Republic Bank of Chicago Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020


Republic Bank of Chicago’s checking account options

Free Checking

Republic Bank of Chicago’s Free Checking is an entry-level checking account that carries no fees but still offers various perks.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $10 with overdraft protection

Republic Bank of Chicago’s Free Checking account is for customers seeking a simple, straightforward checking account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but doesn’t scrimp on features. The account requires a small opening deposit, but doesn’t require a maintaining balance afterwards. There are no excess activity charges or ATM fees associated with this account. Free Checking also includes the free benefits found in every Republic Bank of Chicago checking account, including the following:

  • direct deposit
  • debit MasterCard
  • online & mobile banking services (including mobile check deposit, eStatements, check images and bill pay)
  • unlimited check writing
  • phone banking
  • website technical support

The overdraft fee on the Free Checking account is high. However, it can be reduced through overdraft protection.

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Royal Benefit Checking

Royal Benefit Checking provides additional features for customers aged 55 or older.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $10 with overdraft protection

An account for older customers, Royal Benefit Checking has much of the same structure and functionality of Republic Bank of Chicago’s Free Checking account. The account requires the same opening deposit, has no ongoing balance requirements and charges no monthly or excess activity fees; it also has no ATM fees. The overdraft fee remains doggedly high, although that can be reduced with overdraft protection.

Royal Benefit Checking comes with the same additional benefits as the Free Checking account, including online and mobile access, unlimited check writing, direct deposit and a debit card. However, Royal Benefit also offers free money orders, free cashier’s checks, a free box of RBC checks every year, free notary services and safe deposit box discounts.

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Friends & Family Checking

Friends & Family Checking offers the bank’s best checking APY.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%$1,000
0.15%$50,000.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10; $0 with a $1,000 minimum daily balance or $1,500 monthly average balance plus six monthly debits
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $10 with overdraft protection

Republic Bank of Chicago’s Friends & Family Checking requires a fairly high opening deposit, but it is the first account at the bank that pays interest. However, customers are required to have a $1,000 minimum daily balance or a $1,500 monthly average balance to earn the stated interest rate. Those looking to avoid the moderate activity fee will also have to post six monthly debits.

Interest on the Friends & Family Checking is paid in two tiers, with the sub-$50,000 tier earning the highest rate; for a checking account, the tier-one interest rate is exceptional. Interest is compounded and paid monthly.

Beyond the interest payments and the fee and fee waiver requirements, Friends & Family Checking offers the same standard benefits as the Free Checking account, including free direct deposits and unlimited check writing, online and mobile banking and phone and website support. Overdraft fees remain high, but can still be reduced through overdraft protection.

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Elite Checking

Elite Checking is Republic Bank of Chicago’s most expensive checking account, with the highest minimum to open.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$5,000
0.10%$10,000
0.10%$25,000
0.15%$50,000
0.15%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $30; $0 with $5,000 minimum daily balance
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $10 with overdraft protection

Republic Bank of Chicago’s Elite Checking account technically has six interest-rate tiers. However, the first tier doesn’t actually pay any interest, as it is below the account’s $5,000 minimum to both open the account and to earn interest. That $5,000 minimum is also required as a daily balance to avoid the account’s hefty monthly fee.

Other features offered by the account are standard with all Republic Bank of Chicago checking accounts, including online and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, phone and web support, free direct deposit and a free debit card. The overdraft fee is the same high fee plaguing all Republic Bank of Chicago checking accounts, although it can be reduced by signing up for overdraft protection.

How to get Republic Bank of Chicago’s checking accounts

As mentioned above, you can apply for some Republic Bank of Chicago checking accounts online, namely the Free Checking, Friends & Family Checking and Royal Benefit Checking. You’ll need to call the bank or visit a branch to open the Elite Checking account, as there is no facility to open it online.

You’ll need to be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen and living in Illinois to qualify. At the time of application, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number and a driver’s license or state ID.

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How Republic Bank of Chicago’s checking accounts compare

Based on the name and pricing structure, one might think that Republic Bank of Chicago’s Elite Checking account is the bank’s best checking offering; however, that isn’t the case. For balances under $50,000, the Friends & Family Checking account pays a rate more than six times the highest APY offered on the Elite Checking account, and it does it for one-third of the fee, although the fee can be waived on both accounts.

The top Friends & Family Checking account rate is about five times the national average checking account rate, a rate competitive enough to rank near the best checking account rates.

Republic Bank of Chicago’s savings account options

Passbook Savings

Passbook Savings is a traditional savings account, with low minimums.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$25
0.10%$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3; $0 with $25 minimum daily balance
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Passbook Savings is simple and straightforward. For a $25 minimum deposit, you get access to an interest-bearing account with the following features, which come with all Republic Bank of Chicago savings accounts:

  • online and mobile banking
  • phone and website support
  • free direct deposit

Interest is earned in two tiers, although you’ll need at least $25 to qualify. Top interest rates are paid on balances of at least $5,000. You are allowed to make up to six preauthorized transfers or withdrawals every month, in line with federal Regulation D. Excess transactions incur a fee of $1 each from the bank. The account does require a minimum deposit of $25 both to earn interest and to avoid a small monthly fee.

As the name implies, customers opening a Passbook Savings account will receive a physical passbook, as with old-fashioned banking accounts. If you bring your passbook into a branch, you can get your account activity printed on your passbook. Notably, however, this account has no ATM access and cannot be overdrawn.

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Statement Savings

Statement Savings is a more modern version of the bank’s Passbook Savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$25
0.10%$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3; $0 with $25 minimum daily balance to obtain the stated Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Statement Savings, from a functional perspective, is essentially the same exact account as Republic Bank of Chicago’s Passbook Savings account — the only difference is that there is no physical passbook issued with a Statement Savings account.

The accounts share the same $25 minimum opening deposit, which is also required to waive the small monthly fee. An ATM card is issued for this account, but it cannot be overdrawn.

Preauthorized transfers or withdrawals are limited to six per month, otherwise an excess activity fee of $1 per transaction kicks in, consistent with federal Regulation D standards. Statement Savings offers the same additional features as Passbook Savings, including online and mobile banking, direct deposit and online and web support.

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Starter Passbook Savings

Starter Passbook Savings is simply Republic Bank of Chicago’s Passbook Savings account for first-time savers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$25
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Starter Passbook Savings is a nearly identical account to Republic Bank of Chicago’s Passbooks Savings account, except the monthly fee is waived and the interest rate payouts are different. Also, a parent or guardian is required to sign on to this account for minors.

For the same $25 minimum deposit, you’ll earn interest and get access to the following features:

  • online and mobile banking
  • phone and website support
  • free direct deposit

Top interest rates kick in on balances of just $25. You are allowed to make up to six preauthorized transfers or withdrawals every month, in line with federal Regulation D. Excess transactions incur a fee of $1 each from the bank.

As the name implies, customers opening a Passbook Savings account will receive a physical passbook, as with old-fashioned banking accounts. If you bring your passbook into a branch, you can get your account activity printed on your passbook. Notably, however, this account has no ATM access and cannot be overdrawn.

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Starter Statement Savings

Starter Statement Savings is a version of the bank’s regular Statement Savings account for first-time savers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$25
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Starter Statement Savings mirrors regular Statement Savings, with a few changes. On this account for minors, a parent or legal guardian must sign on to the account. In addition, there is no monthly fee with this account. The accounts have the same $25 minimum opening deposit and they are both issued ATM cards, although the accounts cannot be overdrawn.

Preauthorized transfers or withdrawals are limited to six per month, consistent with federal Regulation D standards; otherwise, an excess activity fee of $1 per transaction kicks in from the bank. Starter Statement Savings offers most of the same additional features as regular Statement Savings, including online and mobile banking, direct deposit and online and web support.

How to get Republic Bank of Chicago’s savings accounts

As mentioned above, not all Republic Bank of Chicago accounts can be opened online. When it comes to savings accounts, you can only open the Statement Savings account online. For Passbook Savings of either of the two Starter Savings accounts, you must either call a banker or visit a branch.

Accounts are limited to U.S. citizens aged 18 or older who are Illinois residents. You’ll need a Social Security number and form of ID, like a driver’s license or state ID, to open an account. If you’re a minor, you’ll also need a parent or legal guardian.

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How Republic Bank of Chicago’s savings accounts compare

Republic Bank of Chicago offers four interest-bearing savings accounts, though two are meant for minors. None of the accounts pay a notable rate of interest, with the top rates for all four accounts paying less than half of the national average. You can find much better rates by looking at the best rates available on savings accounts nationwide.

Republic Bank of Chicago’s CD account options

Certificates (CDs)

These CDs offer less-than-impressive rates.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
9 Month CD0.20%$1,000
36 Month Breakable CD0.25%$1,000
4 Year CD0.55%$1,000
5 Year CD2.50%$1,000
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest

Republic Bank of Chicago publishes a limited CD lineup on its website, with just four maturities showing. However, if you contact the bank, you can get the full range of CDs and APYs, which range from 3 months to 60 months. The bank offers two breakable CDs, which allow you to take your money out and reinvest your funds in another CD with a maturity of at least one year, as long as the funds have been in the original CD for at least seven days. The other CDs are standard CDs, with $1,000 minimum investments, a 10-day grace period before auto-renewal and the same early withdrawal penalties, regardless of maturity.

How to get Republic Bank of Chicago’s CD accounts

Republic Bank of Chicago offers a wide range of CDs, but the only one you can open online is the nine-month CD. For all others, including the ones not listed on the bank’s website, you’ll have to visit a branch or contact a banker. Accounts are offered only to U.S. citizens residing in Illinois and at least 18 years of age. At the time of account opening, you’ll have to provide your Social Security number and a state ID or valid driver’s license.

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How Republic Bank of Chicago’s CD accounts compare

Republic Bank of Chicago’s CD rates can be tough to compare because for the most part, they are not listed on the bank’s website. Of the four maturities listed, the highest rates are found on the nine-month and five-year CDs. Both offer rates above the national average — very much so in the case of the nine-month CD — but they still fall a bit short of the best CD rates available around the country.

Republic Bank of Chicago’s money market account options

Executive Money Market

The Executive Money Market is Republic Bank of Chicago’s sole money market account, with tiered interest and traditional money market account features.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$2,500
0.10%$10,000
0.15%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25; $0 with $2,500 minimum daily balance
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $10 with overdraft protection

The Executive Money Market, like traditional money markets, combines features of checking and savings accounts. At Republic Bank of Chicago, you can write checks on your Executive Money Market account balance, and you can also make ATM withdrawals. However, as with the savings accounts, preauthorized transfers and withdrawals are limited to six per month. Interest is credited every month on the last day of the month. With this account, you’ll also get online and mobile access, web and phone support and eStatements. The high overdraft fee that applies to all Republic Bank of Chicago accounts features here as well, but it can be reduced through overdraft protection.

How to get Republic Bank of Chicago’s money market account

You can’t open a Republic Bank of Chicago money market account online. You’ll have to contact a banker or visit a branch. To open an account, you’ll need a driver’s license or state ID and your Social Security number. To qualify, you’ll have to be an Illinois resident and a U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age or older.

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How Republic Bank of Chicago’s money market account compares

Republic Bank of Chicago’s Executive Money Market account is nothing to write home about. It carries standard features, with nothing of particular note, and its APY is less than half of the national average. If you’re looking for a great money market yield, check out these best available money market rates in the nation.

Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA options

IRA Money Market

The same products as the regular money market but available within an IRA.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Republic Bank of Chicago offers an IRA Money Market account that is completely different from the bank’s Executive Money Market account. The IRA Money Market pays a flat, non-tiered interest rate, but rates are not listed on the bank’s website; you’ll need to contact the bank to verify current rates.

Republic Bank of Chicago offers a provision that prevents the rate from falling below the 13-week Treasury Bill rate. This account also doesn’t allow check writing or ATM access, as it is in an IRA and withdrawals might face taxes and IRS penalties. There are no monthly fees with the IRA Money Market account, and the opening deposit is a modest $25.

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IRA Certificates (CDs)

Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA CD line is the same as that found in bank’s non-retirement accounts.
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months’ interest

If you’re happy with Republic Bank of Chicago’s regular CD line, you’ll also like its range of IRA CDs, as they share the same rates and maturity dates. To find current rates on most CDs, you’ll have to call the bank, as Republic Bank of Chicago currently only lists four CD maturities on its website. You can get the full range of Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA CDs, which range from three months to five years, by calling its 24/7 CD rate hotline number at (800) 498-3347.

The bank offers two breakable CDs in its IRAs, which allow you to move your money from one CD to another with a maturity of at least one year, as long as you’ve invested the original funds for at least seven days. The remaining IRA CDs carry a standard $1,000 minimum investment, a 10-day grace period before auto-renewal and the same early withdrawal penalties, regardless of maturity.

How to get Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA products

You can’t open a Republic Bank of Chicago IRA online. However, you can open an IRA by visiting a branch and speaking to a banker; you’ll need to provide your Social Security number and a valid ID, like a driver’s license or state ID, to open an IRA. If you’re not a U.S. citizen who’s at least 18 years old and living in Illinois, your account application will be rejected.

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How Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA products compare

As with the bank’s non-IRA CDs, Republic Bank of Chicago’s IRA CD rates can be tough to compare because only four are listed on the bank’s website. The highest IRA rates, on a relative basis, are on the nine-month and five-year CDs, which both pay rates better than the national average. If you’re looking for the best available IRA CD rates, however, you’ll find that other banks can top Republic’s IRA CD rates.

Overall review of Republic Bank of Chicago’s products

Republic Bank of Chicago offers a large array of personal financial products, enough to satisfy the needs of most customers. Those looking for the best accounts available, however, might be better off cherry-picking accounts at other institutions overall.

The standout account at Republic Bank of Chicago on a yield basis is the Friends & Family Checking account. Here, you’ll find a rate among the very best in the nation, many multiples above the national checking account average. This account trounces the yield even on the bank’s own Elite Checking account, which appears to be marketed as the place to deposit your funds for the best yields.

Beyond that account, yields at Republic Bank of Chicago overall are fairly mediocre. The bank’s savings accounts all pay less than the national average, as does Republic Bank of Chicago’s sole money market account. The bank’s CD rates, while above-average, aren’t yet in the top tier of available CD rates nationwide. Of course, a comparison overall is hard to make: Republic Bank of Chicago only publishes its four best CD rates on its website, while the many others on offer are not made available. This goes for the bank’s IRA CD rates as well.

The bottom line is that Republic Bank of Chicago puts up a good fight when it comes to an interest-bearing checking account, but its other options are a bit lackluster. The bank does score points for keeping its overall fee structure low — though the overdraft fee is a killer — but taken as a whole, the account roster is not particularly compelling.

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