Banking Deals of the Week: March 17

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We open this week’s edition of Deals of the Week with news from the Federal Reserve that bank interest rates won’t be going up anytime soon.

The Fed bases that sentiment on its bedrock assumption that the economy is too precarious right now, and that it intends to keep its key federal funds rate at between 0%-0.25%.

The Fed said in a March 16 statement, “The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to ¼ percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.”

When the Federal Reserve changes its rate timetable language from “extended period” to “low for some time” — as proposed by Fed member Thomas Hoenig — then the table would likely be set for a rate hike, which means higher bank interest rates also.

On that piece of news, let’s see what bank deals we can dig up this week.

FICO Credit Score Services

We don’t write about great deals on FICO scores much — quite frankly, the few deals that come down the pike have too many strings attached (especially in the form of monthly subscriptions) — but this one from Digital Credit Union is worth a look.

The credit union has rolled out a free FICO credit score service to new members. By joining Digital, members get to hook up to Equifax (Stock Quote: EFX) — essentially earning them one free credit report per month.

A free Equifax credit score can be worth its weight in gold — it tells you how creditors view you, and gives you updates as your credit score changes. A good credit score can save you big bucks on car loans, credit card interest rates and home mortgages. Digital pegs the annual price tag for an Equifax credit score at $165.

You can easily join Digital Credit Union by joining an accepted association (a list is available on the credit union’s Web site)

Find out more here.

IRA Certificates of Deposit

New York-based Dime Bank (Stock Quote: DCOM) has developed a good reputation for offering better-than-average CD deals. They’re at it again with a 3.25% five-year IRA CD.

That rate easily bests the national average for similar CDs — 2.132% as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

The new CD offering comes with a few stipulations:

  • $500 minimum deposit
  • A maximum deposit of $100,000
  • You can’t combine the offer with any other Dime Bank rate offering.
  • “Funds to open this account must be new money and cannot be transferred from any existing Dime account,” according to the Dime Web site.

Dime Bank has all the information online. See for yourself here.

Bank Checking Accounts

BBVA Compass Bank is out with a new checking account deal that gives you the following financial rewards to sign on to the dotted line:

  • $100 cash gift
  • $50 hotel gift card

The deal is good through April 30 (with a March 31 deadline to watch out for), and you’ll have to jump through a few hoops. For instance, you’ll need to open a Build-To-Order BBVA Compass checking account by March 31.

After that, you’ll need to establish a direct deposit account by April 30.

Geographically, the BBVA deal has a South/Southwest tint to it. To qualify, you must have a permanent residence in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Texas and New Mexico.

Find out more here.

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

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