Posted by Chuck on June 5, 2017
Checking Accounts

Published on June 5th, 2017 | by Chuck

228

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.



228 Responses to Northpointe 5% Checking Adds Restrictive Language Regarding Debit Card Usage

  1. joE says:

    bad move…. It’s ok to make the rule of $500, or whatever else amount, but to come out and say “at our discretion” gives no clear expectations. EVERY reward checking account out there has very clear rules and limits. This is very very disappointing to say the least.

    I don’t understand why these guys can’t make up their minds about this and keep changing it on customers, and not they have clearly demonstrated that with no amount of data points, they still can’t make up their minds so they will leave it open to “their feelings”.

    wow just wow.

    • J says:

      Agree. Flip flopping policies is a terrible look and is not the way to gain trust

    • Dan says:

      I agree, and wishing I hadn’t opened the account in the first place. Waste of a Chex pull. I don’t feel comfortable using the account as my daily checking anymore because they could just determine I’m not spending enough, at their discretion.

    • Rick says:

      Agreed, this is ridiculous. If they can’t be bothered to tell us what the rules actually are, then I won’t be bothered to keep any of my money there.

      Reminds me of the craziness RingPlus (the budget cell carrier) pulled when they were on their way out.

    • Chuck says:

      Joe, I agree with you. I think having fixed rules is the best policy so people can make an informed decision.

      • Evan says:

        I really don’t see why all of you agree. I think this email explains their expectations pretty clearly: they expect people to use the account for regular spend throughout the month, instead of making transactions just to trigger the rewards requirements. We all understand what this means, are you playing dumb or something? If they judge you’re abusing their rewards, they can shut you down, that’s always been the case. With this amount of people trying to game the system and some of them in ridiculous volumes, it is only reasonable for FIs to crack down on such behaviors. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll certainly see a lot more of this in the future. It just doesn’t make any sense for people to complain and whine about how they can’t pull their sketchy tricks anymore. If you don’t like it, just move to the next one until they also shut you down, like you’ve always been doing.

        • Ferris says:

          Finally, I read an intelligent comment

        • anthonyjh21 says:

          No, we’re not playing dumb. As was already mentioned, they’d better serve their customer base by creating clear expectations from the beginning.

          The fact that their CEO or whatever his title is posts here and is acutely aware of what types of customers they may attract tells you they are a bank who doesn’t fully know what they want or at some level isn’t in unison on a clear strategy for customer acquisition and retention.

          The bank has every right to set their own terms and restrictions just like we can close our accounts. To me and many here this has nothing to do with how low the fruit hangs and more to do with moving the goal post after the ball is snapped.

        • Eric says:

          Your post makes a lot of sense although it’s a little surprising that you didn’t already realize this about people.

          I don’t know if you read when some kind of Buxx got shut down (I forgot which one) last year. People were so irritated that they were no longer able to cheat the system by lying about being a “teen”.

        • KP says:

          It’s not just playing dumb. First of all, you have to acknowledge that the segment of the population that would be here is an exception and a minority compared to the masses that would have little to no idea how a bank actually makes money off of an account. So for a lot of people, they would get caught completely blind not realizing that their account behavior was unprofitable for the bank and got them shut down. The fact that a bank’s behavior effectively promotes that situation, at the very least, puts a very bad taste in our mouth.

          It is CLEAR from their text that they reserve the right to shut you down not just for blatantly abusing the account, but just for being unprofitable in general. Which is in their rights, but again it’s just scumbaggy to not set clear expectations. It’s not clear in their terms, so for all we know we could very easily spend $500/month but then get shut down because there’s not other large purchases that they expect in “normal” behavior. Besides if $500/month was their profitability line for a 5K account, it should be 1k/month for 10K. So by my expectations, that account would be closed. But that’s just my guess because who knows, right. There’s no way in hell I’ll ever set up an account if I have to constantly be stressing about getting shut down for what, for me, with my actual NORMAL behavior, isn’t good enough for them.

          I didn’t open the account myself (because I knew this would happen – although I didn’t think it would be THIS soon) so I’m not personally invested. But acting like this is clear and nice bank behavior is silly.

          Imagine if your grandma set up this account, and she’s old fashioned and uses cash for everything normally, but she’ll give this account the old college try and start using a debit card for her trips to the grocery store, drug store, and occasional restaurant. But then her $300 in monthly purchases there aren’t “normal” enough for them. You’ll tell your grandma she should’ve known better than to abuse good guy Northpointe with her sketchy behavior?

          • Evan says:

            It is just your speculation (and other people’s) that your grandma’s account would be shut down with only $300 spend. I don’t get anything like that. I feel that if your grandma uses her account for her groceries and other everyday spend, she’ll be fine even with $300 or less. If this turns out not to be the case, you’ll have a very good point. Until then, it’s just whining.

          • Julia says:

            What if a grandma purchases 15 different pills at a drug store, all made as separate transactions in 1 day? Will this constitute “normal” behavior? Will they have algorithms with the “if/else” scripts set in place to capture un-normal behavior or hire additional operations analysts to monitor every single person’s account to catch people who don’t behave?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just opened this account and want to make it my primary checking. But I don’t use a debit card. I would think no one on Doc uses a debit card.

    I am now nervous to switch over employer direct deposit and all my CC auto-pays. I don’t want to deal with the pain that comes with having to switch everything back and or deal with rejected payments and deposits. Bill, if you’re reading this, please make this requirement easier. You will gain lifelong customers!!

    • NoonRadar says:

      Had I not already switched my DD, I wouldn’t do it now. Unfortunately for me I’m just passed the bait & switch part, already switched all primary banking & pushed the money to Northpointe.

      @FreequentFlyr made a good point on Twitter abt looking at Consumer CU as an alternative (https://www.doctorofcredit.com/consumers-credit-union-5-07-apy-on-up-to-20000-rewards-checking/), requirements seem reasonable–and clear & steady–for getting 4.9% on up to $20K, including a card + Equifax hard pull. Unlimited ATM refunds worldwide also makes tthe Consumer CU debit card a great travel companion. I was planning on opening this at some point anyhow, might now do it a bit sooner if they are sensitive to new credit card accounts (for the credit card approval part). If they also take MO it would be even better, though not a must-have.

      • Culinarykid92 says:

        CCU doesn’t refund ATM fees worldwide, just in the US. I know because I asked them when I was interested in the account. I soon after decided I would go to Synchrony Bank for a fairly high APY that is no hassle without a cap. That and the bank is well established and I have cards with them.

        • NoonRadar says:

          That’s what he had said, was probably mistaken, thanks for clarifying. I will keep my Alliant accounts open no matter what, I know they do reimburse $20/month including international charges, that is plenty for practical reasons I think since most ATM operators abroad don’t charge fees and I rarely do ATM withdrawals domestically.

  3. MSer says:

    Bait and switch. Totally predictable

  4. Andrew C says:

    Since I know that Bill from Northepointe regularly interacts here, I hope he sees this comment — this is not how a professional bank interacts with its clients. Lay out clear, consistent rules that customers can understand and stick by those. Want $500 in spend per month? Say so! Want transactions at 10 different merchants per month? Say so! Cut out the arbitrary terms like “expected use” and “calculated and limited fashion” and set some simple rules that customers can deal with.
    I was in the process of converting over to using this as my primary checking, but I’m not going to bother at this point — I have no interest in dealing with an operation that wants to play with secret rules.

    • joE says:

      exactly, I’m not going to live in fear that my account will get shut down for “limits” I’m an unaware of. To me $15 of debit card might be normal spend to another $10k might be normal spend.

      This is not a fraud typology that you need to keep secret, this is supposed to be a “rewards” checking.

      Northpointe Bank…where we reward you by closing your checking account without you knowing why!

      Great motto!

      • Customer says:

        Nothing to worry about, if Northpointe Bank ever decides to fuck with the customers, I will personally get a bunch of us guys here over at DoC and simultaneously file a CFPB complaint against these guys. Imagine a small bank with 100 employees suddenly getting 30+ complaints – I’d imagine a huge waste of time and possibly a deep review by the Feds for the sudden spike in negativity. Let’s just hope if they cancel an account that it’s not sudden or random.

        • Kate says:

          Orrrr how about we don’t threaten a bank that’s offering a very generous interest rate and simply doesn’t want people abusing that generosity? They don’t OWE us a 5% rate; they’re choosing to reward customers who use the account for its intended purpose. And if it’s in their terms that they can cancel accounts at any time, then it’s well within their rights to do so.

    • Ferris says:

      Nothing was changed here. All that was stated was essentially them saying “If you abuse it, you will lose it.” Just like EVERYTHING ELSE ever posted on this website.

      There are just so many cry babies on here.

    • anthonyjh21 says:

      Well said. Anyone who wants to defend Northpointe needs to read what you wrote. The fact that Bill knows the DoC customer profile and made changes this soon after implementing their new account is even more concerning about the longevity of this account even for those who use it as a daily driver.

    • Sarah says:

      It’s “arbitrary” because every person uses their accounts in different ways. They want to accommodate both small spender and big spenders.

  5. Dan says:

    Well, that didn’t take long.

  6. jf says:

    What do you expect? I guarantee you if I got a credit card with northpointe and got in on this checking deal, and did only 20 debits, they wouldnt restrict me…….. gotta show some love somehow. Thats what I do now with my current bank which offers 5.01% on 5k, lets you have TWO accounts, so its really 10k, so 20 swipes total, plus they have a 8% interest CC with no bt fees. It is illinois only, can apply online, but restricted to certain counties. However it says they will make exceptions.

  7. joE says:

    “Since the previous requirement was to spend $500, we can venture to guess that $500 is ‘enough’ to satisfy the debit requirement.”

    So every new customer who doesn’t visit sites like this and doesn’t know the history of this account who will be a light user of their debit card will get their accounts shut down and closed without any warning. And if they do get a warning, it still won’t have a limit but the verbiage of “hey we told you to use it normally”, and the average person will be like WTF is normally? I used it 15 times for a sum of say $100.

    This is just bad customer service and will not lead to high retention percentages. Once again you SET LIMITS if that is what you wish.

    • Chuck says:

      Fair point. I was just saying that $500 should be okay. But you are likely correct that even less should be fine. Not everyone spends $500+ per month on card.

  8. NoonRadar says:

    “It’s not surprising that they’ve added the limitation as it seemed too generous without that.”

    I’d say it is unpleasantly surprising for everyone who opened a new account assuming Northpointe’s A criteria for the 5% rate to now have to comply with criteria B or else. After all, it was Northpointe who set up said criteria A, I’d venture to say knowing that a lot of people would do just what now Northpointe says doesn’t qualify for 5% rate (many small debit transactions), being they advertised it on this blog and seeming to have a good idea of what a lot of this blog readers do with similar accounts.

    Just a month ago I expressed my reluctance to open a Northpointe account and switch my primary banking to it fearing a bait & switch type of change once they got lots of new accounts: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/northpointe-5-interest-checking-account/#comment-399050

    I guess I had waited a bit longer than a month to jump in, but oh well, I already did now and I do plan to use my Northpointe account as the primary CHECKING–not credit card–account. I don’t mind doing some debit transactions but the vagueness of the terms and the hassle of having to maintain not just a dollar amount but also a number of debit transactions might just make me let it be/disqualified & go back to Alliant as my primary checking/savings + open one or two more 4-5% accounts from Insight and other credit unions, especially since some of them seem to be OK with a significant level of MO deposits (kinda killing two birds with one stone).

  9. Avi says:

    That is so US Bank of them. They gave a great offer and now they nerfed it!

    • Ferris says:

      The offer still stands. They are just formally telling you that you can’t abuse it. Use some common sense.

  10. frugal_juan says:

    It’s a checking account, not a stealth savings account so no real surprise.

    The error was not keeping the former requirements and just simply increasing the rate cap from $5k to $10k.

    • Matt says:

      Agreed. I mentioned this in my very long comment below. Their Ultimate Account was already the #1 rewards checking account in America at 5% APY on $5,000 with 15 debit transactions for $500. As a customer, I felt like that was a great deal. As a business, I’m assuming they weren’t struggling to stay afloat at that rate; otherwise, they wouldn’t have doubled the cap and removed the restrictions.

      While I was certainly happy to see them one-up themselves, it was a mind-boggling move in my eyes. They were already ahead of the rest of the competition, so I don’t know what prompted them to make that change. If I had to choose between this “better” account that can now be shut down arbitrarily for “unusual spending activity”, or the previous account with the lower cap/higher restrictions, I would *much* rather have the latter.

      • Eric says:

        They did it to attract more customers I would presume. They probably didn’t anticipate the majority would just do the bare minimum to get the good rate. Of course since Bill has visited this blog several times in the past he shouldn’t be surprised.

        When I saw they were raising it to 10K I thought for sure the terms would be more restrictive (ie $750 spend and/or 20 transactions). I could see this issue coming a mile away.

  11. joE says:

    I’m sure they’ll be very excited to hear from the CFPB when customers complain about their closed account with out clear reason.

    I’ll be the first to educate people on their social media on how to go about filing a CFPB complain if they post about their account closure.

    There is a reason banks are held to high standards of clarity and disclosure and not based on someone’s feelings in the bank office. lol

    • Customer says:

      joE, I responded to your comment above before I read this one, and I’m pleasantly amused and smiling that we think so alike 🙂 Perhaps we should put that on their Twitter/FB/other social media pages

    • rjj says:

      very good idea about CFPB thank you!

    • Eric says:

      Don’t other reward checking accounts have similar ambiguous language? Did you complain in those threads too?

      • joE says:

        they sure don’t, look it up yourself.

        • Bill Clancy says:

          Yes, this change was guided and approved by FDIC (our primary regulator). It’s also in line with disclosure verbiage used by 200+ other financial institutions that offer Rewards Checking Accounts (note: I’m aware of 650+ FIs with RCAs so many but not all use similar verbiage).

        • Eric says:

          I said “other”. I didn’t say “all”. This means that even if 1 other reward checking account has similar language I would be correct and you would be wrong.

          I certainly will not be looking up the hundreds of different reward checking accounts to prove I am correct. I know for a fact that I saw similar ambiguous language about “everyday spend” on the terms for a couple of reward checking accounts that DoC has posted about.

          I remember it well because it scared many people away. Maybe you didn’t read those threads but they do exist.

      • Customer says:

        LMCU does not. They require 10 debits only and don’t have threatening or abusive language or pull bait and switch on their owners (I use owners instead of customers since it’s a credit union). If you max the $15,000 deposit and earn 3% per year, that’s $50 less than NP Bank, but with the possibility of opening 3 Insight accounts and can just leave it there to earn 5% interest, NP could go to hell and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I’d say the only disadvantage is that your interest is paid-out quarterly but it still accrues daily.

    • Ferris says:

      Calling the CFPB in this case is just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Your entitlement to gaming the system is something made up in your mind. You aren’t entitled to abusing the system – you can sure game it until it doesn’t work. Just like Redbird, Bluebird, Chase pre-5/24, BOA 8 apps in a day, etc.

      Quit acting like you are entitled to everything in life.

      • joE says:

        not going to waste my time with you as you’ve trolled the replies here and don’t understand the basic concept of banking regulations and disclosures. not everyone games like you by visiting sites like this.

    • They cleared it with regulatory authorities before adding it.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Yes, this change was guided and approved by FDIC (our primary regulator). It’s also in line with disclosure verbiage used by 200+ other financial institutions that offer Rewards Checking Accounts (note: I’m aware of 650+ FIs with RCAs so many but not all use similar verbiage).

        • joE says:

          200+? Show us one reward checking FI that DOES NOT spell out minimum spend requirements BUT at the same time has similar verbiage where they go on and on about how “inappropriate transactions” will not be acceptable.

          Make sure however that you don’t confuse fraud, AML/OFAC verbiage with rewards checking transactions. Show me one FI that goes on and on about how one should use their debit card but at the same time gives zero guidance on the dollar amount.

          I or the CFPB don’t care if 90% meet your hidden requirements. Out of the other 10% not all are wanting to “just” meet requirements. There will be light users, I’m not going to make this in to story time and give you examples of who is a light user. You are making a blanket statement that “light” user accounts will be changed or terminated. Just goes to show it’s not the customer you care about but the banks profitability and that my friend is what the CFPB cares about. FDIC might have approved your disclosures, but they don’t care about customers being treated “fairly”.

          CFPB: “We are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. ”

          So when CFPB comes in and asks for a sample of all your reward checking customers you better pray to God those 10% you closed are not low income minorities and that 90% you kept open are affluent people who are “big spenders” to keep your reward checking profitable.

          Bill, this was food for thought and no need to reply bud. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

          Cheers!

        • Bill says:

          Kasasa (fka Bancvue) has this exact language, sadly.
          I looked at one credit union, and it sounded really great until I read the fine print that I was handed at the end of the interaction. There’s even some fine print that one can only have one Kasasa account per SSN.
          Santander and Wells offer options where the account can be free with a set of transactions, but they don’t limit what “counts”.

  12. Andrew says:

    Wow. To think that I referred a bunch of people to Northpointe and said how great they were. In reality, it’s clear a bunch of unqualified, indecisive children operate this bank.

  13. R says:

    are they cursed to always have two restrictions? just $500 or just 15 not good for them?

  14. Kevin says:

    This is exactly why I didn’t open an account there last month when I was looking for a rewards checking. I saw the changes and read all the information from last month and figured it would change again. This is actually kind of worse than I thought it might be as it’s not really clear as to what they want. I’d say the $500/mo is a good guess, since that’s what they had as a rule before.

    • joE says:

      This should not be a guessing game. The average customer who doesn’t read boards like this doesn’t have to receive a letter saying your account was closed because of some hidden limits you did not meet/know about.

      • Elmer says:

        Most of those “average” customers will easily fit their profile. They likely will be using their debit cards for multiple transactions throughout the month. They know they are signing up for a minimum of 15 – and will be using for at least 15 “average” daily transactions. Gas, groceries, and a couple meals for most people will already come close to the minimums, plus some daily transactions. It will be clear who the gamers are without much work. Don’t kid yourself – you’re not that clever JoE – despite the cute case sensitivity.
        You know exactly what you’re doing, and what your risks are.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Hi Joe,

        Help me understand what’s hidden here – the new terms are in the disclosures for all new account holders, are being sent via email or mail to all existing account holders and we’re going so far as to hop on forums like this to help further communicate and clarify the change. I’m open to hearing other suggestions for how we could increase or improve communication around this.

        Best,

        Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

        • artgriego says:

          What’s hidden is that there are clear provisions in the terms for Northpointe to arbitrarily deny benefits, despite someone meeting the stated account activity requirements with their genuine spending. Why does my daily $1.75 trip on the subway not count as day-to-day spending? Since I live next to a grocery store, I typically buy just about $10 worth of food every few days, is that a wide enough dollar range for you?

          What’s bothersome is that you leave these ambiguities in what are supposed to be crystal-clear terms. There are real people with real spending behavior out there, who would qualify on paper for this account and benefits, but sound like they might incur your ire and get shutdown.

          • joE says:

            Easy on the common sense artgriego, remember this a for profit organization not a for people organization and no matter how many rules and regulations we pass, they will find a way to get around them, ok ok meet them.

            But when people like us try to meet their rules, 15 transactions and beg them for more rules then all the sudden we become a threat.

            So we can either move on and not waste our time/breath on these institutions or open an account, let them close it and finally let an organization like the CFBP be the judge who was in the right or wrong. I know which route I’m going 🙂

  15. Anup says:

    @DOC. This is the first instance in my knowledge where doctorofcredit promoted a financial institution and then the financial institution backed out. I guess the lesson is financial institutions cannot be relied upon period.

    • kt says:

      I don’t think DOC has ever promoted any financial institutions. This site basically just displays all the facts, T&C, requirements about bank bonuses, and let the readers themselves to decide what to do. If this is “promoting” then we can say CNN is promoting terrorism because all the news they broadcast about London.

      • anthonyjh21 says:

        DoC had an exclusive sign up bonus with NP last year (I believe). Bill from NP was active in comments, answering many questions and dodging others. Regardless, DoC isn’t responsible for anything here.

        • Bill Clancy says:

          Anthony,

          If I missed a query from you, please re-post. It’s obvious we sit on opposites sides of the fence on this issue but I’ll continue to be open and respectful to hearing your opinions on the matter.

          Respectfully,

          Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

          • anthonyjh21 says:

            It was comments by others in the post(s). I’m not a NP customer, although I was close to signing up.

            My only issue here, echoed by others, is that there isn’t enough transparency with new T&C implemented after the fact.

            I’ll always believe that any business can do what is in their best interest, even if means turning away customers or changing T&C. Doesn’t mean customers will like it, but it’s a free market and both sides can make their own decisions.

            Like with people, being transparent and up front is all we can do and that’s the area where we’ll just have to agree to respectfully disagree.

    • Eric says:

      Have you ever heard of Seacoast? There are other instances too but the names don’t come to mind.

    • NN says:

      First, I pretty sure DoC put in the warning right at the beginning of that old post about the terms may change in near future.
      Second, I don’t think it is a promotion when DoC does not receive any kind of incentives from the bank. (In fact, they gave up on the promotion to get us reader better deal last year)

      • Eric says:

        That’s incorrect. What you described is a “paid promotion” to which Will does not ever participate in. This was just a normal “promotion” like many blogs and websites do every day.

  16. Matt says:

    I’ve been an account-holder with Northpointe Bank for a year-and-a-half now, and I found out about them through this site. Until today, I had raved about this bank, recommended them to everyone, and used this as my primary checking account. I’m beginning to re-consider that after today.

    Let me start by saying that I fully understand their point of view. I get that they have to make a profit to stay in business (like anyone else), and they don’t want people abusing their (admittedly generous) system.

    Here’s my issue. I use this account for my direct deposit, and make all my online bill payments from this account. I do genuinely use this as a normal checking account, minus the debit card transactions. Obviously most people reading this are heavy credit card users for the sign-up bonuses, reward points, etc. For me, I’m not even worried as much about the missed reward points by using the debit card.

    My main concern is that I simply don’t feel comfortable carrying a debit card in my wallet that has immediate direct access to $10,000 of my personal money (AKA almost my entire life savings). If just one person hits me in the head and steals my wallet, or just one merchant is a victim of a skimming data breach of some kind, my entire life savings would be at risk. I understand that I’m not liable for fraudulent purchases and all that, but when it takes “7-10 business days” to investigate, that excuse won’t fly for missing a mortgage payment.

    If I’m being honest, I’m not even sure what prompted them to raise the $5,000 limit to $10,000 *and* remove the minimum spending requirement recently. Obviously I’m quite happy about it, but they were previously the #1 rewards checking account in America already. I was happy that they one-upped themselves as a customer, but from a business point of view, it seems like a mind-boggling move. I would *much* rather have the lower $5,000 cap with the higher minimum spend requirement, instead of this “better” account that can now be closed arbitrarily on a whim, depending on their definition of “usual spending patterns”.

    **I’m fine with whatever requirements you guys need to stay afloat as a business, but just explicitly state those terms in advance***. I know I have no right to be greedy, but I don’t think I’m asking too much here.

    I know that Bill Clancy is an active reader of this blog, and I have had nothing but positive interactions with him in the past. I hope that Mr. Clancy will read this comment, provide some more clarity, and perhaps re-consider or re-orient this recent change. He seems like a smart and reasonable guy, which is why I find this so confusing. It’s no secret that virtually 100% of this blog’s base highly frowns upon using debit cards for ordinary purchases, in favor of credit card purchases for the rewards points. He’s been here long enough to know this, so I’m surprised that he would think we’re his target market for an account that goes heavy on the debit card requirements.

    Mr. Clancy, am I wrong in saying any of this, or am I being at all out of line with any of this? You can tell it to me straight if you think I am, I always welcome the chance to be proven wrong. Thanks very much for your time sir, and have a great day!

    -Matt

    • anthonyjh21 says:

      You’re definitely not being unreasonable. A well thought out post that looked at this from both sides of the coin. I think one of the biggest takeaways for me is that the change in terms is possibly a symptom of a larger problem; at what point does NP remain consistent with how they maintain your banking relationship, through situations such as debit card fraud?

      As far as #1 primary rewards checking is concerned I’d have to disagree with you there. I bank with Alliant CU and to me they’re #1 with no fees, .65 APY and flawless next day free ACH transfers. There’s been zero change to this account 1+ years. Yes, you sacrifice interest rate but you also don’t have opportunity costs, specifically lost cc spend (tax free), $10k cap, debit card liability or having to spend time and energy to ensure you’re meeting their unspecified requirements to ensure the account isn’t closed.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Matt,

      Your comments are reasonable and well thought out. It seems like the initial reaction from many folks regarding this change is to assume ‘the sky is falling.’ For the majority of our customers, NOTHING WILL CHANGE. For those folks choosing to do minimal activity for the sole purpose of maximizing the account rewards, there is now a process in place to take action. This change was guided and approved by the FDIC (our primary regulator) and ensures this offer is sustainable for the 90%+ of our customers that are currently using us as their primary checking account. Nothing hidden, nothing confusion, nothing wrong with this change.

      Thank you for banking with us, and please let me know if any additional questions.

      Sincerely,

      Bill Clancy, Nortpointe Bank

      • Matt says:

        Thanks for your reply, Mr. Clancy. It’s human nature, people are always quicker to blame and criticize, than giving credit and praise. Again, I appreciate your time and your feedback.

        I just have one follow-up question. When assessing accounts for “inappropriate transactions”, will this be done by hand for all account-holders, or will there be some kind of algorithm that flags the account automatically? (Similar to the one that automatically triggers and updates the interest to 4.88% after the requirements are met)

        If there is indeed an algorithm of some kind, I would encourage you to consider sharing it with the community. I understand the FDIC has approved your verbiage already, but I don’t see what’s stopping you from going above and beyond. I’m sure it’s within the company values at Northpointe Bank to do better than the bare minimum.

        More information never hurts anyone, in my opinion. Something like “minimum of X different merchants per month”, “no more than X transactions in one day”, “purchases must be spread out over X number of days”, etc. Something that removes the human element (AKA “we’ll know it when we see it”). Not only would that help with transparency for your customers, it could also significantly reduce your employee workload and overhead costs associated with verifying the legitimacy of each of your accounts.

      • Nick says:

        Can you comment on using the account as your main account while only using the debit card to meet the transaction requirement in the easiest way possible? Most of us here don’t use debit cards at all.

        • joE says:

          They don’t consider regular payroll, billpay, automatic debits, check writing etc. as part of everyday/main checking. They have been very clear that you could pay 200 bills, write 500 checks, have all your payroll deposits come in BUT if you don’t do 15 transactions AND a magical amount, no one knows, of debit card spending then your account will be converted or shutdown.

          They are trying to weed out what is to “them” unprofitable customers in totally a wrong way. They refuse to accept the fact that in today’s day and age it’s completely ok to have checking accounts with very little to no debit card activity and still for it to be your main checking account.

          So the answer to your questions is no, it’s NOT possible to meet the transaction # requirements in the easiest way possible if your don’t plan to spend lots of money, on different days, from different vendors etc. Christ that sounds pathetic, unbelievable.

      • Andrew C says:

        @Bill, it continues to be patently false to claim that there is “nothing hidden” here — you clearly have some secret criteria to identify what looks like a “primary checking account” that you are unwilling to publish and put as part of the terms. You must have such criteria to arrive at that 90% number. It is that lack of clarity that is bothering people.

      • Julia says:

        Hi, Bill Clancy,

        If this is my activity for the month, will it constitute “normal behavior” according to your rules and regulations?

        1) June 5th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        2) June 6th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        3) June 7th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        4) June 8th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        5) June 9th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        6) June 10th – Gas Station – $35.00
        7) June 11th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        8) June 12th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        9) June 13th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        10) June 14th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        11) June 15th – Gas Station – $35.00
        12) June 16th – Harmon’s – $28.00
        13) June 17th – Smith’s – $63.00
        14) June 18th – Subway sandwich – $1.75
        15) June 19th – Subway sandwich – $1.75

        I am a regular consumer, who goes to work every day, and purchases a Subway sandwich for lunch, gets groceries twice a month at Smith’s and Harmons’s and fills up her car with gas twice a month.

        Please clarify if this activity will trigger the “normal usage” check mark in your banking system.

        Thanks,

        Julia

  17. Frito Pendejo says:

    What a waste of time. if they don’t give guidelines as to what is acceptable we can’t make a value judgement

  18. NBG says:

    Happened exactly what some of us were saying in the prior thread. Shady bank with bait and switch written all over it.

  19. Peter says:

    Not sure why they think it’s “normal, day-to-day spending behavior” to use a debit card.

    The only reason to use a debit card is withdrawing cash at an ATM or purchasing a money order. A person should not use debit for purchases. They should be using a credit card.

    • NoonRadar says:

      Most people in general do use debit cards more than credit cards. But, most people in general also aren’t financially savvy and about half of US consumers carry balances on credit cards at a wtf% rate that costs them an arm an a leg. However, advertising a checking account on DoC, knowing its readers don’t use debit cards at all (much less like most people), getting a bunch of new accounts then later switching to ‘must use debit cards like rest of the people or we’ll shut you down if we see fit’ is, well, kinda of the definition of bait & switch, but with an added layer of vagueness as icing on top.

      I have no doubt DoC (Will & Chuck) had nothing but the best intentions with allowing Northpointe to promote this account here directly. But, I do hope a lesson was learned here and next time, should another bank want to do the same here I’d hope that DoC would ask the bank preemptively for clear & steady requirements. I definitely don’t hold DoC responsible for this, it isn’t possible to predict a financial institution’s behavior even with a pledge for up-front clarifications. But with something like that you’d hope a bank would be a bit more reluctant to bait & switch, whether on the bait or the switch part.

  20. Mickey says:

    I’ll be pulling my $10K from Northpointe now and moving it elsewhere. Bye Northpointe.

  21. Miz says:

    I can’t stop scratching my head repeating “what’s wrong with them?”.
    There is definitely a threshold for debit card transactions (amounts and numbers) above which the account will be sustainable for Northpointe. What is it that makes it so difficult for them to explicitly and simply describe that threshold in the checking account T&C as a requirement for receiving 5% interest?

    • artgriego says:

      Because their hope is that the requirements will be so onerous that you will just throw up your hands and make it your main checking account and purchasing card, thereby exceeding the activity they want (and getting them more transaction fees in the process) instead of gaming it deliberately and just barely scraping by. I bet if they were to list the real requirements for us to be profitable on a free checking account alone, they would be absurd. Additionally, this account is a loss leader for them and they only want serious customers that are going to take loans from them as well.

  22. Ben says:

    I just signed up for an account and was planning on moving $10,000 into the account and move my bill payments over. My normal debit card transactions equal at least 15 a month but the total is not near $500. Northpointe has a good reputation and I am not going to write them off just because they updated their terms. I can understand them using the terms to shutting down people making 15 $1 transactions a month, but the vagueness is not promising. I am also going to wait until a month or two for the data points to trickle in on what “normal, day-to-day spending behavior” means.

    • Evan says:

      Probably the only reasonable comment I’ve read so far.

      • Miz says:

        Ben’s comment is reasonable, so are many other comments here. But your comment is definitely not reasonable.

        • Evan says:

          Says another whiner. Why are all of you guys complaining? As far as I understand, they didn’t really change anything. They’re just saying they want people to use their accounts for regular spend, and if this doesn’t happen, they reserve the right to close your account or switch it to one that doesn’t earn interest.

          You’re asking for amounts and numbers, it doesn’t seem like anything changed: it’s 15 transactions, no minimum total. Why don’t they give you a minimum spend requirement or raise the number of transactions? Because even if they did, you’d do those minimum requirements just to get the bonus and it seems they don’t care about customers like that. Is it really that hard to get?

    • Eric says:

      Bill wrote in the letter that he doesn’t want people doing all of the transactions the same day and especially not near the end of the month. That seems pretty clear to me.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thank you for the comment. Based on what you posted above, I don’t foresee any issues here. The key factor is to have a wide range of debit charges (amounts, dates, types).

      Thank you for banking with us.

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

  23. NN says:

    this is the reason why I stay with my local FCU, a bit lower rate but higher cap (15k), and most importantly, they don’t care how I use my debit card to fulfill the requirements.

  24. MarcoPolo says:

    Procrastination paid off for me this time.
    Good luck to everyone who were not so lucky.

  25. Charles Chang says:

    So, you can still legitimately doing calculated reward spending for this month 🙂

  26. Archie Zhang says:

    Sigh, I just moved $9000 into that account, now I have to move it back after two months. Thanks to ADP I can easily change my DD online.

  27. Dan says:

    So if they close your account because you’re arbitrarily using the account differently from what they secretly expect, do you get a black mark on your Chex report that could deter future financial institutions from doing business with you? Tempted to close my account preemptively to avoid such a situation.

    • NBG says:

      I don’t think they can do that. They will be taken to the cleaners via CFPB for doing such a thing when they dont define what ‘ordinary spending’ is.

    • I doubt they would report it as closed by them.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Will’s comment is accurate.

        • Julia says:

          Before they close it, they will send you a notification email and official letter in the mail, saying you have a certain period of time to withdraw your funds and the closing date of your account will be such and such. They will not be shutting down accounts automatically without first alerting you about this action.

  28. Stefan says:

    This bizarre policy makes Northpointe Bank look shady and untrustworthy, not exactly what I look for in a primary bank account. Why would I move direct deposits and automatic bill payments to a bank that might randomly close my account at any time for not matching some super-secret profile of what my charges should be? They need to have explicit requirements that are sustainable and profitable for Northpointe, and not play ridiculous bait-and-switch games with customers.

    • joE says:

      cause the FDIC gave them the warm fuzzy feeling of it’s ok to screw your customers over because of how they worded their disclosures.

      It’s good enough to meet the regulations but it’s not good enough to do people right and this organization from day one made it clear that profitability is their number one priority and not transparency.

      This is not a “rewards” checking, it’s a “fear mongering conformity” checking.

  29. DirtyLilRat says:

    Flip flopping AFTER the mass influx of customers opening accounts. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

  30. Derek says:

    northpointe should take it as a gamble. If you do lose some money to a certain people, you are also winning for the rest. If the model you are designing make yourself in danger, shame on you, but you can shut down the entire product, instead of being as low as using your “smart” head to close down “bad” customers.

  31. Max says:

    >which would result, often-times, in balances far greater than $10,000

    Dr Moneybags 😛

  32. CC says:

    So much for being transparent

  33. gary says:

    I’ve had this account for a while. I only use the debit card to meet the requirement as someone else mentioned I will not use it where it leaves my hand (restaurant etc) so i usually only use it for online transactions. I dont do 15 $1 transactions my total will be about 200 / mo. If they decide to close my account so be it. it clearly says We have the right to close this account at any time, with proper notice. better be at least 2 weeks notice. If my funds get frozen for nonsense there will be an ncua and cfbp complaint. but if its done reasonably. Its their right to change product type with notice saying next month this is no longer an ultimate account or remove your funds by x date ( a few weeks notice) and any funds after that date will be mailed to you as account will be closed.
    so as long as i get proper notice and a chance to take the money out myself. i will stay there for now. but if i see them arbitrarily shut people down because they dont like WHO we pay with the debit card. I’m outta there
    Hopefully , we will get a comment from the “helpful” northpointe person that was around to answer all those questions promoting the product last month.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Gary,

      I appreciate your business and your concern. Based on what you posted above, I don’t foresee any issues here. The key factor is to have a wide range of debit charges (amounts, dates, types).

      Thank you for banking with us.

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

      • gary says:

        Appreciate you don’t anticipate any issues. However, I hope you can understand the ambiguous language makes folks uneasy. If you determine someone isnt using the account on whatever criteria you use. Will you provide them notice before closing the account with a week or two window , so they have an opportunity to withdraw the funds themselves or will you simply close the account and the account holder needs to wait until you send them a check for their balance. That needs to be answered with Transparency so people know may happen, not the ambiguity of the language in the PDF. Thanks

      • Eric says:

        Gary made a good point. What does “with proper notice” mean exactly? If you do decide to shut down people’s accounts it would be nice if you give at least a few week’s notice as I’m sure many of us pay our bills from this account.

        • Bill Clancy says:

          Hi Eric,

          Account closures would not occur without sufficient notice. Typically that means 30 days. It would be a very narrow scenario in which an immediate closure would occur…I’m not able to provide an example off the top of my head that would result in an immediate closure but for me to say ‘it will never happen’ would be too strong of a declaration.

          Sincerely,

          Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

          • Eric says:

            That seems quite fair. In the letter it mentions possibly being downgraded to a different account.

            Would the same 30 day notice apply or would that happen immediately?

      • Ed says:

        Hi Bill,

        Could you please give us some numbers to keep our account on the safe side? What amount the bank expect us to use, and how frequency.

        Thank you.

  34. bg says:

    I soon as I get the next interest payment I’m taking the money out. That’s -10K for them.

    • Kate says:

      And +500/yr that they won’t have to pay you…so eh, I can see their side.

      • bg says:

        And +10k for Insight and Republic bank, which gives the exact same interest rate. If a bank cannot make more than $500 out of 10k for a year, that’s a major problem for them.

  35. Dan says:

    I really wish you stopped promoting this bank. This is complete BullShit.

    • What would you prefer we do? We posted when they changed the terms and even included a warning.

      • Jim says:

        I for one appreciate your and the site’s transparency with Northpointe, sharing all changes with us readers, whether good or not so good.

        Keep up the great work!

          • Kate says:

            Agreed! The point of this site is to present all the information and let readers make their own informed decisions…not exclude a bank because it doesn’t want you to game its system. I’m still deciding whether this is worth it to me but I appreciate being kept up to date.

          • Julia says:

            You did very well, William! Your newsletter doesn’t promote anything. You posted all the facts and I opened my account with them. And now it’s up to me to either keep it and perform “normal behavior” transactions or withdraw my funds and go elsewhere.

  36. Jake says:

    Just make 15 small purchases at various retailers throughout the month and replace the money you spend. If they’re small enough, then you will be able to minimize the opportunity cost of not using your 2% cash back card. Let’s say your average purchase was for $5 * 15 transactions = $75. The opportunity cost of not using your 2% back card for those purchases would be $75 * .02 = $1.50. While the amount you made off of 5% interest on $10,000 would be $41.67 for the month. Leaving you with a net profit of $40.17 every month with an effective interest rate of 4.82%.

    • Bill says:

      In all reality the number of transactions isn’t what drives the bank’s profitability on these accounts (quite the opposite actually), its the dollar amount of debit transactions that really matters. They would be far better off if we did one transaction a month for $500 than 15 transactions totaling $500. They make money off interchange (a percentage of the dollars spent). The more transaction an account does, the more it costs them. There is a flat cost per transaction they have to pay to VISA and their processor. Its all about interchange revenue for them. Customers like the readers of DoC who primarily use credit cards are definitely not their target audience. All these banks that incentivize lots of debit transactions are playing a game, hoping that most people will not take advantage of their offers for above market interest rates by doing a whole bunch of small dollar debit transactions. It really makes no sense for these banks to do this because it attracts cherry-pickers like us. My goal is to seek out offers that ensure that whatever bank I use would be better off if I wasn’t their customer. It becomes a game because they eventually have to change their offers to stop the bleeding and I have to remain nimble and move on to the next mark.

      • artgriego says:

        The interchange doesn’t come close. The 5% interest is $500/year; even if they made a whopping 2% on interchange you’d have to spend $25,000 per year on this debit card. What they really want are serious banking customers who will take loans from them.

        • NoonRadar says:

          “What they really want are serious banking customers who will take loans from them.”

          From our/consumers’ perspective we know that the best way to exude confidence as a financial institution and to convince someone to take a loan/mortgage with you it to keep changing your terms right after hooking customers onto a product and otherwise to do whatever it takes to appear shady and barely legal (aka our lawyers ran the bait&switch disclosure by some gov lawyers).

          I have no doubt that anyone who stumbles upon Northpointe on these DoC threads and elsewhere will flock to them wanting to tether tens-hundreds of thousands of dollars to Northpointe Bank for 5-30 years. /s

    • Wyle says:

      1) Thats assuming $75/mo is considered “normal debit spending”. I recall Bill Clancy mentioning that $950 (or so) was considered “normal” monthly debit spending and they were only requiring half of that (when Northpointe required $500 in spend), but I can’t find it now. He did say that $35/swipe was average, so 15 “normal” swipes would be close to $500. ( https://www.doctorofcredit.com/northpointe-50-bonus-50-charity-5-apy-checking-account-no-bonus-requirements-doc-exclusive/#comment-287769 )

      2) “various” is vague and tough to implement in the computer algorithm they employ to evaluate yes/no on getting the 5%. I’m sure they don’t look through 10s or 100s of thousands of accounts by hand on the last day of the month?!

      If Northpointe wants 15 debits with a minimum of $25 each (or an aggregate of $500) from 6 different retailers, just say so. The website certainly knows the hard rules because it shows the 4.8x% interest rate when all have been met.

      • Jake says:

        I still feel like I can get away with light usage at $5 to $10 months per swipe. As long as they’re not on the same day, same amount, same merchant.

        • joE says:

          you wouldn’t have to feel like you’re getting away with anything if they communicated what they want to see from their customers like most other reward checking FI’s like LMCU, GLCU etc. do.

          But if you like ambiguity and fear, then this is the bank for you.

  37. Mohammad Moghimi says:

    Why in the world would Bill Clancy who is supposedly an active reader of this blog advertise their product here? Doesn’t he know the attitude of people here? Is he getting compensation for the number of people joining their bank?

    The bank does not obviously like the DoC readers.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Mohammad,

      Northpointe hasn’t actively marketed on the DoC site for quite some time. Any posts or mentions were a result of DoC’s decision to do so.

      Regarding DoC readers – *most are great customers*. Some choose to do 15 x $1 debit transactions; and those are not the type of relationships we’re looking for.

      I’ll close by adding that this change shouldn’t be unexpected. The intent of the account was clearly stated in the original DoC post back on 05/01/17 and it took a few more weeks to get guidance and approval back from FDIC on how our disclosure needed to read to accommodate the account’s intent. Now that their response came back, we made the appropriate change.

      Respectfully,

      Bill Clancy

      • Quicksand says:

        Thanks for your responses Bill. I’m sorry you are getting so much hate from the self entitled bratty children here. You guys are being very reasonable.

        Unfortunately most of the readers of this blog can’t make use of your account because we all prefer putting our daily spend on credit cards instead of debit cards so do you think there are any plans in the future to drop debit card requirements and just require other activity such as direct deposits, ATM withdraws, bill pays, transfers, check writing, and check cashing? Most rewards checking accounts give “credit” to those activities. I understand though if that’s not profitable to you.

        • Eric says:

          I don’t think any of the activities you mentioned make the banks any money. It’s too bad there aren’t more activities that are a win/win for the bank and us.

  38. Matt says:

    Question for Bill Clancy,
    For those of us that are not meeting this new standard currently, will we be given some time to transition to using the account as you’d want or will we be immediately closed? I have already met the requirement this month and last month the naughty way, but am willing to change my usage going forward to maintain this account. Thanks!

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Matt,

      Yes, sufficient notice will be given; typically we use 30 days notice. It would be a very narrow scenario in which an immediate closure would not occur…I’m not able to provide an example off the top of my head that would result in an immediate closure but for me to say ‘it will never happen’ would be too strong of a declaration.

      Thank you,

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

  39. tbradnc says:

    If people had been a bit more discreet instead of constantly posting vaguely worded inquires to a bank officer asking “how can we game the system and still meet the requirements?” this wouldn’t have happened.

    People need to learn to just be quiet.

    • Avi says:

      Can’t help it, there are so many noobs out there. They are the reason why so many of the MSing techniques work no longer.

      • tbradnc says:

        Reminds me of people who ACH $5 from Ally to meet a DD requirement for a bank bonus and then email to find out if they’ve met the requirements.

        Northpointe had the perfect fence around the account in the beginning – they should have just left it and increased the limit to $10k.

        • calwatch says:

          It would be nice if Northpointe gave free checks, as some organizations still need cancelled checks to activate billpay/payroll deposit. Even a starter book of 25 would be nice. Viewpoint had a good 4% account and used to give out free carbonless duplicate checks.

          The account would probably be used for lunch, parking, etc. without doing any sub $5 transactions. The one issue with the $500 minimum is that many would be tempted to just head to Walmart at the end of the month and buy a soda and a money order to go over the limit, so I can appreciate Northpointe trying to get some flexibility. Nevertheless, because of the lack of free checks, I will be closing the account. I opened it last year with the DoC bonus and have left about a thousand there while I was considering whether to qualify for the Ultimate Account bonus or not.

  40. Devon Pack says:

    Bill, is it safe to say your account is not for someone who rarely uses their debit card? The protections and rewards just don’t make sense for my family to use debit. I would still use it for all my bill pays, ach’s, and everything else but the 15 typical debit transactions isn’t practical for my family. I hate to leave but no reason to stay if I can’t get the 5%. Thank you.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi DP,

      Let’s discuss further but is best to connect directly vs. here since we’re talking personal finances. Can you connect with us via live chat at northpointe.com — you and I can hop on to talk this through.

      Thanks,

      Bill

  41. sloebrake says:

    This is my primary checking account. I opened a rewards checking account for the rewards.

    I do 1 3k+ debit purchase and 14 amazon reloads in the first week of the month – not normal behavior.
    Payroll and auto withdrawals go through the account – the most normal behavior.
    Credit cards are paid through the account – normal behavior.

    I prefer to pay with credit – which according to TSYS 2016 consumer payment study is normal (40% credit vs 35% for debit vs 11% cash). The minority of consumers prefer debit and it’s been going lower every year. I don’t carry a debit card in my wallet.

    “We expect the account’s debit card to be used frequently throughout each month” – behind the times and targets a shrinking population. 5% isn’t going to change my purchase patterns.

    So I’m stopping payroll and withdrawals, which means that it won’t be my primary for all requirements because if Northpointe closes the account “with proper notice” (vague) the night before the life insurance payment is due – well that’s a problem.

    I’ll be posting again when they enforce the fine print.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Sloe,

      I hope you’ll reconsider any changes. Nothing you list above appears unusual to me.

      Best,

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

      • YZ says:

        Bill,

        I have a question about interest calculation. In T&C, it says interest is compounding MONTHLY based AVERAGE DAILY BALANCE.

        right now, I haven’t meet this month requirement yet, interest rate shows 0.05%, and accrued interest shows 0.08 for me.

        So does it mean, “it doesn’t matter which day I met the requirement, as long as it is before the end day of current calendar month, for the current month, 5% interest is applied on AVERAGE DAILY BALANCE”? is this correct?

        • Bill Clancy says:

          YZ – you got it. Qualify on the last business day of the month and we retroactively credit the rewards rate for the full month, based on the daily balances.

          [If this is still confusing, a better way to put it is as long as you qualify during a month, you earn the rewards rate for the full month]

          Best,

          Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

      • Brian says:

        Bill,
        Are you saying that sloebrake’s usage is normal and would meet your requirements for the 5% even though he would only be using the debit card at only 2 merchants?

        I plan to use my account in a similar manner:
        15 debits of approximately $10 each to the same merchant in the first week of the month and I would also be using the debit card at my local grocery store throughout the month (probably about $200-$300) (they only accept debit). I would also be paying credit cards/utilities with BillPay, as well as at least one recurring auto-withdrawl (and obviously deposits or ACH transfers into account).

        Thanks in advance for your reply.

        • Bill Clancy says:

          Brian,

          Yes, correct – no issues with sloe’s plan; it meets the intent and concept of being a ‘primary checking account’ based on having multiple amounts, multiple merchants, multiple amounts on debit transactions *in addition to* other types of account transactions. Please note that last part — sloe also has payroll direct deposit and automatic payments. Major factor.

          Best,

          Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank.

          • Justin says:

            Hey Bill,

            That is great news. I recently signed up for the account (with your help 🙂 ) and was planning to make the switch to Northpointe as my primary checking and eventually, primary savings.

            I wouldn’t use the debit card for normal transactions, but would have many CC payments, direct deposits, and ACHs in and out.

            I was planning to utilize the same debit technique as Sloe, so it is great to hear that Sloe’s behavior (coupled with the regular checking activity) is considered normal.

            Thanks for your willingness to be active on the blog and your help in opening my account.

            Justin

      • sloebrake says:

        After a direct reply to me and Brian I’ve reconsidered.
        I’ll keep things the way they are. Thank you for the reply.

      • Confused User says:

        Hi Bill,

        Thanks for your responses. This is somewhat related (though distinct) from another question I just asked on another page. What is your expectation of those of us whose normal “primary” banking activity honestly just consists of payroll deposits, eBill-initiated payments (e.g. to credit cards) and bank transfers (e.g. to savings)? (no loans and such to pay directly from a bank account)

        Payroll deposits are doable, but besides that, the only ways for us to non-artificially meet your requirements are to:

        1. Switch from credit cards to debit cards, which is awful: even if we ignore the rewards (which is unrealistic for consumers), banks themselves recommend against using debit cards for purchases due to the higher risk of being tied to the accounts, especially one with $10k in it. It’s too risky to consistently punch in your debit card PIN in front of strangers at a grocery store or gas station, and that’s ignoring all the extra fake card readers that criminals attach to gas pumps, etc. You know the risks better than we do; nobody ever recommends using a debit card if a credit card is an option.

        2. Pay credit card bills using your bill payment feature, which is a pain because (unlike eBill-triggered payments from e.g. BofA) you don’t give us any way to genuinely automate it. Automatic Payments obviously don’t cut it when we don’t know how much we’re going to spend during the month; you’d be forcing us to manually log in every single month for every single credit card just to punch in numbers from every other credit card’s website. It’s not only painful, but it’s inevitably going to go wrong at some point, and we’re going to get charged fees/interest by the CC company when we don’t pay the right amount..

        So essentially, the only thing we can do without increasing our risk of suddenly losing money (to fraud or to mistakes/fees) is to enable direct deposit to Northpointe. Okay, but (a) is that really enough for someone with this profile, and (b) would that actually even be profitable for you? We’re obviously going to transfer out to savings any balances over $10k, so would you still find it beneficial if we enable direct deposit only to move out the funds immediately?

        Thank you!

  42. Sarah says:

    They had warned this was coming.

    This would be good for someone who has a bill that allows a debit card payment but not credit payment. Not too many bills like this anymore though.

  43. bernie says:

    Bill,

    I recall saying about a month ago – that this offer will need to be altered by the bank.
    And i think it will be needed to be altered again.

    There are credit cards like Fidelity, etc that one gets back a sure 2%. Your card seems to want to challenge that market. In order to compete, you are giving 5% but then people must jump thru hoops of using the debit card (at least as i see it) to get the 5%. But then they are losing part of the 5% savings JUST using the debit card.

    So, they may be getting 3, perhaps 4% if lucky. Which is good. The problem as i see it, is that many people, you claim to be targeting, that use debit cards don’t have 5k to place in an acct to make money off of a debit card. Most people want a REWARD they can see.

    I forecast you will be changing this requirement, again, very soon.

    I think most of the people who take advantage of 5% are right here on this board and it is they whom you are targeting. The average Joe or Jane uses a TJ Maxx card or some credit union card with a 1.5% reward.

    Your concept is too convoluted. We are the only people that can make use of it – and you don’t seem to want our business.

    What about this? Why not just make your 10k requirement pay 2.2% yearly instead of 5% (still above everyone else) and scrap ALL the other requirements? Clean, easy, gets stains out fast~ …… its an idea. Thanks for being so open to the community here. P.S., i once had an account at NP and you guys have the best TRANSFER process of any bank.

    • Justin says:

      Hi Bernie – can you elaborate on what makes their transfer process the best? Thanks!

      • bernard says:

        Hi Justin……

        The transfer process at other banks usually goes like this:
        You easily request a transfer, and its accomplished in 3 days. They are almost all good and when the funds are entering the bank – there is no fees.

        As i recall, at NPointe, the transfer process was like lightning. I BELIEVE it was accomplished in 1-2 days. I am just quoting from memory as i closed my acct 5 months ago. Nice, clean, front end to the transfer too, as i recall. The entire site wasn’t cluttered with offers and such. Hope this helps.

  44. NP Customer says:

    I previously meet the minimum requirements to gain the interest every month by preforming certain tasks. I’m sure a percentage of users do also.

    I would never carry this DC or any other DC around to make purchases. I hardly use a CC and the information magically gets stolen and fraudulent purchases occur occasionally. No one has ever stolen the cash in my pocket and made a purchase in a different state within an hour.

    Without knowing what will meet this new criteria, I do not believe I would want my 10k sitting around for the month not knowing what interest it will make. Post us a check list of what needs to be done and not just say at our discretion. Terms like “in which payroll transactions and day-to-day spending activities” are vague at best. I am self employed and do not receive a pay check. My day to day spending activities include using cash only. Does that mean I qualify if I don’t use your DC at all since this is my day to day spending habits?

    $40 per month interest is not worth the game of “am I going to get interest or my account closed?” I avoid other FI’s that have the day to day spending verbiage in their terms. Unless a more detailed list comes out with minimum spending habits, I will be avoiding NP now also.

    Certain people are attracted to these types of web sites like the DOC for a reason. We generally have funds available that we want to gain a return on. I don’t see the average Joe coming to one of these sites to gain 5% on 10K that they happen to have laying around and will do their day to day spending on a DC to get it. Perhaps NP should create separate account types, one to attract the day to day spenders and one that attracts the investors. I had no issue with $500/15 transactions on 5K. Changing the requirements instead of adding a new type of account did not make any sense to me. I can only see the lose in current customers and their capital who use it to gain the return. I would be interesting in knowing NP’s customer/capital gain/loss after this promotion change.

  45. Dan says:

    My debit card is used for 15-20 $.50 transactions per month. That’s the ordinary manner for me. Ask any of my other bank 😉

  46. JP says:

    CCU sounds much better now even with a hard pull. I am ready to meet monthly requirements but just can’t fathom thought of debit card data being stolen which has direct access to funds over 9k. No no No no.

  47. BAM says:

    Bill, Do the debit transactions need to be PIN based only to count towards the 15 debit transactions? What about signature debits? Thanks

    • Rick says:

      Both PIN and non-PIN transactions have counted towards the 15 for me.

      • bAM says:

        Thanks Rick. I am wondering because I had like 20 racked up between PIN and SIG but it did not show the 5% (roughly) until I had 15 PIN based. I am wondering if it just takes time for either a computer or individual to view the account.

        • Eric says:

          It doesn’t have to be PIN to count toward the 15.

        • Rick says:

          Yeah, just 15 should do it. They do seem to have to be listed as Posted (green), and not just Pending (yellow), before the rate will jump. Also, of course, you have to have the ACH transfer of at least $100 posted.

  48. dd says:

    Can’t login to my NP account, anybody else? Was fine yesterday.

  49. Jon says:

    I would like to withdraw all of my funds from Northpointe in protest of their bait-and-switch practices. However, because my account ends in uneven numbers, I cannot withdraw everything from an ATM. I tried transferring and popmoney payment but it all has fees. The fees are small but I refuse to let Northpointe profit off me as a matter of principal (though I know that they are indeed profiting off the interest from my cash sitting with them zzz). Is there any way for me to remove my money without paying a fee to this deceptive company?

  50. Matt says:

    It looks like they are starting the clawbacks already. My amount shown under “accrued interest” has dropped to $0.03. It was showing a much higher dollar amount yesterday. Their e-mail said this change would take effect on July 17th, which was yesterday, so it looks like this is not a bug.

    That’s a shame. It’s been a fun ride, Northpointe. I’m very disappointed in Mr. Clancy, since he has been so great at communicating with the DoC community this past year. I had faith in you Bill, it’s a shame it looks like all the comments here have fallen on deaf ears. Good luck to you…..

    • borntobehermit says:

      Same for me. It was 4.875% until a couple of days ago because I used the card for 15 times in July. Today it is 0.05%. There is no explanation of why and what. I was charging my debit card for various purchases. Not big amounts. However, if there isn’t a clear definition of what it is acceptable or not, it seems a bit too much work for what is worth.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Hey BTBH,

        No worries – your rewards will be back in place tomorrow. Apologies for the confusion. See other posts on this topic by me today. The change you saw is result of a bug with our eStatement service (corrected today). Overnight, all customers were unenrolled in eStatements which then resulted in accounts showing as not qualified for the rewards. A fix is in place and you’ll see a correction overnight tonight.

        Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Bad timing here on our part with an eStatement bug, Matt. The change you saw is result of a bug with our eStatement service (corrected today). Overnight, all customers were unenrolled in eStatements which then resulted in accounts showing as not qualified for the rewards. A fix is in place and you’ll see a correction overnight tonight.

      To date, we’ve *not* clawed back one transaction on a single account. Anyone that posts otherwise is providing INACCURATE information.

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

      • Matt says:

        Thanks for the reply, Mr. Clancy. Glad to see you’re still sticking around on the site. I apologize for coming in guns blazing with accusations. Since it happened on the same exact date the updated terms & conditions went into effect, I figured this was related. Glad to see it was just an unfortunate coincidence.

        DoC, feel free to delete my original comment, since it was incorrect based on this new information from Bill Clancy.

        • Bill Clancy says:

          No worries, Matt. I understand the logical conclusion here given the date. You can imagine my reaction upon hearing about this bug on THIS DATE upon arriving at work this morning. Me: http://gph.is/1SAKfLW

          • Wong says:

            I spoke to Matt via chat on your website and he was quite professional and responsive regarding the issue and told me exactly what the issue was. Two days later, I see the appropriate accrued interest and percentage showing.

            I didn’t read this page during the downtime, but thanks for keeping everyone updated.

    • Rick says:

      Appears to be the same here. My 15th transaction posted today but interest rate did not go up. My transactions weren’t silly things like Amazon reloads or something– they were things I otherwise might use cash for, like spending a few dollars on lunch or a couple beers or something.

      As has been discussed above, the advertising on their page for the Ultimate Account mentions none of their hidden requirements and is incredibly misleading. I’ll give it a few days to see if the interest rate jumps as it should, but if it doesn’t, I’m filing a CFPB complaint. This is a predatory bait-and-switch. Even if they’re able to squeeze through the legal cracks and CFPB doesn’t do anything, it’s still worth it to me as a matter of principle.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Hi Rick,

        Check out my responses to others today…

        This was simply bad timing with an eStatement bug. The change you saw is result of a bug with our eStatement service (corrected today). Overnight, all customers were unenrolled in eStatements which then resulted in accounts showing as not qualified for the rewards. A fix is in place and you’ll see a correction overnight tonight.

        To date, we’ve *not* clawed back one transaction on a single account. Anyone that posts otherwise is providing INACCURATE information.

        Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

  51. rickyP says:

    It looks like they are starting the clawbacks already. My amount shown under “accrued interest” has dropped to $0.13. It was showing $23.56 yesterday. Hope this is a bug. I will close my acct if not, no big deal, you can not win all if you can not read Mr. Bill the VP’s mind, of course, i will CFBP them to voice my 2 cents after closing.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Rickyp,

      Nope, absolutely not the case. The change you saw is result of a bug with our eStatement service (corrected today). Overnight last night, all customers were unenrolled in eStatements which then resulted in accounts showing as not qualified for the rewards. A fix is in place and you’ll see a correction overnight tonight.

      To date, we’ve *not* clawed back one transaction on a single account. Anyone that posts otherwise is providing INACCURATE information.

      Bill Clancy, Northpointe Bank

      • RickyP says:

        Bill, Appreciate the feedback, I guessed and hoped its a bug per my comments, i think many readers sit on the fence at this point, after all the stormy/restrictive comments die down and if its true i can still get 5%, I think i am going to use northpointe as my MAIN checking account(it is not yet due to i am afraid my acct close by you or me soon due to unclear 15 debits term), so we can have a mutual beneficial relationship for the longer term. Thanks

  52. Adrian says:

    Bill,

    Thank you for your swift replies to users here. We appreciate you being active here.

    Looks like people were quick to jump to conclusions, can’t blame though I guess 🙂

    I’m loving the account thus far. My only complaint is the quality of the debit card! It’s very ugly and poorly printed. Please inform Northpointe’s marketing or design team, or whoever is responsible for debit card creation. I’m embarrassed to use it in public, lol.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Thanks for the feedback on the card design, Adrian. We really liked the concept of a vertical card design but it presented other limitation (based on printer capabilities). We’ve been kicking around several new design ideas lately and plan to move to a new one when our existing stock is depleted (Fall / Winter 2017).

      In addition, we’re close to launching Custom Debit Cards which allow account holders to select from a gallery or upload their own photo. There will be a small cost but we’ll likely offer 50% off at launch. This should be live approx Sept-17. More to come soon!

  53. Jon says:

    Question about ATM fee waiver. I was told by a representative that in order to get ATM fee reimbursed, I must satisfy the requirements for 5% interest. Is that true? Given the recent developments this may be very difficult to achieve.

  54. Brian says:

    How quickly should I see the 4.87% interest rate on the account once I have met all monthly requirements?

    My 15th debit of the month is still pending, but all other req’s have been met. Still showing the 0.05% interest rate.

    Thanks

    • Adrian says:

      The 4.8% rate will be applied once all of the required transactions post. In your case once debit transaction #15 posts.

    • Frito Pendejo says:

      My 15th debit of the month is also suspiciously pending. My wife had 16 debits, #15 and #16 are pending.

      • Brian says:

        My interest rate did indeed go up as on as the 15th debit went from pending to posted.

      • Bill Clancy says:

        Hi Frito P,

        Nothing suspicious about it. Our business days have always been Mon – Fri, excluding federal holidays. If anything is done over the weekend, it counts with Monday’s business. You’ll see it hard post overnight tonight and be good as gold. 🙂

        Bill

  55. Fred says:

    Bill Clancy –

    Has your estatement bug been fixed yet? My account looks like it hasn’t as of today.

    • Adrian says:

      Have you met all the requirements for the month? Mine was fixed overnight just as promised.

      • fred says:

        Yes. All requirements met

        • Bill Clancy says:

          Hi Fred,

          Yes, was fixed the same days as I posted above (as has been confirmed here by several other readers). If you’re seeing something that doesn’t look right, pop over to northpointe.com and chat us or use the Contact Us form to send us a message. We’ll look into it and respond promptly. There are no open bugs in play at this time.

          Best,

          Bill

  56. Jack says:

    My 5% interest also has not been restored yet, I did the 15 transactions the naughty way so I guess this account is done for. I will CFPB for the accrued interest up until early this week and close out the account.

    • Adrian says:

      Lol so entitled.

      My rate was restored the following day just as Bill promised. Did you meet all of the requirements?

      From DoC post:

      Requirements

      There are three requirements necessary in order to be eligible for the 5% interest rate:

      Must enroll in e-statements.
      Must make 15 debit card purchases. (The 15 transactions must post and settle during the statement period to qualify.) More details on this below.
      Must set up an automatic withdrawal or direct deposit of $100 each month.
      These requirements must be met based on the statement period, not based on the calendar month. If you don’t meet these three qualifications, then the interest rate is just .05%.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Hi Jack,

      Nothing has been clawed back. Take a breath, send us a chat or email and we’ll let you know what hasn’t been completed to qualify. With 99.99% certainty, one of the qualification has not yet been completed. That’s it. Hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

      Bill

  57. borntobehermit says:

    I am still waiting for my rate to be restored to 5% as well. It was already increased, and then on July 17, it went back to 0.05%. It hasn’t changed yet.
    Since other rates have been fixed, I don’t know what it means for mine.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      BTBH,

      Something doesn’t sound right. If you’ve done all the qualifications, you should be seeing the rewards rate. Can you ping me via chat at email via northpointe.com (use our Chat function or Contact Us form). I’d like to get to the bottom of this for your today.

      Best,

      Bill

      • borntobehermit says:

        I just chatted with Customer Support and they told me:
        “There has not been a direct deposit or automatic withdrawal from your account this month.”
        (A deposit is currently pending, BTW).
        So, yes, that explains it.

        The weird thing is that after I used the debit card 15 times, the interest rate went up to 5%, then on July 17, it went down to 0.05%.
        Anyway, it is all good.

        Thank you again!

  58. Wyle says:

    I’ll have to initiate a contact as well. My account also showed 4.xx% and $yy interest around mid-month and now shows 0.05% and $0.zz interest.

    • Bill Clancy says:

      Wyle,

      Yes, please connect with us. Similar to the cases above, I’m confident the system is accurate as of today. There were some bugs noted above on July 14 and 17 but those have been resolved and if you’ve meet the 3 qualification steps the rewards rate should be showing for you.

      Best,

      Bill

  59. billy diller says:

    Hoo boy. I’ve used the card over 20 times this month for NORMAL spending, and had multiple automatic w/d’s. No bonus interest rate showing for me. 🙁

    Gotta do more work to get it fixed. What’s been working easiest for people to get this fixed?

    • Wong says:

      The easiest way to trigger it is to deposit $100+ or use bill pay from the external biller (Chase credit card “Make a payment” for me)

      • billy diller says:

        Not my question, but thanks. I’ve met the requirements. what i need is for NP to fix the issue and credit my 5%.

        Bill Clancy,
        I chatted w one of your reps last week and they confirmed the requirements were met, but my account still has not changed to show the 5% for July. It’s last day of the month and i want to be confident this is fixed. Can i contact you to confirm? I’d prefer it just worked.

  60. Mike Werth says:

    So Northpointe SCAMMED me. They said they were going to post 5% and didn’t. What a joke this company is.

  61. Jack says:

    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.

  62. Matt says:

    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 says:

      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

  63. steven88 says:

    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?

  64. mike werner says:

    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 says:

      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

  65. Dan says:

    Is there a minimum amount of a transaction to count?

  66. steven88 says:

    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.

  67. Trippy says:

    What exactly does recurring automatic withdrawal means?

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