Charles Schwab has been a reliable brokerage for many investors, but also a great bank. Charles Schwab Bank's High Yield Investor Checking account is a nice complement to your brokerage account with some impressive benefits for a free checking account. There are some requirements in order to open this checking account with Schwab, but they are easy to complete, and if done in the correct order, can net you a neat bonus.
The High Yield Investor Checking account is an FDIC insured online checking account offered by Charles Schwab Bank. As the name implies, the account has a higher than average APY rate than most traditional checking accounts (usually 0%) and as of 2/1/23 the rate is 0.45%. This is a nice little feature and to be able to earn some interest on the money you keep in a checking account, and although small, is still some extra money in your pocket.
Visa Platinum Debit Card
Arguably the best benefit of this account is the Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit card as it comes with no foreign transaction fees and unlimited ATM fee rebates internationally. Say bye-bye to those pesky ATM fees and having to go out of your way searching for an in-network ATM. Although you will be charged the fee initially, Schwab will automatically reimburse these fees at the end of each month. This also means that you can skip the currency exchange counters, which will often slam you with more fees and subpar conversion rate, and go directly to an ATM to withdraw local currency at a fair exchange rate and no fees!
Requirement for Opening
The only requirement for opening a High Yield Investor Checking account and secure the wonderful Schwab debit card is that a brokerage account must be opened at the same time, if you do not already have one with Schwab. However, there is no funding requirement for the brokerage account and requires no maintenance fees, so overall the High Yield Investor Checking account is still completely free to open!
Sign-up and Referral Bonuses
Although there is no sign-up bonus offered for the checking account, there is a bonus for the brokerage account that Schwab offers called the Schwab Starter Kit. Since a brokerage account needs to be opened before or at the same time as the checking account, it is wise to open a brokerage account first to secure the Schwab Starter Kit and then wait a couple days to then open the checking account if you wish to secure this nice little bonus.
The Schwab Starter Kit is an extra $101 deposited into your brokerage account after funding it with $50. Schwab will then automatically invest in fractional shares or "slices" of the top five stocks on the S&P500. Along with their educational resources, this can be a nice way to begin educating yourself about investing. If investing isn't for you, you can cancel the automatic orders placed by Schwab for the $101 or sell your slices at any time. As of 2/1/23, the stock slices include Google, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and Microsoft. (Keep in mind that investments may lose value and are not FDIC insured. See Schwab's website for more information.)
The referral bonus has no perks for the person who refers the new client, but comes with some extra dough for the new client who opens the account and funds it within 45 days. The bonuses are tiered, starting at $100 for deposits between $25,000-$49,999, $300 for deposits between $50,000 to $99,999, $500 for deposits between $100,000 to $499,999, and $1,000 for deposits of $500,000 or more.
Compared to other checking accounts, the Schwab High Yield Investor checking account comes with a nice little APY and even Zelle features, but its best perk is the debit card. The Schwab Bank Debit Card is a great addition to anyone's wallet, especially for people who travel often as it saves them the headache of going through a currency exchange office. Even for people who do not plan on traveling anytime soon, not having to worry about paying ATM fees is a huge plus for added peace of mind. This debit card really stands out from those offered with other checking accounts and makes the Schwab High Yield Investor checking account a great one to have.
Charles Schwab, Schwab Bank, High Yield Investor checking, Schwab Bank Debit Card, "stock slices," and any other properties in this article are properties of the Charles Schwab Corporation, and Visa Platinum is property of Visa Inc. Use of the Schwab Bank Visa Debit card is subject to the cardmember agreement. Use of any properties or infographics in this article is for educational purposes and subjective review. This article is not financial advice. Investments with Schwab's brokerage account carry risk and are not FDIC insured. Bonuses, interest rates, and exchange rates are subject to change. Custom check orders, outgoing wires, and rush delivery may incur fees, see Schwab's Deposit Account Pricing Guide for more information.