Northpointe 5% Checking Adds Restrictive Language Regarding Debit Card Usage

Northpointe Bank offers a rewards checking account with a 5% APY on balances up to $10,000. There are a few requirements necessarily to get the rate, chiefly the 15 debit transaction requirement. Previously, they required that the 15 transactions total $500, then they removed that requirement last month.

ReadNorthpointe 5% Interest Checking Account on Balances Up To $10,000

Today, Northpointe added language in the terms indicating that the 5% rate is only for those who use the debit card in an ordinary manner, not those who do so specifically for meeting the requirement. They reserve the right, at their discretion, to convert your account to another account or to close it if this requirement is not being met.

The new terms are in effect as of today for new accountholders, and will go into effect mid-July for existing accountholders. Email and mail notices will be sent out as well.

PDF Link (page 19) –

Purpose and Expected Use of Ultimate Checking Account

The Ultimate Checking account is intended to be the accountholder’s primary checking account in which payroll transactions and day-to-day spending activities including but not limited to grocery, gasoline, apparel, shopping, dining, sporting and entertainment transactions are posted and settled. We expect the account’s debit card to be used frequently throughout each month and for transaction amounts to reflect a wide dollar range. Small debit card transactions conducted on the same day at a single merchant and/or multiple transactions made during a condensed period of time, particularly near the end of a statement cycle are not considered normal, day-to-day spending behavior. These types of behaviors appear to be conducted with the sole purposes of qualifying for the account’s rewards, and thus will be deemed inappropriate transactions and will not count towards earning the account’s rewards.

 

Northpointe Bank reserves the right to determine if the account is being maintained for a purpose other than primary, dayto-day use. Accountholders who persist in making debit card transactions in a calculated and limited fashion in order to meet their monthly qualifications may have their account converted to a different checking account or closed altogether. We also reserve the right to convert the account to a different checking account if the Ultimate Checking account does not have consistent, active use of three (3) consecutive statement cycles.

 

We have the right to close this account at any time, with proper notice. Our decision to close the account will not affect your existing obligations to us, including any obligations to pay fees or charges incurred prior to termination. No deposits will be accepted and no checks will be paid after the account is closed. Upon termination of your Ultimate Checking account, any optional add-on products or services associated with this account will also be terminated at the same time.

It’s not surprising that they’ve added the limitation as it seemed too generous without that. I just wish there’d be some other sort of way to meet the requirement, such as bill pay activity and the like. I’d be willing to switch over my ordinary checking account to Northpointe which would result, often-times, in balances far greater than $10,000 (which would then be profitable for the bank). But I’m not willing transfer my ordinary spend from credit to debit since in the end I won’t be gaining from the high APY due to the loss of credit card rewards.

Since the previous requirement was to spend $500, we can venture to guess that $500 is ‘enough’ to satisfy the debit requirement. If you’re putting spend on a 2% card, you’d be losing $10 per month or $120 per year, and still netting a 3.5-4% APY on your money (after deducting the opportunity cost) which is still very good. Main question is how much effort you’re willing to put in for the gain and how easy it is for you to spend that amount (lots of us have most of our spend going toward minimum spend requirements or in bonus categories, etc.).

[Update: According to a bank representative in the comments, the main thing is to use the debit card 15 on varying dates, charge types, and amounts. You probably won’t need $500 in purchases, but will need to use it consistently throughout the months at various retailers.]

See also Best High Interest Savings Accounts for more high-yield options.

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Brian
Brian

Great account, unfortunately not available as of Nov 20: https://www.northpointe.com/banking/rates/

William Charles

I’ve contacted Bill for more information.

Brian
Brian

I haven’t heard anything re: my current account, so (for now anyway) it sounds like no new Ultimate Checking accounts.

sarah
sarah

any news about the 5% APY for current Ultimate account holders? i never received any notification that NP was reducing the APY so drastically. in your opinion, what is the best high yield account to switch to? i looked at your other post (https://www.doctorofcredit.com/high-interest-savings-to-get/) and it’s hard to find a clear winner. is insight card the best?

William Charles

Ultimate account no longer earns 5%, you should have received a letter about this: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/northpointe-5-apy-account-becoming-1-apy-best-alternatives/

Best account is insight by far

Jon
Jon

Hey Bill,

I was wondering if Venmo transactions would count. I mainly would use my debit card for Venmo transactions and I would be pushing atleast 1350+$ through per month. Would this be enough to satisfy the requirement?

Thanks,
Jon

DC
DC

Hey Jon, i spoke to a rep through customer chat, i guess there in the process of eliminating Venmo all together because it is coming from a “third party”

seriously, how can i trust this bank if they keep changing rules on us? also, if there is a green dot for every transaction counted at the end of the month

how the heck do we monitor what transaction satisfies the requirement?

it sounds to me, that you need to make more than 15 debit card transactions just to be safe to get 5%

for a single person im having a hard time thinking of more ways to satisfy this requirement. all in all, i dont even think 5% substantiates your return. you’re likely better off on a 1.25% with discover and you probably will spend less because there is no requirement to receive your annual percentage.

and the items that you will purchase on at the daily, you can use your CC. I think that quantifies a much higher return and WAY LESS stress than trying to satisfy this qualifications and FORCING yourself to spend and spend wtf?

shame on you Northpointe i spoke to many reps it appears no one really cares. except the guy in my email Sean but thats about it.

imagine having 10k in a checking account. a card in your wallet that can be stolen at any time.boom all your funds disappear.

Is anyone affiliated with the bank and what is your experience? Readers like myself would like to learn

Erik
Erik

@DC,
Are you saying that a Venmo charge is not counted as an approved transaction?
What do you mean by green dot on the transaction?

DC
DC

I spoke to a rep through e-mail and told me that Venmo at the moment do count as transactions.

He also disclosed to me that it is subject to change.

Just as told when i talked to the rep in the chat box on the website.
– She did mention that Northpointe bank is in the process of REMOVING Venmo all together as I disclosed in my previous message that Venmo is a “third party” and is trying to eliminate the use as a qualification of a debit card purchase

I believe the green dot is suppose to let you know if the transaction qualified as a “normal” day to day debit card transactions. They want you to use it at various vendors.

In the long term, at some point, you will be using your debit card without thinking about it and that comes with tremendous risk no?

Vague, unclear… at this point im like meh about this bank. stick to your savings accounts ladies and gentleman protect your funds. also guys i realized how stupid it sounds to make debit card purchases on the internet. you know how bizarre that sounds? any hacker can just take your account info and zero out your balance just like that. at least with a CC you are protected by a third party and that money is borrowed so it is not on you.

So basically you will be using your debit card at least once every two days

Moreover, I guess it comes down to how comfortable you feel having 10k in funds attached to a debit card in your wallet/purse or not

What are your thoughts community?

Erik
Erik

@DC,
The Green dot simply means that the transaction has posted. It shows it for any transaction, including deposits.

If Venmo is removed, it would be done by their debit card processor. The processor determines which Vendors are disproved.

Most banks have debit cards and they are secured by PINs that only you are supposed to know. So if stolen, it will be useless. You may decline a debit card if you prefer

It is of course up to you to determine if the extra “work” to meet the requirements is worth it for you in order to earn the higher interest.

Andrew
Andrew

Hi Bill,

Just wanted to come on here and say I’ve really enjoyed the Northpointe checking account. I opened it back in May or June and slowly I’ve started to use it as my primary checking account. I had one piece of feedback I wanted to pass along to you. I haven’t been able to figure out how to add external accounts to the Transfer tab. Is there an easy way to do this?

Thanks again for being so helpful!
Andrew

Bill Clancy

Thanks, Andrew. Always nice to hear positive feedback. 🙂

Our bank-to-bank transfer feature can be found within Bill Pay, under the Transfer Money tab. The ‘Transfers’ option within Online Banking is limited to transfers between Northpointe Bank accounts. Shoot us an email or chat message at northpointe.com if you still have questions!

Best,

Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

Trippy
Trippy

What exactly does recurring automatic withdrawal means?

Bill Clancy

Trippy,

It’s establishing a payment withdrawal from your account that occurs on a repeated, scheduled basis such as Netflix pulling their monthly dues from your account on the 1st of each month (similar examples exist with any number of payment types – auto loan, student loan, cell phone, utilities, cell phone, cable, trash/recycling, church tithing, etc.).

Thank you,

Bill

steven88
steven88

Has anybody been successful with Amazon Reloads 2% cashback when you tie your Northpointe Debit Card with your Northpointe account? I’m having some issues getting it to work. I bought 3 small reloads and it worked JUST FINE and got 2% cashback just like the promotion states. However anything after the 3rd, it just declines and cancels out on it’s own.

Has anybody encountered this before? When I buy Amazon Reload using my Northpointe Debit Card ONLY (no 2% cashback) it works completely fine. However when I use my Northpointe Debit/Bank Account combo (2% cashback) it doesn’t work anymore. Keeps declining.

Dan
Dan

Is there a minimum amount of a transaction to count?

Dan
Dan

Is there a minimum amount of a debit card transaction to count?

mike werner
mike werner

What’s the best withdrawal method people have used to automatically trigger the bonus? I’m having trouble finding a method Northepointe accepts without manual intervention. They DON”T count a popmoney withdrawal initiated at Northepoint.

Bill Clancy

Hi MW,

The list is endless – student loan payment, auto loan payment, home loan payment, tuition payments, gas / electric / recycling / cell phone / internet / tv, or credit card payments.
Subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, Birchbox all work. Some folks even do church tithing or other recurring donation expenses. All of these count. This list is not all-inclusive; there’s probably 100+ other things that work too. 🙂

Best,

Bill

Josh
Josh

Bill, I didn’t get my 5% for September and I’m not understanding why. I had 15 total debit card transactions for September with transactions number 14 and 15 posting (green dot) on 9/29. However I received the interest deposit on 9/29 for only .05%. Since 9/30 was a Saturday, shouldn’t the interest calculation happen the following Monday? That’s how my other interest earning account works.

Bill Clancy

Hi Josh,

Can you chat us at northpointe.com or send an email to my attention via our Contact Us page? I’d like to take a look to see what happened here and reply personally.

Best,

Bill

Josh
Josh

Thanks for the reply, BIll. I did chat with a representative. I simply forgot about the direct deposit or automatic withdrawal requirement.

steven88
steven88

Has anybody had their account converted or closed by Northpointe lately? I haven’t seen any from the comments section. But I’m wondering how everybody’s holding up during the recent months. If you still have your account, how are your spending behaviors?

BTW I’m thinking of opening this account. I read a comment made by “sloebrake” saying he makes 14 Amazon reloads plus one more somewhere else. And Bill from Northpointe says he won’t be disqualified as long as the transactions have varying amounts and different dates. I want to know if DoC members are having luck with this?

William Charles

From what Bill said recently Northpointe haven’t shut down anybody yet.

Matt
Matt

I know Bill Clancy reads this blog, and he has replied to several of my comments in the past, so I wanted to pass along some more feedback for him.

I really like the new eStatements. The layout is much nicer and cleaner. It looks much more modern – the old eStatement documents looked really dated.

I’m guessing that glitch from July 17th (where people were mistakenly unenrolled from eStatements, and therefore mistakenly “disqualified” from the 5% interest) was related to this upgrade.

It’s human nature that we’re all very quick to blame and criticize, but not as quick to praise and compliment. I know you had to take a lot of heat from people over that one (including me, sorry!), so I just wanted to say that I’m very happy with how everything ended up. The glitch was corrected for me right away, and the eStatements look much better now.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Clancy!

Bill Clancy

Thanks, Matt. Yes, the eStatement glitch in mid-July was a result of the new statements project. I appreciate the positive feedback on the new design (you’re overly kind in describing the old design….it felt 20+ years out of date 😉 ). I’m excited to share we have a lot of good things still coming in 2017 – support for Android Pay and Samsung Pay (Apple Pay is already available), plus custom debit cards. Mobile Banking and Online Banking are on the list too – but by year-end may be too optimistic for timing.

Thanks again,

Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

Sa
Sa

Yaaay to integration in Samsung pay.

Jack
Jack

So I got the 5% interest paid for the month of July using 15 $0.50 Amazon reloads, should I give it another go for this month or will Northpointe clamp down sometime before the end of this month causing a loss of some accrued interest?

If I try again this month with the 50 cent Amazon reloads I’m risking about $9.50 because that is about how much interest I would earn in the account the $10,000 would be transferred to.