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Here are rewards checking accounts that can help you earn hundreds of dollars

HOUSTON – Lower interest rates are great for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgage but have you taken a look at what interest you’re earning on your savings account right now? Major banks are currently paying less than 1% interest. If you are the type and set it and forget it on savings, you can forget earning any money from interest. But if you move your money to a rewards checking account, you can earn hundreds of dollars.

What are rewards checking accounts?

A rewards checking account is a high-yield account. They are mostly offered by online-only banks and some credit unions. There are some requirements you will have to meet to earn the interest that can be as high as 5%.

For example, Consumer Credit Union offers a rewards checking account that lets you earn up to 4.09% interest if you do these things:

  • Join Consumers Credit Union for a $5 fee.
  • Agree to receive electronic statements
  • Make at least 12 debit card purchases every month
  • Spend at least a thousand dollars each month on a Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card

How much more can you save?

Let’s do the math. If you had $10,000 in a Chase savings account right now making .01% interest, you would earn $1 in a year.

A Consumers Credit Union rewards checking account that pays 4.09% interest will give you $409 in the same time period.

How to find rewards checking accounts

You won’t find these accounts listed on sites like Bankrate where you might normally check for interest-bearing accounts. We Googled “high-yield checking account” and “rewards checking account” to find accounts offered by online banks and credit unions in our area.

If you don’t like the idea of putting your money in a bank that does not have a physical location nearby, you could try First Community Credit Union. It has Houston-area branches that offer “First Rewards Checking,” an account with 2.25% interest and no fees.

With most of the rewards checking accounts, you only earn the high-interest rates on the first $5 or $10,000. Any money in your account over that earns a nominal amount in interest.