The unstable economy and corresponding low treasury rates have pulled checking account rates down steadily over the past several years, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid maintaining a basic bank account. When choosing a checking account, you’ll have several options. Here are some of the most common:
- Standard checking — Normal checking accounts at big banks are convenient but don’t offer much in the way of interest. A rate of 0.10% is about all you can expect at a large bank these days.
- Internet checking — Some online banks, most notably ING DIRECT, FNBO Direct and Ally, offer checking account rates above 1.00% on their accounts.
- Community bank/Credit union checking — You might sacrifice some convenience, but you’ll probably get a decent rate from a small community bank or credit union.
- High-yield rewards checking — High-yield checking accounts often come with limited-time bonus rates much higher than average. Your account might revert to 1.00% or worse APY after a certain period of time, but at least you’ll have reeled in high interest for the first few months of your contract.
We’ve gathered a few of the best high-interest rewards checking accounts running right now. Here’s what we found:
Westfield Bank — 3.50%
Westfield Bank Personal Checking is an especially attractive account if you use your checking account for day-to-day transactions and not to stash away large sums of money. The less money you keep in your checking account, the better your APY. If you hold between $0 and $24,999.99 in your account, you’ll receive 3.50% APY. Anything more than that and you’ll fall to a still-decent 0.75%. To redeem the high APY, you just need to make 12 purchases via your debit card, enroll to receive e-statements and set up one direct deposit. The offer is ongoing. Westfield is a Westfield Center, Ohio-based bank with four locations across north-central Ohio.
Union Center National Bank — 3.60%
If you’re in the New York-New Jersey metro area, Union Center National Bank has a solid option in its Super Heart Smart Checking. The checking plan comes with 3.60% interest as long as you don’t hold more than $30,000 in the account. You need to complete 15 debit card purchases a month and sign up for direct deposit with your checking account to qualify. If you don’t meet those monthly requirements, your rate will drop to 0.10%. Union Center National has headquarters in Union, N.J., just west of New York City. The bank operates 16 branches in Northeast New Jersey.
American National Bank — 4.05%
American National Bank’s Smart Checking account boasts an ultra-high 4.05% APY if you’re able to keep your balance below $25,000. If you cross the $25,000 threshold, your yield will fall to 0.65%. To redeem the higher rate, you’ll need to complete 12 debit card transactions per month, sign up for direct deposit and e-statements, and access the bank’s online system once per month. American National, which is a subsidiary of Peoples National Bank, has headquarters in Omaha, Neb. The bank has six branches in Iowa, 14 branches in Nebraska, and about 80 ATMs in the region.
Cambridge Savings Bank — 4.00%
Massachusetts residents can choose between Rockland’s bonus rate and Cambridge’s SuperSmart Checking. The Cambridge account comes with 4.00% APY on balances less than $25,000. If you fail to meet the 15-debit card purchases per month, direct deposit and e-statement enrollment requirements, you’ll face a $5 monthly fee. Cambridge Savings bank is based in Cambridge, Mass., and maintains 15 branches in East Massachusetts.
Standard Bank — 2.25%
Standard Bank and Trust Company is currently offering a 2.25% interest return on its My Green Checking account. As long as you hold less than $50,000 in your checking account and meet monthly requirements, you’ll receive the higher rate. To avoid seeing your rate slip to 1.01%, you need to make 12 purchases per month on your debit card, sign up for direct deposit and receive e-statements. Chicago-based Standard Bank has locations around the greater Chicago area.
Danversbank — 4.01%
Danversbank’s Free Rewards Checking is exactly that: A free checking account with a reward in the form of a 4.01% APY. You do need to complete 12 debit card transactions per month and enroll in direct deposit, online banking and e-statement service as well as keeping your balance below $25,000. Complete all those tasks, and your APY will be more than ten times the national average. Danversbank is headquartered in the Boston area and maintains branches in the Boston metro.