Banking Deals of the Week: Aug. 11

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The Federal Reserve says the economy’s weakening. That isn’t good news for bank rate investors.

Tuesday, the Fed’s Open Market Committee announced that it would keep its key federal funds interest rate at 0% to 0.25% — a signal the economic recovery is still on hold. The Fed will also start buying up government bonds in an effort to ease credit rates on corporate loans, a move that would hopefully spur borrowing and spending.

Unfortunately, a big move by the Federal Reserve into the bond market could have the effect of driving bank rates even lower. That’s because the buying spree would likely drive the price of U.S. Treasury notes higher and yields lower.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months," the Fed’s Open Markets Committee said in a statement.

 

That wasn’t exactly what bank investors (or any investors) wanted to hear from the Federal Reserve after the government rolled out its  “Recovery Summer” public relations campaign in June.

But despite the bad news, some banks are still pulling out the stops on rate deals. We dug them up for you in this week’s edition of Deals of the Week.

Certificates of Deposit

If you’re looking for a good lineup of certificate of deposit rates, stop by Stanford Federal Credit Union’s CD section, especially if you’re looking to invest $10,000 or more in a bank CD.

Consider the credit union’s three-month note, which pays a 4% rate for deposits between $10,000 and $24,999. Or the six-month note, which pays at a 0.75% rate for the same investment.

When considering that the average CD rates for three- and six-month CDs, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker, are 0.282% and 0.442% respectively, the Stanford rates seem like good deals.

Depending on the CD, Stanford also offers some nice wrinkles, including a “step-up” feature that lets you bump up to a higher CD interest rate. Also available: A “pay up” feature that lets you pour money into your CD at any time prior to maturity.

Membership is easy and information can be found on the credit union’s website.

Savings Accounts

Wilmington Trust is offering a nice savings account deal with a 1.21% rate on its WT Direct Savings Account.

That rate is light years ahead of the 0.203% national average for banks savings accounts, as calculated by the BankingMyWay Weekly Savings Rate Tracker.

Wilmington Trust touts its savings rate as being “in the top 5% of all U.S. banks.”

There’s no minimum deposit to get the good rate, but the rate could change after 60 days, so be careful. You’ll need $10,000 or more, but if you’re able to manage that, you can graduate to an even better interest rate. Just remember, if your deposit falls below $10,000 you’ll get a lower API (0.15%). Check the Wilmington Trust site for details.

Credit Cards

Discover (Sock Quote: DSC) is beating the drum for its no annual fee More Card, and it’s sweetening the deal with a $50 cash-back bonus if you make $500 worth of purchases in the first three months after you open an account.

From July to September, card members can earn $5 cash back on summer-related purchases like gas, hotels and movies. From October to December, card members get the same deal on restaurants and department stores.

When you open an account with Discover, you’ll earn an immediate 0% introductory APR for six months from the date of account opening.

After that, the rate moves up to between 11.99% to 20.99%, based “on your creditworthiness,” according to Discover.

There is no annual fee, but the More Card does have penalties for late payments of $19 if the balance is less than or equal to $250 ¿and $39 if the balance is more than $250.

There’s also a $35 return penalty fee with the card.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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