Here's more evidence reward checking is dead
Even in its brief heyday, earning rewards from high-yield checking accounts was a pain.
There were rules to follow. You had to keep track of your debit card purchases; too few in a month, and the bank or credit union would dock your interest payment.
But the nuisance was worth it because the interest rates were good -- as much as 6% APY on balances up to $50,000.
Those days are long gone, with the top rates nearly half of what they were.
That's not even the most troubling part.
Today, you just can't earn that much money, even with a decent interest rate. That's because most banks and credit unions have placed extraordinarily low ceilings on the amount of money you can deposit to earn the top rate.
I've seen balance caps as low as $2,500.
Today's best nationally available reward checking account comes from Consumers Credit Union in Waukegan, Ill. It pays 4.09% APY.
On balances up to just $10,000.
What's worse, the credit union (www.myconsumers.org) used to pay an acceptable rate of 1.50% on balances between $10,000 and $25,000, and 0.76% on balances greater than $25,000.
That's a better yield than you'll find on savings accounts and CD rates for terms as long as 2 years.
On Oct. 1, Consumers slashed those tiered rates.
It’s now paying 0.56% APY for balances between $10,000 and $25,000, and 0.35% APY for balances in excess of $25,000.
That’s a big drop.
So big, it makes this account unattractive.
Instead, I can find an online savings account that is no hassle to maintain.
The couple hundred bucks I lose in interest on the first $10,000 I'll consider a payment for getting back the time it would take to manage a high-yield checking account.