bank rates

Reward Checking Gets Less Rewarding

About 18 months ago it wasn’t hard to find banks that paid 4.00% APY or and even 5% APY on nationally available high-yield checking accounts.

As of Thursday, there won’t be any.
As of Thursday, there won't be any nationally available reward checking accounts paying 4%.
That’s when AmericaNet and Evantage Bank, owned by an Oklahoma banking family, drop the return on their high-yield or reward checking accounts to 3.75% APY from 4.00% APY.

Of course that’s still good enough to lead our rankings of the best nationally available reward checking accounts by nearly three-quarters of a point as other banks have cut their rates more severely, or limited new accounts to local customers.

Westfield Bank, for example, is still paying 4.01% APY on its Big Dream Checking account, but you’ve got to be an Ohio resident to open an account now.

First Cloverleaf Bank in Edwardsville, Ill., lowered its rate from 4.00% APY to 3.85% APY, then restricted new accounts to area residents.

That leaves the next best, nationally available interest rates on high-yield checking accounts at:

3.03% APY from Coulee Bank, based in La Crosse, Wisc., on balances up to $25,000.

3.01% APY from Danversbank, with more than 30 branches in the Boston area, on balances up to $25,000.

3.01% APY from Liberty Bank, in Alton, Ill., on balances up to $25,000.

3.01% APY from Atlantic Coast Bank, with 11 branches in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, on balances up to $15,000.

3.01% APY from Quachita Bank, with 12 branches between Shreveport and Monroe in the northern part of Louisiana, on balances up to $25,000.

Some banks are paying 4% or more on high-yield checking accounts that are only available to local customers.

Landmark Bank, for example, continues to offer savers who live near its two Louisiana branches 5.01% on its Reward Checking accounts – although it’s taken all mention of those accounts off its Web site.

MB Financial is still paying 4.00% APY on its MB Red Checking – but only in Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

If you’re unfamiliar with how these accounts work, “The ABCs of High-Yield Checking Accounts” will explain all the rules.

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