|Good deals return on high-yield checking
Laura Bruce Bankrate.com||
It's rare to find a Bankrate.com
article highlighting good deals in interest-bearing checking accounts.
2005 Checking Account Pricing Study pegged the average minimum
amount required to open an interest account at $445.54, and you
needed to keep an average of $2,296 in the account to avoid fees.
What did you get for keeping that money on permanent loan to your
bank? A stingy 0.28 percent in interest.
For most people, there's no need
to tolerate such token interest. A growing number of banks such
as ING Direct, Emigrant Savings Bank and HSBC Bank USA offer high-yield
savings accounts that link to your checking account. You can keep
money in the savings account earning respectable interest and transfer
funds to your checking account as needed.
for folks who shun multiple accounts, transferring money, etc., there are a handful
of institutions that pay decent interest and don't make you keep a king's ransom
in the account to earn it.
The highest-yielding checking account
in the group we looked at is Internet Checking Plus at Presidential
Bank. As with many of these accounts, you'll have to sign up online.
But your reward is an annual percentage yield of 3.75 percent (stated
yields are as of the date this article was written and are subject
to change) on balances up to $25,000. Anything in excess of that
earns 2.4 percent. It takes $1,500 to open the account and you'll
need to maintain a balance of $1,000 to avoid monthly service fees.
A monthly electronic deposit of $200 is required to earn the stated
City National Bank of Taylor, Texas,
is a small bank that's using the Internet to build its customer
and deposit base. The bank's free checking account, Reward Checking,
pays 3.45 percent APY on balances up to $25,000. It takes just $100
to open an account; there's no minimum balance; no monthly service
charge; and the bank automatically provides next day refunding of
all ATM fees -- no need to supply a receipt. Online bill payment
is free, and you can link the account to another bank account. In
return, you must have direct deposit of a payroll or government
benefit check, and you must make 10 Visa check card point-of-sale
transactions every month, not including ATM transactions.
"We try to offer products
that remove the barriers that keep people from banking with a bank
that's not in their hometown," says James Marek, vice president
of retail banking. "We give them all their ATM fees back, and
we have a high interest rate. It's a product line they'd expect
from a super regional bank, but we give them the service that a
community bank is best equipped to deliver."
always, a checking account is only useful if it serves your needs and doesn't
cost an arm and a leg in the process. It doesn't do much good to get a hefty interest
rate if you have to pay for online bill pay or if there's a service you want and
it isn't offered.
If earning interest on your checking account
balance is important to you, these accounts are worth a look