Facts You Should Know About Rewards Checking Accounts

Getting a rewards checking account is a great way to upgrade your checking experience.

If you use a rewards checking account, you will generally not be charged fees for ATM withdrawals, account maintenance, or transfers.

Initially, these accounts were offered by online banks, community banks and credit unions. Now many larger and regional banks are getting on board as well.

You need to make sure that you read the fine print of each institution because they are all different.

What to watch for

Many of them offer a wide range of options, from checking accounts with impressive yields to accounts that offer lucrative account opening bonuses to debit cards that offer 2% cash back on everyday expenses and recurring payments, plus unlimited 1% rewards on every other debit card purchase.

For example, here are some common benefits:

  • Cash back on debit charges
  • Cash back on common everyday expenses
  • Cash back at convenience and drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid
  • Cash back at gas stations, including Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Speedway
  • Cash back for monthly subscriptions, including Netflix, SiriusXM, Spotify, and Disney+
  • Cash back at restaurants, such as McDonald’s, Uber Eats, Chipotle, and Starbucks

Each reward checking account will have different benefits and requirements to earn those benefits, but here are some of the general requirements you might expect:

  • Some accounts will only give you a high rate if you keep your balance over $10,000
  • Make 10 to 15 debit card transactions each month
  • Have at least one direct deposit or one ACH automatic withdrawal clear your account each month
  • Use self-service options such as electronic statements, online banking, ATM deposits or online bill pay at least once each month

Choosing a reward checking account is largely determined by the rewards it offers. Besides choosing the one with the best rewards, you should also select the one that does more than just store your money. 

It is therefore imperative that you carefully review all of the terms and conditions to ensure that you are not signing up for more than you intended.