Bank Rewards Checking

NOTE: As of 2 March 2012, this page is no longer being updated.

The table below list banks that offer at least 4% interest on their rewards checking accounts. This is one of my favorite savings vehicles and gives me FDIC insured accounts with high liquidity. The drawback is that sometimes the high yields do not last for long and then another bank has to be found. I keep this table up-to-date to help me and others find the best banks for our deposits. Bauer Financial ratings are included (see note 5).

How Rewards Checking Works

Rewards Checking is simple enough. Meet the requirements and you can earn 4% APR on your checking account. The requirements are typically 10 transactions a month, an automated deposit, and receive bank statements electronically. For more details read about my first experience with Rewards Checking.

News of Bank Rewards Checking

Thank you to the readers who have informed me of rate changes. There are no bank rewards checking accounts at 4% that are offered nationally. I am seeing more restrictions on some rewards checking accounts. I identify some of them in the Gotchas section.

In the table below, if you sort the Verified column, you will find several banks where I cannot find their reward checking rates online. What is there to hide? If you have a great rate, let us know. It saves everyone time and effort to accurately represent your product.

Table of 4 Percent and higher Bank Rewards Checking Accounts

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Banking Institution Main Branch APY 1st Tier Up To2 APY 2nd Tier Transactions per Month3 Login4 Rating5 Verified6
American National Bank of DeKalb County Illinois 4.25% $15,000 0.85% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No **** Yes
Capital Bank N. Carolina 4.01% $10,000 0.30% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No * No
Center National Bank Minnesota 4.11% $10,000 0.30% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
ChoiceOne Bank7 Michigan 4.00% $15,000 0.50% 20 DC + 1 DD No ***½ Yes
Consumers National Bank Ohio 4.00% $10,000 0.02% 25 DC + 1 DD No **** Yes
Coppermark Bank Oklahoma & Texas 4.00% $25,000 0.10% 16 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
Cornerstone Bank Arkansas 4.51% $25,000 0.50% 15 DC + 2 ACH or 2 DD No **** No
Fidelity Homestead Savings Bank Louisiana 4.11% $20,000 0.50% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** No
First Community National Bank Missouri 4.01% $25,000 0.50% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD + 1 OLP or < 5 checks No **** Yes
First State Bank of Middlebury Indiana 5.18% $10,000 0.50% 45 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
Freestar Bank7 Illinois 4.00% $25,000 0.25% 10 DC + 1 DD + 1 OLP No **** No
Gibsland Bank & Trust Louisiana 4.11% $15,000 0.51% 15 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No **** Yes
Goldwater Bank7 Arizona 5.02% $20,000 0.10% 10 DC + 1 DD + 3 OLP No * No
Home Federal Bank Louisiana 4.00% $25,000 ? 12 DC + 1 DD ($100) No ***** Yes
Landmark Bank Louisiana 5.01% $25,000 1.01% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** No
Liberty National Bank7 Ohio 4.01% $25,000 0.50% 25 DC + 1 DD + OLP No ***** Yes
Liberty National Bank Oklahoma 4.11% $10,000 0.50% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
Page County State Bank Iowa 4.01% $25,000 1.01% 10 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
RCB Bank Tennessee 4.10% $15,000 0.25% 12 DC Yes ? Yes
Southern Bank Missouri 4.01% $15,000 1.01% 12 DC + 1 ACH or 1 DD No ***** Yes
Vintage Bank Texas 4.00% $10,000 0.75% 10 DC + 1 ACH No **** No

Last updated: 23 December 2011

Notes

Before opening an account at any bank, verify all rates and qualifications for yourself.

1. Eligibility. There are no accounts at 4% that are available nationally.

2. The 1st tier rate is paid on amounts up to the sum listed in the Up To column. The 2nd tier rate is paid on amounts over the sum in the Up To column. The bank must pay the high yield at least up to a $5,000 balance or they are not listed.

3. Required transactions per month key to abbreviations:

  • ACH = Automated Clearing House Automatic Debit.
  • DC = Debit Card (excluding ATM).
  • DD = Direct Deposit.
  • OLP = On-Line Payment.
  • ATM = Automated Teller Machine transaction required.

4. Stay alert for those banks that require you to access your account at least once a month. It can easily be forgotten and I would sooner there not be one extra thing for you to remember that really serves no purpose except for you to lose all your interest for the month.

5. Bauer Financial carefully analyzes the stability of banks and credit unions. They give ratings on a scale of zero to five stars. I advise going with a bank rated 3 stars or higher, although with FDIC insurance it shouldn’t really matter.

  • 5 Stars = Superior
  • 4 Stars = Excellent
  • 3½ Stars = Good
  • 3 Stars = Adequate
  • 2 Stars = Problematic
  • 1 Star = Troubled
  • 0 Stars = Lowest Rating

Last update of all Bauer Financial ratings in the table: 7 March 2011.

6. If I can verify the interest rate on the bank website I record a Yes. Otherwise I record a No. To verify for yourself, call the bank.

7. Gotchas:

Bank of the Southwest: Write five or less checks per month. This is not a significant restriction for most people.

ChoiceOne Bank: A monthly maintenance fee of $5.00 will be imposed every statement cycle if a minimum of 25 debit card transactions are not completed.

Freestar Bank: If any checks are written or your balance exceeds $25,000 the lower rate applies. How sick is that?

Goldwater Bank: Balances less than $1,000 invoke a service charge of $15 per month.

Liberty National Bank: There is an $8.00 a month fee for SuperSmart Checking, which is waived if 40 Debit Card Transactions are made during a statement cycle.

Updates

July 2009 — Added The Community State Bank, MBT Bank, and First National Bank of Pontotoc. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Adams Co-operative Bank, Asheville Savings Bank, Cross County Bank, The Community State Bank, and Bank of Putnam County.
August 2009 — Added BC National Bank, United Bank, Vision Bank, and Foundations Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Bank of Asheville, First National Bank of Olathe, The Page Valley Bank, Progress Bank, Pony Express Bank, and First State Bank of Kansas City.
September 2009 — Added Britton & Koontz Bank, Farmers Bank & Trust, First Southern National Bank, Farmers State Bank, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Bank of Edwardsville, Texas Heritage National Bank, First National Bank of Syracuse, Girard National Bank, and First American Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Bank of Blue Valley, The Bank of Georgia, First Clover Leaf Bank, First National Bank of Pontotoc, and Southeast National Bank.
October 2009 — Added First Nebraska Bank, Landmark Bank, Geo.D. Warthen Bank, and American National Bank of Fremont. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: First National Bank of Berlin, Bartow County Bank, Grand Bank of Texas, and Legend Bank.
November 2009 — Added Village Bank, Charter Bank, Carolina Premier Bank, Goldwater Bank, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, Quad City Bank & Trust, and Citizens First Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Valley Bank, Community National Bank, First State Bank & Trust, and Greater Rome Bank.
December 2009 — Added River City Bank, First National Bank of Scottsdale, Mid America Bank & Trust Company, and Sonoran Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: BC National Bank.
January 2010 — Added The Farmers State Bank and Bank of the Southwest. Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Citizens First Bank, Franklin Bank & Trust Company, Farmers & Merchants Bank, First National Bank of Scottsdale, Incommons Bank, Liberty Bank, Rio Bank, Bank 1440, American National Bank of Fremont, and Bank of Edwardsville.
March 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Bank2, First National Bank of Syracuse, Foundations Bank, Founders Bank, Guaranty Bank, Hyperion Bank, Texas Heritage National Bank, First Southern National Bank, and Farmers Bank & Trust.
April 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Union State Bank, First American Bank, Girard National Bank, Sonoran Bank, Vision Bank, and Carolina Premier Bank.
May 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 5%: Crescent State Bank and Village Bank. Added a Verified column.
June 2010 — Added many banks with rates 4% or higher but under 5%. Added Texas Citizens Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Bank of Newington, River City Bank, and MBT Bank.
August 2010 — Randolph Bank is no longer available nationally.
September 2010 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Crescent State Bank, United Bank, and Carolina Premier Bank. Added Select Bank & Trust, The East Carolina Bank, and Beacon Federal Bank.
October 2010 — 37 banks removed because their rates fell below 4%.
November 2010 — Added Liberty National Bank (Oklahoma) and Lumbee Guaranty Bank. MidCarolina Bank, Alliance Bank, American National Bank, Bank of Beaver City, Charter Bank, Farmers State Bank, First National Bank of Pontotoc, First State Bank, irard National Bank, Reliabank Dakota, Security National Bank, Slocomb National Bank, The First State Bank, Community Bank of Pickens Co., and Baltimore Co. Savings Bank removed because their rates fell below 4%.
December 2010 — Added Fidelity Homestead Savings Bank and Commercial Bank and Trust. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Bank of the Valley, Coastal Commerce Bank, Farmers & Merchants Bank, First National Bank of Syracuse, First State Bank & Trust Co., Grand Bank, Grand Savings Bank, NBRS Financial Bank, and Inland Northwest Bank.
January 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Randolph Bank & Trust.
February 2011 — Added Hancock Bank & Trust. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: ACCESSbank, Beacon Federal Bank, Cambridge Savings Bank, Community Bank, Farmers State Bank, First Nebraska Bank, Founders Bank, Incommons Bank, Independent Bank, Legend Bank, North Carolina Bank & Trust, Peoples Bank and Trust, St. Martin Bank & Trust Co., and Lumbee Guaranty Bank. Britton & Koontz Bank rate changed from 5.25% to 4.25%.
March 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: United Mississippi Bank and The East Carolina Bank.
April 2011 — Added Home Federal Bank and American National Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Maquoketa State Bank, Hancock Bank & Trust, and Britton & Koontz Bank.
May 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Andrew Johnson Bank, Pony Express Bank, and Mid America Bank & Trust Co.
July 2011 — Added Consumers National Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia, BankWest, Coastal Carolina National Bank, Integrity Bank, Quad City Bank & Trust, Suburban Bank and Trust, and Vision Bank.
September 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Commercial Bank and Trust, National Bank of Arkansas, Rockford Bank & Trust, and ViewPoint Bank.
October 2011 — Added First State Bank of Middlebury, American National Bank of DeKalb County, Coppermark Bank, Gibsland Bank & Trust, First Community National Bank, Texas Bank, and Vintage Bank. Removed because their rates fell below 4%: Bank2, Centera Bank, First Community Bank, Fort Morgan State Bank, Jeff Davis Bank, MB Financial Bank, Midwest Bank, Select Bank & Trust, and United Bank & Trust.
December 2011 — Removed because their rates fell below 4%: American National Bank, Bank of the Southwest, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, Geo.D. Warthen Bank, Resource Bank, Select Bank & Trust, and Texas Bank.
Rickety signature.

Comments

  1. George Will says:

    Hey, thank you so much for finding, organizing, and putting all of this information together. I’ve been in the process of trying to figure out the best high interest checking account to open and your website has helped tremendously. Please keep up the good work and thank you once again!

  2. Rickety, excellent information. Was very helpful in assisting me in selecting a rewards checking account. Not to add more to your list of things to do, but it would have been helpful to know whether a bank had restrictions on account applications. For example, Union State Bank in Kansas only allows residents of Missouri and Kansas to apply.

    If you do nothing else, it’s still great info!!

  3. Rickety, you already address my comment. I just saw your Note 1.

  4. Nice site. The 2nd tier rate at Union State Bank in Kansas is now 1.5%, and The Farmers State Bank is in Kansas, not Texas.

  5. Bank of the Sierra is no longer national. CA and WV only.

    • I hadn’t noticed that, thanks for the update. My advice for those interested in rewards checking is to sign up for banks with good rates while they are national. Fortunately for me I have followed that advice and I am able to do business with several banks that are no longer national and are not in my area.

  6. Carolina Premier Bank is going down to 4.51% from June 2010.

  7. Crescent State Bank is going down to 4.51% from June 2010.

  8. Here is a new Reward Checking for NC Residents. The bank is Randolph Bank in Asheboro, NC

    Extra-Mile Choice Checking Account

    Would you like to earn a high rate of interest on your checking account and receive free use of ATMs nationwide? If you answered yes, then our Extra-Mile Choice checking account is the one for you.

    It’s as simple as this:
    receive your monthly statement electronically;
    make at least 12 point of sale purchases each statement cycle;
    have one direct deposit or one Online Bill Pay or one Auto Draft in each statement cycle.
    Tell Me More

    That’s it! It’s that easy to earn 4.75% APY* on your checking account balances up to $25,000 and receive free nationwide ATM withdrawals! In addition, on balances over $25,000 you’ll earn 1.00% APY*. AND our Extra-Mile Choice account is a free checking account. What if you don’t meet the requirements in a month? No problem – You’ll still earn .10% APY* on all balances in the account.

    Back to Top

    ——————————————————————————–

    Extra-Mile Reward Checking Account

    If you need more than the basics and want to cover all the bases, you’ll find this checking plan very rewarding. The ultimate in personal banking service, this account offers free checks and checking, along with a generous package of special privileges. It’s perfect for the active individual or family that appreciates a great value.

    • Free Internet Banking and Bill Online Pay
    • Unlimited withdrawals at any ATM
    • Interest Paid on Balances $1,000 or Greater
    • Free Extra-Mile Reward Checks
    • No Fee Cashier’s Checks
    • Free e-statements
    • $50 Discount on Mortgage Loan Fee
    • Free Overdraft Protection from Randolph Bank Savings
    • Free 3×5 Safe Deposit Box
    • Free Notary Service
    • Free e-statements
    • Free Check Images Upon Request

  9. Bank of Newington rate is 3.5%…..

  10. Rate drops:

    River City Bank (GA): from 5% to 3.85%
    MBT Bank (Iowa): From 5.15% to 3.5% as of 5/15/10.

  11. dfcubs1 says:

    According to their website, Mid America Bank and Trust has lowered their rate from 5.5% to 4.5%.

    • Thanks for the information. Because the number of banks paying 5% is declining I will be making a change to the table to include banks offering 4% or greater.

  12. Dezmond says:

    are there any out there now at 6%

    • There used to be but not any more. I have an account at 4% because I don’t live in the geographical area to get one at 5%. However, 4% is a great rate for a FDIC insured checking account.

  13. Dezmond says:

    thanks Rickety, First Missouri Credit Union offers 4.01 up to 20k then 0.75 there after and the what seem to be usual requirements, are the rates just as good overseas or do you know?

    • I don’t know about overseas, I prefer to focus on FDIC insured accounts. Remember, considering that these are insured accounts and you can withdraw all your money on demand, it is a good deal. My local credit union pays .5 percent, and that is on a savings account.

      Last year I had two rewards checking accounts and used one to save up to buy a new car. Now I just have one account that is active, two accounts were too much to juggle, though I was able to qualify for the interest each month.

      • Dezmond says:

        Ok, thank you i’m new to this and just seeking direction. I’m in the military and just trying to put my hard earn money to work for me.

        thank you again

  14. You can also add Randolph Bank in Asheboro, NC. See previous info.

    thanks
    Ken

  15. dfcubs1 says:

    The Farmers State Bank out of Kansas has dropped their APY rate to 3.56%.

    • It looks like there are three Farmers State Banks offering rewards checking. The two I have listed are still at 4% and 5%. I think you are referring to the third Farmers State Bank that I don’t have listed. Thanks for the feedback.

  16. Randolph bank just restricted accounts to NC residents only.

  17. Focus Bank – 3.51%
    United Bank -3.56%
    Carolina Premier Bank – 4.00%

  18. Crescent State Bank in NC just reduced their rate to 3.75%

  19. Carolina Premier Bank – 3.56%
    United Bank -3.56%

  20. George Will says:

    For long term savers, I highly recommend a combination of Viewpoint Bank at 4% up to $50,000 and American Express Bank at 1.3%. I am very happy with my Viewpoint account and the “Gotchas” mention on this site are very easy to accommodate. Additionally, the high-yield savings account with American Express makes is easy to transfer money between my regional and national accounts. The customer service for Viewpoint and American Express has been fantastic and any questions I have were answered quickly and to my satisfaction. I am not even close to maximizing my high interest earnings with Viewpoint, but knowing that this account has been at 4% since 2008 is a fair indication that it will continue remain at 4% for quite some time.

    • Excellent information. I agree, the Viewpoint month following rule is easy to accommodate once one knows about it. I am going to include your comment at the top of the page as it will be helpful to others who are looking for a nationally available account.

  21. Viewpoint Bank has changed their deposit amount. The 4% now only applies to 25K and any additional is just under 1% effective 11/1/10.

    • George Will says:

      Yes, I just some something in the mail about this as well. I plan on calling them and expressing my disappointment in this change of terms, however, I suspect they thought it was reasonable to lower the limit from 50k to 25k because most high interest accounts limit rewards at $25,000. I am still happy with my account and I will plan to keep it so long as they are the best out-of-state option. Let’s just hope the 4% interest remains constant over the next few years until CD rates increase to a reasonable amount.

  22. I have accounts at both Randolph Bank and MidCarolina Bank. Mid Carolina dropped their interest rate from 4.25% to 3.01% about a month ago and I don’t see their “Reward” account being offered on their website, nor on their banner outside their bank. So far, they are still paying the 3%, but the local paper showed that they had a significant loss the last quarter due to mortgage write offs, so I am waiting for the next “shoe to drop”.

    Randolph Bank, so far, is still paying the 4.75% APR, but yes, it is limited to residents of NC.

  23. FYI:
    Randolph Bank in NC has changed the terms of their rewards checking effective 1/1/2011. You now have to make 6 debit card transactions of at least $20 in order to qualify.

  24. NBRS Financial Bank in Maryland lowered reward checking from 4.0 % to .8 % as of December 1, 2010. There is a big catch open a reward checking account nowaday. Most banks offer it to local people only.

  25. Watch out for riff off –Bank of Charlstown (BTC) in West Virginia. I openned 25,000 reward checking on Dec 10, 2010. The check cleared on 12/12/2010. I just openned my first statement and see the interest rate of 1.96% instead of 3.04%. U called and talked to the management, they told me the reason I got 1.96% because the adjust the 10 days hold on my check on new account. I told them the check was cleared two days later and they had the cash in their bank, why they didn’t pay me the interest for that. I don’t mind I couldn’t withdraw the money for 10 days, but since my money is available for them to use after the second day, they have to pay me the interest for that. The manager avoid taking my call after I told her that. I contacted West Virginia Banks of commision and complaint, they told me I have to do it in writing and I intend to do it. I’ve always get my interst on other bank for the holding period. I’ve never seen any bank that lower the interest rate on the bank statement to adjust the interet amount like this one does. Does anyone has any idea if what they do is legal? If not, where should I go to complaint?

    • Try http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/ for help. I would have thought that the bank would have given you the first month as a grace period. However, in this low rate environment 1.96% is not too shabby.

      • It was not about grace period. I was qualified for the month. However, they said because it was a new account and they put a 10 days hold on my check and therefore didn’t pay me interest for those 10 days. I told them the check was cleared on the second day when I deposit the check and they the funds were available in their bank then I am entile to my interest for those 10 days. If they don’t allow me to withdraw the money for 10 days, it was fine, but they have to pay me the intersted for those days. Other banks I’m dealing with always pay me interest for the period they put hold on my checks. I’ll fight for my hard earned money.

        • I understand now, thanks for clarifying.

          • The bank president just called me this morning and said I earned the interest for the holding period and he is going to pay me for that. However, he said he is going to close my account because it is not a good relationship between bank, customers and his bank is to deal with local business only. I told him, he should educate his managers about this and pay me the interest when I called then it wouldn’t be a prolem at the beginning. I also told him, I am a senoir citizen, looking for job and try to survive on fixed intersted income and therefore 30% of the interest for January on $25,0000 is a lot of money. I can use it to pay bill. I found out online they just closed my account this morning, and I also saw ad that they still offer this account nationwide, to all states until today in moneyrates.com. I will file complaints on discrimination basis becasue I am tire of people trying to step on my toes all the time because I have accent but paying income taxes to this country for almost 40 years! All banks are greedy and most of them are crooks. They tried to get away whatever they can as you see what going in the last couple years and in my case particularly. We should not bail them out with our tax money so that they can privatize their profit, socialized their loss and ripping of people with their hard earned $$.

            • If the bank ended up paying you the interest, why not call you, apologize, and everyone would have been happy? Instead they close your account, generating negative PR. Maybe you will be better off with another institution.

              • Becaue, they think I am stupid and they can step on my toes if they want to. They closed my account because, they don’t like people stand up for their rights, challenge them so they can continue to ripp people off when they have a chance. If the staff acknowlleged their non sense argurement about the interest on those ten days, at the first place, then it wouldn’t be any argurement back and forth. The president is NOT SMART, listened to his staff that didn’t tell him the truth about what going on with our conversations…..Who is in the right mind would argure with them when they agree to pay me the interest I earned? I’ll fill the complaint and go all the way.

                • Let us know how it turns out. It seems silly for the bank to close your account when they are still needing deposits.

                  • Rick,

                    They don’t like the fact that I threaten to file complaint with federal institutions about their practice. The staff were rude, cut me off during the conversation, avoid taking my call and refuse to pay me the interest on those days. The president is incompentent as their staff and should be removed. The bank needs strong leader who can solve the problem, not to create problems. He definately created problems for his bank and his bank will get the consiquense. I’ve kept and documented all the evidends needed to file complaints with the Fed. I’ll also keep a close eye on the impact on my credit if any resulted in his closing my account. I’ve outstanding credit history all my life and the result of the bank closing my account involunteering impact it, then it is big time. I’ll wait and see.

  26. Randolph Bank in North Carolina dropped their rate from 4.75 to 2.50% as of 1-1-11 as well as change the qualifiers that Ken had mentioned. I also think they no longer equate a bill pay to a Direct Dep or ACH. Discouraging of course, but it has been a good 2010!

    • Thank you for the information. Because this page is one of my most visited areas of my blog, it helps that you and others communicate updates. Agreed, it is discouraging about the rates. Fortunately for me my credit union is still paying 4%.

  27. George Will says:

    FYI – Britton & Koontz Bank changed the interest rate for their Smart Rate Checking accounts from 5.25% to 4.25% up to $30,000.

  28. Lumbee Bank in NC dropped their rate to 3% and lowered the amount to 15K as of 2/1/11

  29. Hi Rick,

    I’m a fan of your site. You obviously put a lot of work into it. If you are ever looking for nationally available rates, please feel free to check us out or even recommend us. We can’t beat some of your locals-only rates, but we do showcase some good stuff.

    Regards,
    Bryan

  30. Just opened account at East Carolina Bank in February….was 4.01% apy on first $25k….10 debit, 1ACH, DD or Bill Pay. Just received e-mail today…Changing to 3.01% on first $15,000….qualifiers stay the same..effective 4-1-11.

    • Thank you for the update. I will make a note to remove it April 1st. A warning that it will change then might be in order too. These updates from readers are really helpful as lately I haven’t been checking the rates as often.

  31. i love stuff like this. i’m such a nerd hahaha

  32. Thanks Rick. Feel very honored to be mentioned on your site! -Bryan

  33. Hi Rick. FYI – The new Bauer rating came out today. I’m going to be reviewing all the banks and CUs on my list this week and you may want to do likewise.

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