As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!


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

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer and APY expired and are no longer available. 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 ... 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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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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HSBC Direct Has a New Website

by Luke Landes

If you visited HSBC Direct today, you may have noticed their new website. It has a new, Flashier look and easier access to features, like savings calculators. Once you log in to check your account, you’re presented with the same interface that has been around, at least since the time I opened my account last ... Continue reading this article…

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The Bank Deposits $1,000,000 Into Your Savings Account…

by Luke Landes

On the local news last night, I caught one of those lighter stories, used for filler when the channel’s news producer can’t seem to find other news that will attract viewers. A bank mistakenly deposited $1,000,000 into a woman’s savings account. She was not happy about it, and the bank was not taking back the ... Continue reading this article…

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News Flash: Emigrant Direct Lowers Interest Rate From 5.15% to 5.05% APY

by Luke Landes

I just got work that Emigrant Direct has lowered the interest rate offered on the bank’s savings account from an APY of 5.15 percent to 5.05 percent. This trend might continue, so those who want to lock in high rates may want to start transferring any cash they won’t need for some time into CDs or other ... Continue reading this article…

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New, Improved Process For Opening an Emigrant Direct Account

by Luke Landes

You would think that in this day and age of advanced technology, banking institutions that operate primarily online would have processes in place that don’t rely on snail-mail and centuries-old, outdated technology. I wrote about my experience opening an account at Emigrant Direct over a year ago, and it was tedious. When Emigrant Direct opened ... Continue reading this article…

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The 5.0% APY Threshold: The New Hotness

by Luke Landes

If your savings account isn’t providing you 5.0 percent or more at this point, you can consider it old and busted. A few banks have raised their interest rates on “online” savings accounts lately, so take a look at the latest chart. Emigrant Direct moved to 5.15 percent today, but you may have problems accessing their new ... Continue reading this article…

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Emigrant Direct’s New Website is Up!

by Luke Landes

I arrived home a little earlier, and while writing my first paper for my last class before obtaining my master’s degree, I decided to check out Emigrant Direct’s new website. There has been a lot of talk over on an earlier entry about how many have not been able to access the website and have ... Continue reading this article…

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Mail Check: Some “Goodies” Arrived for Me

by Luke Landes

I’ve been away from my apartment for almost a week, so I had a few goodies waiting for me upon my arrival home yesterday. I received a letter from Emigrant Direct with my activation code for their new website to be launched next Monday. Also, they included a notice that they will be raising their ... Continue reading this article…

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Emigrant Direct is Latest to Break 5%

by Luke Landes

Some of you may have heard already, but over the weekend, Emigrant Direct raised the interest offered on its savings account, resulting in 5.0 percent APY. They’re trailing the leader, HSBC Direct, by only 5 basis points (0.05 percentage points).

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