What 'high-yield' means
After the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve chopped interest rates to the lowest levels ever seen. Now, the Fed is raising rates to more normal levels, but the interest paid on savings hasn't budged much.
What makes high-yield checking so appealing is that the accounts can pay an APY, or annual percentage yield, of 1% or more. For example, the online bank Simple has an account that lets you earn up to 2.02% APY.
High-interest checking can come with other benefits, too, such as free access to ATMs. To reap the rewards, you will need to meet some requirements.
How you qualify
If you want to earn the high interest and get the other goodies, you'll likely have to do a few things for the financial institution.
Often with high-yield accounts, you have to make a large opening deposit, maintain a hefty balance, make a dozen or more debit card purchases every month, receive regular direct deposits and use automatic bill pay.
Often — but not always. So, you'll want to do some comparison-shopping.
The account at Simple that we mentioned earlier requires you to maintain just a $2,000 balance and makes none of the other typical demands.
Is high-yield checking right for you?
The rewards from rewards checking can be sweet, but you'll have to crunch some numbers to determine whether high-yield checking could work for you.
Some accounts come with high monthly fees, and you wouldn't want fees to essentially wipe out your interest.
Again, you'll want to shop around, because not everyone has fees. Simple doesn't.
The potential benefits are worth vetting. Compare high-yield checking offers and see if you could meet the requirements. In the end, you could be raking in free cash!