A 5% APY checking account? Yes! But mind the fine print

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A Michigan-based bank is offering an exceptionally high-yield checking account to all U.S. savers, but you’ll have to meet some tall monthly requirements.

Northpointe Bank’s UltimateAccount features an unusually high APY: 5 percent. Bankrate’s most recent high-yield checking survey found the average annual percentage rate for this type of account is 1.65 percent.

The rate applies to balances up to $10,000. If that balance cap is too low, open a savings account instead.

Other account highlights include:

  • Reimbursement of up to $10 in monthly ATM fees and $3 in person-to-person payment fees.
  • No minimum balance requirement (although you must deposit $100 to open the account) or monthly maintenance fees.
  • A free first checkbook upon request.
  • Access to a mobile banking app.

Northpointe Bank monthly requirements

To earn that 5 percent yield, you will have to:

  • Make 15 or more in-person or online debit card purchases (these must post and settle per statement period, from the first of the month to the last of the month). That requirement is a bit more restrictive than is standard on most high-yield checking accounts.
  • Receive electronic monthly statements.
  • Set up direct deposit or automatic withdrawal of $100 or more per statement period.

Fail to meet any of these requirements and you’ll earn just 0.05 percent APY for the statement period.  And if you have more than $10,000 on deposit, any balance that exceeds the cap will earn 0.10 percent APY.

How to open a Northpointe Bank account

The UltimateAccount is available nationwide, but an account holder must:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Have a driver’s license or other identifying document
  • Have internet access (as the bank has only one branch)

How safe is Northpointe Bank?

Northpoint earned five stars on Bankrate’s latest Safe & Sound Ratings, which measures the financial health of banks and credit unions throughout the United States. The bank, which opened in 1999, is FDIC insured. It has just one branch and one ATM, hence the need for internet service when signing up for its products.

If you don’t need a new savings account, but you want to earn a high yield, open a CD.