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Good deals return on high-yield checking
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For most consumers, a free checking account is hard to beat. Free, according to the federal Truth in Savings Act, means no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance or activity fees. A maintenance fee might be a monthly service charge, while an activity fee could be a charge for writing more than a specified number of checks in a month.

While some free accounts are interest-bearing, it's much more likely that a free account will not pay interest. But if earning interest on your checking account balance is important to you, these accounts are worth a look. There are probably many other banks that offer a checking account with a fine interest rate -- this is just a sample of accounts available nationwide.

City National Bank
Reward Checking

  • 3.45 percent APY on balances up to $25,000

  • $100 minimum deposit to open

  • No minimum balance to earn interest

  • No monthly service charge

  • Monthly requirements to earn interest include:
  • 10 Visa check card point-of-sale transactions (excluding ATM)

  • Direct deposit of payroll or government benefit check

  • Receive monthly statement electronically

  • Provide valid e-mail address
  • Presidential Bank
    Internet Checking Plus

  • 3.75 percent APY on balances up to $25,000

  • $1,500 minimum to open

  • $1,000 minimum balance to avoid monthly fees

  • Account can only be opened online or by phone
  • Account requires monthly direct deposit of at least $200
  • Everbank
    FreeNet Checking Account

  • 4.5 percent introductory APY applies for three months after account is opened. After that, a tiered APY applies based on the average daily balance in your account. The lowest tier is 2.51 percent for balances below $9,999; the highest tier, 3 percent for balances of $100,000 or more.

  • $1,500 minimum to open
  • Imperial Capital Bank

  • 2.5 percent APY on minimum daily balance of $1,000 or $2,500 average daily balance

  • $1,000 minimum to open

  • $15 monthly maintenance fee can be avoided by having direct deposit or by maintaining the balances necessary to earn interest.
  • AmericanBank Online
    American e-Checking

  • 3 percent APY on deposits up to $9,999.99

  • A minimum APY of 1.75 percent on deposits of $10,000 or more with a tiered structure detailed on the Web site.

  • $100 minimum to open

  • $1,000 average monthly balance needed to avoid $5 maintenance fee
  • eBank
    ePremium Checking

  • 3 percent APY>
  • $100 minimum to open

  • $2,500 minimum daily balance or $5,000 average daily balance to avoid $10 monthly service charge
  • Unlimited, free worldwide ATM usage

    Bank of Internet USA
    Freedom Checking

  • 3 percent APY on balances up to $24,999

  • $100 minimum to open

  • $1,000 minimum average daily balance required to avoid $4 monthly maintenance fee
  • Senior Checking

  • 3 percent APY on balances up to $24,999
  • $50 minimum to open
  • No monthly fee
  • Must be at least 50 years old
  • Boomer Checking

  • 3 percent APY on balances up to $24,999
  • $50 minimum to open
  • No monthly fee
  • Must be at least 40 years old
  •'s corrections policy-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2005
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