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February 10, 2011


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Yes, Capital One has a $50 deal when you deposit x amount of money. They also have another offer through Costco, but I can't remember what it is.

FMF, You should really consider looking into credit unions. Some, if not most, have better rates of return on deposits, lower rates on loans (if you were to ever need one), and the customer service (we call it member service) is second to none. Some even offer business services if you want a business account. Have you looked into them? I see you posting a LOT about different banks, but never about credit unions.

I operate pretty much "Cashless" but the Credit Union where we have our Pension and SS checks deposited and pay our bills using their free Bill Pay service is great for online use but is a little too far away for such things as making an occasional free ATM withdrawal.
I searched around for a nearby bank that would give me "Free" ATM and banking service with no minimum account balance, no fees, and of course no interest. I found just what I was looking for at BofA, providing that you open the account online, do everything on-line, and elect not to receive paper statements. Since I only write about one/check per month I never purchased checks since all I needed was the most convenient place to get cash when I needed it. I just keep a balance that varies between $500 and $1,000 and it suits my needs perfectly. I have never set foot inside the bank, something that both parties like.

Coincidentally the supermarket, about 1/4 mile away, that we use every week has a BofA ATM machine inside, it's also one of the new ATMs where you can just slip a check into the machine without filling out a deposit slip or needing an envelope.

The only downside I have found with BofA is that every few weeks I get a call from them trying to sell me some kind of additional service or protection that I don't need - but it's easy to just say "NO THANKS!" and hang-up.

rdub --

Yes, I have. the best offer in our area requires direct deposit and 10 debit card uses per month. It pays 3.5% (or so) on deposits, but only those up to $1,000. Hardly worth the effort for a maximum amount that's so low...

The "Refer a Friend" Bonus for ING is $25 for the new account holder if they deposit at least $250 and $10 for the person who referred you. I sent a link to your FMF email in case you're interested.

For ING Direct, you could easily find a current customer to refer you and you'll get a $25 bonus if your opening deposit is at least $250. Plus, the person who refers you gets a $10 bonus as well.

You could give interest checking accounts a try, not rewards checking. Incredible Bank is offering a nice 1.35% APY on balances up to $250,000. No accounts fees and you get a debit card with 3 ATM free refunds per day. There is no bonus available but the high interest yield and convenience may be appealing to you.

Two words ... credit union

Capital One Bank thru Costco..savings account pays 1.30% apy (vs 1.25% non-Costco) plus a quarterly 10% bonus bringing the interest to 1.43%, Costco members get a $20 signing bonus, executive members get $60. Money Market rate is 1.21%

Discover Bank pays an extra 0.05% to AAII members; current rates with the bonus are 1.25% savings and 1.15% for MM. No signing bonus that I know of.

Both banks are FDIC insured and have account minimums in the $1k-$5k range to get the above rates.

I did something similar, consolidating funds into one account so that I get free checking, free safe deposit box, etc. It's a good idea to try approaches like this to avoid those fees that are truly unnecessary for the consumer.

Also - to echo comments of others, I have used a credit union in the past, and found lower fees and better customer service. Worth checking out if there's an option nearby for you.

Chase Freedom was offering a $100 bribe to set up a checking account. I think I got one of those in the mail yesterday, in fact.

US Bank gives you $100 for setting up any automatic payment into a savings account. The only thing you have to do is achieve a $1000 balance and hold it for a year. That's effectively 10% interest. They give you a $50 gift card to start and a $50 gift card at the end of a year. So, deposit $1000 today, set up an auto payment of, say, $10 per month from another account to that account, and in a year you've made $100. Not bad.

I had a $50 offer from someone else in the mail yesterday as well. I think it may have been ING.

You know, if I was hard-up for money and had a lot of extra time, I would take a day and go from bank to bank setting up accounts like this. You could probably make $300 or $400 doing it. You would just have to be aware of what the conditions are, i.e. how long you have to keep the money in the account, minimum balances, etc.

From the promotional rate perspective only, Chase sent me a notice that if you open a new checking account and have direct deposit set up, they will give you $100 cash card. It doesn't mention their interest rates, which are always paltry, except when they are having the quarter only special "hook you in" rate.

I use a rewards checking account that pays 4.10% on balances up to $25,000. and 0.25% above that.

It does require us to use our debit cards 12 times per month, but that is not a problem, as we use debit cards for all day to day spending.

It is nice to earn $80 bucks per month or so just for haivng this acocunt.

I try top keep the balance right at $25K, and all my cash beyond that is in an online account with Ally Bank. I believe the rate on that account is currently 1.09%, so not stellar.

But overall, I earn about $105 per month in interet on $50k in cash. I'll take it.

Bogey, I do the same thing. I actually have 2 rewards checking accounts set up.

Bogey and Brooklyn Money...

Want to share the name of the financial institution(s)? Tks.

So far PNC is not slated to add fees to checking. Like you all bills are withdrawn form this account.Moving would be a pain. Plus with son going to college the bank at the college is PNC and we wll be getting him the virtual wallet account so the national bank of mom and dad can deposit $$ when needed.

Ally bank has a interest bearing checking account. Free. I also have a yearly CD that matures every month with my emergency funds in there. I just renewed a CD for 1.29% and sice I am rolling it over into another 1 year CD I get a .25% bonus.

@ Kasey D:

Mine is RCB Bank based out of Claremore, OK. I live near there. Not sure if they accept out of state customers or not, but it might be worth a try.

@ Brooklyn Money:

I thought about setting up 2, one for me and one for my wife, but we prefer the simplicity of one main "operating account", plus I am not sure if we would have 12 debit card transactions each per month (24 total).

As a caution, the Visa and MasterCard gift cards can be a bit of a pain for the recipient. When the amount of purchase exceeds the amount left on the card, the card is often (always?) declined. That means you either have to know your exact balance and request that the merchant split the bill into two parts, or carefully use it on progressively smaller purchases until there are just a few cents left.

I've decided that the best solution is just to use the bank gift card to buy a gift card of the same amount at either or the grocery store.

Chase has been giving me money like crazy:

-> $125 to open a checking account.
-> $100 to open a Chase Freedom CC (needed to spend $800 in 3 Months).
-> $100 to put 5K in a Money market for 6 months.

I get .25% and no fees on my checking as long as I keep a $500 balance. I use Emigrant-Direct for my emergency fund and it pays .90% right now. Since I am not that computer savvy, I just leave things where they are. If it got really bad, I could change, but not now. And I would absolutely be horrified to have to do 12 debit transactions per month. I hate debit cards. I use my Chase Freedom for all my normal spending and my Citicard for regular donations. I usually get 1-5% rebates and that works well for me.

I like cc's because it will be 1-1.5 months before the bill is due. If I use a debit card it comes straight from my checking at that time. I like the leeway. I pay my balances off monthly and have done so for about 7 years. I have even called Chase and citicard to stop all promotional offers to me.


The deposit accounts blog has a list of reward checking accounts ( that can be filtered by location, since many of them are only available for particular areas. If you're interested, I would suggest checking it out. I've found several accounts that are earning me decent interest.

Do pay close attention to the "monthly" requirements and also to the statement cycle (not always by calendar month) to make sure your required debit card transactions and/or direct deposit/ACH post appropriately (I track mine in excel).

Good luck!

ING is offering a $50 bonus if you sign up for a checking account and use their debit card 3 times in the first 45 days. The current savings account rate is 1.10% but for checking it's only .25% up until 50k. I signed up for it though as I really like the ability to easily create multiple savings accounts (can name them vacation, car, etc). Any money I have going for bills goes quickly from my checking account and the left over amounts get moved to the savings accounts.

Agreed - any current ING Direct customer can give you a $25 promo code for signing up for an account. I would recommend ING. They have been very good to me so far (it's where I have my savings account). Personally, I use brick-and-mortar banks for my checking account for convenience, but avoid them with savings accounts since the interest rates are higher elsewhere.

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