Banking Deals of the Week: Dec. 16


If you read BankingMyWay's Weekly CD Rate Trends this week, you might have noticed a recent rule by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that prohibited “troubled” banks from offering certificate of deposit rates that are 0.75% higher than the national average.

True, the new regulation only targets 550 or so banks out of the 8,200 across the U.S., but it’s a disturbing trend nonetheless. Any rule that decreases competition among banks is a lousy one in our book.

Aside from that, the new FDIC rule should make it even tougher for bank investors to find good CD deals. And that’s a shame.

Still, for the stouthearted and diligent, there are plenty of good bank deals out there this week. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones.

Bank Checking

PNC bank is literally giving money away — $100 — if you sign up for the bank’s checking account. If you don’t know about PNC Bank, you soon will, especially if you live in states like Florida, Indiana and Missouri. PNC is expanding into these markets in 2010 (via its purchase of National City Bank).

Just sign up for PNC’s “Free Checking” account and you qualify for the $100 payback. Here, from the bank’s Web site, is what you get when you open the account:

  • Bank with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charge.
  • Get reimbursed on non-PNC ATM fees with a $2,000 average monthly balance.
  • Earn rewards with your enrolled PNC Bank Visa Check Card.
  • Manage your accounts with Free Mobile Banking
  • Pay bills easily with Free Online Banking and Bill Pay.

New customers can celebrate with the free $100, but you have to act fast. The bank’s Web site says the deal is only good through Dec. 19.

Find out more here. Or, call 1-877-CALL-PNC.

Holiday Gift Cards

American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) has a nice wrinkle with its holiday gift cards. From today (Dec. 16) until Dec. 20, if you use an American Express gift card you automatically qualify for an upgrade to second-day shipping.

The deal also comes with a free standard shipping offer, and a $5 discount with the purchase of two gift cards.

A few caveats. For whatever reason, you can’t use the gift cards overseas, or on a cruise line if you’re out at sea this holiday season. And you can’t order the gift cards online if you live in either Hawaii or Vermont.

Check the Web site out for more details. Or, call 1-877-297-4438.

Bank CDs

We mentioned that the FDIC is cracking down on good rate deals — but only for banks that the agency deems "troubled."

That’s not the case with ING Direct (Stock Quote: ING), which just raised the rate on its one-year CD to 2%. One-year CD rates, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker, are at a national average of 0.92%.

The usual rules apply, including your agreement to receive account information electronically. There is an early withdrawal penalty, amounting to three months worth of interest on the CD. Opening the account is a breeze — especially if you’re already an ING bank customer.

Check it out here.

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