The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2018



The money you keep in your checking account has a lot of valuable potential that can help you reach your financial goals. Sadly, this potential isn’t often realized because most checking accounts offer little to no interest, especially compared to savings and CD accounts. These high yield checking accounts are bucking that trend with sky-high rates that can put even the best savings accounts to shame. But, before you sling all of your cash into one of these accounts, there’s a few things you need to know.
Typically, these accounts come with a lot more strings attached than a regular checking account (you didn’t think they’d be offering all of this for free, did you?). In this article, we’ll help you make an informed decision about whether one of these high yield checking accounts are right for you and your financial goals.
How we picked the best high yield checking accounts
We followed a strict approach when selecting these accounts. We used the online rate finder for FDIC- or NCUA-insured rewards checking accounts on DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree.com-owned site, to list the top 10 checking accounts with the highest rates. These rates were pulled on 1/10/18. We assumed a deposit amount of $100.
Credit unions were only included if they allow membership to anyone (such as by making a donation to their chosen charity). Finally, we filtered out any checking accounts that are not available nationwide, or that carry a health rating of below a B.
The best high yield checking accounts in 2018





Institution APY Minimum Balance Amount




America’s Credit Union
5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000 0.10% APY on balances between
$1,000.01 - $15,000 0.25% APY on balances over $15,000.01 $0


First Financial Credit Union (IL)
5.00% APY on balances up to $2,499.99 0.10% APY on balances over $2,500 $0


La Capitol Federal Credit Union
4.25% APY on balances up to $5,000 0.15% APY on balances over $5,000.01 $0


Blue Federal Credit Union

4.00% APY on balances up to $15,000 0.25% APY on balances over $15,000.01 $0


One American Bank
3.50% APY on balances up to $10,000 0.25% APY on balances over $10,000.01 $0


Partner Colorado Credit Union
3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000.99 0.50% APY on balances between
$10,001.00 – $25,000.99 0.10% APY on balances over $25,001 $0


Signature Federal Credit Union
3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000 0.10% APY on balances over $15,000.01 $0


Lake Michigan Credit Union
3.00% APY on balances up to $14,999.99 $0


Great Lakes Credit Union
3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 0.10% APY on balances over $10,000.01 $0


Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union
3.00% APY on balances up to $20,000 0.20% APY on balances between
$20,000.01 - $24,999.99 0.10% APY on balances over $25,000 $0






America’s Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following four things each month:

1. Have $15,000 in loans or deposits with ACU
2. Have a $500 direct deposit
3. Be signed up for eStatements
4. Complete 10 debit transactions in person in store


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fee.
ATM fees: Your first 10 non-America’s Credit Union ATM withdrawals are free. After that, you’ll pay $1.00 per withdrawal at a non-America’s Credit Union ATM.
ATM refunds: None

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First Financial Credit Union (Illinois)

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following two things each month:

1. Be enrolled in eStatements
2. Complete 15 signature-based debit card purchases


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fee.
ATM fees: Your first eight out-of-network withdrawals per month are free. Balance inquiries and cash withdrawals after your eighth withdrawal of the month are $1.00 each.
ATM refunds: $10 per month.

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La Capitol Federal Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $50
Requirements to earn the high APY: Make at least 25 debit purchases per month.
Monthly service fee and how to waive it: $2; waived if you enroll in eStatements.
ATM fees: None
ATM refunds: Up to $25 in out-of-network surcharges (the money the ATM’s owner charges you) per month if you are signed up for eStatements and make 25 debit purchases per month.

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Blue Federal Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must have completed the following three things each month:

1. Make at least 10 debit transactions
2. Be enrolled in eStatements
3. Have at least one direct deposit, ACH deposit or withdrawal, or bill payment per month from your account


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fee.
ATM fees: $1.50 for out-of-network ATMs.
ATM refunds: $3 per transaction, up to $21 per month as long as you’ve met the requirements to earn the high APY. Otherwise, no ATM fee refunds will be given.

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One American Bank

Minimum amount to open: $50
Requirements to earn the high APY: You’ll need to do the following three things for each qualification cycle (be aware: their qualification cycles are not the same thing as a calendar month):

1. Complete at least 12 debit purchases of $5.00 or more
2. Be enrolled in eStatements
3. Log into your Online Banking account


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service charges.
ATM fees: None
ATM refunds: Up to $25 per qualification cycle if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.

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Partner Colorado Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You’ll need to do three things each month:

1. Use your debit card to make at least 20 signature-based purchases of $5 or more
2. Be signed up for eStatements
3. Log into your Online or Mobile Banking account


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: $5; waived if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.
ATM fees: None.
ATM refunds: All ATM surcharge fees are refunded.

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Signature Federal Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following things each month:

1. Have at least one direct deposit into your account of $1,000 or more
2. Be enrolled in e-statements
3. Use your debit card to make at least 10 purchases per month


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fee.
ATM fees: None.
ATM refunds: Signature Federal Credit Union allows you to choose from either a higher interest rate, $10 in waived ATM fees, or debit card rewards points. If you choose the higher interest rate, they will not waive ATM fees.

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Lake Michigan Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You’ll need to complete these four actions each month:

1. Have at least one direct deposit into any Lake Michigan Credit Union account
2. Make at least 10 debit purchases
3. Log onto online banking at least four times
4. Be signed up for eStatements


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fees.
ATM fees: $1.00 for out-of-network ATMs.
ATM refunds: $15 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees (i.e., the fees that the ATM’s owner tacks on).

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Great Lakes Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following actions each month:

1. Have at least $500 in direct deposits into the account
2. Make at least 10 signature-based debit card purchases of $100 or more
3. Be signed up for eStatements
4. Use Bill Pay at least once or log into Mobile Banking at least once


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: $5; waived if you have at least $500 in direct deposits each month and 5 signature-based debit card purchases per month.
ATM fees: $2.00 for non-Great Lakes Credit Union ATMs, $0.50 per balance inquiry even for in-network ATMs.
ATM refunds: $5 per month if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.

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Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

Minimum amount to open: $0
Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following four requirements each month:

1. Complete at least 15 debit purchases
2. Receive at least one direct deposit into the Virtual Checking account
3. Log into your online or mobile banking account at least once
4. Be signed up for eStatements


Monthly service fee and how to waive it: No monthly service fee.
ATM fees: No fees
ATM refunds: There are no ATM fees with this account.


How are these banks able to offer such a high APY?
Did you notice that most of the institutions offering high yield checking accounts tend to be smaller names that you’ve probably never heard of? It turns out there’s a good reason for that, and it all has to do with some recent legal changes.
Back when the Dodd-Frank Act was passed in 2010, a tiny legislative nugget called the Durbin Amendment was included in the text. This amendment limited the swipe fees that big banks can charge merchants for each purchase that one of their customers makes using a debit card.
Suddenly, big banks could only charge half as much per swipe as they had been doing, and swipe fees became a lot more lucrative for smaller banks and credit unions instead.
That’s why so many smaller institutions have strict rules requiring you to use your debit card each month. According to the Federal Reserve , in 2016 smaller banks earned anywhere from 18 to 65 cents for each debit card swipe, compared to a maximum of just 22 cents plus 0.05% of the purchase price for larger banks.
Say, for example, a smaller bank requires you to make 10 debit transactions per month, and earns 65 cents from each transaction. Your bank would then earn $6.50 from your spending that month.
That is where the high interest rates come from. It’s also why the high interest rates are generally capped to smaller balances, so that you don’t earn too much money and negate all the swipe fees that the bank earns.
Is it worth meeting requirements to go after the high APY?
Some of these high yield checking accounts have a lot of requirements.
If you prefer to use debit cards, chances are you’ll be able to easily meet the minimum debit swiping requirements for most of these accounts. On the other hand, if you’re a cash or credit card junkie, you may find yourself frequently worrying at the end of the month about whether or not you’ve met the minimum debit swiping requirements. In this case, a high yield checking account might not be right for you.
Another thing to consider is that many of these banks require you to make a signature-based debit transaction, rather than a PIN-based debit transaction for it to count. Unfortunately, this is slightly less secure than using the PIN-based payment method.
You’ll also need to avoid making a rush of charges at the end of the month to meet the spending requirements. That’s because banks and credit unions will usually only count a charge that has finished posting to your account towards meeting the monthly swiping requirement. It can take a few days for debit swipes to post to your account, so it’s better to get these charges in early to make sure they post to your account in time to count.
The good news is that checking accounts aren’t designed to hold significant amounts of cash. That’s what a savings account is for, and you can still earn pretty good interest rates with a high yield savings account (although still nowhere close to these checking accounts).
If you’re going to keep a smaller deposit in your checking account anyways, why not earn as much as you can from it—especially if you know you’ll have an easy time meeting the requirements?

The post The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2018 appeared first on MagnifyMoney .

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