Tips to grow your money in checking accounts

LOS ANGELES Consumer Specialist Ric Romero teamed up with /*Consumer Reports*/ and found some checking accounts that offer four or five times the going rate.

Like many of us these days, Katrina Wright wishes she could bulk up her savings. But the interest rates on her checking account aren't doing much to make that happen.

"I only get 1 percent interest rate, which is not very good. It is convenient to use the checking account, but I'm not going to make any money from it," said Wright.

Consumer Reports money adviser Greg Daughtery looked at some community banks and credit unions that are paying much higher rates.

"Some of these checking accounts are paying 4 or even 5 percent yields. That's higher than many savings accounts or long-term CDs," said Daughtery.

Of course, like most great offers, there are some catches.

"The rates plummet if you don't meet the bank's monthly requirements. Some drop to as low as .04 percent," Daughtery explained.

To get the high interest rate on your checking account, requirements can include: making 10 to 15 debit-card purchases a month; paying some of your bills online; receiving online statements; and sticking to balance limits.

"Some of the accounts we looked at had balance limits of $25,000. Once you exceed that amount, the annual rates go down to around 1 percent," said Daughtery.

Consumer Reports says those high interest rates may be worth the restrictions, but they're not for everyone.

"I can't be sitting here counting, oh I need one more transaction to get a high interest rate. People just don't have time," said Wright.

But if you can play by the rules, your money will grow a lot faster.

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