Fidelity has released a new high-interest checking account called the mySmart Cash account. The account is currently paying 3.5% interest, whereas traditional checking accounts at brick and mortar banks are paying .5% or less. Fidelity's new checking account offers no minimum initial deposit, no minimum monthly balance, and no monthly maintenance fees. Also free are checkwriting, standard checks, and online bill pay.
If you're concerned about accessing your cash easily at ATM's, Fidelity also has you covered. You can use ATM machines displaying the Visa®, PLUS® or STAR® logo for free with your debit card (also free). Another benefit of having this checking account is that it makes you eligible for a 1.5% cash back Fidelity credit card where for every $5,000 you spend, you will get 5,000 World Points redeemable for a $75 deposit to your mySmart Cash account. I imagine you can also exchange your World Points for the other usual options like gift cards and airline tickets if that's what you prefer.
I know this almost sounds like an ad, but I have no affiliation with Fidelity and no incentive to tell you about this new account. I just think it's a great deal, particularly if you already have an account with Fidelity because of the added convenience of keeping your checking account and your savings and investment accounts all in the same place. Unlike some banks, whose checking account structures seem designed to fleece users of an ATM fee here and a monthly maintenance fee there, Fidelity's account comes with no strings attached and a much better interest rate to boot.
What would be the possible disadvantages of opening this account? Primarily, the inconvenience of closing your existing checking account and opening a new one. If you have any automatic deposits or withdrawals to your existing checking account, you'll have to make sure you change all of them to avoid potential problems or fees. You'll also have to update your checking account information with any credit cards or other bills that you pay manually online, which can be a pain because some creditors, like Citibank, make you wait up to two weeks before they "authorize" your new checking account. This can be very painful and expensive if you don't time it right, as I once learned the hard way, if it causes you to be unable to pay your credit card on time. Some people also might consider it a security risk to keep too much of their money in one place.
Personally, I do not plan to open a mySmart Cash account due to the inconvenience, but I still think it is a great deal. For more details, check out Fidelity's mySmart Cash FAQ.