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Banking

Moving Away From Banks and Other Companies “Too Big to Fail”

by Luke Landes

The FDIC is progressing in its development of new rules that will apply to financial firms — not just banks — deemed “too big to fail.” The rules would establish procedures for unwinding companies whose failure would pose a threat to the economy, when that failure appears to be imminent. The government organization approved a ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express Personal Savings Review

by Luke Landes
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By far, the most requested review on Consumerism Commentary that I have yet to write is for the American Express Personal Savings Account. American Express offers one of the highest interest rates available with this savings account, making it very attractive from the surface. Once you own an account, how does it hold up against ... Continue reading this article…

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Fifth Third Bank Changes Debit Procedure

by Luke Landes

Some good news has come out of the class action lawsuits dealing with overdraft fees. The lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank still has one more hurdle to overcome, but most likely, customers who have paid overdraft fees for debit card transactions may see some or all of these fees refunded. Also as a result of ... Continue reading this article…

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My Business Bank Accounts: Checking and Savings

by Luke Landes

The economic environment is still not great for savers. Those who were smart or financially stable enough to have emergency funds and other savings accounts have been rewarded with low interest rates for the past few years. Take a look at these historical interest rates to see how low we’ve come. The good news is ... Continue reading this article…

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CNN Money’s 8 Least-Evil Banks

by Luke Landes
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Out of the eight “least-evil” banks, as ranked by a staff reporter for CNN Money, I am a customer of two. Everyone who makes financial transactions of a regular basis or handles money in any form should have a checking and savings account at a solid bank that doesn’t attempt to charge its customers exorbitant ... Continue reading this article…

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Open a Yuan Bank Account in New York or Los Angeles

by Luke Landes

If you visit the Bank of China’s branches in New York or Los Angeles and bring two forms of identification and your cash, you have the opportunity to open a savings or money market account denominated in yuan (renminbi), the currency of China. The interest rate you’ll earn is low, but that would not be ... Continue reading this article…

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Zions Bank Online Savings Account Review

by Luke Landes

As of today, Zions Bank offers one of the highest interest rates among high-interest savings accounts. Is it worthwhile to move your money there to take advantage of this interest rate? Today’s interest rate environment is not the best for moving money from bank to bank in search of the highest rate, so the more ... Continue reading this article…

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Wachovia to Wells Fargo Transition

by Luke Landes
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In addition to my bevvy of online savings accounts, I have standard, twentieth-century brick-and-mortar banking accounts, though only at two banks. I opened an account at TD Bank (formerly Commerce Bank) several years ago — because everyone loves being able to visit the branch on a Sunday. My primary branch accounts for personal and business ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover® Bank Online Savings Account Review

by Luke Landes
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Interested in opening a savings account at Discover® Bank? Read this article first. Note: I’ve recently updated this review to indicate that transaction downloads for Quicken are now available. Last year, I noted that E*TRADE Bank will be moving some customers’ accounts to Discover Bank. The only customers affected by this move are those who ... Continue reading this article…

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Wells Fargo Direct Deposit Advance

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary reader Yana wrote in yesterday to let me know about some changes in the terms for Wells Fargo’s Direct Deposit Advance service. At first, I was surprised that this service exists. At its core, the credit product offered by Wells Fargo is basically a payday loan, though it comes from a reputable financial ... Continue reading this article…

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PerkStreet $25 Checking Account Bonus With 2% Cash Back

by Luke Landes

When I first started paying attention to managing my money, depositing my money in an interest-bearing savings or checking account was one of the smartest financial moves I made. While it’s still one of the safest, banks are paying next to nothing on interest these days. Instead of moving money from one account to another ... Continue reading this article…

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Chase Online Banking Website Down

by Luke Landes

Chase’s website for online banking has been unavailable since Monday night. After opening, receiving, an activating a new Chase credit card, a process I completed this past weekend, and purchasing my first items with the card, I was looking forward to checking my activity online today. Unfortunately, the downtime has prevented me from doing so. ... Continue reading this article…

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The Savings and Interest Rate Paradox

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve recently announced that consumer debt declined in July for the sixth straight month. The continuing elimination of personal debt is a positive development on an individual level. Consumers are buying less of what they don’t need and saving money whenever possible. At the same time that savings account balances are increasing throughout ... Continue reading this article…

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Transaction Account Guarantee Program

by Luke Landes

The typical FDIC protection is quite limited. Until the financial crisis, most types of bank accounts were covered up to a balance of $100,000. If a bank were to go bankrupt, the FDIC would ensure you would receive your cash up to that limit. The maximum was increased to $250,000 until December 31, 2013, at ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Don’t Chase the Highest Interest Rate

by Luke Landes

When a bank, particularly a bank that functions without branches solely or almost completely online, wants to increase its deposits, they employ several specific tactics. The bank increase the interest rates on the savings accounts, establish a significant marketing and advertising push, and if they’re smart, offer new customer or referral bonuses. Let’s go back ... Continue reading this article…

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TD Bank’s Penny Arcade: An Investment With a 58% Return

by Luke Landes

I’m generally a fan of TD Bank and my local branch’s generous operating hours, and I’m also a fan of the bank’s coin counting machine called the Penny Arcade. After my interesting experience last weekend, I’m an even greater (and slightly wealthier) fan. Last weekend, my girlfriend and I counted the coins in our coin ... Continue reading this article…

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Paid Insufficient, My Old Friend

by Smithee

Last week on Facebook I was celebrating the new law that stops banks from auto-enrolling new customers into overdraft programs, making it merely optional instead. A more conservative friend from college expressed his dislike of the law, asking me (I’m paraphrasing) “What happened to personal responsibility in this country? Why is it a good thing ... Continue reading this article…

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Inactive Savings Accounts Can Be Turned Over to Your State

by Luke Landes

The state will take your money if you’re not vigilant. I received a warning the other day that I’m in danger of having the funds in one of my savings accounts handed over to the state of New Jersey. I’ll explain why in a moment. First, I should explain that rather than keeping a simplified ... Continue reading this article…

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EverBank $75 Cash Bonus for New Money Market and Online Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

If you take a look at our best online savings accounts page, you’ll notice EverBank resting in the number two slot. In terms of true online banking institutions, this bank is worth mentioning because EverBank offers a variety of money market, checking, and CD accounts that the first-listed bank, SmartyPig, does not have. To increase ... Continue reading this article…

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Weep Not for Interchange Fee Revenue

by Smithee

I used to answer customer service calls for Bank of America, one of the nation’s biggest banks. Granted, I was near the bottom of the totem pole, but they generally treated everybody with respect there (I was in Washington State, your mileage may vary), and they wanted us to be able to give customers informed ... Continue reading this article…

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