Northpointe Bank offer a great rate of 5% interest for their UltimateAccount. The rate is valid for balances up to $10,000 but has a few requirements to get the rate, such as a withdrawal of $100 or more and 15 debit card purchases per statement period. You can red more about the offer here.
That’s a generous offer since it could get you an easy ~$41 per month in interest per account. Obviously Northpointe Bank put out this offer to get people to use their account as their primary checking account and also their debit card as one of their main forms of payment. To enforce this point, now Northpointe Bank has added restrictions to those 15 debit card purchases that are required for the 5% rate.
Here’s the new wording in the terms:
Purpose and Expected Use of Ultimate Checking Account
The Ultimate Checking account is intended to be the account holder’s primary checking account in which payroll transactions and day-to-day spending activities including but not limited to grocery, gasoline, apparel, shopping, dining, sporting and entertainment transactions are posted and settled. We expect the account’s debit card to be used frequently throughout each month and for transaction amounts to reflect a wide dollar range. Small debit card transactions conducted on the same day at a single merchant and/or multiple transactions made during a condensed period of time, particularly near the end of a statement cycle are not considered normal, day-to-day spending behavior. These types of behaviors appear to be conducted with the sole purposes of qualifying for the account’s rewards, and thus will be deemed inappropriate transactions and will not count towards earning the account’s rewards.
Northpointe Bank reserves the right to determine if the account is being maintained for a purpose other than primary, day-to-day use. Account holders who persist in making debit card transactions in a calculated and limited fashion in order to meet their monthly qualifications may have their account converted to a different checking account or closed altogether. We also reserve the right to convert the account to a different checking account if the Ultimate Checking account does not have consistent, active use of three (3) consecutive statement cycles.
We have the right to close this account at any time, with proper notice. Our decision to close the account will not affect your existing obligations to us, including any obligations to pay fees or charges incurred prior to termination. No deposits will be accepted and no checks will be paid after the account is closed. Upon termination of your Ultimate Checking account, any optional add-on products or services associated with this account will also be terminated at the same time.
This obviously makes it harder to keep the 5% interest rate for the account. with these requirements, you would need to use the debit card for a variety of purchases, for a variety of amounts. They won’t allow 15 similar transactions in a day for example.
That’s understandable, but what’s a bit frustrating is that there’s no clear rule of what transactions will qualify exactly. Most people will not put all their regular spend on a debit card and leave all their credit card rewards on the table.
I opened an account myself, so hopefully just buying gas a few times a month and maybe some small purchases here and there will be enough. We’ll see how strict they will be going forward.