Thanks to the recent reduction in the federal funds interest rate, debtors have reason to celebrate. Interest rates on credit cards pegged to the prime rate are decreasing. CitiBank recently reset the APRs on a number of their credit cards.
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® for College Students
Now 13.99% – 21.99% on purchases. The Citi Dividend Platinum Select was the flagship rewards card, but unfortunately, it is no longer available. Many past cardholders saw a reduction of the cash back rewards and were later suggested to change to the Citi Dividend World MasterCard. The version of the card for students, Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® for College Students, is still available. For new card members, this rewards card offers 5% cash back on purchases at supermarkets drugstores, gas stations, convenience stores, and utilities including cable. After 6 months, this is reduced to 1% cash back. Earn at least 2% cash back in popular rotating categories like restaurants, apparel, hotel and more. Enrollment required.* All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
As always, credit card rewards are not for everyone. If you pay interest or late fees, you won’t benefit from any special offers. Only consider opening new credit if you are an expert at managing your own money and buy only what you can afford to pay each month.
January 2008 is the first month in which Consumerism Commentary exceeded 100,000 monthly unique visitors. Thanks to all readers, particularly those who come back after their first visit! If this is your first visit, consider bookmarking Consumerism Commentary if you like what you see or subscribe to the RSS feed to read about updates as they happen.
Each month I like to thank other blogs and websites who contribute visitors to Consumerism Commentary. Here are the top ten sources for the month of January:
# Get Rich Slowly
# The Simple Dollar
# Free Money Finance
# No Credit Needed
# Blueprint for Financial Prosperity
# My Open Wallet
Here are the top 10 visited articles from the past month, including the last few days of December. This only counts web visitors to each page; I don’t have any way of knowing how many people have read these articles via RSS. Only articles published within the last month are included.
# Four Factors That Determine the Value of a Coin
# Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 1: Open a High-Yield Account
# 5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Utilize the Energy Tax Credit
# $100 Bonus for Opening a Chase Checking Account
# Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 3: Automate Your Savings
# Misconceptions About the Transition to Digital Television
# Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 2: Keep Your Change
# 5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Remain Competitive Within My Field
# 5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Balance Rental Property Income With Deductions
# 15 Credit Cards With the Best Rewards
Consumerism Commentary visitor Diane asked about the bank that is currently topping the list of high-yield savings accounts, OneUnited, which is currently offering 5.30% APY.
I wonder about that Unity Gold E-Savings at OneUnited at the top of the list. That is 1% better than Emigrant where I am now, which translates into $500/year. Have you heard anything about it? If I understand the website correctly they only credit the account quarterly. Anyone have any dealings with it?
I have no experience with OneUnited, so if anyone else does, please feel free to leave a comment. I’ve read that people have had poor experiences with customer support and ACH transfers are often delayed beyond the standard 3-day period. The account requires a $1,000 minimum initial deposit and interest is only earned when the balance is above $1,000. They do credit your interest quarterly, so you could end up losing a substantial amount of interest if you close at the “wrong time,” like right before the interested is credited.
How important is that? Are you willing to deal with poor customer service in order to receive one of the highest rates?
Consumerism Commentary reader Allison wrote in to let me know about Savings Square, a high-yield savings account offering competitive rates. The account is offered by Kirkpatrick Bank, FDIC insured. I hadn’t heard of the account until today. Here’s what Allison wrote about her experience with the account so far:
When I first set up my account, there was a problem with my first transfer of cash from my regular debit account to Savings Square. I finally called their HQ, and a wonderful representative explored reasons for the stall, called back multiple times exactly when she said she would, offered alternatives for getting the money to the account while the problem was being corrected, and followed up a few days after the correction to make sure I was happy with the end results. I’ve called them a couple more times with random questions, and they’ve always offered excellent service. At this point, there’s not much that will make me move my cash.
There are other positive reviews online, though most disappointment stems from the timing of transfers. While a 10-day hold on initial deposits is normal for the industry, customers have seen spotty performance with other transfers that should be executed within three days or one day.
Savings Square’s current APY of 4.8% puts them towards the top of the pack of high-yield savings account.
Update: Washington Mutual and HSBC Direct lowered the APY offered on their savings accounts, and I expect more to follow as the Fed lowers interest rates again tomorrow.