NEW YORK, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bankrate.com's (NYSE: RATE) 2012 High-Yield Checking Survey found that the average APY for high-yield checking accounts is 2.05%, more than 34 times the current national average for an interest-bearing checking account (0.06%). The average high-yield checking APY has dropped from 2.56% last year and 3.30% in 2010, however, it still handily beats the next best alternative for liquid cash (an online savings account), provided the high-yield checking accountholder meets the requirements every month.
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The requirement to perform a certain number of debit card transactions each month is nearly universal (the most common requirement is 10 per month). Direct deposit and automated bill payments are also common mandates, and these are increasingly interchangeable (more information below).
Another caveat is that the above-market yield only applies up to a certain limit, known as the balance cap. The most common balance cap continues to be $25,000. But the 10 highest-yielding accounts all have balance caps of $15,000 or less. Failing to meet the monthly requirements drops the average APY to a miniscule 0.08%.
"For accountholders that can routinely meet the monthly requirements, high-yield checking accounts are a no-brainer cash investment," said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "Investors should calibrate the balance they plan to hold in the account with an APY offering that maximizes their return."
Bankrate.com surveyed 57 high-yield checking accounts offered by banks, thrifts and credit unions in the United States. Twenty-three of those accounts (40%) can be opened online or by phone from anywhere in the country.
Click here to view the full survey: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/high-yield-credit-unions.aspx.
More on Direct Deposit and Automated Bill Payment Requirements
Eighty-six percent of the high-yield checking accounts that Bankrate.com surveyed allow direct deposit as one option to meet the requirements. Direct deposit is mandated by nine percent of the accounts and is not required by five percent.
Eighty-two percent of the accounts allow automated bill pay or ACH (automated clearinghouse) withdrawals among the options to meet the requirements. Fourteen percent do not require automated bill pay/ACH and four percent have a mandatory bill pay/ACH requirement each month.
About Bankrate, Inc.
Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe.
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SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.