Banking Deals of the Week: Dec. 1

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Finally, some good news arrived on the jobs front.

ADP reports this morning that private-sector employers hired the highest number of workers in the last three years. That’s right – three years.

For the month of November, private employment rose by 93,000. Economists at ADP had estimated job growth to reach 58,000 for the month. And on top of that, the ADP revised private sector job growth upward for October – from 43,000 to 82,000 new jobs created.

This is good news for bank savers because it shows that the economy is finally getting some upward momentum. That means inflation can’t be far behind, and the Federal Reserve will be more likely to hike its key Federal Funds interest rate (the rate at which it lends money to banks), which should spur higher interest rates on savings vehicles such as certificates of deposit and money market funds.

That’s not set in stone, certainly not in the next few weeks. But the high jobs number, coupled with stronger consumer sentiment, is a good cornerstone for higher bank rates in 2011.

After the dry spell we’ve endured for the past few years, the prospect of higher bank rates is a big thirst-quencher.

Now, onto this week's deals.

College Savings

Let’s start with a big bonus on college savings: Charter One is offering a $1,000 bonus with its signature CollegeSaver plan.

Just save a minimum of $25 each month until your child turns 18 (you’ll need to open the account before your child’s sixth birthday). You’re allowed one missed deposit per year, and once your child turns 18 you’ll get the $1,000 bonus, deposited directly into your college savings account.

There’s no ceiling on how much money you can pop into the CollegeSaver plan, and the more cash you put into it, the higher your interest rate over time.

That sounds like a good deal to us. Check out the full details here.

Credit Cards

Regular readers have heard about Small Business Saturday, but this year it's getting a makeover.

American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) came up with the idea, originally slated to give small businesses a crack at what the big retailers do on Black Friday. Now Amex is extending the deal until Dec. 31, 2010.

Here’s how it works: Register your American Express credit card and make sure you’re among the first 300,000 to sign up for the deal. Next, buy $25 worth of products or services from a business that accepts American Express (prepaid and corporate cards are not eligible). You’ll then get $25 credited to your American Express account within five business days of your purchase.

You can only get the $25 deal once, but it’s still a good deal for holiday shoppers. Get the full details here.

Checking Accounts

JP Morgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) is back with another round of cash bonuses for personal checking account customers.

Just open a Chase Checking account, set up direct deposit, and you’ll earn a $100 cash bonus.

You’ll need a minimum $100 deposit to qualify for the bonus. Chase’s website lists the following benefits to opening a checking account at the bank:

  • FREE access to 15,000 Chase ATMs nationwide
  • FREE Online Banking & Online Bill Pay
  • FREE Text and E-mail Alerts
  • 24/7 access with Chase MobileSM on your phone
  • No monthly service fee with five debit card purchases or direct deposit

The offer is valid until Dec. 31, but make sure to make at least one direct deposit into the account within 60 days of opening it. The $100 bonus will show up in your checking account within 10 days of that deposit.

You can get the whole story here.

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

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