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Earning Interest

The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Checking accounts are like a pair of khakis slacks: You should have at least one, but shopping for them is a chore. You know you need a checking account—preferably one without fees—but most people think it’s not going to yield more than a token amount in interest.

These high yield checking accounts break this tired paradigm, featuring sky-high interest rates that can put even the best savings accounts to shame. 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 high yield checking accounts with the highest rates, assuming 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 high yield checking accounts that are not available nationwide, or that carry a health rating of below a B.

The Best High Yield Checking Accounts in 2019

Consumers Credit Union (IL) — Free Rewards Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must complete the following four things each month:
    1. complete at least 12 signature-based debit purchases,
    2. receive at least one direct deposit, ACH debit, or pay one bill through their free bill payment system,
    3. log into your online banking account, and
    4. be signed up for eStatements.
    5. spend $1,000 or more with a Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card each month.
  • Monthly service fee: No monthly service fee.
  • ATM fees: If you meet the requirements to earn the high APY, you won’t pay any ATM fees. However, if you don’t, you’ll have to pay $1.00 for each ATM or debit card withdrawal after your sixth ATM/debit card withdrawal of the month.
  • ATM refunds: You are eligible for refunds on all ATM fees as long as you meet the requirements to earn the highest APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Consumers Credit Union (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

La Capitol Federal Credit Union — Choice Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $50
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Make at least 25 debit purchases per month.
  • Monthly service fee: $8; waived if you either have a balance of at least $1,000 or make 20 non-ATM debit card transactions each month.
  • 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

LEARN MORE Secured

on La Capitol Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

TAB Bank — Kasasa Cash Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must have at least 1 direct deposit, ACH payment, or bill pay transaction posted to the account during each billing cycle and at least 15 debit card purchases.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $15 every month (if you meet the qualifications to earn the highest APY)

LEARN MORE Secured

on TAB Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

T-Mobile — T-Mobile Money Checking Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must be enrolled in a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan, be registered for perks with your T-Mobile ID, and have a minimum of $200 in qualifying deposits.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 every month

LEARN MORE Secured

on T-Mobile Money’s secure website

Member FDIC

Orion Federal Credit Union — Premium Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: You must make electronic deposits (which can be either a direct deposit, mobile deposit, or an electronic transfer from another financial institution) of at least $500 each month, in addition to making at least eight signature-based debit card transactions each month.
  • Monthly service fee: $5, which is waived if you meet the requirements to earn the highest APY.
  • ATM fees: None for ATM withdrawals in Orion’s network, $1 for non-Orion ATMs
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 a month for fees charged by non-Orion financial institutions.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Orion Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Partner Colorado Credit Union — High-Interest Checking

  • 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, and
    3. log into your Online or Mobile Banking account.
  • Monthly service fee: $5; waived if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM refunds: All ATM surcharge fees are refunded.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Partner Colorado Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

One American Bank — Kasasa Cash

  • 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, and
    3. log into your Online Banking account.
  • Monthly service fee: 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on One American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Heritage Bank — eCentive Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $100
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Each month you’ll need to make 10 or more debit card payments and/or purchases (excluding ATM transactions), have at least one direct deposit or ACH deposit, and receive monthly electronic bank statements.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $1 per transaction for ATMs not in the credit union’s network
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 per qualification cycle if you meet the requirements above.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Heritage Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union — Vertical Checking

  • 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,
    2. be enrolled in e-statements,
    3. use your debit card to make at least 15 purchases per month, and
    4. log on mobile or online banking once.
  • Monthly service fee: None.
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM refunds: Up to $15 of out-of-network ATM fees per month.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Dover Federal Credit Union — Kasasa Cash Account

  • Minimum amount to open: $100
  • Requirements to earn the high APY:  You must make at least 12 debit card purchases in each monthly qualification cycle. In addition, you must be enrolled and agree to receive eStatements and enrolled in online banking, which you must log into at least one time per month.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $0s
  • ATM refunds: Up to $25 in refunds of third-party ATM fees per monthly qualification cycle.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Dover Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

First Financial Credit Union — First Secure Checking

  • Minimum amount to open: $0
  • Requirements to earn the high APY: Make at least 15 debit card purchases a month
  • Monthly service fee: $5 (waived if you maintain a balance of $2,500)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM refunds: Up to $10 a month for third-party ATM fees.

LEARN MORE Secured

on First Financial CU (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Great Lakes Credit Union — Free Checking

  • 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, and
    4. use Bill Pay at least once or log into Mobile Banking at least once.
  • Monthly service fee: None
  • ATM fees: $2.00 for non-Great Lakes Credit Union ATMs
  • ATM refunds: $10 per month if you meet the requirements to earn the high APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Great Lakes Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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 the Dodd-Frank Act, a set of sweeping financial regulations passed by Congress in the wake of the Great Recession.

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 (defined as institutions with at least $10 billion in assets) 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 high yield 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?

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Earning Interest

The Best IRA CD Rates – September 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Top IRA CD rates
Source: iStock

Perhaps you’ve decided to build a CD ladder within your IRA, or maybe you’re looking for a safe way to store your retirement cash for a specific period of time. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in getting an IRA CD and, understandably, want to know what products will give you the best rate of return.

You can get an IRA CD with terms ranging from three months to more than six years, with interest rates generally increasing with the term length. There are lots of options, so we’ve rounded up the top IRA CD rates that are available right now for a variety of terms. You’ll select your IRA CD terms based on your CD-ladder master plan or whenever you’ll need access to your money.

Every month, we choose the best IRA CD rates using data from another LendingTree company DepositAccounts.com, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions. We sorted the products by APY, then eliminated institutions with a health rating below a B. We then eliminated products that are not available nationwide. From there, we chose the IRA CD with the highest APY among products with a minimum deposit no greater than $5,000. Here are the best options.

The best IRA rates in September 2019

Term

Institution

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

TIAA Bank

1.95%

$5,000

6 months

CommunityWide Federal Credit Union

2.35%

$2,000

12 months

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.63%

$500

18 months

Capital One

1.90%

$0

2 years

MAC Federal Credit Union

2.80%

$1,000

3 years

Hughes Federal Credit Union

3.10%

$1,000

4 years

State Department Federal Credit Union

2.93%

$500

5 years

State Department Federal Credit Union

3.19%

$500

6+ years

Evansville Teachers FCU

2.50%

$1,000

 

Best 3-month IRA CD — TIAA Bank Yield Pledge IRA (Traditional, Roth)

3 Month Yield Pledge IRA from TIAA Bank
TIAA Bank offers customers a 3-month yield pledge CD that’s also eligible for IRA protection. Savers can expect an APY of 1.95%, with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

LEARN MORE Secured

on TIAA Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best 6-month IRA CD — CommunityWide Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

6 Month IRA from Communitywide Federal Credit Union
CommunityWide Federal Credit Union is offering the highest rate available on 6-month IRA CDs at 2.35% APY for deposits of $1,000 and over. That translates into earnings of $11.71 if you were only to deposit the minimum amount. Compare that to the average of all regular 6-month CDs, at 0.91%.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Communitywide Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 1-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

12 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThis one-year term share certificate earns an APY of 2.63% and only requires a minimum deposit of $500. This is a significantly higher rate than the credit union’s traditional one-year share certificate, which earns an APY of 2.42%. If you deposited $1,000, that would earn you $26.30 by the time the account matured.

LEARN MORE Secured

on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 18-month IRA CD — Capital One 360 IRA CD (Traditional, Roth, CESA)

18 Month 360 IRA from Capital OneCapital One’s 18-month 360 IRA CD can earn you a competitive rate of 1.90% APY. There’s no minimum deposit to open a CD or start earning interest, although the penalty for making an early withdrawal is six months of interest — no matter when you redeem the account prior to maturity. As the online banking side of Capital One, Capital One 360 tends to offer higher rates than the bank’s conventional CDs.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

Best 2-year IRA CD — MAC Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

24 Month IRA from MAC Federal Credit Union Headquartered in Fairbanks, AK, MAC Federal Credit Union’s 2-year IRA share certificate earns 2.80% APY with a minimum deposit of $1,000. This IRA share certificate is available for a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. Membership in this credit union is open to anyone who joins the Polar Bear Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, which costs $40 for a two-year membership.

LEARN MORE Secured

on MAC Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 3-year IRA CD — Hughes Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth, SEP)

36 Month IRA from Hughes Federal Credit UnionThis credit union based in Arizona allows anyone in the country to qualify for membership provided they make a $10 donation to one of several associations, including Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library, Friends of the Pima County Public Library, Friends of Green Valley Library, and Friends of Kirk-Bear Canyon Library. The high APY and relatively low minimum deposit makes this IRA CD a great choice.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Hughes Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 4-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

48 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit Union State Department FCU continues to dominate the longer-term IRA CDs with its 48-month CD, boasting a rate of 2.93% APY. As with all State

LEARN MORE Secured

on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 5-year IRA CD — State Department Federal Credit Union (Traditional, Roth)

60 Month IRA Certificate from State Department Federal Credit UnionThe State Department FCU, a regular fixture of these lists, doesn’t disappoint with its 5-year IRA CD rates offering a high APY with a low minimum balance requirement of $500.

LEARN MORE Secured

on State Department Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Best 6-year IRA CD — Evansville Teachers FCU (Traditional, Roth, CESSA)

6 Year IRA from Evansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionTo join this credit union, you may make a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. You may want to strongly consider doing so, as the 6-year IRA CD rate offered by Evansville FCU is the best on the market in terms of APY. Plus, it only requires a minimum balance of $1,000.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

3 questions to consider before opening an IRA CD

Opening an IRA CD generally requires filling out a form or talking to a banker. You’ll have to have a way to fund your IRA CD, whether that’s rolling over an existing retirement account into an IRA CD or depositing cash into the product. The same limits that apply to IRA contributions apply to IRA CDs: $5,500 per year ($6,500 if you’re over age 50) of your own money across all your IRA accounts each year, and you can do a rollover once per year.

Unless you’ve invested in a bump-up IRA CD, you won’t be able to take advantage of a higher rate until your CD matures. Withdrawing funds from an IRA CD before they mature will result in a stiff penalty. Bump-up IRA CDs give you a chance to increase your interest rate to a higher level if it’s available, but you’re generally only allowed to do this once or twice during the life of the CD.

You can either use the direct-transfer method or the indirect-transfer method. The direct transfer method requires setting up your new IRA account filling out a form authorizing the bank or credit union to transfer money from the old account into the new account. The indirect transfer method involves you asking for a check from your old IRA account. You have up to 60 days to deposit that check into your IRA CD to avoid incurring a penalty.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

Advertiser Disclosure

Earning Interest, Reviews

Discover Bank CD Rates Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Discover Bank
Most people know Discover as a credit card company, but it also operates an online bank and offers some of the best rates and terms on checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

As a bank, Discover offers some of the best products on the market. Currently, they’re offering a major deal on their online savings account, which currently earns 1.90% APY. If you apply for their savings account for the very first time by 10/07/19 and deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 10/21/19, you can earn a $150 bonus. If you deposit a balance of at least $25,000 by the same date, you can earn a $200 bonus. Applying for the account is easy as you don’t need to go to a branch. Bonuses will be credited to your account by 11/04/19. You can apply online or over the phone. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM919 when you apply.

Learn More Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

See Advertiser Website for Full Details

If you’re looking for CDs in particular, Discover is currently considered to have some of the best CDs due to their customer service and digital tools.

Discover Bank CD rates

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.40%

18 months

2.40%

24 months

2.45%

30 months

2.45%

3 years

2.45%

4 years

2.45%

5 years

2.50%

7 years

2.55%

10 years

2.60%

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

How do Discover Bank CD rates compare?

While Discover Bank CD rates aren’t always the highest available, they are consistently among the top offers across all terms. However, you may be able to find a similar or even better rate with a CD that has a lower minimum deposit than Discover’s $2,500 requirement. Currently, several nationwide banks offered a 12-month CD at a rate higher than Discover’s 12-month CD APY, while requiring a lower minimum deposit. For example, at the same time the above rates were available at Discover, there were 12-month CDs with rates as high as 2.25% APY with a lower minimum balance amount to earn the APY.

It’s always great to go for the highest interest rates possible, but keep your CD investing strategy in mind. If you’re investing in CDs using the ladder strategy, it might be easier to keep everything in one bank since you’ll be switching in and out of CDs frequently.

Discover also stands out from its competition in the CD space with its mobile app and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. If you value such features, keep those particulars in mind when weighing Discover CD rates against others’.

What you need to know about Discover Bank’s CDs

Discover Bank is very transparent in terms of fine print. It’s not difficult to understand what’ll happen with your money after you invest it. We’ll cover the basics here about what you need to know to invest in Discover Bank’s CDs.

How to open a CD

It’s very simple to open up a CD with Discover Bank. Go to their CD webpage and click on the orange “Open an Account” button near the top right of the page. You can then choose which accounts you’d like to open. Select “CD,” choose a CD term and enter how much you’d like to deposit.

You’ll then need to complete the application by providing your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, employment status and possibly even your driver’s license. Once your application is complete and accepted, you’ll need to fund the account.

How to fund the CD

You’ll need to fund it within 45 days of submitting your application, which you can do in one of three ways:

  • Transfer funds from another bank account over the phone. (You can only do this when you first fund your account.)
  • Transfer funds from another bank via online transfer.
  • Write a check to yourself and send it to the following address:Discover Bank
    P.O. Box 30417
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

The minimum deposit amount for each of Discover Bank’s CDs is $2,500. Once you open a CD, you can’t deposit more money later, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the cash you want to invest before you open the account.

Withdrawing funds from the CD

When you want to withdraw money from your CD, the biggest thing to consider is whether that CD has matured yet, or finished its term.

If your CD has not matured, you’ve got options: You can take the interest out penalty-free at any time, or you can withdraw the principal (or the money you deposited) at any time as long as you pay an early-withdrawal penalty. This penalty varies depending on the original term of your CD:

  • less than one year: three months’ worth of simple interest
  • one year to less than four years: six months’ worth of simple interest
  • four years: nine months’ worth of simple interest
  • five years to less than seven years: 18 months’ worth of simple interest
  • seven years or longer: 24 months’ worth of simple interest

If your CD has finished its term, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, allow the CD to renew or roll it into a CD of a different term length. (More on that in a bit).

Earning interest on a Discover CD

Your CD will start earning interest on the same business day that you fund the account. The interest will be added to your account once each month, however.

When it comes to what to do with your interest, you have two options: The default option is to allow it to compound within the CD (meaning you’ll earn interest on that interest), or you can have it automatically deposited each month into another Discover bank account.

What happens once the CD matures?

You’ll get a heads-up notice about a month before your CD matures so you can decide what to do with the money. You have two main options: Either reinvest it into another CD (of the same term length or a different term length), or withdraw the money from the CD and put it into another account (such as a checking or savings account, or perhaps a CD at a different institution).

If you don’t let Discover know what you want to do with the maturing CD, the CD will automatically renew into another one of the same term length. You have a nine-day grace period after your CD automatically rolls over to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

The bottom line

As far as big-name banks go, Discover offers great CD products. Wells Fargo, for example, only offers interest rates as high as 1.55% APY on a $5,000 deposit for a 58-month CD. Chase Bank offers even lower maximum rates — an abysmal 1.05% APY, and only if you can commit a minimum of $100,000 for 10 years.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your finances in one place, Discover also has great credit cards, as well as competitive online savings and checking accounts. No matter how long you’re considering putting money in a CD, Discover is worth a look. Even if it doesn’t have the best available rate, it’s usually within several basis points of the top offerings and well above the average APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here