Bank Deals Column

Banks are paying good money for your deposits these days and we’ve collected the best of the best bank deals available today. It’s not unheard of for a bank to offer $100 or $150 (or more!) for new accounts. There are many deals to be made so don’t sign up without checking out these bank deals first! Many of the offers below are available nationally but review the terms and conditions just to be sure.


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 Bank Deals 
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PNC Bank Checking $100 Promotion

PNC BankOne of the first bank accounts I had, after the credit union I joined because my parents had an account there, was at a PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, PA. PNC Bank traces it’s roots back to Pittsburgh, as it’s the product of a merger in 1983 between Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation, both of which can use PNC as an acronym! Anyway, enough with the history, the promotion I’m writing about today involves their checking account.

PNC Bank is offering a $100 promotion if satisfy a few conditions associated with opening up a checking account (promo code appears to be PS008):

  • You must open a new personal checking account before the end of the promotion (3/31/12).
  • You must be issued a PNC Bank Visa Check Card.
  • You must make a qualifying Direct Deposit of at least $750,
  • And you must make 10+ purchases with your check card within 60 days (they must post within 60 days) of account opening.

Once you satisfy those terms, you’ll get a deposit of $100 labeled “Cash Trans Promo Reward” and likely issued a 1099 next year, which is customary. You can open an account online or you can have them email you a coupon. You can then take that coupon with you to the bank to open an account and still get the bonus.

The promotion ends March 31st, 2012.

Here is the fine print:
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Everbank Offers $60 Cash Bonus

Bank of America sparked a bit of an outrage (ha!) when they announced a new $5 monthly fee for debit card users and Everbank counters with sixty bucks in bonus cash if you open a Yield Pledge Checking Account before November 30th. One bank announces a $5 monthly fee, another bank offers $5 a month as a cash incentive – can you see where this is going?

Brick and mortar banks can’t compete with online banks on the basics of banking – checking, savings, and certificates of deposits. The finances are what they are. Online banks have lower overhead and so they can pass along some of that in better rates. As of 10/24/2011 Bank of America has a 9 month no-penalty CD yielding 0.30% APY and a 12 month CD yielding 0.50% APY (rates). Everbank’s 12-month CD is 0.80% APY. It won’t wow you but it’s 60% higher.

So if you want to try a checking account that pays you $5 a month, rather than one that dings you $5, think about Everbank.

Clever marketing! :)

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KeyBank iPod Touch Checking Account Promotion

KeyBank is once again offering an iPod touch (8GB 4th generation unit according to posters on Fatwallet) on their promotions page for new account holders who open up a checking account online. The requirements for getting the iPod touch is not unlike what reward checking accounts require:

  • open a qualifying KeyBank checking account online and enter offer code ONTT0311 by June 24, 2011, and
  • make at least 10 payments and/or purchases per month for 3 months after account opening, plus
  • make 3 direct deposits each of $500 or more within 3 months of account opening.

The 10 payments or purchases a month for three months is what I meant when I said “reward checking account”-like in terms of requirements. The three direct deposits of $500+ isn’t uncommon for these types of promotions, it just makes the checking account a little “stickier.”

One gotcha you won’t see unless you really dig is that they charge you a $25 account early closure fee if you close the account within 180 days of opening it.

Here are the somewhat longwinded terms & conditions:
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Citizens Bank $240 Checking Promotion

Citizens BankIf you were thinking about opening a checking account at Citizens Bank, they have a promotion where you can get $240. All you need to do is open a Green Checking, Circle Checking, or Circle Gold Checking account and make at least 5 qualifying online bill payments of $50 or more each month. Every month you do that, they’ll give you $40 and they’ll do that for six months.

It’s one of the trickier promotions out there, you’ll have to find five online bill payments, but it’s also one of the richest as each of the checking accounts have existing promotions. For example, if you go with paperless statements, you can get paid up to $120 a year for that. The “cheapest” account is the Green Checking, which waives the $4.99 monthly service charge if you make 5 qualifying bill payments each month or maintain an average balance of $1500.

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 Bank Deals 
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Should You Chase Bank Promotions?

Benjamins!As the economy recovers and banks are taken off life support, in the good way, financial institutions are becoming more aggressive with their promotional offers. The days of toasters and coffee mugs are long gone. The big banks are offering a Benjamin for new accounts. Sometimes two, if you’re happy jumping through their hoops.

What does the prototypical bank promotion look like? The bank wants to get new accounts and it wants those new accounts to stick. The typical bank promotion will require a minimum balance, a scheduled direct deposit each month, and that you keep the account open for at least a hundred days. A few banks will deviate from this prototype a little, perhaps adding in a bill payment or two or debit card activity, but they all follow this pattern.

Is it worth trying to sign up for a bunch of these?

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Fidelity Investments 200 Free Trades Offer

Fidelity InvestmentsIf you have $100,000 in cash and/or eligible securities, you can take advantage of Fidelity’s 200 free trades offer. It’s not uncommon for brokers to offer free trades to entice you to transfer your funds, TradeKing has a $100 refer a friend offer and a $150 transfer reimbursement offer, and 200 seems to be a nice round number that has the “wow factor” they’re looking for. If you want to do a dollar comparison, Fidelity trades are $7.95 a piece so this offer has a potential value of $1590, if you were to use all the trades.

Some basic ground rules:

  • The funds have to come from an external account, so you can’t transfer from another Fidelity account.
  • The free trades must be used within 90 days.
  • The offer ends June 31, 2011.

I personally prefer cash bonuses, but that’s because I don’t think I’ll be making 200 trades in 90 days. The trade-off between a cash bonus as a free trade bonus is that the cash is immediately reported on a 1099. With free trades, it’s not clear how the promotion is going to be reported to the IRS but at worst it’ll be the cash value of the free trades you actually use. I find it difficult to believe they’d 1099 you for $1590.

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Bank of the West $100 Checking Promotion

Bank of the WEst $100 PromotionBank of the West is offering a $100 promotion for new personal checking accounts opened between February 14th, 2011 and March 25th, 2011. You must deposit at least $100 and set up a monthly direct deposit of at least $250 each (you can’t do two deposits that sum up to more than $250, it must be one), with the first deposit coming within 60 days. If you don’t want to setup a direct deposit, you have to make 10 bill payments of at least $25 each to a third party business using Bank of the West Online Banking.

You can apply for the promotion here and their Free Checking is eligible. Free checking has no monthly service charge, no minimum balance (though there is a $100 minimum opening balance, which matches the requirements of this promotion), and free online banking and billpay.

You can find branches in AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI and WY; but you can also apply online as well.

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$100 TradeKing Refer a Friend Promotion

$100 TradeKing Refer a Friend PromotionThis offer has been extended through April 14th!

TradeKing just sent out an email in which they’re offering $200 if you refer a friend to TradeKing – you get $100 and your friend get $100. This is twice what they used to do whenever they’d have refer a friend promotion like National Friendship Day and $100 is a good amount of money. The typical stock trade at TradeKing is only $4.95 so this represents twenty free trades, in the form of cash. While twenty doesn’t sound as sexy as a hundred free trades that some other brokers offer, this is 20 free trades in cash and you shouldn’t feel compelled to use them.

You need to have a current TradeKing customer (you can email me if you don’t know anyone) send a referral from within TradeKing’s referral form. Then, the new customer has to open a new account and deposit $1,000 within 30 days and make a trade within 180 days. Then, they must keep the funds in the account for at least 180 days. A stock trade cost $4.95 so this is really a $90.10 promotion ($100 minus $4.95 times 2) for the friend.

Offer expires April 14th, 2011.

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