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Banking

Money Magazine’s Best Banks 2011

by Luke Landes

In early October, I will announce the winners of the Second Annual Plutus Awards, which will include the best bank, best credit card, best brokerage, and a number of other categories. Later today, the Plutus Awards website will list the finalists. Money Magazine has already completed its survey and announced the publication’s editor’s picks for ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Tips for Avoiding Overdraft Fees

by Luke Landes
Nickel and Dime

Bank of America is settling the overdraft fee class-action lawsuit that alleges the bank knowingly manipulated customers’ deposits and withdrawals in order to maximize the fees they would receive. Although the banks aren’t completely to blame for the proliferation of overdraft fees, policies were so much of a problem that the government and regulators needed ... Continue reading this article…

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Best 12 Month CD Rates, September 2014

by Luke Landes

The best 12 month CD rates may not be impressive overall today compared with historical rates. With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low for the near future, all types of deposits will not command the interest rates that were common before the recession. With nowhere to go but up, it may not make a ... Continue reading this article…

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Wells Fargo Testing $3 Monthly Debit Card Fee

by Luke Landes
Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Bank, the primary brick-and-mortar bank I’ve been holding onto for my branch-based banking, ATM deposits, and immediate check-writing, is jumping on the debit card fee bandwagon. Chase was one of the first banks to start playing around with fees and debit card changes. Chase increased its ATM fee to $5, eliminated the short-lived ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Now Offers Paper Checks

by Luke Landes
ING Direct

The internet is a-twitter with the news that ING Direct is now offering paper checks to accompany its Electric Orange “paperless checking” account. Apparently, customers have received emails from the bank confirming this long-needed enhancement, but I have not received an email yet. A box of 50 checks costs $5 through the ING Direct website. ... Continue reading this article…

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Aurora Bank Review

by Luke Landes

In my neverending quest to find more options for banking in today’s environment of low-yield high-yield savings and money market accounts, I’ve come across Aurora Bank. I don’t move money around from one account to another to chase high rates, but until I get around to simplifying my banking options, I tend to open accounts ... Continue reading this article…

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According to Wells Fargo, My Name is Business Customer

by Luke Landes

I chuckled when I received my replacement business debit card in the mail yesterday. Although I never had any problems with my account, and I’ve always received mail from Wells Fargo addressed properly, at some point, someone in the bank decided the name of the owner of my business accounts is “Business Customer.” As Wells ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Settles Overdraft Fee Lawsuit

by Luke Landes
Bank of America Lawsuit

If you qualify for the Bank of America overdraft lawsuit settlement, you may have already received a postcard in the mail from the bank. Here is information on the overdraft lawsuit, only one of many class action lawsuits against Bank of America. If you recently received a check from Bank of America for about $98, ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Financial Independence Days Sale

by Luke Landes
Fireworks

Online bank ING Direct is offering some goodies in July in time for Independence Day. July 4 is a bank holiday in the United States, so this sale starts early. July 1 and July 2 are the only days this sale will be available, so this offer is only around for a very limited time. ... Continue reading this article…

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Capital One Buys ING Direct, Now What?

by Luke Landes

ING Direct has been on sale for the past few years, and I’ve speculated on the rumors of possible buyers like Ally Bank and GE Capital Bank. The winning bidder has been announced. Capital One has purchased ING Direct for $9 billion. Capital One is a financial institution that is historically known as a credit ... Continue reading this article…

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GE Capital Bank May Buy ING Direct

by Luke Landes
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Update: Capital One has purchased ING Direct. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Ally Bank was considering buying ING Direct, the United States deposit bank arm of the Dutch ING Group. In exchange for a European bailout, ING was forced to agree to sell ING Direct by 2013. As the date nears, more rumors ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Choose the Best Savings Account

by Luke Landes
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Born in the 1970s, I didn’t get to experience the days when anyone with a bank account could earn 18 percent APY in their savings. When I started being aware of interest rates — something that didn’t happen for me until I was out of college, struggling to earn a living, and thinking of a savings ... Continue reading this article…

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Student Checking Accounts Comparison, May 2012

by Luke Landes
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As we head into summer, thousands of young adults will be heading to college for the first time. It’s important to get started on the right financial foot, and a free student checking account is an essential tool, particularly when combined with a savings account. Obtaining a student checking account that’s convenient for both students ... Continue reading this article…

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The Difference Between Savings Accounts and Money Market Accounts

by Luke Landes
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Savings accounts and money market accounts are different from each other practically in name only. From a saver’s perspective, there is no difference between these types of accounts. There are many misconceptions about the supposed differences between savings accounts and money market accounts, and if you’ve ever tried to learn about these differences online, even ... Continue reading this article…

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Are Online Banks Safe?

by Luke Landes

Anyone who is accustomed to being able to walk into the local bank branch, access accounts through a teller, and discuss banking options with an account manager on-site might still have reservations about moving money to an online-only bank. The benefits are big. Usually, online-only banks offer higher interest rates on savings and certificate of ... Continue reading this article…

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Ally Bank in Talks to Buy ING Direct

by Luke Landes

Update: Capital One has purchased ING Direct. A little less than eighteen months ago, I mentioned that ING Direct was scheduled to be sold off. The online bank’s parent company, ING Group, received taxpayer assistance. The plan is for ING Group to sell ING Direct USA to pay back the European Commission. The New York ... Continue reading this article…

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US Bank Offers Free Rewards Account, Then Cancels Offer

by Luke Landes

Xenocid is having a frustrating experience with US Bank. A customer service representative moved his account into a new tier, offering a free account with cash back rewards when using his debit card. Xenocid promptly received a letter saying they would start charging $25 per month for this free account. Here’s his side of the ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Electric Orange Checking $50 Bonus

by Luke Landes

(Ed. note: ING Direct became Capital One 360 in 2013.) I’m aware that many regular Consumerism Commentary readers already have ING Direct savings accounts. Those who have been reading this website since the beginning know that I’m a fan. Their interest rates may not be at the top of the chart these days, and there ... Continue reading this article…

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The Saver’s Dilemma

by Luke Landes

At Consumerism Commentary, I’ve been writing about putting money into high-yield savings accounts for as long as this website has been around. Just as people started getting the message, banks pulled the rug out from under their customers. The Federal Reserve made cash easy and cheap from banks to access, and since the low federal ... Continue reading this article…

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Citibank Changes Overdraft Procedure: Fewer Fees

by Luke Landes

At the end of March, Fifth Third Bank changed its procedure for dealing with overdraft fees. When a customer has many debits (withdrawals) posting on the same day, and they are not real-time debits, banks often start with the largest amount. Ordering the debits from largest to smallest ensures that customers who do not have ... Continue reading this article…

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