T-Mobile has been offering a high interest checking account for a while, but to most people it became a lot less valuable last week after they announced that you’ll have to make 10 debit card transactions a month to earn 4.00% APR starting in April 2021. (Before, there was a $200 / month direct deposit requirements to earn the high rate but that’s going away.)
In my opinion this is a great change because people like you and me can automate 10 monthly debit card transactions in about 45 seconds with debbit, but most people won’t know how or won’t care to do so. When there are fewer people taking advantage of a deal like this, it tends to stick around for much longer and also tends to increase in benefits and payout over time, which means our 45 second investment will probably pay-off for at least a few years. (If you haven’t set debbit up yet, it might be more like 20 minutes on this round.)
- Be a T-Mobile customer (this can be a hard pill for some of you, but I travel-hacked my way into 3 unlimited everything lines at Sprint for $10 per month each about a year ago via a now defunct deal, and then T-Mobile bought Sprint and kept my rate).
- Enroll your T-Mobile bank account in T-Mobile rewards
- Earn 4.00% on balances of up to $3,000 per month
- Earn 1.00% after that
I’m going to deposit $3,100 and configure debbit to pay XFinity between $0.01 and $0.10 randomly per month, 10 times. That will earn $90.00+ per year and I’ll never have to think about it.
My philosophy: When a deal becomes more onerous, it’s much more likely to be rewarding and to stick around long-term. You can often automate away the onerous requirements too, so don’t be afraid to spend a little time getting your automation in order. For further reading on high interest bank accounts and other methods of automating, see one of my favorite travel hacking posts by the Free-quent Flyer.