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High Interest Checking Accounts

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Who wouldn't be interested in high interest checking account? Even in these tough times, you can get more than 5% interest from a checking account.

Where To Find High Interest Checking Accounts

Where To Find High Interest Checking Accounts

[Note: When I wrote this article, getting a high interest checking account was fairly easy. Now rates have come down quite a bit. I currently recommend EverBank, which is one of the better banks out there.]

When I went to Finovate Start-up a few months ago, one of the companies that caught my eye was CheckingFinder. Their web application was nice, but I didn't realize that it was possible to get 5-6% interest from a checking account. I figured if I was going to get that kind of money, I'd have to sink in more money than I'd have or want to. That's simply not the case.

Getting more than 5% from an account I can write checks from is not something to laugh at. I used CheckingFinder's "Find My Best Return" feature and found the Bank of Tipton will give me 5.26% interest... if I meet some requirements...

I know what you must be thinking, "Here is the catch. Watch the hammer drop on this one." Actually, the restrictions aren't so bad. For many banks, you don't have to keep a minimum balance. Usually the requirement is to make 10-12 debit card purchases a month, sign up for paperless statements, and/or sign into your account once a month. With the bank I mentioned above, you have to do all three. Looking at a few of the banks that came up on my search, they seemed competitive in features that you'd want in a bank. For instance, many provided free online bill pay and most reimburse ATM fees.

How I might play the high-yield account game...
It seems relatively easy except that for the debit card purchases. I like to use credit cards to rack up the reward points. Giving up the reward points to earn more interest may still be a financial win, but it might not be optimal. A good plan might be to use your debit card on small transactions such as cheap lunches at McDonalds. That way you could get the best of both worlds. It might even be worth it to you to have 10 $1 transactions for a something on a value meal and then tell McDonalds to keep the food. Another idea would be to go to grocery store during off hours and use their self-checkout option to buy 10 things in small transactions. I'm sure that they'll think you have lost your marbles, but then again, it wouldn't be the first time. If I were to do this, I'd have a paper explaining what I'm doing and why. If they looked at me odd, I'd just hand it over and hope they let me continue about my business.

Has anyone gotten one of these extremely high-yielding checking accounts? If so, would you please share your experiences in the comments below.

Visit Checking Finder now.

Last updated on October 11, 2015.

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37 Responses to “High Interest Checking Accounts”

  1. Susanna says:

    Wow, that’s a better rate than I can even find on any savings accounts or CDs. I always thought that banks made more money on accounts that you put money into and left there, but I guess the fees they charge stores for debit cards have altered the balance.

  2. Cheapo says:

    Great post! I am actually using Charter Bank who is still offering 6.01%. The account has the similar requirements where you need to make 10 debit card transactions (I meet this requirement by making $1 payments through my cell phone provider’s web site), receive the statements electronically, access the web site at least once during each statement period, and either have a direct deposit or an ach auto debit (I meet this requirement by having one of my credit card accounts make a payment to the account, by deducting money from this Charter Bank account). Overall this has been easy to track and I am loving the 6%. The 6.01% applies to the first $25,000 in an account and a rate of 1.01% will be applied to rest of the balance. Again you can open accounts at other banks who offer reward checking accounts in order to earn a high rate on the rest of your money.

  3. Matt says:

    I was wondering why you guys never talked about this. I found out about it through the fatwallet forums. I have an account with http://www.mwafcu.org/ for 7.01%. Just make 10 0.01 cent paypal donations at the beginning of each month. The other negative you forgot to mention was the cap on these kinds of accounts, typically at 25,000.

  4. Lazy Man says:

    I wish I had known about this before.

    I neglected to mention the $25,000 cap because I really don’t see that limiting too many people. I think most people would either open up a second account of the same type or shift the money into the stock market. However at 7%, I suppose there’s really no need for the stock market.

    You can also go over the $25,000 limit, you just don’t get big interest on money over that.

  5. Wow, I never knew this! Too bad I don’t qualify to become a member of http://www.mwafcu.org/

  6. Yes the rewards checking accounts are pretty cool.
    The thing that stinks is the 25K to 50K limit to earn the nice rate. However, if you can somehow make twice the amount of debit card transactions you could open another account for your spouse.
    One of the problems is that debit card transactions come directly out of your checking account.. So if the sales clerk had to type the amount you owe before you swipe the card there could be some errors..
    For example if the clerk types that your meal costs $1000 versus $10.00 it might take a couple of days before the money is returned to you..

  7. Rick says:

    I have two out of state rewards checking accounts both paying 6.01%. Make sure on your required transactions that they use the credit part of the card. When you swipe the card and the reader wants to bill as a debit, just hit cancel and it will charge as credit. Also, some banks don’t count charges less than a dollar towards your total. I reviewed both of my rewards checking accounts, if anyone is interested:

    http://www.rickety.us/2008/07/rewards-checking/
    http://www.rickety.us/2008/07/rewards-checking-lee-county-bank-and-trust/

  8. appfunds says:

    I wonder why people in America allow their FED and banks to keep their deposits interest rates so low while inflation hits the ceiling?
    Are you happy with deposits below inflation rate?

  9. Lazy Man says:

    Appfunds, do you have an alternative? Much of our stock markets are down. Investing overseas (short of mutual funds and ETFs) is often very difficult to do directly due to international laws.

    Plus it seems like that 6% that people are getting here is probably up there with inflation (if you look at inflation in the long term – i.e. over a ten-year average).

  10. Kym says:

    I also have Charter, this is my 3rd month with them and I love it. I do the 10 items in the self-checkout method to get my 10 debit purchases in, but I like the idea of 10 $1 transactions to pay a bill! I didn’t order their checks and instead bought my own mega-cute checks for $14 shipped for 2 boxes. With Charter, they allow both “debit” and “credit” transactions to count towards your 10 debit transactions for the month, so no worries about which way the card is processed. I’ve also spent less than $1 on transactions and they have counted. Highly recommend! Great customer service.

  11. Matt_C says:

    @ Matt w/ the $0.01 paypal donations idea.

    I discussed this w/ Midwest American a few weeks ago and they discouraged me from doing small electronic transactions. Have you successfully done these transactions without penalty? Also, which donations qualify? Like charities or someone’s blog?

  12. I’ve never heard of checkingfinder. I’ll have to check out the link. I just signed up with ING and really like the easy interface and ability to link to my current checking account. At 6% interest, that beats any cd or money market account.

  13. Rick says:

    Scott,

    CheckingFinder is how I found one of my rewards checking banks. It is at https://www.checkingfinder.com/

  14. deepali says:

    how about $1 transactions to pay the rewards credit card bill?

  15. Cheapo says:

    Deepali,

    You could pay your rewards card’s bill, but I don’t think you would earn any reward points just for paying the bill. You can initiate the payment from the credit cards site as it will withdraw the amount from your specified checking account. These checking accounts do also usually have a bill pay system, so that could be used as well.

  16. Deepali,

    In order for the transaction to qualify it has to be a POS transaction. In other words if you pay your utility bill you have to swipe the card; otherwise if you pay the bill online it doesn’t count.

  17. Dax Desai says:

    To get around the $25K limit just open an account for your spouse and another for yourself.

  18. KushMoney says:

    5% is higher than my savings account with Bank Of America (BOA). I will have to look at this website. Thanks for posting it.

  19. ReaganB says:

    Bank of America? Looks like they’re paying 0.05% for checking accounts keeping a minimum of a $5,000 daily balance and 2.33% for savings accounts above $5,000. ING Orange is quite a bit better with automatic transfers from savings to checking, etc.

    These accounts at 5% require some work, but with a $25k balance, it’s worth it.

  20. Rick says:

    I wouldn’t be trying to make $1 transactions on your rewards checking, I would mix it up a bit. I eat out for lunch every day I work so I use my card then. I have two cards I have to get 10 charges each with. I cut out two thin pieces of card that are the same size as my credit cards and place them together in my wallet. Each time I charge I write 1, 2, 3 etc. on the card. That way when I reach 10 I can switch to my money back credit card. My Voip provider bills me $3.50 each month on the card so this counts as a transaction.

    When I eat I have a friend use one of my cards and I use the other. Places like Wendys just swipe the card. After a few lunches he pays me back. When my children fill up with gas they will take the card and use it. Then they electronically transfer the money back to my account (they are in the same credit union).

    There are probably many other ways to make sure you get the transactions. The important thing is good but simple record keeping.

  21. Alex Apples says:

    Don’t know what to think of a high interest cd I found in http://themoneymakers.org/englishindex.html Are there others who know the company MoneyMakers International?

  22. NICK says:

    G thank you all, but you realize they are making us do this monkey do this monkey do that just to have what amounts to a measly return that I doubt it even keeps up with the gas prices increases. I got the urge to tell them to shove it and go on and to something more sensible with myself, my money and my free/king time. But then again I am not an Einstein.

  23. Tom says:

    Anyone know any more checking accounts above 5%? I opened my account in Feb with Bank of Little Rock – originally at 5%, but now it’s at 4% as of today. I want to switch to a higher interest checking account but cannot seem to find one.

  24. Elaine says:

    I’d be interested in knowing which banks pay higher interest – – and are they safe? Thx

  25. Jason says:

    Nick, if you have $25K then the difference betwen 5% and the highest yield of a typical bank is about $800/year (5% – 1.8% * $25,000. I’ll deal with some monkey business for that.

  26. william says:

    These accounts drop the rate quickly, usually around three months to six. But keep one or two and you can make a decent interest rate of about 4.5% now. Havn’t seen any 7% out there?

  27. Pushkart says:

    I was already banking at Texans Credit Union (www.texanscu.org) in the Dallas area, when I learned from a transit billboard that they had a high yield checking account. I just called and they switched my existing account.

    The account used to pay 4.1% when I opened it, then it went to 3.83, now it is down to 3.5% in December 2009. That’s still pretty good. Yes, there is a 15-debit-transactions (Point-of-Sale, not ATM) requirement. I fulfill it by paying for small transactions, like my afternoon coffee.

  28. Sanjay says:

    Check “Hyperion Bank” in Philadelphia still pays 5% interest rate for the balances below 30K and 1.5% above 30K. Not bad as other usually pay veyr high upto a certain balance amount and as soon as your balance crosses that amount it drops down to mere 0.5% or 0.1%.

  29. Joe says:

    I’ve done this with several CUs. The rate on Charter was good for about a year. I also used Florida Central and they just recently lowered their rate and balance cap to 15k. This was such a good deal a couple years ago when I was able to get 50k cash advance from my credit card for 0% after the (then cheap) fee. I made out. I see that CheckingFinder is still showing some at 4%. Just wish I could still work the credit cards like the old days.

  30. Recently I have been tracking for my own use banks that pay 5% or higher with rewards checking. At the last count there were 44. Unfortunately none of these banks are in my area or are open nationally. However, there are four banks that pay 4% open nationwide, three of which I have banked with and recommend (Coulee, Ban of the Sierra, and Royal Banks of Missouri).

    Rewards hecking is a great deal for a little inconvenience. I recommend that once you see a bank offering a good rate nationally that you sign up quickly. So many times these banks have kept the good rate but gone local only.

  31. Ryan Denson says:

    Bank 2 is Racist! Try being a Non Member of an indian tribe outside of the State of Oklahoma. Sorry The 5.1% account doesn’t apply to you! This is wrong, Bank 2 is also owned by the Chickasaw Tribe of Oklahoma Please inform The Governor Of the wrong doings. Ross Hill enough is enough!

  32. Liam says:

    I have one of these from Consumers Credit Union, they give a 4.02% dividend rate. I have to make 12 transactions a month, I just go to Wal-Mart and buy 12 $0.16 packages of the ramen noodles and donate them to the Help Agency where i live. I’ve done this for about 6 months now and no one has asked me why, they just look confused while I do it. But still spend $1.60 to get about $22.00 in interest every month, its a good trade-off. Also I have to get paperless statements and log in once a month to their online banking, nothing too time consuming right.

  33. kim says:

    NorthstarBank in north Texas offers a 4.00% checking with 50K limit, 10 debits/mo, 1 auto deduct or pay/month, 1 online view and online statement. Been using 6 months, love it. Viewpoint Bank in Coppell TX offers similar, with 50k limit

  34. Mike says:

    High interest accounts have definitely changed since 2008. But I am still able to receive 4% (View Point Bank) and the requirements are definitely worth the extra $ every month.

  35. Rick says:

    I have been using a 4% account for many months. It is easy to use the debit card enough times, and the other requirements are easy, too. I have been very pleased.

  36. nancy says:

    Get your facts updated. This is very old information. If you aren’t going to keep it up to date then shut it down.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks for the comment Nancy. Unfortunately, I have 1300 posts on this website and it is impossible to keep everything updated while still producing new content.

      Blogs are not designed to always have the most updated information. If you look at a LifeHacker.com post from 2007 about the best way to download music, it is also going to be outdated. The New York Times, also has archives of its old articles and they don’t update them all constantly.

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