bank rates

Focus Bank 4.51% Checking Account

Call it the curse of Bankaholic.

We find a great deal. Tell you all about it. And the bank gets such a huge response it lowers the interest rate or limits the offer to a small geographic area.

That’s particularly true for small banks — which seem to have all the great deals these days — and their high-yield checking accounts.

(If you’re unfamiliar with this kind of account, click here to learn how high-yield checking accounts work.)

A couple of weeks ago we singled out Bank2 and its Rewards Checking account for paying 5.01% APY on balances up to $25,000.

At the time the account was available nationwide. Now it’s only open to Oklahoma residents.

So here’s our latest pick for the best — or at least one of the best — high-yield checking accounts that’s open to savers in all 50 states.

Focus Bank, with 12 branches in Arkansas and Missouri,Focus Bank is offering 4.51% interest on balances up to $25,000 through its MAXimum Free Checking account.

You have to make 10 debit card purchases every billing cycle, but you don’t need to make direct deposits or set up automatic payments from your account. That’s a big plus.

It doesn’t charge a fee for using other banks ATMs and will reimburse you for up to $25 a month in ATM fees imposed by the machine’s owners.

You must receive e-statements, which qualifies you for free bill payment, and you have to access your online account once a month, but Focus Bank provides a handy calendar of billing cycle deadlines.

Should you fail to meet the requirements, the interest rate drops to 0.10% for that month and you won’t be reimbursed for any ATM fees. Oh, and you’ll earn 1.01% on balances over $25,000.

Want another option? First State Bank of Kansas City and its “First Choice Checking Account,” is still paying 5.03% APY.

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Comments (18)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)
18 Existing Comments
  1. Kathy213 said:
    on May 10th at 08:55 am

    No one’s complaining about the customer service at First State Bank. Does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of how easy they are to deal with?

  2. James said:
    on May 10th at 10:26 am

    The customer service is HORRIBLE. Thanks alot Johns Wu.

  3. walt said:
    on May 11th at 08:55 pm

    I just checked First State KC link: no such account listed.

  4. walt said:
    on May 11th at 09:19 pm

    I just filled out Focus form and got rejected by ChexSystems. Have to fill out another form to find out why. Not worth it: probably because I have accounts at other banks.

  5. Kel said:
    on May 11th at 11:57 pm

    Two weeks ago, I filled out Framers & Merchants form and got an email saying they will process my application, but I never got any further notice. Share my experience with you.

  6. schuyler said:
    on May 12th at 08:20 am

    Provident Bank 4.51% APY checking account for balances up to $50,000 – Four (4) monthly requirements – requires 10 Visa debit purchases, direct deposit or ACH auto debit, receive statement electronically and access account online,

  7. sloan said:
    on May 12th at 08:25 am

    The account is called DREAM CHECKING – 1-888-427-9002

    Provident Bank 4.51% APY checking account for balances up to $50,000 – Four (4) monthly requirements – requires 10 Visa debit purchases, direct deposit or ACH auto debit, receive statement electronically and access account online.

    Great customer service and open until 7pm on Friday…

  8. Linda J. said:
    on May 12th at 12:55 pm

    Walt, dude, how could you miss the box flashing “5.03% APY checking” on the First State Bank of Kansas City web site?

  9. Natalie said:
    on May 13th at 07:47 am

    Focus Bank is really “Out Of Focus”. Another dark ages bank ill-equipped to handle today’s needs. They are unable to initiate ACH transfers and the opening deposit is a maximum of $1000. The funds from personal checks are not available for up to 11 days. When I told the customer service representative that this needs to be made public in order to save both the customer and the bank a lot of time and energy, she called me a “bitch” before I was disconnected. I hope this spares others the grief.

  10. walt said:
    on May 13th at 02:26 pm has a huge table of high yield checking offers.

  11. susan said:
    on May 15th at 12:41 am

    Has any one open an account with PAY PAL
    i thought it was horrible, and very hard to get in touch with them,
    if there is an error in the account.
    any suggestion.

  12. chris said:
    on May 15th at 02:19 pm

    Focus Bank has a great rate, great one-to-one service and who doesn’t want to bank from the comfort of their home anymore? Love the account and the reimbursed ATM fees! Keep up the good work!

  13. DealMaven said:
    on May 15th at 04:55 pm

    Hey, Chris. We don’t mind you joining the conversation. But at least acknowledge that you work for Focus Bank (we saw your e-mail address, dude). Maybe provide your personal extension for Bankaholic readers to call for extra super good service. Ha-ha-ha!

  14. chris said:
    on May 18th at 01:48 pm

    Sure, it’s 573-683-3712 x212. My cell is 573-225-1910, call me up! We really do have great customer service and I’d love to help Natalie with whatever issues she’s had.


  15. Mrs. HP said:
    on May 19th at 12:56 pm

    I bank w/ Focus and have had NO problems. The interest rates are still better than most m.m. accts offered. Yes the rate went down, but it also went up from when it began. Did u complain then? When the cost of gas dropped, did u ask for less reimbursement from your employer? Ride the wave, its money at your fingertips making better interest than cd’s w/ penalties. As for the minimum deposit I am sure that’s to deter fraud along w/ the 11 day hold. If you aren’t hiding something and you are looking for more bang for your buck, then patience is required. I personally like making money off money w/ little or no effort! Try Focus, they are great people, every place has a bad egg, maybe that was the case on that phone call. It also could help Focus to hear criticism, only to correct it or make it better.

  16. mila said:
    on May 20th at 07:43 pm

    Beware of Provident Bank Account. It is a Provident Community Bank in SC, and it clearly describes that ” the interest will go down after you open the Account” that means it is an introductory rate.

    Does any body have the rating,standing, and experience of dealing with Liberty Bank, which has a nice rate on $30,000.

  17. DealMaven said:
    on May 21st at 01:49 pm

    A Provident Bank representative said that currently they have no plans to lower the rate.

    But we know a rate decrease could happen at any time – no doubt about it.

    The Provident Bank Web site says “Annual Percentage Yields for this account are effective as of May 21st, 2009 and subject to change after account is opened.”

    It is “subject to change” because it is a variable rate.

    It sounds like you are confusing an introductory, or teaser, rate with a variable rate. An introductory rate is available for a set period of time that is determined in advance — say three or six months, then the actual rate kicks in.

    Variable rates move with the economy, and nowadays the common direction is down. When the economy rebounds, variable rates like those on checking, savings and money market accounts will rise.

    If you want a rate you can rely on, you’ll have to go with a CD, which is fixed-rate investment, but right now they aren’t paying too well.

    Look at it this way. Even if Provident dropped its rate a full point to 3.51%, where else could you earn that kind of interest in today’s market?

  18. JoeB said:
    on January 2nd at 04:43 pm

    FOCUS Bank accepts online applications only from persons living in Arkansas or Missouri…….and I don’t live in either state …too bad for me