Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some Checking Account Incentives

This is a scary time for all of us, what with the economy being broken, unprecedented one-day stock market drops, and the like. It may not be a time when you want to think about "playing around" with your money by opening new checking accounts just for incentives.

I've been doing some deep thinking about what we should be doing with our cash and investments at a time like this. I'll share my thoughts with you on that once I've gathered them.

But for now, I do want to share a couple of incentive deals in case you are looking to open a new checking account. I can think of several reasons why you'd want to:

1) If you have more than $100,000 on deposit in one bank account, you are exceeding the amount currently insured by the FDIC. Now, there is talk of increasing that limit to $250k right now to shore up depositor confidence, but it hasn't happened yet.

2) Want to set up a separate direct deposit account to save for a future purchase. Money Saving Mom advocates saving this way -- she has an account for saving for a house, one for saving for a car, etc. Then again, if you are planning on accumulating some money in your separate account, you'd do well to look for the best interest rate available, not just an upfront payoff.

3) Your regular bank just got bought and you don't necessarily want to keep your money with the acquiring bank.

4) You suspect your own bank is circling the drain and don't want to deal with it.

5) Aren't worried about any of that and just want to use some of your cash reserves to open an account, then close it after you've collected the incentive. Well, why not?

At any rate, here are some deals I saw advertised this week:

Open a Chase Checking account, set up direct deposit, and get $100. The fine print: You have to take a coupon for this deal to a regular bank (I got my coupon in the weekly RedPlum mailer), deposit $100 of your own money in a new account, initiate direct deposit within 60 days, then keep the account open for 6 months. They'll deposit your $100 reward within 6 weeks of the initial direct deposit.

Apparently you can just use the coupon code printed on the coupon, but each one can only be used once. I'd be happy to share my code with anyone who emails me to ask for it, since I don't plan on using it.

Open an ING Electric Orange Checking account and get $25. Apparently people like these accounts because they pay high yields, for a checking account. Also, once you have an account, you can make a $10 commission for anyone else you get to sign up. (I don't have an account, so I referred you to Five-Cent Nickel's links).

I heard on the radio recently that banks might be offering more incentives to get people's cash if they are short. I'll have my ears open. I have faith in the FDIC, so I am not worried about losing my deposits, which are well below $100k.