Radius bank has been around since 1987 and is a mostly online bank with only one branch in Boston. It's also the home of one of our favorite checking accounts–the Rewards Checking account.The Rewards Checking account has no monthly fees and requires a $2,500 balance to unlock a variety of perks. You can earn both interest on your balance and cash back on your debit card purchases. You also get all your ATM fees reimbursed, worldwide!
Radius is setting the bar high when it comes to online checking accounts.
Earn Cash Back on Debit Purchases
One incredible feature of the Radius Rewards Checking account is the ability to earn an unlimited amount of cash back on all debit card purchases.
Yes, you read that correctly: cash back on debit purchases.
Rewards Checking account holders can earn 1% cash back on every signature-based debit transaction.
‘Signature-based’ means that you will have to select ‘credit’ rather than ‘debit’ when paying to earn cash back.
There’s really no difference between making a debit or credit transaction with a checking account. Paying with credit will cost a merchant more, which is how they can pay you the cash back. Some smaller merchants may also have minimum transaction requirements for credit-based purchases.
Radius also requires users to complete one of two conditions to earn cash back:
- Receive $2,500 in direct deposits to their Rewards Checking account (this could be from an employer or another income stream).
- Hold a minimum account balance of $2,500.
You must have your account for at least 30 days before you are eligible to earn cash back. Radius’ cash back system credits users on a monthly basis, so you don’t have to wait for annual payouts.
The unlimited potential of the Rewards Checking account is what makes this account so powerful. Additionally, since this doesn’t add another credit card to your wallet, you can save your precious credit card applications for travel reward cards.
For purchases where you have the opportunity to earn a hefty amount of travel points, you can use a travel rewards card to maximize your rewards. In contrast, if you simply want to earn cash back on daily purchases without turning to a credit card, you can rely on your Rewards Checking account.
This added flexibility in your wallet is an amazing asset to have and is definitely my favorite aspect of the Rewards Checking account.
Account Balance Interest
Outside of earning cash back, Rewards Checking account holders can also earn interest on their account balance.
There are two interest levels available:
- Account balances between $2,500 and $99,999.99 earn 1.00% APY.
- Account balances of $100,000 or more earn 1.20% APY.
Accounts under $2,500 do not earn any interest.
This is great for those of us who like to keep a buffer in their checking account. You no longer have to trade flexibility for interest. You can keep a bit of extra money in your checking account without feeling guilty that you should have it in an interest bearing account.
The fact that this is a checking account means it is more flexible than a typical savings account, which may be of use for frequent travelers who need to access cash while on the road.
However, certain high-yield savings accounts often offer higher interest rates, such as the CIT Savings Builder account at 1.85% APY. So you still won't want to use it as your savings account if you are interested in getting every bit of interest you're entitled to.
Free Worldwide ATM Access
Taking out cash while traveling is sometimes inevitable. As any frequent traveler will understand, this usually involves paying hefty transaction fees for using an ATM that is not owned by your bank.
While I love being gouged on transaction fees from strange convenience store ATMs as much as the next person, it’s time to say goodbye to ATM fees once and for all.
The Rewards Checking account provides unlimited, automatic ATM surcharge rebates for ATM fees anywhere in the world. ATM fees are rebated at the end of each statement cycle. The automatic reimbursement is useful as travelers won’t have to deal with the hassle of calling customer support while away from home.
It is important to note that Radius does not cover the costs of international exchange fees. However, if you travel domestically quite often, your wallet will thank you for having this debit card on hand.
Additional Perks–Early Direct Deposit, Free Checks & More!
The main perks of the Rewards Checking account are unlimited cash back, account interest, and free ATM access.
However, there are several added bonuses that are worth mentioning.
Firstly, Radius is currently offering new users a free order of checks. Additionally, Radius members get early direct deposit of up to two days. These aren’t massive perks, but they certainly add a nice touch!
Radius also allows unlimited transfers between internal and external accounts. After 30 days, your daily debit card spend limit will increase from $500 to $2,000, which isn’t too shabby for a new checking account.
Rewards Checking Fees
As mentioned, Rewards Checking doesn’t charge a monthly fee, and users aren’t charged for transactions either.
However, there are still some fees to be aware of:
- $5 daily extended overdraft fee charged daily from the 5th to the 30th calendar day that your account is in the negative.
- $25 non-sufficient fund charge per item
- $5 monthly fee is also applied to personal checking accounts that have been dormant for 12 months or more.
Related: Avoid Bank Fees at All Cost
According to Radius, it’s possible to open an account in under three minutes.
The process is actually that straightforward. To begin:
- Head to Radius.com and select Rewards Checking.
- Provide your email address, phone number, and name. You also have the option to open a joint account.
- Provide your address, social security number, and create a security code for your account.
Once you’ve entered your basic information, you simply need to fund your account with a minimum deposit of at least $100.
Who Should Use Radius?
There are several scenarios where opening a Rewards Checking account makes sense.
If you typically carry larger balances in your checking account (or wish you could without losing out on interest) then making the switch to Radius to earn 1.00% APY is an easy choice. If you keep at least $2,500 in your account you qualify for all the neat perks of this account.
Additionally, if you'd rather skip a cash back credit card and prioritize travel rewards, gaining 1.00% cash back from your debit card transactions is an effective way have a cash back card without it affecting your credit card strategy. The added flexibility of choosing between credit or debit for your purchases is nice to have.
Finally, if you’re a frequent traveler who is tired of suffering outrageous ATM fees and want easy access to your money while on the road, Radius has you covered.
Cons Of Radius Bank
It wouldn’t be a true Radius Bank review without covering a few cons!
Since Radius is almost entirely online, the lack of branches is definitely a drawback. This is partially offset by the fact that Radius reimburses clients for all ATM fees. However, you will still a checking account with a brick and mortar bank to deposit cash or deal with banking matters in person.
Account-holders who cannot maintain an account balance of at least $2,500 also lose most of the perks that make Radius such a strong online bank. A lack of account fees is nice, but this account certainly requires the minimum balance to be worth it.
Finally, the $5 daily extended overdraft fee is not typical of every online bank.
The Rewards Checking account is truly a robust online checking account that should appeal to a variety of users.
If you keep at least $2,500 in your checking account then the Rewards Checking from Radius bank might be the perfect choice for you. With the ability to earn both cash back on debit card purchases and interest on your balance it will be difficult to find an account with more perks.
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