Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rewards Checking

I stumbled upon this notion of Rewards Checking. Basically Rewards Checking type of checking account requires a customer to do the following each monthly banking cycle (which could be the calendar month, or some random dates like Feb 22 - Mar 21, for example):
1 do X amount of debit card transactions
2 possibly (depends on bank) do an additional action, such as a work pay direct deposit, or an automated monthly ACH-type payment

I'm a newbie to this Rewards Checking idea which I stumbled upon, but apparently for the last few years it has been superior as a short term savings method, in terms of APY & flexibility, when compared to money market acct, savings accts, CD, even Treasury's I Bonds CPI inflation-adjusted flavor of Savings Bonds (!).

mymoneyblog confirms that Rewards Checking is current best choice for short term savings

Another nice feature of Rewards Checking, is that they seem to be offered by small community banks & credit unions; not the 2 Big 2 Fail cartel mega-banks. Always dece to help a small fry out instead of a cartel bent on destroying the US economy, bonus!

Deposit Accounts , written by Ken - Bank Deals Guy. that follows what happens on Rewards Checking, thorough in depth nerd-style, as if it were a sportswriter reporting on the Vikings. You can look up by state, filtered by APY interest rate. There's many interesting & educational articles here; I think it will be a good ROI of your time to spend ~2 hrs reading articles here.

example weekly update article, which highlights changes in Rewards Checking rates from banks & credit unions, as well as the best current CD & Savings Acct rates (which are currently pwned by Rewards Checking).

article on how Rewards Checking even exists & is profitable.
1 the bank is giving you their portion of the ~1.75% fee a retailer like Kohl's or Progressive Insurance (Eg you buy $100 at Kohl's, Kohl's is giving Visa ~$1.75), etc, pays the debit/credit card company like Visa, who then share's it with the bank, who shares it with you.
2 banks use Rewards Checking as a "loss leader", get a happy new customer who then later on they might sell more profitable products like a car loan.

article on Debit Cards, Credit Cards, & Rewards Checking. Note that there are different type of debit card transactions
PIN - enter PIN
debit - enter PIN or signature
credit - signature
pay by phone (example, car insurance payment). Not sure what this counts as?
A particular count may count only some, or all, of these transactions towards the monthly requirement. My take is that if one gets a Rewards Checking account, 1 should try 1 of all types of transactions, then call bank Customer Service, & ask how many & which transactions have counted.

article listing 4 banks with avail to all USian residents, with 4.0% yield, with at least 25K max limits that get 4.0% yield.

Clark Howard article on Rewards Checking. Howard's co-sign on the notion is great; Howard seems knowledgeable & strongly pro-consumer ("I want you to save more, spend less, & avoid getting ripped off")

Some (probably inferior) alternatives to depositaccounts (Ken claimed that some of these sites only list vendors that pay the site a listing fee, so good vendors might be omitted)

Hit up comments with any info/experience you may have had wrt Rewards Checking.

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