bank rates

Bank of Sierra 4.51% Reward Checking

Bank of the Sierra is one of the few remaining banks that offers a high-yield reward checking program that actually pays a high yield – and takes nationwide applications.

sierra reward checking

On balances up to $25,000 it’s paying 4.51% APY – one of the best available, and more than you can earn on most deposit accounts. It also reimburses you for ATM fees up to $25 a month.

You can open a checking account with as little as $50, but you have to abide by a standard set of rules to earn top dollar. (If you’re unfamiliar with these, take a look at our ABCs of high-yield checking accounts.)

You must make a minimum of 12 Sierra Check Card purchases per month and set up one direct deposit or authorize one automatic payment from your account each month. Also required: at least one bill payment online; agree to receive e-statements; open your account online.

Failure to complete one of these conditions will lower your earnings to 0.12% for that month, but the 4.51% APR resumes the next month that all qualifications are met. Balances above $25,000 earn 1.01%.

The largest community bank in central California, Bank of the Sierra has corporate offices in Porterville and 22 branches from Fresno south to California City.

As with any deposit account, the 4.51% interest rate is variable, but Bank of the Sierra has offered this rate since October 2008.

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Comments (15)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
15 Existing Comments
  1. Craig said:
    on July 14th at 12:09 pm

    Wow. This is really a great rate. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Bank of the Sierra as well. With the economy the way it is right now, a high-yield checking account is the ticket to earn easy interest. Great find.

  2. Rao said:
    on September 9th at 07:25 am

    is the bank of sierra deal 4.51 apy is legit. has anyone tried?


  3. Dollar Bill said:
    on September 19th at 12:45 pm

    Be prepared for a hit on your credit report, and expect to get declined if you have any fraud alerts on your credit report. Oh ya, and when you call customer service, expect no help because no one knows anything.

  4. Bob said:
    on October 14th at 12:09 pm

    I just opened an account with Sierra. I have spoken with them on the phone and they have been very helpful and gone out of their way to help.

  5. Roger said:
    on October 30th at 04:01 pm

    I tried to open this account online and kept getting refused. It said the info I was giving is wrong. I went into a local branch and opened an account but not this one. I called customer service and they pretty much refuse to help in opening this account. I even had the VP of business loans try and open the account in my name and it was refused. All the questions asked were answered correctly.

  6. Rick said:
    on November 30th at 09:46 am

    The great thing about this account is it is national. There are plenty at 5% but they are all local, here is a list:

    I signed up for Bank of the Sierra, no trouble. They were responsive to email questions. One thing I had difficulty with was finding the link to sign up for Estatements. The link is on the homepage, bottom right. You cannot get to it logged into your account. It doesn’t use the login and password you establish for your account but uses the first login and password you receive. Also, a PDF pops up with a link that you have to click on. I missed this the first time around. The bill pay was simple enough though.

    These rewards checking accounts are great. I have had several accounts over the last two years. Be prepared to change accounts every so often but keep old accounts open with $1 or the minimum balance. I have returned to old rewards checking accounts when they became competitive again.

    Many of these accounts start as national then quickly go local. One strategy is to sign up for national accounts and have them ready when your current bank drops their rate.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Henry said:
    on January 20th at 06:30 pm


    Keeping old accounts is not good. They usually will not have a good rate once they dropped to the bottom. And most importantly, there is inactivity fees for most RCAs. FAB&T is especially brutal, charging fees after three months. So dumping old low-rate RCAs may be more prudent.

  8. Unhappy Former Potential Customer said:
    on March 10th at 08:38 pm

    What a joke- I applied online, they told me that my application was denied because I did not pass my identity verification. I called for help, they said you have to email this address. I emailed that address, and what a joke their customer service was. They did absolutely nothing. They would not provide any help until I emailed several times, and then they told me that I had to call the credit reporting agencies to figure out where the discrepancy was. So I actually did (the credit reporting agencies even thought it was amusing that a company would have ME do this), and all of my information was completely accurate. So I emailed them again, and they just kept repeating over and over we are unable to help if you didn’t pass your identity verification. No way to reset the application, or to verify the identity in any other way. I guess they don’t want to do business with me, which is perfectly fine- I can’t imagine dealing with this company and trusting them with my money! I have now seen online that this is a common issue with them. Beware of Bank of Sierra!

  9. jaime said:
    on April 14th at 12:51 pm

    I am experiencing the same problem with the online reward checking application. It keeps telling me my information is inaccurate and customer support was useless. I can’t believe they are making the CUSTOMER do the work of fixing their problem. What a joke.

  10. don said:
    on April 28th at 11:33 am

    Great bank. Contrary to the two previous unhappy comments, I’ve been very satisfied with their cooperative help. It’s a great deal! Go for it.

  11. Nicole said:
    on June 22nd at 12:34 am

    This is by far the best bank I have ever dealt with. I bank locally and had no problems with my rewards checking application. I have been receiving my 4.5% for the past year. In addition, their customer service is excellent. I have spoke to other locals who have also rated this bank highly. I am shocked by the negative comments due to my extremely positive experience.

  12. Chuck Taylor said:
    on July 8th at 03:46 pm

    I logged on to Bank of the Sierra and thier APY rate is 3.09 and not 4.51. I also logged onto Bank of Sierra which only gives other bank websites to refer to. What is the correct log-in address for the bank that is offering 4.51?

  13. Chuck Taylor said:
    on July 8th at 04:22 pm

    Called Bank of the Sierra and they said that they are the ones who used to offer the 4.51 APY, but it is now 3.09, Bankaholic is not up-to-date with their information!

  14. George said:
    on July 8th at 04:34 pm

    Watch out. Your e-mail address will be published.

  15. CrankySaver said:
    on July 8th at 05:11 pm

    Guys. Look at the date on this post. It’s almost a year old. You can’t expect banks to be honoring their rates from 2009. We just posted a list of the five reward checking accounts still paying 4% or more yesterday. You can’t get any more up-to-date than that. And Bank of the Sierra isn’t on the list.