This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Banking for the Almost-Rich: A Look at Premium Checking

The structure, in a sense, mirrors how banks handle their ultra-high or high-net-worth clients, who are rewarded amply for investing a certain portion of their fortune with a particular financial institution. But the average consumer shouldn't let the lowered thresholds fool them into going after one of these second-tier accounts. As Wei points out, the perks on premium checking accounts aren't nearly as good.

Typically, they include access to a dedicated customer service team, but there also are a strange assortment of other perks associated with various accounts. Citi (C), for instance, gives its Citigold account holders priority processing on credit card applications, while Chase (JPM) gives its Premier Platinum Checking account holders nine additional checking accounts with no monthly service fee.

"Many of these services are of dubious usefulness or diminishing marginal returns," Wei says. They also typically don't include better interest rates on the checking account themselves, although account olders do bypass additional fees.

"[The banks] don't have anything to really give, so that's their perk: You don't pay a fee," Matjanec says.

These fees are often ones that those who qualify for premium checking already pay infrequently, such as fees for specialty checks, overdraft protection, incoming wire transfers and stopped payments.

This is not to say the accounts are completely without merit.

"What you're really getting out of it is discounts and freebies on other bank products," Wei says. As such, it may make sense for someone who is looking to take out a mortgage, open up a CD or buy an investment product to open a premium account.

Otherwise, she says, "if you're going to tie up $25,000 in a checking account, look for a conventional savings or high-yield checking account that offers better interest rates." This is especially true since account holders who fail to maintain the $15,000 to $75,000 requirements associated with these accounts will have to pay a fee that ranges from $20 to $35.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,982.59 +22.02 0.13%
S&P 500 1,978.91 +0.57 0.03%
NASDAQ 4,444.9090 -4.6550 -0.10%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs