An online bank leapfrogs the field. August 31, 2006 Checking accounts are like mattresses -- you can stash your cash there, but they won't help your dough grow. Sure, banks offer interest-bearing checking accounts. But they generally require high minimum balances and pay pitifully low rates. Now comes EverBank, an online bank with better terms and a significantly higher yield. EverBank offers an interest-bearing checking account that's currently paying an introductory rate of 5.51% for the first three months -- a yield that tops online banks and also beats what most brick-and-mortar banks offer. After the introductory period, the rate drops to 3.01% to 4.01%, depending on your balance. That's still far better than the average yield of 0.3% on interest-bearing checking accounts, says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. You need $1,500 to open an account, compared with an average of $2,500 for interest-bearing checking accounts. Maintain that balance and you'll get free online bill payment. Drop below the minimum and bill payment will cost you $5 per month, but there are no other fees. The account comes with checks and a debit card, and you can withdraw money from any ATM in the Visa/Plus network without incurring a fee from EverBank. The bank will also reimburse you up to $6 per month for ATM fees charged by other banks. EverBank accepts direct deposits and offers banking by mail.