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Farmers Savings Bank in Iowa is offering a staggering 9.01% APY on balances up to $4,000 for customers who open a Star Checking account. The Farmers Savings Bank Star Checking account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, and anyone with a Social Security number and driver’s license can apply. However, to earn the impressive APY, you must meet monthly requirements—and be willing to visit one of the bank’s four branches.
Relatively few checking accounts pay interest, and those that do typically offer low APYs. The average interest rate for a checking account was just 0.07% APY as of January 16, 2024, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). However, some of today’s best high-yield checking accounts earn up to 5.00% APY.
The Star Checking account is worth a look if you live near one of Farmers Savings Bank’s four Iowa branches, as this account can’t be opened online. If this account doesn’t work for you, we’ve compiled a list of checking accounts with above-average yields that can be opened from anywhere.
How To Earn 9.01% APY
To earn 9.01% APY, you must first open an account at a Farmers Savings Bank branch. The bank’s main branch is in Colesburg, Iowa, and it has locations in nearby Strawberry Point and Arlington. Farmers Savings Bank also has a fourth location in Elkport, Iowa, though that branch is drive-up only. Star Checking accounts cannot be opened on Farmers Savings Bank’s website, which has limited functionality.
After opening an account, you must use the linked debit card to pay for at least 15 purchases each month. Keep in mind that debit card purchases are determined by the date they post to your account, not the actual purchase date. Therefore, transactions near the end of the qualification cycle might not count. Monitor your purchases closely to ensure you meet the 15 needed.
If at any point you don’t meet the requirements in the qualification cycle, you will earn an APY of 0.05% on all balances. But you will be eligible to earn the full 9.01% APY on balances up to $4,000 during the following month if you use your card 15 times.
The monthly qualification cycle differs each month. Here is the 2024 qualification cycle. These dates can also be found on the bank’s website.
Alternative High-Yield Checking Accounts
In case you don’t plan to visit Iowa anytime soon, here are other high-yield checking accounts to consider that can be opened online.
High-Yield Savings Accounts
Consider some of the best high-yield savings accounts if you want to park your money somewhere it will earn a high APY. The Milli Savings Account offers one of the highest APYs at 5.50% and has no minimum deposit or monthly maintenance fee. A Bask Interest Savings Account is another great option that offers 5.10% APY and likewise has no minimum deposit or monthly maintenance fee.
However, if you’re set on opening a checking account, consider the SoFi Checking and Savings Account, which offers the best of both worlds in a hybrid account with a 0.50% APY on checking and 4.60% APY on savings if you set up direct deposit or by depositing $5,000 or more every 30 days. Customers who don’t receive direct deposits or deposit $5,000 or more every 30 days earn 1.20% APY on savings balances. The Wealthfront Cash Account is another excellent option that pays 5.00% APY on all balances.