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Banking

Bank of America Raises ATM Fees: How Do You Avoid?

by Luke Landes

At dinner last night, the conversation for some reason turned towards personal bank accounts and the banks that hold them. Bank of America has grown to a large presence in this area, and there were some complaints about their service. In particular, their fees are higher than other banks in some cases. Some at the ... Continue reading this article…

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Opening a Business Checking Account

by Luke Landes

A few weeks ago, I had some free time on a Saturday and decided to take care of a chore I’ve been procrastinating for several months. I’m slowly in the process of formalizing the blogging that I do as an official business. Every few months or so, I take another step that brings me closer ... Continue reading this article…

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Fidelity Investments to Offer High-Yield Checking

by Luke Landes

I am currently on vacation and may not offer posts as frequently as usual. More brokers are offering high-yield checking accounts to compete with ING Direct’s Orange Checking. Offering competitive checking accounts helps the brokerages increase their assets without having to pay a significant portion of its earnings out as interest. Right now, E*Trade is ... Continue reading this article…

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$25 Bonus for Opening ING Direct Electric Orange Checking Account

by Luke Landes

After logging into ING Direct to view my account balances this morning, I noticed the bank is offering referral bonuses like they do for their savings account. I have $625 to give away, $25 to each of 25 individuals. I’ve written about Electric Orange a few times. Here are some of my prior posts about ... Continue reading this article…

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Congress Will Attempt to Fix Abusive Bank Policies

by Luke Landes

Earlier this month, I wrote about how overdraft fees are becoming more popular with banks finding ways to assess the fees more often, in tandem with raising what the customer owes each time — sometimes several within a day — an account is overdrawn. Laura Rowley’s latest column mentioned that a few congressmen are interested ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct’s Electric Orange Send Paper Checks Feature

by Luke Landes

For the first time since opening my “Electric Orange” checking account at ING Direct, I used the account’s ability to send a paper check. I’ve never used similar bill payment options that have always been available with my banks because other, better options, like paying by direct debit or credit card, were also available. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Overdraft Fees Becoming More Popular

by Luke Landes

There are two very specific ways banks are raking in the dough — your dough — thanks to slight changes or details in their policies. In the past, if you were to write a check or use your ATM/debit card to withdraw an amount higher than your balance, the check would bounce or the debit ... Continue reading this article…

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Pseudo-Savings Option: GE Interest Plus Account

by Luke Landes

I received an email from a reader about the GE Interest Plus Account. This account functions like a savings account with limited check writing privileges, but there are some important differences to consider before you open an account. The account offers high interest rates in tiers. For balances less than $15,000, you’ll earn 4.91 percent. For ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Offers New Online Savings Account: Citibank Direct, 4.65% APY, $50 Bonus

by Luke Landes

Last year, Citibank began offering their eSavings account, an online bank account that offers competitive interest rates but requires a linked checking account that charges fees, reducing the benefit of the interest. It looks like Citi is now improving these terms with its introduction of a new online-only — you can’t sign up in their ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Offers Online Checking Account

by Luke Landes

I just received an email stating that HSBC Direct has created an “online payment account” to compete with ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking Account. The major differences are HSBC Direct’s account will offer only a 2.50 percent APY, which is higher than your traditional checking account but significantly lower than ING’s, and HSBC Direct will reimburse ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct 6.0% APY Savings and Media Blitz

by Luke Landes

A few days ago, I received a press release from the marketing company representing the First National Bank of Omaha, which recently created FNBO Direct to compete with online outfits like ING Direct and HSBC Direct. The new FNBO Direct account, with no minimums and no fees, offers 6.0 percent APY through September 28. The big ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Offers 1% Cash Back to Some Customers

by Luke Landes

Perhaps you’re following the debacle in which ING Direct closed a large number of customers’ Electric Orange checking accounts due to bad credit, and then retracted many of the closings. Now, perhaps in a move to gain some public relations points after a major loss, they are offering cash back to what appears to be ... Continue reading this article…

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Wachovia Charging Monthly $5.95 for Microsoft Money and Quicken

by Luke Landes

Wachovia Bank April statements are now arriving in customers’ mailboxes. Some customers are in for a surprise. The bank is now charging a $5.95 service fee for many account holders who use Microsoft Money or Intuit Quicken’s “direct connect” feature to download transactions directly into the software (without visiting the website). The fee is listed ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Closed Customer’s Account Due to Bad Credit

by Luke Landes

Is it discrimination to cancel a customer’s checking account for their bad credit? ING Direct has done so to Nick, who emailed me (and Consumerist) a complaint forwarded to the ING Direct ombudsman. ING Direct has closed his Electric Orange account, a checking account that earns 0.20 percent – 1.10 percent APY currently. Evidently, ING Direct performs ... Continue reading this article…

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I Got Hit With a $4 Bank Fee From Wachovia

by Luke Landes

Last month, my landlord revoked credit card rent payments without enough notice to set up direct debit for April’s rent. I had to scramble to move around some money to write a check for April’s rent. Well, it would have taken too long to get the money from my ING Direct, so I had to ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Threatened to Close My Account

by Luke Landes

For the second time this year, I received a nasty letter from ING Direct. I haven’t been diligent enough with watching my withdrawals. FDIC, the government organization that ensures that I can’t lose money my leaving cash in a bank account up to $100,000, also limits savings accounts to six withdrawals per month. For ING ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Will Offer High-Yield Checking, Are You Interested?

by Luke Landes

A reader pointed me to an article about high-yield online checking accounts. I’ve been following these stories with a little bit of “interest,” and I’ve already opened a new checking account at ING Direct. This article talks about some of the drawbacks of this account; namely the necessity of a “regular” checking account for transferring ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking Account

by Luke Landes

As it was finally offered to me recently, I signed up for the new paperless checking account at ING Direct. Since I am a current customer of this particular bank, the account opening process was quick and straightforward. Right now, the account offers 0.20 percent APY interest on the first $50,000, which is great for a ... Continue reading this article…

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Quick Update to Interest Rates

by Luke Landes

I’ve updated the list of online savings and checking account interest rates. This list includes some of the more popular “online banks” as well as a few high-interest accounts from brick-and-mortar banks designed to compete with those online banks. Let me know if you have a favorite online money market account that isn’t listed.

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Wachovia to Start Charging for Direct Access to Quicken

by Luke Landes

Along with my monthly checking and savings account statement, I received the following notice in the mail: Important Message for Personal Account Holders Who Use Quicken, QuickBooks, or Microsoft Money Beginning April 1, 2007, a monthly fee of $5.95 will be assessed if you access Wachovia Online Banking directly from within your personal financial management ... Continue reading this article…

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