Checking accounts now offering returns

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The cost of having a checking account is all over the board. Some cost money and some are free. But, 7 on Your Side has found one that actually pays you.

We recently asked several people how much it cost them to have a checking account, or whether their accounts paid them.

"Like a quarter of a percent or something pointless and awful," one person said laughingly when asked how much interest his checking account paid him.

Traditionally, accountholders pay for a checking account and the account does not pay them back. But, this is changing, and not just by some quarter point interest rate. It is more like 12 times that amount.

"It will pay you three percent interest on any balances up to $25,000 in your checking account, average checking account, no minimum balance required," said Jennelle Ambriz said.

It can even pay interest above $25,000. Tri Counties Bank is a small chain with a couple of branches in the Bay Area. It is currently paying three percent on its "Perfect Choice Checking." This is comparable not just to other checking accounts, but also to CDs.

"With Perfect Choice Checking you're paid the three percent. You can use the money. So, if you have a penny in the account or you have $50,000, you will earn interest regardless. You don't have to maintain a balance or keep your money locked up. It is liquid for you to access," explained Ambriz.

These high-interest checking accounts tend to be offered by small community-based banks and often come with a set of rules that must be followed. But, if those rules work for an accountholder the accounts can be a great deal.

Think of those rules as the fine print. Accountholders get one direct deposit into or out of the account and 12 check card point-of-sale transactions every month. There are some community banks back east offering as much as 4.5 percent interest and they are worth checking out.

Find high-interest checking accounts:

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