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The purpose of this topic is to discuss general issues related to Reward Checking accounts, such as:

* Questions about Reward Checking accounts.

* Are Reward Checking accounts worth the bother of having to satisfy their various requirements per statement cycle, which generally consist of making a minimum number of debit card transactions (usually 10, sometimes more), making an ACH transaction, receiving e-statements, and signing in to the bank or CU's on-line banking system?

* Should we (or can we) motivate a bank or CU to continue to offer its reward checking product at favorable terms? This question particularly applies to those reward checking products that are available nationally and/or have high or no caps on the balances earning the high interest rate.

* Strategies and discussion about how to meet requirements of Reward Checking accounts.

I believe a separate topic is warranted in order to centralize discussion about these issues and avoid duplication of these discussions on other Reward Checking account threads. The need for this thread is becoming increasingly apparent as we see savings interest rates drop due to various economic problems, such as the mortgage mess. Pure speculation, but Reward Checking accounts might become one of the few liquid deposit account products that still offer reasonable interest rates.

Thread suggestions: It's fine in this thread to link to relevant threads, and even mention specific products, but let's avoid unnecessary repetition of information from those referenced threads and about the specific products. All contributions and opinions (that are explained) are welcome!

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DavidScubadiver (Aug. 08, 2012 @ 8:17a) |

Thanks all for your added info.

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Any website for 0.01 donation now? newt is dead seems

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Reward Checking accounts are checking accounts offered by banks or credit unions that offer high interest rates in return for meeting certain requirements during a statement cycle. Typically, these requirements consist of:

* 10 (although 12 or more is now very common) debit card transactions
* 1 ACH transaction (sometimes you see a phrase like "direct deposit or auto ACH debit")
* Receiving e-statements instead of paper statements
* Signing on to the bank's or CU's on-line banking system

Often these type of accounts are capped, usually at 25K, meaning that account balances over the cap don't earn the high interest rate. An uncapped product is extemely rare. Some products have higher caps than 25K. Most Reward Checking accounts require a visit to a local branch to open, but there are some nationally available.

In Reward Checking accounts, one must distinguish between the terms "statement cycle" (or "statement period") and "qualification period." Keep in mind that it's when the transaction actually posts to your Reward Checking account and the definition of "qualification period" that determines what statement cycle that transaction belongs to. Here's an example of how it works with the Reward Checking account from First Arkansas Bank & Trust (FABaT):

"* Statement cycle begins with the first working day of a given month. For example, the January 2008 statement cycle is January 2nd through January 31st.
* Qualification period is through the last working day of a given month; debit card transactions must post to the account no later than this date in order to count for the corresponding statement cycle. For example, the qualification period for the December 2007 statement cycle is December 1st through December 31st; thus the qualification period for the January 2008 statement cycle is January 1st through January 31st."

Changes (not so good)
Unfortunately, with the lowered savings interest rate environment we are in, things are changing -- quickly. Although most Reward Checking accounts started at 6.01% APY or slightly higher, we've seen several reductions in interest rates, and less favorable terms. Some examples:

State Bank of Toledo (SBoT): Was at 6.01% APY, uncapped(!), available to all; now at 5.01% APY capped at 70K. And a few months later, it's now at 4.01% APY.

M/A-COM Federal Credit Union (MFCU): MFCU's 6% APY hasn't changed so far, but the product quickly moved from a nationally available account to an account that you had to make a branch visit to open, and it recently reduced it's 100K cap to 25K. Edit: And now the cap is down to 10K.

Provident Credit Union: Was at 6.01% with 25K cap, available to all. Rate was reduced to 5.51% APY in January, 5.01% APY on March 1st, 4.01% April 2nd.

Also, many new Reward Checking account products are coming out with lower caps, e.g. 20K or even 10K.

Meeting the requirements of Reward Checking accounts
1. The most common objection to these types of accounts is meeting the number of debit card transactions requirement, typically 10 transactions. Most people think that this is just too time-consuming and/or difficult. IMO, this is a misconception. Some strategies are:

* Just get into the habit of using your debit card instead of paying cash, especially for small purchases. Note that for liability purposes, it's best to make signature-based transactions, i.e. never enter the PIN number, and specify "credit" rather than "debit" or "ATM" when given a choice. Note that more and more vendors are not even requiring actual signatures, if the signature-based transaction is under a certain dollar amount.

It's possible that the below strategies might not work for a Reward Checking account that specifies Point of Sale (POS) transactions as the required form of debit card transaction. A Point of Sale transaction is one where you take your debit card to a physical location and use it there. Online transactions and perhaps direct bill pay at a payee's web site wouldn't qualify. If Point of Sale transactions are specified, then one should find out if that's literally true. Note: In the vast majority of cases, POS actually means a signature-based, i.e. credit card type of transaction.

* When paying bills, such as your phone bill, cable bill, etc., go to the payee's web site and make the payment there. Specify "credit card" as your payment method (absolutely do not specify "debit card" or using "a debit card network" because that could result in a non-qualifying ATM withdrawal type of transacion) and go from there. Some payee web sites will allow you to make partial payments to a given bill, meaning you can generate multiple transactions towards your transaction requirement by making multiple payments to one bill.

* Make on-line donations to a worthy cause using your debit card. Many charities offer the ability to set up recurring monthly donations. Note that there's been a lot of debate and discussion of *very* small recurring donation amounts $1.00, and how much that really benefits the charitable organization. Again, specify that you are using a credit card.

Some other notes about the number of debit card transactions requirement:
* ATM transactions don't generally count towards meeting this requirement.
* It's now fairly common that Reward Checking accounts require signature-based transactions to meet their transaction requirement. Since "signature-based transaction" means using your debit card as a credit card type of transaction, that gives yet another reason to do so, besides liability concerns, and possibly having the transaction become classified as an ATM withdrawal.

Parenthetically, there's much debate whether many very small transaction amounts give banks and CU's much less incentive to keep their reward checking account products -- after all, the smaller the transaction is, the less money they make from the transaction. I hope that issue will be discussed in this thread.

2. Another requirement of Reward Checking accounts is one ACH transaction per statement cycle. One common way of phrasing this is: "One Direct Deposit or ACH Auto Debit", which probably comes from the marketing literature of a company that sells the Reward Checking product to banks and credit unions. (Yes, apparently "Rewards Checking" is a product that is being marketed to financial institutions as a means of gaining customers and presumably becoming more profitable.)

Direct deposits (DD) are generally Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions that credit your bank account. The most common form of a DD is your paycheck, where you receive just the pay stub only, and the money is deposited into your bank account for you. If you see the silly term "Auto ACH Debit" -- Auto Automated Clearing House Debit -- or more accurately "ACH debit", then you've other options:

* Some banks or credit unions, such as Provident CU, will allow you to set up recurring ACH transactions between their institution and another bank or CU, where you can specify the date, frequency, and type (debit or credit) of the ACH transaction. Although Provident CU doesn't offer on-line ACH transactions, you can submit a form instead. Other banks or CUs might offer on-line recurring ACH capabilities. Make sure you're not paying a fee for this service. If you've accounts at multiple banks, this is a very desirable option.

* If one of your banks allows you to make one-time ACH transactions, you can do this for yourself, but you have to remember to do this so that the transaction will post to your Reward Checking account during the qualification period. Some banks might allow you to set up recurring ACH transactions.

* Another method of generating an ACH transaction is to pay your bill at a payee web site that allows you to use your checking account for payment. This option is different from specifying your debit card. Sometimes it's called an e-check. The option should require you to specify the routing number of your Reward Checking institution and your Reward Checking account number.

Links - FatWallet Finance (FWF) Threads

Automatic $1.00 Monthly Donations To Qualify For Reward Offers
Although this thread focuses on the controversial $1.00/month amount, obviously, there's no need to contribute only $1.00/month. If you've a budget for donating money to charities, here's a method you can use to do that and to help meet your Reward Checking account requirements.

Reward Checking Accounts (High Yield and Available to All)
Look on this thread for links to specific reward checking products that are available to all.

Links - Other Lists of Reward Checking Accounts

Bank Deals rewards checking accounts - current entries

Bank Deals reward checking accounts - older entries

Other interesting Reward Checking account links:

BancVue Web Site
BancVue markets and sells Reward Checking account products to banks and credit unions. The link is essentially a presentation of what BancVue has to offer to potential clients. It looks like they're marketing a turn-key solution, including consultation and software.

Strunk & Associates, LP - Information about Reward Checking
It looks like BancVue has partnered with Strunk & Associates. See the below link.

Strunk & Associates - Reward Checking brochure
On the last page, you'll see BancVue.

Thanks to mariojm for the above two links given in his post in the State Bank of Toledo thread.

Bank Deals Post - Is This How Banks Will Make Money from the Reward Checking Accounts?

Bankrate.com Article - Reward checking pays high yields
Also linked in first Bank Deals post above.

Bank Deals Post - History of the High Yield Reward Checking Account

Banking Guy has done an amazing job setting up a Reward Checking account web site, with an introduction to Reward Checking Accounts and lists of nationally available Reward Checking accounts and Reward Checking accounts by state. The lists show the bank/credit union name, the APY, the balance cap, and the latest Bank Deals review date with a link to the review. Here are the useful links:

Reward Checking Introduction

Reward Checking Accounts Available Nationwide

Reward Checking Accounts by State

About the Quick Summary...
This is for anyone to maintain. I only request that discussions and opinions belong in specific posts in this thread, not in the Quick Summary.

It seems there are so many local RC's that you qualify for at least one. I just joined Members Choice and am so happy about it. I would have never joined this CU but for RC and thus it is a win/win for both of us.

THANKS for starting this, glxpass...I was following along and soaking up the wisdom on the previous thread about First Arkansas Bank & Trust - FirstNet Checking but was getting lost with the abbreviations, e.g."FABT even reads like SBOT" and some of the theory.

Ive learned so much from yallI appreciate your willingness to spread the knowledge.!!!!

tankersmom79 said: THANKS for starting this, glxpass...I was following along and soaking up the wisdom on the previous thread about First Arkansas Bank & Trust - FirstNet Checking but was getting lost with the abbreviations, e.g."FABT even reads like SBOT" and some of the theory.

Ive learned so much from yallI appreciate your willingness to spread the knowledge.!!!!

You're very welcome, and thanks for your comment!

It seems that some people believe Reward Checking acounts would somehow stay at 6%+ while rates all around us are dropping. While that has SOME credibility in the near term, after a short time one can expect to see these rates fall too.

As for WHY you will see some of them still at 6%+ in the short term, its bc they are a newly introduced product, and it would be disaster to launch the product at 6%, then a month or 2 later drop the rate. You will alienate all your new customers. (This is why Citi Dividend continued giving 5% to recent applicants for the card when it was advertised at 5%, but longer standing cardmembers wer downgraded to 2%).

IMO , a more stable product is the LIQUID CD and its variations. These are usually offered in 3-10 month terms, but permit deposits and withdrawals. And you are guranteed the rate for the entire period, with no uncertainty, and no silly DD/transaction requirements to keep the rate.

I agree that the stability of a liquid CD is nice, but you pay for that stability and liquidity in terms of a generally lower interest rate. Unless the difference in rates between a liquid CD product and a reward checking account product is pretty small, I'd lean towards the latter. Most people use checking accounts to both pay bills and deposit their payroll checks into. The notion of doing that and earning even a 5% APY is very appealing. I won't be closing my BoA checking account soon, but I keep it at the lowest balance I can without losing the benefits I value from BoA.

The requirements of Reward Checking accounts may be "silly", but they are neither time-consuming nor difficult to meet. Their interest rate and liquidity have been very beneficial to me, and as long as that continues, I'll use those accounts as the primary (but not only) place for my liquid cash.

I am trying to open a high interest paying checking account for small business ( business account ) . can any one point me in that direction .

SUCKISSTAPLES said:

IMO , a more stable product is the LIQUID CD and its variations. These are usually offered in 3-10 month terms, but permit deposits and withdrawals. And you are guranteed the rate for the entire period, with no uncertainty, and no silly DD/transaction requirements to keep the rate.

I don't think you necessarily need liquid CD's with terms that short since it looks like they wont be moving up in the near future. I would prefer to put all my money into the likes of Countrywide 3 or 6 month CDs at 5.50% or even Indymac 5.40%. Problem is keeping it insured, I already have 2 Jumbos at Indymac and 2 Jumbos + the savingslink at Countrywide. So i need these rewards accounts just as a place to get some decent rates

Even at 4.1%, I find my Salem Five checking very rewarding.

I made it my "sweep" account on my WF brokerage. So anything significant goes into RMMXX (5.19% as we speak). Actually I decided if I wanted to be DaveHanson, SiS, Scott rich anything truly significant had to earn more than "risk free" rates.

Anyway, for sweeping my brokerage and paying the bills I'm loving my Salem Five. I was up to two separate GMAC accounts trying to stay under the 6 transaction a month.

To me the Salem is a nice compromise because I don't have to put in any effort to earn that rate.

Loving my Salem Five 4.60% even better has been my primary checking account for a number of years. I know I am probably wrong but waiting for statement to close on the 5th. Site kind of makes it look like this lower rate is for people who opened after 12/18. I have had accounts in the past with Salem Five where i was grandfathered and continued to get the higher rate after they lowered

Earn 4.60% APY on average daily balances of $100,000-$999,999. Earn 4.10% APY on average daily balances of $0-$9,999, 4.20% APY on $10,000-$24,999, 4.30% APY on $25,000-$99,999 and 0.50% APY on balances of $1,000,000 or more. Minimum to open this account online is $100.00. The rate may change after the account is opened. The stated APY applies to new eOne accounts opened after 12/18/2007.

Interesting, well for what it is worth my account was opened well before 12/18/2007. I just assumed 4.1% was my new rate as well.



I'm well aware of the higher tiers. Just in my life situation that $10,000-$100,000 would either go into RMMXX or even more likely in an "at risk" investment. The people are so good on here at strategies and deals I wouldn't mind discussing them. But we can't mention specific stocks and there is always that contingent that would say I'm not doing anything different than gambling.

FYI, AAFCU's interest posted to my account (for the first month, "free ride" period) incorrectly. The CSR's do not understand why the interest posted incorrectly. (opened account with funding on 11/30, "free ride" was december, 2007.) Not a good start for me.

Luckily, the "missing" interest is minimal as I purposely kept the account balance low while arranging new auto deducts, etc. I'll let you know how they handle this error.

gwu1986 said: FYI, AAFCU's interest posted to my account (for the first month, "free ride" period) incorrectly. The CSR's do not understand why the interest posted incorrectly. (opened account with funding on 11/30, "free ride" was december, 2007.) Not a good start for me.

Luckily, the "missing" interest is minimal as I purposely kept the account balance low while arranging new auto deducts, etc. I'll let you know how they handle this error.

Do you think they mistakenly used 11/2007 for the waiver period? If only the funding had happened 12/1 instead of 11/30! I received statements for my three accounts (deposits were credited on 12/17 and 12/18) and the interest looks fine.

On a related note, an ACH transaction that I thought had been set up and scheduled with Provident CU didn't happen because of confusion on both my part and Provident's part about the set up for the ACH they were supposed to have done. They kindly said they'd give me an exception for December and I'd get the 6.01% APY (it will show as an adjustment) because of the circumstances. It's an example of great customer service. Too bad they dropped their rates effective January 1st to 5.51% APY.

Added to Quick Summary:

Other interesting Reward Checking account links:

BancVue Web Site
BancVue markets and sells Reward Checking account products to banks and credit unions. The link is essentially a presentation of what BancVue has to offer to potential clients. It looks like they're marketing a turn-key solution, including consultation and software.

Strunk & Associates, LP - Information about Reward Checking
It looks like BancVue has partnered with Strunk & Associates. See the below link.

Strunk & Associates - Reward Checking brochure
On the last page, you'll see BancVue.

Thanks to mariojm for the above two links given in his post in the State Bank of Toledo thread.

glxpass said: - Reward Checking brochure

One of the advantages listed is increased overdraft revenue which does not make sense since a client would always keep very high balance with little chance of overdraft.

Any idea on the basis of this sales pitch?

glxpass said: gwu1986 said: FYI, AAFCU's interest posted to my account (for the first month, "free ride" period) incorrectly. The CSR's do not understand why the interest posted incorrectly. (opened account with funding on 11/30, "free ride" was december, 2007.) Not a good start for me.

Luckily, the "missing" interest is minimal as I purposely kept the account balance low while arranging new auto deducts, etc. I'll let you know how they handle this error.

Do you think they mistakenly used 11/2007 for the waiver period? If only the funding had happened 12/1 instead of 11/30! I received statements for my three accounts (deposits were credited on 12/17 and 12/18) and the interest looks fine.

On a related note, an ACH transaction that I thought had been set up and scheduled with Provident CU didn't happen because of confusion on both my part and Provident's part about the set up for the ACH they were supposed to have done. They kindly said they'd give me an exception for December and I'd get the 6.01% APY (it will show as an adjustment) because of the circumstances. It's an example of great customer service. Too bad they dropped their rates effective January 1st to 5.51% APY.
It's possible AAFCU used november as the "free month" . The application was on 11/30/07. The funding did not actually occur until 12/4/2007. I have not heard back from them...either in response to my secure email querry or in response to my phone call on 1/2/08. After the phone call, they indicated someone would contact me 1/3/08...Nope.

adityanm said: glxpass said: - Reward Checking brochure

One of the advantages listed is increased overdraft revenue which does not make sense since a client would always keep very high balance with little chance of overdraft.

Any idea on the basis of this sales pitch?

None. I don't understand it, and the reasoning I've seen -- check out the three links I just added to the Quick Summary, the second of which discusses overdraft revenue -- doesn't make much sense. Another thing I don't understand is how BancVue came up with the much greater life expectancy of Reward Checking accounts. AFAIK, Reward Checking accounts haven't been around that long, and I can't believe there's a lot of data to extrapolate from. Yet banks and credit unions seem to be buying it -- or at least the product. With the recent rate drops, I wonder if BancVue will change the marketing strategy for Reward Checking accounts.

Does anyone know of the accounts that allow you to fund with Credit Cards and treat the transaction as a purchase?

It looks to me like the LaSalle promotion does. Any others?

I've tracked a few of these checking accounts since the SBoT offering last summer. Fortunately, I have not found a credit union that has lowered their initial rate like SBoT bank has.
EDIT: I stand corrected, see one in Quick Summary

With FED Fund rates surely to be lowered in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if credit unions will continue to offer their members rates at the 6% level. (hang in there aafcu)

I think one of the main things the banks get from these programs is the opportunity to retain a customer after the rate falls. I switched banks after opening for a signup bonus, just because the service was better.

Another is local bragging rights. I read somewhere in FWF that SBoT recently increased their deposits quite a bit. Here's a quote from their homepage that I don't remember seeing when I opened that account:

" We have the largest deposit market share in Tama County, Iowa, making us the largest and most successful bank in our trade area."

I can see the poster in the community room right now...

So maybe they like our current behavior. With the Rewards Checking program being marketed as a package to small banks, I think we can expect a steady stream of new banks offering this, then cutting rates after 6 months. Especially after we make the marketing company successful with a string of these. I'm sure BankVue will forget to mention in their marketing materials about the drop in deposits coming down the road because of those friggin rate wh#res!

APY drop on Accelerator Checking at Twin Star Credit Union in Washington State - now 4.75% APY.

SeattleNative said: APY drop on Accelerator Checking at Twin Star Credit Union in Washington State - now 4.75% APY.

They apparently had a .75% rate drop, just like the FOMC rate cut today.

Interesting Bank Deals post on History of Reward Checking accounts. The post links to an article about how, in 1997, City National Bank in Taylor, TX worked with BancVue to develop a product for the bank that used electronic banking and offered a higher interest rate. BancVue continued to develop the product, and with 10 other banks worked to "perfect the software and processes." In October 2005, BancVue rolled out the Reward Checking product nationwide.

Added link to Quick Summary.

yep...that's true..i use to have accounts with City National of Taylor....although i didn't know that Bankvue had developed the concept for them...I had "Reward Checking" before it was even fashionable (lol)..

they have the same 10 debit card requirements and e-statements requirements just like the new Reward Checking accounts do (and unlimited free atm rebates)...

But their interest rate on it, has never been more then 4% at it's highest...in fact, their Reward Savings (which has no requirements) was always a drop higher (use to be about 4.39% APY)....

I think the problem is, with many of these Reward Checking accounts, is it is hard to sustain that very high rate for a long period of time (unless they cap it at $25,000)...which is why i don't open up those accounts anymore....

But if your a frequent debit card user, it's not a bad deal....

5.55% guaranteed for a few months
Edit: after browsing the website, it appears it's just a local bank, I think you have to apply at a branch, so this account is not available for everyone. Strange: $3 a chargeback fee ???

anybody have experience with 6.01% APY No Fee Checking Account from First Banking Center

I got the offer from

www.creditkarma.com

szhang6 said: anybody have experience with 6.01% APY No Fee Checking Account from First Banking Center

I got the offer from

www.creditkarma.com

Can you make a branch visit to open the account? If not, you can't get the account. See this post.

Does anyone have any interest in starting a thread that tracks both local and national reward checking accounts with caps of at least $50K? $25K-capped reward checking accounts are a dime a dozen these days, and I doubt I could be bothered to make 10-12 debit card transactions for a $25K-capped reward checking account. I think I could be bothered for a $100K-capped account, and I haven't decided about $50K. AFAIK, the only nationally available account with >5.5% APY that meets this criterion is AAFCU. In MA, one can find $100K-capped accounts like Fitchburg Savings Bank.

For nationally available accounts that meet your requirements, its easy enough to use the Reward Checking Accounts (High Yield and Available to All) thread. For locally available accounts, assuming your limiting, see Bank Deals - The Best Checking Accounts, where there's a list of local Reward Checking accounts by state. If Banking Guy can be convinced to keep this list updated, and if he's willing to add the cap amount to each link, then perhaps a separate FWF thread wouldn't be necessary.

I admit that I'm lazy when it comes to maintaining lists that I could instead find quickly elsewhere.

glxpass said: For locally available accounts, assuming your limiting, see Bank Deals - The Best Checking Accounts, where there's a list of local Reward Checking accounts by state. If Banking Guy can be convinced to keep this list updated, and if he's willing to add the cap amount to each link, then perhaps a separate FWF thread wouldn't be necessary.
As you noted, that list doesn't state the cap, and it also doesn't even include Fitchburg Savings Bank, which appears to be the best reward checking account available. This info isn't consolidated and/or easily accessible on Bank Deals.

beethovengirl said: glxpass said: For locally available accounts, assuming your limiting, see Bank Deals - The Best Checking Accounts, where there's a list of local Reward Checking accounts by state. If Banking Guy can be convinced to keep this list updated, and if he's willing to add the cap amount to each link, then perhaps a separate FWF thread wouldn't be necessary.
As you noted, that list doesn't state the cap, and it also doesn't even include Fitchburg Savings Bank, which appears to be the best reward checking account available. This info isn't consolidated and/or easily accessible on Bank Deals.

True about the link I gave in my above post, however there are other ways to view Reward Checking accounts at Bank Deals, such as via labels like rewards checking accounts or, for older entries, reward checking accounts. Fitchburg is mentioned in the latter link. Important terms, such as cap, are usually mentioned in the first paragraph.

I added the Bank Deals links to the Quick Summary.

If you wish to start a thread as you mentioned, go for it. For me, such a thread wouldn't be very useful.

Till now, I haven't jumped on the rewards checking bandwagon because I was doing better with Cash Back offers and other options, but now things have changed, and I'm ready to jump on.

Here's a basic question that will probably get me red, but I just want to confirm something. If I go to my utility company's website for example and setup an automatic payment of my bill as an ACH transaction to my checking account, does the bank consider this an "ACH auto debit?" That term "ACH Auto Debit" is confusing to me. It can also mean that you have to initiate the debit from the bank end and push it out.

Although a basic question, I searched and didn't find this asked in particular.

PerkGetter said: Till now, I haven't jumped on the rewards checking bandwagon because I was doing better with Cash Back offers and other options, but now things have changed, and I'm ready to jump on.

Here's a basic question that will probably get me red, but I just want to confirm something. If I go to my utility company's website for example and setup an automatic payment of my bill as an ACH transaction to my checking account, does the bank consider this an "ACH auto debit?" That term "ACH Auto Debit" is confusing to me. It can also mean that you have to initiate the debit from the bank end and push it out.

Although a basic question, I searched and didn't find this asked in particular.


"ACH Auto Debit" is when you use your account and routing number to debit your reward checking account, i.e. pay a bill.

You must also use your "debit card" a specific number of times during the monthly cycle.

PerkGetter said: Till now, I haven't jumped on the rewards checking bandwagon because I was doing better with Cash Back offers and other options, but now things have changed, and I'm ready to jump on.

Here's a basic question that will probably get me red, but I just want to confirm something. If I go to my utility company's website for example and setup an automatic payment of my bill as an ACH transaction to my checking account, does the bank consider this an "ACH auto debit?" That term "ACH Auto Debit" is confusing to me. It can also mean that you have to initiate the debit from the bank end and push it out.

Although a basic question, I searched and didn't find this asked in particular.
In my vast <rolls eyes> experience (I have rewards checking accounts at 6 different financial institutions) that particular scenario will exactly meet the definition of ACH debit. However the definition may be looser than you expect. Don't let their reduntant term "auto" confuse the issue. Even a randomly initiated ACH in or out from (for example) PayPal, E-Trade, HSBC, etc will work.

There was much discussion about this on the SBOT thread a while back. See this post and the following AHA moment by dugggg (2 posts below) which even further clarifies it.

mzsleeper said: PerkGetter said: Till now, I haven't jumped on the rewards checking bandwagon because I was doing better with Cash Back offers and other options, but now things have changed, and I'm ready to jump on.

Here's a basic question that will probably get me red, but I just want to confirm something. If I go to my utility company's website for example and setup an automatic payment of my bill as an ACH transaction to my checking account, does the bank consider this an "ACH auto debit?" That term "ACH Auto Debit" is confusing to me. It can also mean that you have to initiate the debit from the bank end and push it out.

Although a basic question, I searched and didn't find this asked in particular.
In my vast <rolls eyes> experience (I have rewards checking accounts at 6 different financial institutions) that particular scenario will exactly meet the definition of ACH debit. However the definition may be looser than you expect. Don't let their reduntant term "auto" confuse the issue. Even a randomly initiated ACH in or out from (for example) PayPal, E-Trade, HSBC, etc will work.

There was much discussion about this on the SBOT thread a while back. See this post and the following AHA moment by dugggg (2 posts below) which even further clarifies it.


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and directing me to the SBOT thread. The fact that some of these terms don't make sense - er - well, make sense to me now. I think I'll go with Heartland Bank offer. The other things I'll need to find out is do they automatically send and charge you for checks, and once the account is initially funded, can I link/push/pull funds in and out from other banks such as my Chase checking account? I'll call the bank on Monday and ask unless someone here knows. Thanks again!

I opened the rewards checking account at Heartland last week and just asked them about checks.

Heartland Community Bank said: We can order some checks for you. They are not free of charge. If you want to go with an introductory pack which are personalized checks, they run about $11.00. The introductory pack includes 50 checks. A full box of checks is around $16.00 and includes 150 checks. However, if you will only need a few, I can send you some temporary checks. We make the temporary checks here, so they would not have your information printed on the top.
So far, I'm impressed with the speed and professional style of the bank's communications.

3/5/08 Edit
A pack of 50 checks arrived today and my account shows a debit of $14.50 for them - ouch.
3/17/08 Edit
I wrote to a bank supervisor who apologized for ordering the wrong kind of checks and credited my account for the $3.50 difference.

My Heartland Experience So Far

2/25 Filled in online application late Monday evening and sent to bank
2/26 Called bank around and spoke with Mary Cortez who told me to fax her a copy of my driver's
license and a utility bill. I did around 10 a.m.
Got an email from Mary around 1 p.m.telling me to send a check to fund the account. I opted to
snail mail a paper check. I should have used a credit card.
2/29 Account funded and open. Got a secure email telling me
1) how to log on to bank site and create a new password
2) ATM card would be sent to me in 2 weeks and a PIN in another mailing and how to
activate it
3) a box of checks ($13.45)had been automatically ordered (I asked for checks when I
sent the online application)and would be mailed to my home address.

I've spoken to two customer service reps and they have answered the phone on the second ring. They have been very helpful. I wish the bank's website had FAQ. So far I am impressed and pleased with HEARTLAND Community Bank.

Buckmann said: I opened the rewards checking account at Heartland last week and just asked them about checks.

Heartland Community Bank said: We can order some checks for you. They are not free of charge. If you want to go with an introductory pack which are personalized checks, they run about $11.00. The introductory pack includes 50 checks. A full box of checks is around $16.00 and includes 150 checks. However, if you will only need a few, I can send you some temporary checks. We make the temporary checks here, so they would not have your information printed on the top.
So far, I'm impressed with the speed and professional style of the bank's communications.


glad to know that. I just opened a joint account with them yesterday. How long does it take for them to approve your account and send you the welcome package? Should I wait until they approve me to send back the signature card that I printed at the end of the app?

Thanks!

mrvirgo said: Got an email from Mary around 1 p.m.telling me to send a check to fund the account. I opted to
snail mail a paper check. I should have used a credit card.


Do they actually take credit cards? I only saw ACH and checks in the initial funding screen.

Skipping 847 Messages...
Any website for 0.01 donation now? newt is dead seems



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