Banking Deals of the Week: Feb. 10

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Despite a burst of lousy economic news in the past week (more lost jobs, more Americans behind on their mortgage payments and more debt incurred by the federal government in the form of a proposed new $80 billion stimulus bill), there are surprisingly good deals out there in the bank deposit market.

So while the clouds part, let’s make hay as the sun shines and look at the best banking deals of the week.

Bank Checking Accounts

Chase’s (Stock Quote: JPM) $100 business banking account offer is getting to be like a popular Broadway revival that, back by popular demand, returns again and again. Think Cats with a checkbook.

Chase announced the re-opening of the $100 free coupon if you open a Chase Business Classic checking account (you also get the deal if you open a Chase Advanced Business Checking, Chase Commercial Checking or Chase BusinessPlus Extra checking account).

You’ll need to deposit at least $500 to open the account and the offer expires on March 15.

First, visit the Chase Web site.

  • Print out the coupon;
  • Bring it to a local Chase branch;
  • Open a new checking account.

Within 30 days, if you still maintain the $500 minimum, you’ll get $100 deposited into your checking account. As we said, this deal comes and goes, and Chase even has boilerplate language in the deal’s fine print that it reserves the right to “withdraw this offer at any time.”

So act fast before Chase pulls the plug again.

Banking/Online Bill Payments

Here’s a twist on the Chase $100 checking account bonus.

SunTrust Bank (Stock Quote: STI) will give you up to $150 to use its online bill payment system.

All you have to do is sign up for SunTrust’s Online Banking with Bill Pay by April 30. New customers can earn up to a $150 bonus while current customers can earn up top $100 by using the online payment system.

Visit the SunTrust Web site to get going here.

There’s a good demo on how the deal works (and how the bank’s online bill payment system works), along with a step-by-step guide to setting yourself up so you earn the bonus money.

According to the bank’s Web site, online bill paying customers receive $50 when they open a new SunTrust personal checking account from Feb. 1 through April 30.

Customers must do the following, again directly from the bank’s Web site:

“Enroll their new SunTrust personal checking account in the promotion via suntrust.com/solid, and make three bill payments through SunTrust Online Banking with Bill Pay within the next two calendar months out of the new personal checking account enrolled in the promotion. To receive the additional $100, the client must qualify for the $50 offer and must continue to make at least three payments each month for the next consecutive three months through SunTrust Online Banking with Bill Pay out of the same personal checking account enrolled in the promotion. When SunTrust determines that the client met all the terms of each section, SunTrust will direct deposit the appropriate amount into the primary SunTrust personal checking account enrolled in the promotion through suntrust.com/solid up to 10 weeks after the last bill payment was processed.”

It’s the same process for existing customers, except for the $100 maximum payout from SunTrust. Also note that SunTrust reports the income to the Internal Revenue Service, so it’s considered taxable income.

High Yield Savings

You normally don’t associate American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) with savings accounts, let alone high-yield savings accounts, but AmEx has a pretty nice deal where you can earn a 1.5% APY for opening a high-yield account.

The deposit is offered by AmEx’s banking arm (American Express Bank) and is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 until the end of 2013. A glance at the AmEx Web site also reveals no fees and no minimum balance to worry about.

AmEx does have a limit on its high-yield savings accounts — only up to six withdrawals from the account each month.

To sign up, visit the AmEx site.

With the average U.S. bank savings account earning interest at 0.23%, as measured by the BankingMyWay National Savings Rate Tracker, an APY of 1.5% is nothing to sneeze at — even if you do have six feet of snow piled up outside your window.

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

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