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 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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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

 Bank Deals 
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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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