Nicole Slaubaugh

Aug 07 2019

Is a High Interest Checking Account Right for You?


Combining the convenience of a checking account with a return similar to a long-term certificate of deposit (CD), Hills Bank is offering a new High Interest Checking Account that lets you earn money while using your funds for everyday spending.

By meeting a few simple requirements, you can achieve a 3.04% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances up to $10,000.

Learn more about our High Interest Checking Account

But is our High Interest Checking Account right for your banking needs? Here’s what you need to know about account requirements, making the most out of your money, managing multiple accounts, and more.

Requirements

Our High Interest Checking Account does not require a minimum balance to open. However, to earn the highest interest rate and avoid paying a maintenance fee, you’ll need at least 25 debits or withdrawals from the account (such as debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals, ACH activities, wire transfers, or automatic bill and/or loan payments) each monthly statement cycle. You’ll also need deposit(s) into the account totaling $1,000 or more per month.

Once you meet these requirements, your $10 monthly basic service fee will be refunded and you’ll be qualified for a 3% interest rate on your High Interest Checking Account balance up to $10,000.

 

Interest earned on qualifying account balance

Balance Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Interest Rate
$0 – $10,000 3.04% 3.00%
$10,001 & over 0.05% 0.05%

 

Still interested in high-interest checking? Here are a few things you should consider.

How you use your checking account?

If you regularly use your checking account for the following tasks, you could benefit from a High Interest Checking Account:

  • Paying for everyday purchases with your debit card
  • Withdrawing cash from ATMs
  • Writing checks or utilizing automated payments for bills, loans, rent and utility payments, etc.

Credit card purchases and transfers between accounts do not count toward the 25 debits or withdrawals required to qualify each month, which can create a dilemma for those who regularly use a credit card with a rewards or cashback program.

Credit card rewards vs. high interest checking

Between travel points, cash back, and specialized rewards, credit card providers offer a variety of incentives to encourage purchases made on credit. But depending on how much you spend, you could earn significantly more from the funds in your High Interest Checking Account by using your debit card instead.

If you have both a credit card and a High Interest Checking Account, what should you do? Why, a little math of course!

Let’s say you have a qualifying High Interest Checking Account with an average balance of $5,000 over the course of a year. This account would accrue $152 in interest annually, assuming it qualifies for the highest interest rate (see the Requirements section above).

High Interest Checking Account. What does 3.04% APY (Annual Percentage Yield) look like?

Now let’s also assume you have a credit card that gives you 2% cash back on all purchases each quarter and no annual fee. If you want to earn greater than $152 every year, you’ll need to spend enough to earn $38 in cash back each quarter.

What does that kind of spending look like? Given our sample credit card with a 2% cash back rate, it’s a pretty simple equation: 38 ÷ .02 = 1,900. That means you’ll need to spend more than $1,900 each quarter, or about $633 per month, in order to earn more cash back from our sample credit card than you would from a High Interest Checking Account with a $5,000 balance.

This calculation doesn’t account for rewards like travel points or specialized offers like discounts at retail stores. Everyone’s financial situation is different, and you should speak with a banker to find the best solution for your spending habits. But hopefully you now know what sorts of financial questions to consider when considering credit cards and a High Interest Checking Account.

What if you have another account?

You can have a High Interest Checking Account and another (or several) checking or savings accounts open with Hills Bank simultaneously. You can also convert an existing checking account to a High Interest Checking Account just by speaking with a banker. But like weighing the pros and cons of a credit card and high interest checking, it’s worth considering how your current checking or savings account suits your financial needs before opening a High Interest Checking Account.

Generally speaking, you’ll want the High Interest Checking Account to be your primary checking account in order to meet the monthly deposit/withdrawal requirements. And naturally, the more money you have in the account, the more you’ll get back in interest (with one caveat: you’ll receive 3% interest on your balance up to $10,000, and .05% on amounts beyond that).

Our personal bankers can help you determine the best solution for your financial needs. You can start a conversation with a banker right now by downloading the Hills Bank HERE app.

Opening an account

If you have more questions about whether a High Interest Checking Account is right for you, just stop by any of our 19 locations to visit with a personal banker, or start chatting with a banker right from your smartphone with our HERE by Hills Bank app.

Ready to open a High Interest Checking Account now? Click here to apply online.  

We hope to start earning you interest soon!

Nicole Slaubaugh

About Nicole Slaubaugh

Nicole Slaubaugh is Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Banking at Hills Bank. She has been at Hills Bank since 2001 with experience in both business and retail banking while helping business owners and customers manage deposit needs. Nicole resides in Wellman with her family and is actively involved in the Wellman community through a variety of non-profit organizations. Nicole can be reached at nicole_slaubaugh@hillsbank.com.


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