Check
    b.. Social Security
    Examples of qualifying payments include:

    a.. Insurance premiums
    b.. Utility bills
    c.. Mortgage payments
    d.. Subscription/membership dues
    e.. Loan payments
    f.. Monthly pledges
    g.. Rents/leases
    h.. Tuition payments
    How often must the requirements be met to qualify for the rewards?
    Reward Me Checking has monthly requirements that must be satisfied in order to receive interest and ATM fee refunds. To qualify for your Rewards, 12 or more Non-PIN debit card transactions must POST to your account on or before the fourth Tuesday of the month. Processing time varies with each merchant so please allow several days for a transaction to post to your account. Be sure to use your debit card early and often each month to conduct Non-PIN card transactions.

  99. There are several national banks at 5.01 or higher. Charter, Heartland, etc. I’m looking for those at 6.01 or higher and they are getting very difficult to find.
    I had money in charter and they were a very good bank, only allows 1 account per address now, Heartland is working out great for my nephew, Midwest America FCU has been great for me but down to 5.11 now and u have to live locally and one acct per SS# per address.
    Heartland is 5.06 and I think they allow you to have more then 1 account and it’s up to 30,000. I would definitely call the banks first and see if there are any changes planned.

    I’m looking at opening an account up at Legend Bank at 5.13% but it’s very local for me. Only 6 miles from house. Ft. Worth Texas area.

    Obviously I will leave my 2 accounts with So. Mo as long as it holds for the 6.01% and move the MWA account that’s paying 5.11 to legend that is paying 5.13 just to have the money closer to me and easier to deposit local checks from my Home Business :).

    I would use caution in using debit cards at gas stations in bad locations. I use mine at Walmart grocery stores and a gas station in good location. Keep in mind that you can put money on your walmart gift/gas card by using the debit cards too. Just do it in smaller $$$ amounts. Everytime you check out at walmart you can add a few bucks to your gas card using a debit card. I am still paying some of my bills on line in small amounts using debit cards. So. Mo did say that they were watching the small amounts tho and that I needed to use it more like an everyday debit card. So I just increased my charges a little more. Still making below $10 on all and sometimes around the $1 charge. Just using it at different times during the month instead of trying to get them done in one week.

    One advantage you might have of an account closing at a different time then the end of the month is being able to rotate cards.

    For instance So Mo closes last day of month along with Midwest America FCU now I’m looking at Legend Bank and it closes on 3rd Weds. So I will get So. Mo and Midwest America done early in month and then when done with them move to Legend Bank’s card. I usually have at least an extra week when I’m done with all charges so that would give me time to do Legend Bank.

    Have an Awesome weekend and let’s hope that interest rates increase. Not looking good out there so I’m investing in Home Business Opportunity. Might look at running that through an IRA so income won’t be taxed :).

  100. JMO, but I think it will quite a while before we see int rates going up and even then I have a feeling that Rewards will be slow to follow if they do at all. The Rewards rates keep falling and the maximums keep falling as well. I just signed up at AmericaNet and Evantage a month ago (5.25%) and they both announced that the 25k max is going to 10k April 15th. Now I have to move 30k somewhere and “more txns”. I have spoken to a few different officers at local regional banks, incl my brother who is the treasurer of one of the larger regional banks and what was common that I heard from each was that they were approached with the Rewards program a few years ago at rates over 6% and even then there was no way they could make money paying out that rate. I hope I’m wrong but I think this program as we know it will be short lived. …just like the 0% Bal Xfer with no fee.

    Anyhow, yes, you and all have a great weekend, enjoy….
    …Jim

  101. Most of the banks are shown they can make money with the program. Thats what gets them to sign up for it.

    Later, when a bunch of rate chaers come along, and the returns are not there, they cut the rates.

    The intent is for everyone to spend several hundred dollars per month with the 12 transactions. When folks like me spend less than $20, they dont get sufficient “kickbacks”.

    But, like with the balance transfer offers, the banks often look at the aggregate, not on one person. I used to do 0% balance transfers for years. First they had no fees, later they would waive the fees. In the last several years, they will NOT waive the fees and I havent seen a 0% in over 6 months. I think the last one I did was .99% with a $75 fee.

    I made money (A little) on it but I took a 20+ point hit on my credit score for maxing out that card.

    One issue I notice with this new bank Im using. Unlike my other credit union, I get $1.00 CKCD/DBCD AUTH show up for a few days, then later the exact amount. And this bank doesnt have a place to check to verify that you have met your qualifications for the month like the other one.

    With $100k there, I want to be sure I dont miss out on that 4.01%. Even for a month.

    Do you all find that most banks have or dont have a way to verify you’ve met the requirements ?

    On mine that I can, I click on statement and it shows how many so far and if you have met each requirement.

    The branch mgr at this new bank told me you have to count manually.

  102. I have and have had several accounts and none of them had a really easy way of verifying the debits. There are some that you can do a report and that is a little easier but these reports also include ACH debits so you have to watch for that. But if you do 2 ACH debits a month and then the rest are from your debit card it’s pretty easy to just deduct the 2.

    It hasn’t been that difficult for me to just count these charges up. I don’t do alot of charges on the cards other then what’s necessary and maybe 1 or 2 more for the just in case situation.

    I do use Quicken and download into that and sometimes it’s easier to count there.

    I have 5 accounts now and then I also have a few other checking account that I signed up for just to ge tthe bonuses (Chase checking $125.00 and Compass $75 for savings and $75 for savings account) I figured that was pretty good income for the little effort to make the auto deposit or 5 bill pays a month.

    As far as the 5 High Yield Checking accounts, I usually have one set up for the major payments, House, and credit card payment. Then the others I usually just do one auto ACH Debit to pay a small amount towards my Airline Miles credit card and the 12 debits.
    A avoid the direct deposit by having the ACH debit pay for the credit cards, house payment. It’s easier to move money if you have to that way. When my credit card bill comes in, I set up the ACH debits to pay it off out of the various accounts and usually the large amount will come out of the lowest interest paying acct.

    Another system that has helped me is writing the debit charges down on a piece of paper. I have a file for each bank and put a lined piece of paper in the file and write the debit card last 4 digits and then number 1 through 12 (as many as you need for that account) and when I get home with the receipts it takes me minutes to log them in. This really helps when you have more then 1 account at one bank. I will put the month in middle of line and then put the debit card # on left side and then the other one for same bank on right side, then number 1-12. I keep that paper in the file and then do the next month right below it and so forth and turn it over and use the back side. I will get at least 4 months on 1 piece of paper. It also gives you a quick glance of where you used them last month and where u can use them this month. For instance, at the credit union, I can’t pay my Verizon bill as it counts it as an ACH and not a debit/credit card transaction. I made a note of that on the inside cover of the file.
    I usually just put the receipts in this file also and at the end of the month I place them in my Monthly business/expense file. At this point I am taking 4 cards with me at one time and will charge on all 4 by splitting up items at check out.

    I usually only shop once a week so I have to do alot of different transactions when I’m out and about.

    That way I can see how many I need at a glace and as I finish one card I take it out of my purse and put it in a drawer for the next month.

    When I’m done with one card, I will double check it once everything has posted and verify it at that time and then I usually verify again before closing of statement.

    It’s critical that you make sure you get the ACH or direct deposit done.

    It does take time but once you get a system down, it’s alot easier.
    I’ve been doing this since March of 2008 and (knock on wood) I haven’t missed a qualification yet.

    The key is save receipts, set up a file for each bank, write or paste the requirements for that bank on the inside cover of the folder–I use Manilla folders inside one hanging folder (Banks).
    Put reciepts in there and a lined piece of paper to log them in. That way you know how many you’ve done before they post. U might need those receipts if something doesn’t go through properly.
    When charging small amounts to utility bills etc. I usually just write it on the utility bill and watch for it to come up on the website. I also log it onto the piece of paper in the folder.

    It’s alot easier then it sounds and not that difficult for the return of money that we are receiving.

  103. Pertaining to Debit or credit charges. Take the time to check with your bank on which one to do. All BANKS have different requirements!

    I just opened up an account at Legend Bank in Tx and they stated that ONLY CREDIT will be accepted for your 12 required check card transactions. I think State Nat’l Bank of Tx in Whicita Falls was the same way. They are paying 4.01% up to 100K. I really liked the bank and the account but had to go where I could get 6.01 and now still keeping money at 6.01 or 5.01. Will move money back to that bank if it is as high as the others.

    I always use it as credit anyways. I don’t know how a person could remember all the pin#’s for all of these cards.

  104. Gee, I have lots of cards, all pin#s the same. One bank did require me to go to the branch to change the pin. Fortunately that one was here in MA the rest I either set the pin at acct setup time or changed afterwards. Yeah, if I had all different pins I could no do this.

  105. Have and have had many banks, can’t say even one had a way for me to verify that I had met the requirements. Many just say yes or no after thefact too w/o any specifics. Not much info coming from the banks automatically. …have to call if you have an inquiry in this area I find. …makes it tough, yep.

  106. Well, my credit union gave me a PIN and then said I could only change it if I went to one of their own ATMs. And they only have a handful in SO Florida and I never go there.

    The other one, I thought I was going to have to go to their ATM because the letter said so but then it let me do it with their automated phone thing.

    At the credit union, a billpay suffices for their requirement but their fine print says so. At the bank, it does not. The mgr told me that a GMAC or other bank ach deposit would suffice but I havent gotten my interest yet.

    Another thing, at the credit union, I know I do not HAVE to OPEN the electronic statement, just be signed up for it.

    Not clear on that at the bank. And the bank amazingly requires separate sign up for the account, the statements and the billpay.

    Without question more work than my other account.

  107. Below is what my credit union acct shows when I click on Statements, then the current month, a PDF file opens showing. Its usually a day or so behind but its what i was used to checking to make sure I qualified.

    I called my bank mgr and she again insisted that any electronic ach deposit meets the “direct deposit” qualification. At my credit union, a billpay meets their “automated transaction” qualification.

    Neither of my accounts thusfar care if the transactions are credit or debit but if I open the west bank account, that one does.

    I will probably go ahead and open that soon. Between applying for it and the local bank, both or one dropped my credit score 4 points from 770 to 766.

    I only have 2 cards so its not hard to remember the pins. I use them when shopping at Aldi because they wont take CCs and I dont carry cash as a general rule.
    Hopefully, the new one will allow me to make it what I want.
    ===============
    DAILY HIGH YIELD CHECKING QUALIFICATION SUMMARY
    14 Posted Debit or POS Purchase(s) – 12 Required – Qualification Met
    1 Automated Transaction(s) – 1 Required – Qualification Met

  108. Just got the approval for WestBank. I’ll be dumping AmericaNet and Evantage who just dropped their 25k max to 10k. (one month after I opened them) into West Bank. I would have stayed with them if they lowered the int a bit from the 5.25, or to lowere the limit to 20k but going from 25k to 10k. …I’m outta there.

    I am surprised that your CS took a little hit but that’s so minor it’s worth it. I hope to stay put with WestBank for a long time. thanks for the info as always. …Jim

  109. West Bank update….

    Update 4/02/09: Readers have reported being notified by the bank that the top rate is scheduled to fall to 4.01% APY starting April 15, 2009. Also, new accounts are now restricted to Iowa residents.

    I wonder if they will still let me in. I have the package here ready to fill out. Never did fill it out and send it in while i was dealing with my local $100k balance account. (Not sure if its national and dont want to shoot myself in the foot by telling everyone if it is)

  110. I received an email from Charter.net and their rate is going down from 5.01 but not sure when and I think it’s going down to 4.01 but the website should indicate it if you click on the turbo checking.

    As far as West Bank goes you will have to call them and see what the status is.

    I sure hope this is a temp. decrease in rates and that they will go up in 2009 :).

  111. I just opened my West Bank acct a week ago. Gee, rate dropping already, UGH!!! Evantage and AmericaNet dropped max from 25k to 10k; that was quite a blow. …getting tougher out there. I wouldn’t bet on increased rates on Rewards in the next few years. Percentage wise so very few banks have this program. I wonder why… You will have a hard time convincing me that a bank can give me 5% on my 50k and make a profit while I do 10 measley debit txns. …just doesn’t make sense. I see this all heading to the 2′s and there it will stay for a long time. I hope I’m wrong.

  112. Oh yeah, my new Bank ofRipley just made big drop of a whole point from 5.26 to 4.26 and they only have 25k max. Rewards programs are getting weaker by the month. Time to move more into equities. …would like to see anoher market pullback though before moving more in there though.

  113. We need to keep in mind they are still “deals” its just that with rates declining, they have to decline too. We are still getting a good bit of “reward”.

    And when rates increase, I expect some banks will increase their rates also.

    Bottom line is the banks cant do it if it doesnt make financial sense for them.

    They need lots of folks that spend $500-1000 per month on their debitcards to make up for those of us who dont.

  114. rjm, you are right, on all counts :-)

  115. rjm–I agree 100%.

    There are alot of people that managed to get themselves into trouble with credit cards and are only using debit cards now so that does help.

    In fact I have a sister in law that only uses debit cards and she probably has a credit score in the 800′s. I told her about these programs but she’s set in her ways and has her money other places and still has an ordinary checking account and uses debit cards.

    I looked at Midwest America FCU website and to my surprise they are down to 3.51 now :(. Last month was 5.01%. I have 2 accounts there and have been watching for it and it took a few days to post or I just missed it. So I’m in process of moving to Legend Bank in Ft. Worth Tx for the 5.13% and it’s a local bank so easier for me.

    Southern Mo is still at 6.01 but limited to local banks and one account. I managed to open two before they closed it off.

    I have accounts at several different banks and I found it to be easier that way. If one bank lowers it’s rate then it doesn’t affect all your accounts at one time. I also take the debits card to the grocery store and can do all the accounts for small purchases and they can’t pull up all the accounts and see what’s going on. I did 11 charges on Saturday for small items at grocery stores.

  116. Good news from West Bank. She said I could still open the account since I requested the package prior to their new rules.

    Now its just a matter of filing out the paperwork and sending it in and then waiting to hear back from them.

    Their cycle goes through the 4th Wednesday of each month and the first partial month you dont have to do the transactions.

    In other news, my newest card seems to let me do multiple very small gas transactions without cutting me off.

  117. I would like to know if there are any nationwide banks which offer 5% or higher APY with 10 transactions.
    Any comments which one is good.
    Some banks are reducing for eg Westbank will reduce mid of april to 4%.

  118. Evantage and AmericaNet. 5.25% 10 txns, (no auto dep or ach required). Only limitation is they both just went to 10k max from 25k. Other than that… best on the planet til someone points out better. (not sure if you can open multiple accts with them, haven’t asked yet) ….Jim

  119. Considering the volume of responses, and not having read many of them, my concerns may have already been addressed. The FDIC protection seems to apply only to “non-interest” bearing accounts, from what I read in the small print associated with the FDIC logo. And, opening several accounts at the same banking/credit union facility because of their maximum “cap” would require a person to meet the minimum debit card transaction requirement for “each” account. Am I correct in assuming these facts to be true?

  120. Im 99.9% positive that FDIC insurance applies to interest bearing accounts. (Up to the $250k limit)

    And, if banks allow you to open multiple rewards accounts, OF COURSE you would have to meet the requirements for each account.

  121. My last three posts were obviously not approved by the Moderator. I guess I unintentionally broke one rule or another. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, RJM, for your feedback. That having been said — I’m outta here!

  122. Im pretty sure every post I have ever made here has been published. Most without delay.

    I wasnt even aware there was a moderator. Or if there is, he/she must have approved me some time ago.

    Did you use foul language or something ?

  123. LOL — no, RJ, I just included my website address in the body of my deleted posts, and made a comment or two about a new project I’m working on to help people make an honest buck. I guess it was considered to be off topic. And, each post I made included a comment up front that said my post hadn’t as yet been checked by the Moderator. That message appeared to the right of my name, where it says, “Bob Says:. After my post was approved, it was shown for everyone to see.

  124. It might be that new posters posting links arent given much leeway because of the large number of spammers out there.

    These boards would be full of spam if not for some kind of automated thing keeping it from happening.

  125. Bob, your comments weren’t approved because your site had nothing to do with rewards checking accounts, it was just a site “to make some money” with a bunch of Amazon links on it. I don’t have a problem with anyone starting such a site, but to promote it on this post would fall under “self-promotional“. Thanks for reading, and thanks for keeping comments on-topic.

  126. For those with multiple debit cards.

    You can get a free redbox rental for each one at Walgreen redboxes.

    use the code DVDATWAG. Its good for one free rental for each card you have.

    They are advertising them instore via a little red flyer with the above code for the rebox outside.

  127. About the FDIC limit at $250 K. That is temporary until the end of 2009 I believe. If you have more than $100 K in an insolvent bank, or even a solvent one, I would not keep it there after the end of the year, it won’t be insured for more than $100 K.

    Hopefully they will make the higher limit permanent. With inflation, $100 K really isn’t what it used to be.

  128. I also received my West Bank packet before they stopped accepting customers nation wide. And there appears to be an annual Debit Card fee of $6.00, as well as $6.00 for a replacement card. Has anyone else noticed this? I have never before heard of a bank charging an annual fee for a debit card. I guess this is another way they are choosing to offset these higher interest rates, especially with a lot of us who don’t do a lot of volume in transactions.

  129. Jim, can you confirm the $6 annual debit card fee or not ?

    What about checks ? Are they free ?

    I still havent sent mine in. Id want some clairity on the $6.

    I sure didnt read the fine print.

    That kind of thing would probably piss a lot of people off.

    As for the $250k, there has been much talk about raising the limit to $250k for good. But, as you said, unless you do, I wont want to have over $100k come year end.

  130. In my packet, in the bundle papercliped together it is the third from the last page. It is titled West Bank Miscellaneous Fees. It is in list form. I have not contacted them about it yet but it does say $6 for annual fee and $6 for replacement card. The asterisk next to the annual and replacement fee also says that these fees are subject to sales tax.

    I don’t see anything about personal checks for the account, only fees for cashier’s checks and certified checks. However, no rewards accounts I have had provided free checks. This is not a problem for me though because I don’t use paper checks. The debit card fee though is crazy; I probably won’t open the account if I confirm with them that the fee is accurate.

  131. Yeah, I see the $6.00 you are talking about.

    Seems like Jim would have mentioned it by now, Or maybe he hasnt noticed it.

    Part of me thinks it might not apply to the rewards checking.

    Still, $6 a year is a small price to pay for all the excess interest assuming the rate stays high and the limit at $50k.

    By the way, my only 2 rewards checking, neither charged me a fee for the first order of checks. Like you, I wouldnt pay for them because I probably wont use them.

    Jennifer Hansen is the contact lady who handles these accounts. I just called her the other day so maybe you want to email her about this ?
    I hate to bother her again.

    Id appreciate it.

  132. for west bank… The cycle goes through the 4th Wednesday of each month /

    I tried to leave the contact ladys email but my post is awaiting moderation and her email may have been automatically removed, I guess its not allowed.

  133. RE: the $6 charge: I did receive my Debit card last week. I threw out the sheet it was attached to but unless it was some very tiny print I would have seen that. I’ll check the website today, this is the first I’ve heard of this, doesn’t sound right but ya never know. We’ll get to the bottom of this :-)

  134. I did lookup my info and yes I see the $6 fee. I’m guessing it may not apply to Rewards acct but I just called Jennifer H. and left a msg. She’ll call back and let me know if it applies or not. Either way it’s $.50 a month. I haven’t seen anything about the rate going down 4/15/09. Website still has 5%. I’ll ask Jennifer H. if I get to talk to her.

    Will let you all know what I hear. …Jim

  135. ok, no $6 fee on the Rewards checking debit card. …got EMail from Jennifer.

    Didn’t get to ask about the rate going down.

  136. i Posted on the rate going down that I saw on another website.

    I didnt confirm it with Jennifer because I just assumed it was correct since, that post also talked about it not being open to folks outside their service area any longer.

    Here is the update from Bank Deals….Update 4/02/09: Readers have reported being notified by the bank that the top rate is scheduled to fall to 4.01% APY starting April 15, 2009. Also, new accounts are now restricted to Iowa residents.

  137. I was looking for a way to opt-out of receiving email notifications each time someone posts a message, but was unsuccessful in finding it. Please remove me from your blog database, I will not be leaving any new posts. Thanks.

    Never mind, Johnathon — I found the area to remove myself and to stop all future email notifications.

  138. I’m not convinced that the rate is goig down yet. When I hear from a Westbank customer here who has gotten notice I’ll be more inclined to believe this is true. I have not received any notice and I alwyas do in advance from all the banks I have dealt with so far. I also have routinely seen the websites change in advance of the date and it still says 5.0% and tomorrow in 04/14. …so we’ll see but of course wishful thinking is that it stays at 5% for a while yet. If existing WestBank customers can chime in with news on this please do. …Jim

  139. I just looked at a thread on FW where several people confirmed the rate is going down to 4%.

    It seems like its true.

    On a side note, my Credit union dropped their rate on the rewards account with no notifcation. (Unless it was on a statement. i never open the statements)

  140. It’s 04/15, no word from West Bank on a rate reduction and their web site says 5%. I don’t know about folks on FW but I haven’t seen anything from West Bank. …somebody got their info crossed up?

  141. The 4% APY will be effective on 23 April (instead of the 15th) as quoted by a CSR.

    (Found this, I think on the fatwallet site)

    Website still does not show the lower rate.

  142. Ok guys,
    I confirmed with my own ears that the rate is indeed dropping to 4% thursday.

    It took 8 days for them to get my check but Jennifer was nice enough to suggest holding off until thursday to deposit it so that I get the whole first month without any transaction requirements.

  143. Uh Oh (*&(^*)*$#@^%& …just got word AmericaNet Bank going way down to 4% on 05/05/09. It is likely that Evantage and Red Neck will follow. I told ya this was gonna happen. Limits and rates dropping all over. I’ll say it again “Banks cannot make money on this program” with int rates at all time lows. This is part of the downward spiral. Oh well, scrape around for what we can. My $10 Harley stock is hanging around $20 now so a mixed portfolio is still the way to go :-) …unless you got into the market a year ago. I started moving in in Jan when this Rewards thing started to show signs of weakening. Might actually have to buy a CD one of these days :-)

    …sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but figured I’d give you a “heads up” …Jim

  144. wow, within minutes I just get EMail from Evantage. ditto with AmericaNet. I don’t have a RedNeck acct so I won’t get an EMail but no doubt one of you folks will. YIKES!!!! 10k and 4%. ….was just 25k and 5.25% like yesterday. Guess they finally saw what these plans were doing to their balance sheet. You can think I’m a pessimist if you like but I don’t believe this is the end of such adjustments. …just a step with more to follow. …time to start looking at alternative strategies. …Jim

  145. Affirmative, received email today and Redneck is going to 4% on 5/5/09. All these three banks are divisions of Bank of the Witchitas, designed to attract different customers but they are pretty much identical, except for appearance. Are there any national banks still out there that are 5% or above?

  146. Mark, I’m researching now on your 5% national banks. Will have some conclusive info in a day or so. What state are you from?

  147. Georgia. I just found a bank, The Bank of Georgia. I believe it is 5.01%.

  148. Here’s one national bank. firstbankingcenter

    5.01% 25k 10txns

  149. Can you believe this… people will be emptying all their AmericaNet, Evantage and Redneck accts. …probably exactly what they want, if not I could have just told them this is what will happen. 4% and 10k. …why would anyone stay around for that? I have no choice but to empty $40k in 4 accts, almost would have been $60k in 6 accts. Good thing I can move money right from my office.

  150. Just found another, bank2, https://www.bank2online.com/index.html. Although I would expect these banks still at 5% to be dropping soon.

  151. You might want to look locally too. The smaller town banks will probably be able to keep their rates higher. The local banks have people that won’t chase the rate as much and will make more debit charges. I know several people that only make debit charges out of their checking accounts. This type of account is a win win for those kind of people. If you see a bank open up nationally, I’d get the account quickly and at least have it opened up because they are closing off the national availability really soon.

    I just opened up 2 accounts at a local bank and they are paying 5.13% on 25K. Southern Mo is still paying the 6.01 :). Sure hope they keep that rate. I am thankful for every month of interest.

    Might want to think of making higher debit charges every month so the banks will make some money.

  152. No banks in MA worth using. Dedham Savings was the best. now 4% and going to 25k limit. Unfortunately national banks are all that I have to work with as a MA resident. Sandy, you are lucky :-)

  153. Yes, I have been pretty lucky and fortunate on these banks. I’ve had this type of account for over a year now and have kept most of the money at the 6.01or 5.01.

    We just need to watch for national banks to offer these accounts and jump on them right away.

    I haven’t seen anything that;s even close to this interest rate in a CD.

    U might want to also look at banks that are outside your state that are within driving distance. However, with the way rates are falling I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle. Guess it depends on how much money you have and how many accounts you can open.

    Hopefully this credit crunch, money situation will be over soon but not if the Congress has their way.

  154. Thanks Mark re: Bank2Online. I can’t get another direct deposit from my employer on my salary. Anyone know of another way to satisfy a direct deposit; I don’t think a bill pay from another institution will qualify.

  155. Hello Jim,

    I do ACH’s to credit cards to qualify mine. I have a chase credit card for airline miles and I will go to Chase.com and set up payments from my checking accounts. Chase then sends an ACH for their money as it was originated from their website. This does qualify for those that require direct deposit OR ACH debit/credit. U do need to go to the place where you owe the money and then set it up so they will take the money from your checking account. This could work for utility bills also.

    Do not use bill pay from your checking account unless they tell u that it will work. Most of them won’t work.

  156. Sandy, you seem to be talking about “take the money from your checking account”, your quote. Are you saying that this would work for Bank2Online? They specifically say a “direct deposit”. I don’t see how taking money “from” the checking account can qualify as a direct deposit since it’s a withdrawal not a deposit. Can you pls explain/clarify. thanks, Jim

  157. Jim,
    I did mention it works for banks that allow you to have direct deposit OR ACH debit/credit.

    If a bank requires direct deposit then you have to do some kind of direct deposit and you will have to ask them how much of a direct deposit and what kind they require. Some banks require a payroll others have easier direct deposit requirements.

    I don’t have any accounts that have direct deposit requirement ONLY and I’ve stayed away from them on purpose.

    However, I did open a Chase checking account to receive the $125 bonus and did a direct deposit.

    I haven’t looked at the requirements for Bank2

    Hope this answers your questions.

    Have a wonderful night/day!

  158. Thanks Sandy. yeah bank2 has direct deposit only, that’s why I was asking. Can’t say I’ve seen that before now.

    Appreciate the input and insight as always!! …Jim

  159. I’m sure not all banks are the same, but when I was still using Southern Comm. I made a bill payment from my local non-interest earning credit union account. It offered the option of paying thru billpay, not xfering, to another bank. South. Comm. told me that was a direct deposit. Again, that may be unique to my credit union or the rewards acct. but I am opening a bank2 acct and will let you know if it qualifies once I am set up.

  160. A lot of the banks are not open to people in all 50 states.

    I have a local bank with a $100k limit at 4.01%.

    To me, thats better than 10 10k accounts at 5%.

    And of course West Bank is $50k at 4%.

    For those moving money out of accounts, you might want to be sure you CLOSE them so they cant come after you later for non-activity fees that may not exist now but could in the future.

  161. Good points rjm. I’m waiting on word from a 100k 4.01% now. …a lot less work :-)

  162. Anybody try to get your money out of AmericaNet, Evantage, RedNeck? …not liking what I see.

  163. Jim,

    What are you seeing? Are you have a difficult time getting your money out of the banks or is it a warning to people to get their money out of there?

    Everyone have a wonderful weekend.

    Oh use caution on commercial real estate! That’s the next thing to crash and is probably well on it’s way but your not being told about it.

    As businesses close more commercial places become available and not enough new business coming in and there is going to be alot of notes coming due on commercial real estate that will be defaulted on.

  164. It is probably time to start stocking up on commedities that you will use in the next year also. I have always stocked up on items we use all the time and food when it was on sale. I’m stocking more now tho.
    I use the coupons and get things so much cheaper.

    If prices keep going up on them, you will get a better return on your money then the bank. Watch for those sales on items you use all the time and stock up.

    I think Charter bank is still open to out of state people but their rates are going down or already have gone down. They are pretty good about sending emails a month in advance of rate decrease and usually post it on the internet as well.

    Might be worth calling them and finding out what their rates will be. I was with them and still have open accounts with them and they were very good to work with. I had no challenges with them at all. Just the rate dropped lower then what I could get elsewhere.

  165. Evan,AmerN,RedN all I could bill pay was $1000 and I can’t do another one to same payee until that one completes. They have a bank to bank xfer that I have signed up for but it has a $1500 limit and it looks like I’ll have to go through the whole trial deposits routine. (not sure if I’d be able to stack a number of these at a time either) So how labor intensive is it going to be for me to get my 30k out? I was going to put 60k in (6x10k) until the bottom fell out of their limit and then the rate. I only have Evan and AmerNet but most likely I’ll have to move all to one acct in each then pay $10-$15 bucks each for a wire transfer. This is looking really bad. Bill pay limit to a single one at 1k???? I’ve been bill paying around to institutions all over this country for years in amounts of 10k, 25k even 50k no problem. $1k and one per payee. YIKES!!!! never saw such a thing. …may have to call them. Hey they are pushing the customers away now, but now I can’t get away fast enough. ..at least w/o crazy fees…. If someone sees a clear path here before I can find one please let me know. …not happy about this (as you can see). …Jim

    My Harley $10 stock from January is up over 100% now so that makes this banking mess not so troubling :-) Toyota making me some serious profit too. …and Jim Cramer wasn’t too fond of these. …but he is aweseome, has made me some Mad Money. (Thanks Jim!!)

  166. Jim,

    With RedN, once you have the trial deposits done, you can transfer up to 1500 at a time but can do it multiple times event before the first completes. Their bank to bank transfers do take about a week though. The best method I have used to move funds is to initiate an ach from the bank you are transfering to, it is usually free and seems to pull faster. Still, I think thats cheaper than a wire which will eat up interest fast, usually both banks charge for wire transfers.

  167. Mark, how do you “initiate an ach from the bank you are transfering to”? …can this be done online (I’m not familiar with this) or do you have to go to the branch. All I know about for moving money around institutions is bill pay which is pushing the money not pulling it. Clue me in if you can. thanks Mark! …Jim

  168. Jim,

    If you have an account like GMAC which allows you to set up lots of links to other banks, you can ach “PULL” the money from the other bank to GMAC electronically.

    I must have nearly a dozen accounts linked at GMAC so I can transfer money in or out of any of those accounts starting from GMACs end.

    You usually have to verify the other banks accounts as they will make 2 small deposits at the other bank and then when you “verify” the deposit amounts, those accounts are linked and ready to go.

    I have never moved money in my life via billpay.

    The only caveat is if you have a “savings” account like GMACs, you are only allowed 6 withdrawls per month and if you go over some banks charge you.

    In other words, if I pulled money out of gmac 7-8 times they could charge me $5-10 for each over 6.

    Other banks dont charge you but “warn” you that its not meant to be a checking account.

  169. I have all Rewards checking accts and a few non rewards checking (like Bank of America). These are all checking accts, lets say bank A drops their rewards to 4%, I move my entire balance to bank B which is paying 5%. I do this with one bill pay txn. I’ve moved 50k in one shot from one bank to another with one simple bill pay txn. I do not see any option/capability to pull from checking acct A into a deposit in bank B. If someone does this with checking accts by all means I’d like to hear how it’s done.

    Let me ask the group here… how do you move your funds from a Rewards checking bank that is lowering its rate to a new Rewards acct that has the higher more desireable rate? I’ve been doing a lot of institution checking acct xfers with bill pay for a few years now and never ran into a limit like Evan, AmerNet, RedN. I still don’t see how I can get my 30k out of there efficiently.

  170. They didnt give you checks ?

    I wrote a $50k check from my $100k bank to open my westbank account. Then ACHed in $50k from GMAC to replace the $50k.

    My regular checking, which is not a rewards account, also allows ACH transfers in and out. It only pays 2% and 2.25% though. (Presidential)

    Id say you need a “hub” account if you are not getting checks.

    Interestingly, my first rewards account at a credit union…the credit union has been placed into conservatorship under the National Credit Union Administration.

    I used the card today and apparently I have no risk. But, its interesting.

  171. I have used checks. Most of the banks have given me starter checks. I do have a few banks that didn’t and I would do ACH into Ing Direct account and then back out. I just had to do that with 50,000 from Midwest America FCU because they lowered their rate.

    I’m not sure how you would do bill pay? Make it payable to yourself? Alot of banks would mail you a check unless you were an online account.

    When I called Midwest America FCU and asked what the easiest way was, they said they could mail me a check which would have delays and chance of loss in the mail. I chose to run it through Ing Direct.

    For a person that doesn’t have an account set up, it might be easier to ask for a check.

  172. Bill pay 50k from Bank of America to West Bank is exactly the same as bill pay $100 from Bank of America to Verizon. Not many people know this. I have done this for years and have occasionally mentioned this to bank customer service reps and asst mgr types and they didn’t know that their own bank online bill pay worked the same for institutional xfers. Just create payee for West Bank in the same way and Verizon and pay 50k to your acct # there. It’s like a plain vanilla cone, no trick to it. …but when the “crazy three” have a $1000 limit I couldn’t believe it. I did this with ING, Emigrant and lots of institutions, bill paying 10k, 25k, 50k at a time. This is how I routinely skim the amount that with interest exceeds the Rewards max. So if my West Bank had $50,150 I’d simply bill pay the $150, over to say Ripley where I am under the 25k max. I’m shuffling with bill pay routinely to maximize my interest earned. …few mins at the PC here and there each month is all it takes.

    Oh, I did just check my BOA checking and I can set up to pull from institution with ach debit, so I won’t have any trouble cleaning out my Evantage and AmericaNet accts on May 5.

  173. …have to redo this.. lost my whole response.

    Anyway… You do bill pay to your institutional acct just like bill pay to your long distance carrier. My bill pay from Bank of America to West Bank is exactly the same as my bill pay from Bank of America to Verizon. I have been using bill pay to xfer money from institution to institution for years. This is how I move 10k, 25k, 50k from a bank that lowers it’s int to one that is higher. I use bill pay to skim the interest off the max in the Rewards acct. If max is 50k and i have $50,150 after the int is paid, I xfer the $150 to say Ripley where I am still under their max. A few mins on the PC each month and I’m maximizing my interest rate. I put the 10k in my 2 Evantage and 2 AmericaNet accts with a single 20k bill pay to one Evantage and one AmericaNet acct; then internal xfer to split into two 10k’s in each. Five minutes online banking and done. …figured I could bill pay out just as easily since I’ve never been limited before. It’s ok, I see the ach debit that I can do from external institution on my BOA checking so I suppose most of the other checking accts will have this also. …just never needed this before because bill pay was fast, easy and free.

    I have mentioned bill pay for institutional xfers to bank customer service and asst mgr types and with a rare exception they did not know that this was not only feasible but very simple and routine. Honestly I’ve been doing this for so long now that I don’t remember where I heard about it. Thanks for the tip on ach debit, I’ll use that to get my money out of Evantage and AmericaNet. You guys are great, thanks for the help as always! …Jim

  174. barrytuneup says:

    check out Malvern federal. They are still 5.01 up to 35k. I use them and they are great. However they just cut out of the nationwide acccounts and now it is only for ny ny pa and a few others.

  175. Yeah, saw them last week. Not for me, I’m from MA. thanks for info though, never know who might benefit. …Jim

  176. 4.01% Reward Checking Account at Peoples Bank of Kankakee County – Nationally Available

    Peoples Bank of Kankakee Count has a reward checking account called Electric Blue Rewards Checking. The account offers the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:

    4.01% APY on balances up to $50,000
    1.00% APY on balances over $50,000
    0.50% base rate if qualifications are not met
    Refund of ATM fees nationwide (up to $5 per transaction, $25 per cycle)
    The monthly requirements include:

    12 debit card purchases
    One direct deposit or auto payment
    Access internet banking
    Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:

    $100 minimum initial deposit
    No minimum balance requirement
    No monthly service charge
    Free online Bill Pay
    The “Open Now” button on the Electric Blue Rewards Checking page takes you to the CheckingFinder application. I contacted the bank, and according to the CSR, if you open the account from this online application, it’s available to any US resident.

    This is a small two-office bank located in Illinois. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1962 (FDIC Certificate # 18566).

  177. hey rjm, just grabbed these two really nice national rewards accts:
    - firstbankingcenter 5.01 to 25k
    - farmersandmerchants 4.51 to 50k

  178. Here are some utility companies take multiple payments per day. Take advantage of these to satisfy your debit/POS transactions for your reward checking accounts:

    - TMobile: minimum payment is $1.00. Would not accept the same amount in a 24-hour period. So you can make payments $1.00, $1.01, etc….

    - Comcast: take payment as little as $0.01. Would not accept the same amount in a 24-hour period. And you can only make a payment in every 3 hours.

    - Verizon: minimum payment is $1.01. Would not accept the same amount in a 24-hour period.

    - AT&T: would take payment as little as $0.01. Would only accept 2 payments per day, per card.

    If anyone know any other national companies like Directv, Dish Network, etc…, please feel free to contribute.

  179. Check out focusbank. They still have a competitive 4.51%. Opening was a bit hassle as it took a couple of weeks but ones you are through its smooth sailing ..atlease so far for me.

  180. Thanks for the tip on focus bank but there are a lot of focus banks… can you tell us which one and if limited to geo area. thanks, Jim

  181. Its focusbank.com..FDIC insured..and available nationally.

  182. rjm, I went to the site, it says “New accounts may be opened only by residents of the States of Missouri and Arkansas. Please indicate your eligibility:” and has radio button selection for MO and AR …where are you from? …Jim

  183. rjm, I went to the site, it says “New accounts may be opened only by residents of the States of Missouri and Arkansas. Please indicate your eligibility:” and has radio button selection for MO and AR …where are you from? …Jim XXXX

  184. Oops..I think they might have changed it recently..I am from CO and was able to open the account a couple of months back.

  185. no problem, I could call them to verify. This is a constantly changing program (getting more limiting and with lowering rates). Thanks for the info though. …we all appreciate it. …Jim

  186. These reward checking accounts may e a hassel….but they are still better better than earning .06% APY from otherr banks.WQhy did we need to bail out banks when they made hundreds of billions $$$$ in profits this year. This is true…read the financial news.
    In they require 10 debits…these can be done in one- two days & then after you deduct total charges, you can file away till next month.
    If people put their money ONLY in banks that PAY INTEREST & withdrew their funds from banks that pay little or no interest…then MAYBE Banks will start appreciating their customers again & start paying interest again.
    Why would anyone borrow at 5%-6% from a bank that pay .30%APY or less in interest? Aren’t you sick of banks’ USURY YET?

Trackbacks

  1. FiDeals: Checking out Reward Checking says:

    [...] tip for keeping track of your transactions: My Money Blog suggests attaching a sticky note to your debit card with check boxes to insure you reach the [...]

  2. [...] can read more about these accounts at My Money Blog. Better yet, here’s a huge list of rewards checking accounts by state. (Those listed with a [...]

  3. [...] that the additional hassles of debit card transactions are worth it.  For more information,  My Money Blog has a nice overview and High Yield Checking Deals has a pretty comprehensive and updated APY [...]

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  5. [...] Usually through smaller credit unions with limited membership areas, these checking accounts pay a higher interest rate if you jump through some hoops each month. However, if you make a mistake you’ll forfeit virtually all your interest for that month, so it can be tricky. More details here. [...]

  6. [...] You’ve likely heard of these by now. Usually through local credit unions, these checking accounts pay a higher interest rate if you jump through some hoops each month. However, if you make a mistake you’ll forfeit virtually all your interest for that month, so it can be tricky. More coverage here. [...]

  7. [...] more, see my review of rewards checking accounts and also this list of accounts by state. I’d stick with small local credit unions with [...]

  8. [...] more, see my review of rewards checking accounts and also this list of accounts by state. I’d stick with small local credit unions with [...]

  9. [...] more, see my review of rewards checking accounts and also a list of participating banks by state here. I’d stick with small local banks with [...]

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