Banking Deals of the Week: Jan. 27

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President Obama gives his State of the Union Speech tonight and, no doubt, both bank executives and bank investors will be watching closely.

Last year was a profitable one for the former and a lousy one for the latter. But the White House has signaled new efforts to rein in big banks and tax the tar out of those who accepted TARP money in 2008 and 2009.

What that means to bank investments is unclear. So far in 2010, we’ve seen little or no traction gained in key areas like certificate of deposit rates, money markets or checking account investments.

But we have a common refrain here at Deals of the Week and it’s this: somewhere, somehow, someway, there’s a bank deal out there right now with your name on it — no matter what is happening on Wall Street or in Washington.

With that mantra in mind, let’s see what this week brings to the table:

Bank Checking

Provident Community Bank is out with a high APY on its high-yield checking account — 4.01% for deposits up to $50,000.

That compares very favorably with the average U.S. checking account interest rate of 1.39%, as measured by BankingMyWay’s Weekly Interest Rate Checking Account Tracker.

The details aren’t so onerous. If your deposit amount rises above the $50,000 maximum, the APR drops back to 1.01%. You’ll also need to meet the following account usage criteria:

  • Make 10 Visa debit card transactions.
  • Set up one direct deposit or ACH Auto Debit.
  • Enroll and receive electronic checking account statements.
  • Access online banking.

According to Provident’s Web site, you’ll need a minimum balance of $100 to open the checking account. In addition, the deal is available for personal accounts only.

For more details on signing up, visit the site.

Credit Cards

As Homer Simpson once said, "Is there anything donuts can’t do?"

You can add one more item to Homer’s list — getting a 20% bonus every time you trigger an auto recharge on your Dunkin' Donuts American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) card.

This offer, which ends March 31, is pretty simple. It's akin to saving $5 every time you recharge, or pour more money into, your Dunkin' Donuts card. According to the donut giant’s Web site, the Dunkin' Donuts card is a rechargeable shopping card that you can use to pay for purchases at participating Dunkin' Donuts shops.

The card’s maximum amount is $200. If you run the card down close to zero, you can move cash back into the card either online or you can sign up for auto recharge here and here.

The 20% deal only comes into play when you sign up for the auto recharge, and only for Dunkin' Donuts American Express cards. Then every time you recharge the card with $25 or more, Dunkin Donuts will add 4% to your card’s value.

Dunkin' Donuts will walk you through the entire process (and it’s pretty easy).

Certificates of Deposit

Discover Bank (StockQuote: DFS) has been one of the more reliable banks when it comes to offering high-value certificate of deposit rates.

That trend continues across the board in early 2010, from CDs as low as three months all the way up to five years.

Here, from the Discover Web site, is a chart listing the bank’s current CD rates.

Discover Bank CD Rates

Duration            Interest Rate

  • 60-Month CD            3.2%
  • 48-Month CD            2.71%
  • 24-Month CD            2.18%
  • 12-month CD            1.73%
  • Six-Month CD            1%
  • Three-Month CD        0.75%

Compare that the national CD rate averages as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

US National CD Rates

Duration                  Rate

  • 60-Month CD            2.145%
  • 48-Month CD            1.876%
  • 24-Month CD            1.323%
  • 12-Month CD            0.871%
  • Six-Month CD            0.579%
  • Three-Month CD        0.38%

From week to week, Discover keeps pumping out good CD rates, no matter what its competitors do or don’t do. If you’re in a pinch, and the jittery stock market is causing you some anxiety, the Discover CDs aren’t a bad place to put some cash.

For more information, check out the Discover Bank site.

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

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