Nationally available, the Wise-Choice Checking account through Venture Bank Direct is an internet banking option with reward checking. The APY is 3.5% up to balances of $25,000, with balances greater than $25,000 earning 1% interest. In order to get this interest rate, you must meet three typical requirements of reward checking accounts. Venture Bank Direct reward checking account monthly requirements include the following:
1) You must use your VISA check card to make 10 purchases each month
2) Have a minimum of one direct deposit or automatic debit
3) Receive e-Statements rather than print statements.
This means you must be in the habit of using your Venture Bank Reward Checking regularly throughout the month in order to meet the 10 purchase requirement and you will not be able to simply use the account as a save-it and forget-it option since if you simply make a direct deposit each month to the account but forget to use your VISA check card, you’ll miss out on the whole point of having a Venture Bank Reward Checking Account because the interest rate falls from 3.5% to a measly .25%!
Opening a Venture Bank Reward Checking Account requires a small minimum deposit of $100, but there are no minimum balance requirements to maintain or monthly account fees. You do not receive your checks for free but you are not required to get your checks through Venture Bank if you want to shop around for lower cost options.
When you apply for Venture Bank Reward Checking, you will automatically open a Wise-Choice Savings Account as well (if you don’t already have one). This works out well, as you can only initiate ACH transfers through the savings account, and not the reward checking account and as there are no monthly fees for either account, you can benefit from having both.
In addition to earning interest on your checking account balance, the Venture Bank Reward Checking gives you free bill pay, free online banking, free e-Statements and any national ATM fees are refunded as long as you maintain the requirements listed above for receiving the 3.5% interest rate. The bank is FDIC insured.
It may be worth mentioning that Venture Bank has a troubled rating through both BauerFinancial and Bankrate due to it’s financial ‘soundness’ based on September 30, 2008 data. In March, the bank had a 3.5 star rating with BauerFinancial and 2 stars with Bankrate, so it seems the bank could be facing some difficult times due to their loss in investments with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.