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Checking accounts with good interest rates?
Old 09-06-2007, 01:35 AM   #1
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Checking accounts with good interest rates?

I know about Vanguard's money market checking account that gets over 5% interest and you can write checks on it but only checks of $250 and over.

A lot of our utility bills are under $250 so I'm looking for other checking accounts that pay a decent interest rate but have lower minimums for check writing.

Just wondering if anyone knew of any good ones?



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Old 09-06-2007, 02:05 AM   #2
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This year I switched to Presidential Checking at 4.5% APY. So far it seems pretty good, along with their savings acct at 5.25% APY. There are some restrictions on the checking (minimum balance, direct deposit). Transfers to other institutions have limitations (dollar amounts per month, and it takes a few days for funds to appear in the target account after they've been deducted from the source account).

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Old 09-06-2007, 04:24 AM   #3
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Etrade Bank has a pretty good one - however there is a 5k deposit requirement.

You could do what I do - make your bills automatic to your cc - then the bill is over $250 and you get the cc points.
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:21 AM   #4
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My local bank pays 6.01%, with some restrictions (electronic statement delivery, use your debit card a few times per month etc), but all-in-all a pretty good deal:
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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Schwab does 4.25% and is a full service account: write as many paper checks as you like, online billpay, reimburse ATM fees, etc.

ING also has an offering but is more bare bones.
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Old 09-06-2007, 06:50 AM   #6
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ING is another one, but for their best rate requires 100k and I dont think they actually have any checks...

GMAC is good since they give you a set of checks and min. is only 500 and rate over 5%......GMAC Bank - an internet bank with good rates on money market and CDs
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:17 AM   #7
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The VanguardAdvantage account just takes money from your MM account when necessary.
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:13 PM   #8
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I haven't had one for years, but back in the "old days" (1980s), a money market fund was a good answer. I thought there were some that had lower or even no check minimums, but they might have minimum balance, etc. This was geared toward the high income crowd. We all should have the problem of getting the best return on our $50K or $100K we keep "liquid."
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:27 PM   #9
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For "near checking account" type money I just opened an online savings account at Washington Mutual. It pays about 4.89% (5% APY). This is linked to my checking so can now position short term money where it can be used immediately in checking. Vanguard takes about 4 days to move money to a standard bank checking account. The WAMU savings currently has no minimum to get their 5% rate.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:39 PM   #10
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I use an HSBC online savings acct that I can send money to and from my local checking acct, 5.05% three business days to move. I also have an Edward Jones MM but while looking at the prospectus (I really should read those things) to answer your thread. It occurred to me I really need to close or at least reduce my balance in that thing. I will be opening a VG Prime acct with the money as it pays better.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:20 PM   #11
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I went through this exercise some months ago cause I dont like to be movig money between savings and checking. In order to write checks at Vanguard under $250 you need to get the Vanguard Advantage account. YOu can only sign up if you are a voyager (over $100k in assets) and it costs $30/yr, or free if you are flagship (Over $1mm in assets)
I ended up opening a Fidelity brokerage account and using it for checking. They include free checks and bill payment, everything is free so far. You can chose which money market to use for your cash settlement, so I ended up using a tax-free one, but you can chose a taxable one and they should be yielding about 5%, they are usually comparable to vanguard money markets. Just make sure to not use FCASH for settlement, which is the default but pays less yield. I believe the application let you select from a list of money markets which one to use for cash settlement.
I have been happy with fidelity, they have a better bill payment system than my bank.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:38 PM   #12
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Fidelity has a new Smart Money Account that pays 3.5% and has check writing and ( I think) link to Caqsh Reserves MM at 5%.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:51 PM   #13
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FatWallet has a pretty good thread on this subject:

Best current APY/APRs: The Daughter of The Mother - Checking, Saving, and Money Market: All Liquid Accnt Interest Rates!
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:46 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone!

You gave me some great ideas!


I was looking at fidelity's money market mutual funds and some list a check writing minimum of $500.

Does that mean you can only write checks of $500 or over or that you have to have at least $500 in the account to write checks?

Because I have some cash sitting in a checking account right now that is getting ZERO interest that I would gladly put $2500 of into a money market fund...but only if I could write smaller checks than $500!

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Old 09-08-2007, 08:11 AM   #15
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FarmerEd (and wandering off topic)

Originally Posted by farmerEd View Post
My local bank pays 6.01%, with some restrictions (electronic statement delivery, use your debit card a few times per month etc), but all-in-all a pretty good deal:
Why, Farmer Ed, we are neighbors! That does sound like a good idea; maybe I'll check it out. I have accounts at Easthampton Savings and BOA, and Easthampton's online checking is positively archaic compared to the [software?] at BOA.

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Schwab Bank
Old 09-08-2007, 09:15 AM   #16
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Schwab Bank

I am also looking for a high-yield interest checking account that does not require me to tie everything I have to it along with agreeing to spend fees on trades throughout the year.

Schwab Bank appears to have the best APY at 4.25% for an account that is a full-service checking. There are no fees, minimum balances, checks are free, ATM fees are fully reimbursed. No catches as far as I can tell. I have been looking for something like this. It is not subject to having a brokerage account although you get a free one with no fees or minimums.

Am I missing something . . . . wonder if this is just an introductory offering? I can't find anything on the website that would imply "temporary" other than "interest rate is variable and can change at any time" which is pretty much a standard disclaimer.

brewer, you mentioned it . . . do you have a checking acct there? If there is a catch, I would sure like to find it before I go through the process of opening an account. Although it is possible that I might use other services there it is unlikely. I only want an interest checking account.

Free checking with 4.25% APY. No catches.

Want to earn 4.25% APY on checking? Just open a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking™ account. Better yet, our free checking comes with a Schwab One® brokerage account with no minimum requirement or monthly service charges. Schwab Bank checking accounts are also available without a brokerage account.

4.25% APY on every dollar in your account—regardless of your balance.
9 times higher than the national average APY.
No minimum requirement. No monthly service charges. No catches.
  • Zero ATM fees. If you are charged an ATM fee, Schwab Bank will automatically reimburse you for it.
  • Free online Schwab Bank Bill Pay.
  • Free standard checks and a Visa® Platinum check card.
  • Overdraft protection.
  • FDIC-insured up to $100,000.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:06 AM   #17
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I've used Schwab checking in various incantations, for close to 20 years. Never had a problem, never paid a fee. and the automatic overdraft transfer from your Schwab brokerage account is very nice benefit, because it means that you'll worse case only be paying margin interest.

I love being able to withdraw money anywhere in the world with no charges, and the unlimited daily withdrawals is very handy. A couple of years ago, my ex-girlfriend and I were in Turkey we found a Turkish rug we loved. The guy offered us a 10% cash discount. I went over to nearest ATM and withdrew several million turkish lira (~$2000). I think I had to type my PIN number in 8 times but a small price to pay to save $200 and total fees were $0.

Disclaimer the rules on foreign currency may have changed.

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