Banking Column

This column focuses on all matters banking from reviews of the best high yield savings accounts to whether your funds are adequately protected by FDIC insurance. The bank, and not your mattress, should be where you’re putting your savings and anytime we discuss banks, it’ll appear in this column.

Popular Resources in Banking:

- Best Online Banks
- High Yield Savings Account Rates
- Best CD Rates (12-18 months)
- Highest CD Rates (< 12 months)


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 Banking 
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Big banks consider charging for deposits, are probably bluffing

Big banks consider charging for deposits, but there are plenty of alternatives.What if banks gave you a negative interest rate, actually charging for deposits, rather than paying interest? That’s what some banks are contemplating if the Federal Reserve stops paying them .25 percent interest on the gigantic reserves they hold at the central bank.
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 Banking 
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Savings makes you happier than a fun job, eating right or exercising

In order to achieve maximum happiness, this is all you should eat from now on.To achieve maximum happiness, as soon as you finish reading this, you should start eating only spam, quit your gym, and get a horrible but high paying job (patent lawyer or international accountant come to mind). Then, funnel all the extra money into a savings account.

Ok that might be a little extreme, but a national poll released today by Ally Bank suggests that having a lot of money saved up is more important to people’s overall sense of well-being than eating healthy foods, having a job they like, or exercising regularly.

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 Banking 
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Why debit cards make you more vulnerable to fraud than credit cards

Debit cards can have pretty kitties, serious fraud riskThere are a lot of good things about using debit cards. They force you to limit your spending to the money you have on hand, they don’t leave you vulnerable to revolving debt and interest charges that credit cards can, and you can get pretty kitties printed on the front if you want.

One big downside, though, is how vulnerable they leave users to fraud.

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 Banking 
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Your take: Do you think you’ll ever go bank-less?

If there’s anyone who could lose a popularity contest with Congress right now, it might be Wall Street bankers. In a poll conducted earlier this year by Gallup, only 26 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the nation’s banks, compared to 41 percent before the crisis.

It’s not hard to figure out why. Only five years ago, the reckless behavior of the nation’s biggest banks pretty much dumped the world economy — and many Americans’ livelihoods — in a blender and hit “frappe.”

But is disliking big banks enough to make you want to try and live without their most ubiquitous product, the consumer checking account?


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 Banking 
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What to watch out for with payroll cards

Payroll cards can help avoid check cashing costs, but can have nasty fees of their ownIf you’re currently getting a paper paycheck and your employer hasn’t already tried to get you to switch to a payroll card, they probably will at some point.

Last year businesses loaded paychecks onto 4.6 million payroll cards, and that’s expected to grow to 7.1 million cards by 2014, according to Aite Group, a financial services consulting firm.

It’s easy to understand why employers love payroll cards, which work like prepaid debit cards. They cut down on the cost of cutting paper checks and eliminate losses to payroll check fraud, which is so easy a 16-year-old could do it a lot and and not get caught for a really long time.

Why an employee would like them isn’t as clear.


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 Banking 
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3 banking dealbreakers

Monthly fees are a dealbreaker for many One thing I’ve heard often from experts in the banking industry is that there’s a lot of inertia around people’s banking choices. What I mean by that is, people tend to stay with the same bank until it does something so heinous, so unforgivable, that they are forced to move on.

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 Banking 
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What Should You Do When Your Online Bank Closes?

Boarded WindowThe world of online banking received a bit of a shock recently when PerkStreet abruptly announced that it was closing. Up until the announcement was made, almost no one had any idea that it was coming. People were taken by surprise — especially when they found out PerkStreet wasn’t able to pay out the perks it owed customers.

Online baking has become popular in recent years, thanks to its convenience and to the competitive rates offered by banks that don’t have to worry about the high overhead costs that can come with physical branch locations. However, as the PerkStreet model shows, even an interesting and potentially-disruptive model can fail.


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 Banking 
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Why I Stopped Laddering My Certificates of Deposit

CD LadderFor years we’ve had our emergency fund in a certificate of deposit ladder at ING Direct, now Capital One 360. Then a funny thing happened a while ago (I don’t remember exactly when but it’s over a year now since all my CDs have matured), the interest rate on a savings account was higher than what you would get for a 12-month CD. If you look at yields today, the same holds true.

If you look at the rates at Capital One 360, you can get a 0.75% APY on your savings account. To beat that with a CD, you need to go to 60 months! Anything less than that and you’re better off keeping your money in a savings account. At Ally, the rates are better but not much better. Ally will pay you 0.85% APY on a savings account and a 12-month CD is only slightly better at 0.94% APY.

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