Checking accounts typically offer an interest rate of near zero, which leads most of us to keep funds in a high-yield savings account instead. Someone who likes/needs to have quick access on large amount of funds from their regular checking account can use the two account method. Open a checking and savings account with a bank like Ally or Discover or some others, keep all liquid funds in the savings account, and make an instant transfer to the checking account when needed.
We once wrote that from all the high-yield accounts, there’s only one checking account with a decent yield. That’s the Memory Bank
1.60% .90% checking account. And I wrote a follow-up post when Memory Bank began maintaining an attractive money market account with an interest rate near the top of all available accounts. That makes it a nice place to keep funds longer term.
Readers have pointed out a few other options for those who like to keep a high amount of liquid funds available in their regular checking account:
- Memory Bank high interest checking account – rate is .90% at the time of this writing.
- Citi Elevate high interest checking account – rate is 1.00% APY at the time of this writing.
- Reader Tim suggests using Ally checking as your regular checking account, and keep all your funds in the linked Ally savings account (current interest rate is 2.20% on that). Enroll in the overdraft auto-transfer, and it’ll automatically pull any funds needed to cover checks or debits made on the checking account. Reader Arch notes that you can do a similar setup with Discover as well. Just keep in mind there is a limit of 6 withdrawals per month from a savings account.
- Reader Jeremy and David H tell of another option which is to use the Fidelity Cash Management Account as your main checking account. You can keep your money in the Fidelity Money Market Account, such as SPRXX (has recently been earning over 2% APY), and use the Fidelity ‘sweep’ option to automatically pull funds out of the money market fund to cover any debits or checks in your cash management account. Fidelity also has some nice ATM benefits as well.
- We recently wrote about the SoFi Money hybrid checking/savings account which (currently) earns an interest rate of 2.25% APY. They used to require spend and deposits to get that rate, but no longer. That makes them a terrific option to use as your regular checking account; much higher than the Memory Bank 1.6% rate. [There are other hybrid accounts like Wealthfront 2.50% which might be a good option.] Level Bank is another similar option as well.
- Readers note in the comments here that there are some checking accounts with requirements that offer a high yield on a limited amount of funds. If the requirements aren’t difficult for you and the limit works for you (in other words, you aren’t looking to hold a very large balance), these could be even better the previously mentioned options since the rate or return is often higher. The best examples would be the Orion FCU 4% rewards checking account on balances up to $30,000 or the Heritage Bank account which is available nationwide and offers 3.33% APY rewards checking account on balances up to $25,000. Both require and ACH/DD and some debit transactions to get the rate.
[Post updated on 11/19/19.]