Regular readers of the Rickety blog know that I am a big fan of rewards checking accounts. They have a high interest rate, are FDIC or NCUA insured, and are very liquid. Lately I have been tracking accounts that pay 6% or more but today I will make an exception. One of the drawbacks of banks that offer rewards checking is that it is usually not straight-forward to get signed up, unless you live close enough to go to a branch in person.
For the convenience of having a bank or credit union that offers rewards checking and is also close to home I joined Deseret First Credit Union. The nearest branch is only eleven miles away, their rewards checking is at 5%, and of course it is a credit union, which I prefer. To be eligible to join, one has to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or be employed by the Church. To earn your 5% you have to do the usual monthly direct deposit or ACH, ten debit card transactions, and receive eStatements. You don’t have to access your account once a month as an additional requirement to earn your 5%.
In the Locations / Contact Us section is a list of over 2,000 basic transaction branches where you can use credit unions throughout the U.S. to make deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, etc. All you need is your account number and a government-issued photo identification. I haven’t heard about this service because my current credit union does not offer it.
As a bonus, the credit union does make humorous ads, though you might need to know a little about the LDS life-style to find them funny. The ad below is my favorite but also check out “The Weddings” and “Active“.
30 Mar 2009 Today I received this email:
…we would like to inform you that your Rewards Checking account rates will change as follows, beginning with the next monthly qualification cycle starting March 31, 2009:
$0 – $25,000.00 balance w/ minimum requirements 3.01% APY
$25,000.01 & higher balance w/ minimum requirements 0.70% APY
Balances w/o minimum requirements 0.20% APY
Unfortunately I will be drawing my account down to the minimum of $25. For 3% it is not worth the effort to get the required transactions. The account was no trouble to open and it will be even less trouble to pull out my money. There are a number of banks still at 5% and I will be looking at one of those.