A few months back I was highly excited to hear that there was a local bank near me that offered 4% interest as rates were going down, down, and further down. If I backtrack even a few more months back I have noticed signs near my home near the Dallas North Tollway marketing a cool kid that has a 4% “Absolute” Checking rate advertised.
How could you go wrong with 4% interest in today’s dismal money market accounts. Even ING Direct and E*Trade are paying under 2% and barely paying double digits. I went into the branch where it did not seem very busy but they were friendly. I had to race across a few intersections to get to the place before they closed at 5pm. Yes, this bank closes down at 5pm unless its a Friday then they stay open until 6am.
So what about this 4% interest rate I signed up for with my checking account. I read over the brochure off the website and again when I walked in and thought the only fine print or catch was that you had to keep under 50,000 in the account to get the full 4%. But this is not quite a full 4% it is up to 4%. I had my account for months then finally paid attention to a statement wondering why I got such a little interest payment made out to me. Annual percentage yield earned from 02/01/2009 to 02/28/2009 was 0.18%. Talk about depressing to have over $40,000 in a bank account and im actually losing money because I did not read all the fine print. The worst part is that the sales person who opened up the account did not bother to let me know about all this or assumed I had read through all the fine print.
How can you get this 4% rate? You must do THREE things like you are on some reality show or going through immigration. Yes, its as much a mess to get free checking with 4% interest at Viewpoint Bank as it is to get through immigration or do anything that takes an act of congress. First of all you have to have direct deposit or actively use online bill pay. This I can see as not soo bad because anyone can use online bill pay. Although I have tried to use the online bill pay and it has not worked several times in the past few days. If I could just pay one bill through the system it might be worth something to look over.
Secondly, you must receive your monthly banking statement and notices on your account electronically. That’s not too bad of a thing since that basically puts it in the leagues of E*Trade and ING Direct which require you to do the same in some cases.
Third obstacle and this is the big kahuna the big gotcha of them all. I think this one is more on the Madoff Ponze Scheme level than most coupon and scam redemptions. They actually expect you to use your Absolute Checking Visa Check Card at LEAST 15 Times per month for purchases. And how can they use the word Absolute Checking in their marketing. It is certainly not Absolutely Fabulous or Absolutely a good deal. It’s Absolutely a train wreck.
Only takes $100 to open this account? You ready to step up to the plate and play the March Madness of the banks. This bank should be ashamed of itself for all the silly stipulations you must go through. All the person who opened up my account could have told me was the list of chores you had to keep up with and switched me to a currently yielding 2% APY Money Market Account which is comparable to our favorite picks.
Viewpoint Bank is based in Plano, TX with over $2 billion in assets being a community bank for consumers and businesses in North Texas. The bank has been strong for 56 years according to its site at ViewPointBank.com.