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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Free Admission to Museums from Bank of America Museums on Us

For thirteen years, Bank of America has put together their Museums on Us program where account holders get access to art and cultural institutions all across the country. They add more museums, aquariums, and cultural sights each and ever year. This year, the program includes 150 institutions in 85 cities, which means you can get into more places for absolutely free (this includes Merrill Lynch customers, which Bank of America acquired in 2008).

The participating institutions include the whole spectrum, in terms of popularity, and most notably include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Aquarium. My current fair state of Maryland only boasts two participating institutions – The American Visionary Art Museum (I went to a wedding here recently and it’s a pretty cool and wacky museum!) and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.

To find out what institutions are participating in your area, you can search the Museums on Us site for more information.

Some fine print for you:

To qualify for Museums on Us, customers simply present their Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain one free general admission to any participating institution. Not valid for special exhibitions, fundraising events or ticketed shows. Not to be combined with any other discounts or offers. Free admission does not guarantee reservation. Offer valid the first full weekend of each month through December 3-4, 2011

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$100 PNC Checking Account Promotion (February 2011)

My very first bank account was at a local credit union on Long Island, where I was a joint account holder with my Mom. My second bank account was at a PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, where a branch was only a few blocks away from where I was living. Back then, I opened an account for free because free student checking accounts were all the rage (maybe I got a t-shirt or a frisbee or something silly). Nowadays, if you have the cash and a direct deposit (read: job), you can get more than a t-shirt or a frisbee. You can get a hundred bucks.

From now until the end of February 2011, open a PNC Personal Checking Account, setup a direct deposit of at least $400 each month, and make 10 check card purchases within 60 days of account opening. $100 is deposited within 60 days of completing the requirements.

Their Free Checking Account has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly service charge, and they reimburse you for ATM fees at non-PNC ATMs if you have an average $2,000 monthly balance. You can find out more on their promotion page.

You can apply online but you must be a resident of DC, DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NJ, OH, PA, VA and WI. Expires February 28th, 2011 but could be extended.

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Flagstar Direct $100 Bonus

Flagstar Direct is offering a $100 bonus for new Express Checking accountholders who establish a direct deposit of at least $250 within the first four months of opening their account. Their Express Checking account offers a four-month bonus APY of 1.50% followed by a rate that makes the first year blended APY 1.06%, which is pretty good for a checking account. In addition to a decent rate and the $100 bonus, there are no monthly maintenance fees, free checks for life, and free identity theft protection.

Let us put your money to work for you with our four-month, 1.50% bonus rate, no service fees and no minimum balance. Flagstar’s Express Internet checking account is tailor-made for you to achieve your financial goals. Plus, receive an additional $100 for establishing direct deposit within the first four months! One promotional account per household.

It’s a decent deal, if you don’t mind setting up a direct deposit, and a nice way to score a hundred bucks.

 Bank Deals 
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American Express Small Business Promotion

AMEX Small Business PromotionRight before Thanksgiving, I received an email about American Express’ Small Business Saturday promotion where you can get a $25 statement credit for spending $25 at a small business (on Saturday, November 27th). By the time I got to the email, Saturday had already passed (along with Sunday) so I couldn’t take advantage of it. It turns out that the promotion was so popular that American Express has decided to extend the promotion until the end of the year. All you have to do is register here with your name, AMEX number, security code, and email address. Then, spend $25 or more at a single participating small business and you’ll get a $25 statement credit

Act quickly, it’s limited to the first 300,000 enrollees and the credit will post 5 business days after your purchase.

Some terms & conditions:
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$175 Family Value Bonuses from M&T Bank

M&T BankM&T Bank has really gotten very aggressive in its promotions lately and this time they’re offering up to $175 in “Family Value Bonuses” when you open a checking account. You can access the promotion by visiting a specialty built website, BuiltForFamilies.com, and entering your zip code to see if there are eligible accounts in your area.

I already have an M&T Bank account, so I’m not eligible, but I really like how their account comparison page tells you everything you need to know. How many other places explain their fees in plain english? If you open an M&T Select Checking, there’s a $14 monthly service fee unless you have a balance over $5,000 or total balances of $10,000, or have a mortgage originally over $100,000. Their Totally Free Checking has no minimum balance or monthly fee and is eligible for $25 in cash, $50 in gift cards.

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Citi ThankYou Rewards 20% Bonus Points Promotion

I logged into my Citi account today and discovered that they were offering a new opt-in promotion where you can earn a 20% bonus on ThankYou Points that you earn using your card for the next six months. I did some research and learned on this Fatwallet Finance forum thread that this might be a targeted offer, so if you log in and don’t see it, you’re not going crazy. It’s a nice little offer that will juice up my Citi mtvU card’s already healthy 5% at restaurants and Amazon.com to an even healthier 6%. If you have a 1% cashback card, it only gets you an additional 0.2% but there are no strings attached so you might as well take the extra cash back.

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Bank of America $75 MyAccess Checking Incentive Bonus

Bank of AmericaThere’s a “special limited-time online offer” for Bank of America credit card holders (I put that in quotes because these promotions come and go all the time) when they open a MyAccess Checking account online. It’s an online only offer of $75 when you open a new MyAccess Checking account and make a qualifying deposit. A qualifying deposit is one that is at least $125 made within 30 days of opening the account. There is no direct deposit requirement for this bonus, though it’s a way to avoid the maintenance fee (the other way is maintaining a balance, more on that in the fine print section).

The offer code for this promotion is CH75OL1 and you can find out more on their promotion page.

Some of the other fine print:
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AT&T Universal Rewards $50 Bonus

AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards CardThis offer is no longer available.

The AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card was my very first credit card. I applied for it in my first week on campus at Carnegie Mellon University because I was offered a t-shirt, not because I was some credit savant building my credit history and carving out a good credit score.

One of the great benefits of the card was some free long distance minutes, which was crucial back in the days when I didn’t have a cell phone and had to call home with my dorm room phone. Nowadays, the benefits of owning the card have vastly improved, with a nice $50 statement credit after you make a mere $50 in purchases within 3 months and rewards points you can spend in the ThankYou Rewards Network.
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