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Banking

Money Basics: Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

April is National Financial Literacy Month in the United States. In most cases, schools do not extensively teach financial skills. Teenagers, highly susceptible to messages from the media, often do not have guidance from teachers, who are not trained to teach financial skills, or from parents, many of whom do not model healthy financial behavior. ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You a High-Yield Interest Rate Chaser?

by Luke Landes

Over the last decade, on-line savings accounts have grown into prominence, first with new internet-only banks offering high-yield accounts thanks to their low overhead costs, and followed by old-fashioned brick-and-mortar banks offering on-line accounts to give the newcomers competition. For more than one year, I’ve been tracking and charting interest rate changes for a number ... Continue reading this article…

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FDIC Might Be Underfunded: Should You Withdraw Your Money From Banks?

by Luke Landes

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the federal organization that insures that customers do not lose deposits held at banks when those banks run into trouble, is finding itself in trouble. For years, Congress hasn’t allowed the FDIC to collect insurance premiums from banks, bowing to the strong banking industry lobby. Now that banks have ... Continue reading this article…

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These Banks Don’t Want Your Money

by Luke Landes

Note: The information in this article is no longer current. It was updated September 2, 2011 and originally published February 18, 2009. It’s true that high-yield savings accounts offer interest multiples above what you can usually find from your typical state or national bank. For example, a “high performance” money market account (savings account) at ... Continue reading this article…

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Nine Banks Have Failed in 2009 So Far

by Luke Landes

Three more banks failed on Friday, bringing the 2009 tally to nine. When banks fail, the deposits (bank accounts) are transferred to another bank, sometimes with the FDIC facilitating the transition. Regardless of the process, bank accounts are generally insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, so you won’t lose your money if ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Drops Interest Rate to 1.55% APY

by Luke Landes

The way banks are dropping interest rates on savings accounts, you would think they don’t want your money. Most “high-yield” savings accounts now offer rates well under 3 percent. HSBC Direct is the latest to announce an interest rate cut, from 2.6 percent to 2.45 percent APY and is currently at 1.55 percent as of May 2009. Obviously there ... Continue reading this article…

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8 Things Banks Can Do to Make Online Banking Safer

by Luke Landes

Banking online by visiting a bank’s website directly to perform typical transactions like checking your balance, reviewing and reconciling your recent transactions, paying bills, or transferring money, is generally safer than doing the same in person, whether at an ATM or a teller. Your information is encrypted and you can take care of your business ... Continue reading this article…

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New Interest Rates at ING Direct, $25 Bonuses Still Available and Going Relatively Quickly

by Luke Landes

As of earlier today, ING Direct, one of my choices among the best high-yield online savings accounts, has lowered the interest rates offered on its savings and checking accounts. The bank has lowered the yield on its savings account from 2.5 percent to 2.4 percent APY, while the rates on the two upper tiers of the checking ... Continue reading this article…

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New Chase $100 Bonus Coupon for Checking Accounts, Expires February 27, 2009

by Luke Landes

Chase $100 Bonus Coupon for Checking Accounts I am not interested in opening a new checking account that requires either direct deposit or five or more debit card purchases each statement period. But if these terms sound good to you, and you have at least $100 ready for your first deposit, you will qualify for ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Drops Interest Rate to 1.55% APY

by Luke Landes

HSBC Direct must have heard that I was planning to transfer some of my savings to the bank, which until yesterday had been offering 3.0 percent APY. Following other banks that lowered interest rates for the new year, HSBC dropped their interest rate 13 percent to 2.6 percent APY and is now 1.10 percent APY as of June 2010. ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Referral Waiting List Now Open! (Update: List is Full)

by Luke Landes

Once again, I’ve refreshed the list of ING Direct $25 referral links. By using one of these links, a new customer can receive a $25 bonus for opening a new savings or checking account if the initial deposit is $250 or more. As these are “referral” bonuses, the person who provided the link will receive ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Electric Orange Interest Rate Drops to 0.5% APY!

by Luke Landes

For those who have enjoyed high-yield savings and checking accounts, get ready for a difficult time keeping up with inflation. ING Direct announced just minutes ago that the bank is dropping the interest rate on the first $50,000 per person deposited in their Electric Orange checking account to 0.5 percent APY. The interest rate is based ... Continue reading this article…

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Predatory Bank Fees Could Lead to the End of Banks

by Luke Landes

About the author: Karney Hatch is a filmmaker whose new documentary, Overdrawn!, explores the predatory lending practices of major national banks with Ralph Nader, Joel Bakan, a loan shark, and many others. In all the number crunching and legalese surrounding predatory fees of various sorts, it’s easy to forget the visceral reaction that they cause ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks You May Not Know About Offer High-Yield Savings Accounts

by Luke Landes

As some of the more popular banks like ING Direct, HSBC Direct and FNBO Direct lower their interest rates, other less-known banks are appearing in their place with higher rates. Some of these banks do not have reputations yet and haven’t been in the public eye for long. Here are a few that you may ... Continue reading this article…

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How Five Banks Post Your Deposits and Withdrawals: Do They Trap You Into Overdraft Fees?

by Luke Landes

Update: Bank of America settled a lawsuit for $410 million concerning this issue below. In his documentary film Overdrawn!, Karney Hatch mentions that banks often post your deposits and withdrawals to your bank account in such a way that they maximize the possibility of overdrafts. Even if you believe you have a large enough balance ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Avoid Overdraft Fees, and Quicken Premier 2009 Giveaway

by Luke Landes

The giveaway to receive one of two free copies of Quicken Premier 2009 has ended. As I mentioned earlier today, overdraft fees (also known as NSF fees, insufficient funds fees, etc.) are basically interest paid for the privilege of using a bank’s money for a short period of time, a loan. There are ways to ... Continue reading this article…

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Overdrawn!: A Documentary About Bank Fees, Screening Tonight

by Luke Landes

If you are in the area of the University of California, Berkeley, stop by Mulford Hall tonight to see a screening of Overdrawn!, a documentary film by Karney Hatch. In the film, Karney takes a hard look at practices by big banks, primarily overdraft fees. The documentary follows the writer/director as he talks to bankers, ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct Lowers Online Savings Account Interest Rate to 3.25% APY

by Luke Landes

Only yesterday, HSBC Direct lowered the interest rate offered on the bank’s online savings account from 3.25 percent to 3.0 percent APY. Today, following suit, FNBO Direct lowered its rate from 3.5 percent to 3.25 percent. These drops are now expected with the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates and the London interbank offered rate (Libor) decreasing. It’s increasingly hard ... Continue reading this article…

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Exclusive: Earn a $25 Bonus at E*TRADE Bank

by Luke Landes

Note: As of October 28, this deal is no longer available. I’ve been waiting for the right time to open an online savings account at E*TRADE Bank. My company stock is held at E*TRADE, and as soon as I sell my stock purchases from the past twelve months, I will move the proceeds into a ... Continue reading this article…

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What’s Going on With Wachovia, Citi, and Wells Fargo

by Luke Landes

This would-be acquisition is turning into a mess. First Citi agreed to buy Wachovia’s deposits with the help of the FDIC. Wachovia accepted this deal under duress, apparently. The FDIC warned Wachovia that if they did not agree to the deal, the government would seize Wachovia’s deposits. That left Wachovia little choice but to accept. ... Continue reading this article…

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