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Banking

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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Verifying Funds on Checks, 2010 Edition

by Smithee

Last May we found a list of the biggest American banks and investigated each to find if it was possible to verify funds on a customer’s check over the phone. For example, you’re a landlord and you want to know if your iffy tenant, who banks somewhere different than you, wrote you a bad check. ... Continue reading this article…

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I Deposited a Check With My Phone

by Smithee

This past weekend was my first chance to try to deposit a check without going to the bank, and it was fantastic. I was always ambivalent about the fact that Chase Bank swallowed up the friendly Washington Mutual, but now I’m a little glad, since they’re among the first of the enormous banks to bring ... Continue reading this article…

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Track Savings Goals With Mint.com

by Luke Landes
mint[1]

Mint.com added a new feature this week to its online personal finance management software. Like SmartyPig, the new focus is on savings goals. I’ve recently become a fan of SmartyPig’s approach to goal tracking, so I was interested in seeing Mint.com’s new feature. In addition to tracking your account balances as any other personal finance ... Continue reading this article…

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Free Checking On the Way Out: Who Should Pay?

by Luke Landes

July 1 and August 15 are the dates consumers need to worry about. New Fed rules for bank accounts go into effect on July 1 for anyone who opens a new bank account, while current account holders should know about changes to their accounts starting August 15. On these dates, the Federal Reserve is limiting ... Continue reading this article…

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A Review of PerkStreet’s 5% Cash Back Debit Card and Checking Account

by Luke Landes

PerkStreet Financial, a company that launched just over a year ago has decided to kick things up a notch by offering something new in addition to their online checking account. Previously, PerkStreet enticed customers with a $50 cash bonus for signing up a new account, then 2 percent cash back on all non-PIN debit card purchases ... Continue reading this article…

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Overdraft Fees: Opting In

by Luke Landes

As we’ve addressed on Consumerism Commentary before, the Federal Reserve will be requiring banking customers to opt-in to overdraft protection. The highly publicized date of the change is July 1, but this is only the date by which new customers must be free from certain overdraft fees without opting into the service. Most of us ... Continue reading this article…

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SmartyPig Raises Interest Rate Today

by Luke Landes

In March, I opened a savings goal with SmartyPig, and I’ve been sending $172.20 from my ING Direct account every two weeks since then. My savings goal is to expand my collection of photography equipment to include a full-frame digital camera. I originally identified the Canon EOS 5D Mark II as my planned purchase, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Sallie Mae Increases Interest Rate and 10% Upromise Bonus

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, Sallie Mae Bank increased the interest rate offered on its savings account 50 basis points to 1.4 percent APY. This is one of the highest interest rates available. I’ve shared my thoughts about opening a Sallie Mae Bank savings account in this review. Sallie Mae ties directly into the Upromise savings plan, a program ... Continue reading this article…

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GMAC Changes Name to Ally Financial

by Luke Landes

A year ago, GMAC Bank, or its brand, ceased to exist. In order to distance itself from its parents, General Motors and GMAC Financial Services, the bank changed its name to Ally Bank. With government funding, Ally Bank went on to become a competitive online bank, offering interest rates high enough to draw the ire ... Continue reading this article…

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Ally Bank No Penalty CD

by Luke Landes

Certificates of deposit often offer higher interest rates than savings accounts and money market accounts because the banks expect customers to keep their money locked away in CDs for a predetermined period of time. Most banks discourage withdrawals from CDs by charging a penalty for any withdrawal before maturity. The penalty usually takes the form ... Continue reading this article…

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Set Your ATM Preferences

by Smithee

Marketing e-mails, provided they make it through Google’s top-notch spam filters, get about half a second of attention from me before they get deleted. I’ll spend a bit more time if they come from my bank, and Chase recently caught my eye with an announcement about “setting your ATM preferences” (especially since a large part ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Beat a Certificate of Deposit (CD) Ladder

by Luke Landes

Building a certificate of deposit (CD) ladder is a great process that ensures you’re eventually earning the strongest interest rates available while leaving the possibility open to withdraw money every three months without penalty. In fact, even if you need to withdraw some money between the quarterly window, you would only be faced with a ... Continue reading this article…

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SmartyPig Savings Account Opening Review

by Luke Landes

For two years, SmartyPig has been making so-called high-yield savings accounts look bad. The 1.00 percent APY currently offered is not a sky-high interest rate, but it beats just about every other major bank. Two years after introducing SmartyPig with a $100 giveaway, and after SmartyPig made some important changes to their fee structure, I decided ... Continue reading this article…

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Sallie Mae Bank Savings Account Opening Review

by Luke Landes

At the beginning of March, the banking arm of Sallie Mae, a publicly-traded corporation whose main business is student loans, began offering high-yield savings accounts. As I’ve mentioned before, “high-yield” is currently a joke; just a few years ago, you could deposit cash in high-yield savings accounts and count on slightly beating inflation. It is ... Continue reading this article…

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When It Makes Sense to Chase Savings Interest Rates

by Luke Landes

I’ve been closely tracking changes in high-yield savings account interest rates for a few years. Having a high-yield savings account is an essential part of being in control of your finances, and it’s the perfect vehicle for the bulk of your emergency fund. There is a possibility of having too much of a good thing. ... Continue reading this article…

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