What's the Catch? A Checking Account Paying 5%

Apr 28, 2016
Behavioral Finance, Question of the Day, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Payment Types, Advertising, Current Events

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Ask your students to solve the mystery by guessing what they would expect to see in the asterisk section about the conditions that need to be met to earn the 5%. Remind them that the average checking account today earns about 0.05%.

Here’s the fine print for your students to decipher:

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To summarize:

  • Limited to balances up to $5,000 [Editor’s note: this caps their cost at $250 per year per account, which seems reasonable as a cost of customer acquisition)
  • 15 or more debit card purchases in aggregate amount of $500 or more
  • Enrollment in eStatements
  • Direct deposit OR Auto Withdrawal of $100.
  • $100 deposit to open

Ask your students if these seem reasonable to them and which could be stumbling blocks. See how many of your students note the last sentence “Rates are subject to change including after the account is opened,” and ask the class how long they expect this 5% rate to be in effect. We will check back in three months…

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.