Rewards Checking, the interest-bearing program becoming more popular among banks and credit unions, now has a 3.3% average rate, according to Bankrate Inc., the Florida online research firm.
But when minimums are missed on the account, the average default APY is 0.16%, which is "significant," said Bankrate in releasing the conclusions of a new study, the first of its kind for the North Palm Beach firm to assess trends on the high yield offering.
The firm also found the balance cap for earning the high APY was, most commonly, $25,000.
Of the accounts surveyed, 95% have a requirement for a certain number of debit card transactions to be made each month in order to receive the highest APY. The average amount of debit card transactions required was 11, but the most common requirement was 10 per month.
Ninety-one percent of the rewards checking accounts surveyed have requirements for direct deposit and/or bill pay, but 48% only require one or the other. One direct deposit per month is the standard.