Banking Deals of the Week: March 31


Despite month after month of sour bank interest rate numbers, hope does indeed spring eternal.

Treasury bond yields are up and the Federal Reserve is on the way out of the mortgage securities market today — both trends that set the stage for higher bank deposit rates.

More data to support that notion keeps pouring in. Dan Seiver, a finance professor at San Diego State University and editor at the PAD System report (an investment advisory firm) estimates that 30-year Treasury yields will hit the 6% level in the next year or two (it’s at 4.73% this morning).

Seiver cites the improving economy, spiking federal deficits (which forces the government to beef up Treasury rates to attract investors) and rising inflation as reasons why bond rates are heading upward.

If that’s the case, then long-suffering bank deposit investors should catch a wave, too. When Treasury prices rise, they usually take bank interest rates along for the ride. So those meager certificate of deposit or bank money-market rate yields should improve over the coming months.

For now, we’ll have to rely on our own wits and savvy to uncover the best bank deals. Per our Wednesday custom, is on the case with the following Deals of the Week.

Checking Accounts

It’s Semper Fi for Marine Federal Credit Union, as the Jacksonville, N.C.-based credit union continues on an aggressive path when it comes to high checking account rates.

Now Marine is out with a 5% APY on the credit union’s Bravo Checking account. The great rate is available on free checking account balances up to $25,000, but there is a catch. If your account balance sinks below $15,000, the rate falls to 3.5%.

You do have to clear a few more hurdles each month to get the great rate (as follows):

  • Conduct 10 debit card transactions (not at an ATM).
  • Receive eStatements.
  • Maintain direct deposit of pay or an ACH (automated payment), debit or credit.

Marine also offers a bonus: ATM fee refunds of up to $25 if you meet those monthly qualifications.

Note also that all rates are effective on April 1, and are subject to change on the bank’s notice.

Find out more here.

Credit Cards

Small business owners are likely aware of the Vistaprint brand. The company makes business cards, calendars, logos and other business documents for 8 million Americans.

So maybe a joint credit card venture with Visa (Stock Quote: V) is worth a look.

Here’s the deal. Visa and US Bank have combined to offer the Vistaprint Business Card — a small business credit card that combines rewards with select discounts on Vistaprint merchandise (with no annual fee).

Among other benefits, the Vistaprint credit card offers cardholders:

  • One reward point for every $1 spent on net purchases.
  • Reward points redeemable for travel, gift cards, name-brand merchandise and even cash back, with rewards as low as 1,500 points.
  • Receive 5% off select Vistaprint products when you use your Vistaprint Visa Business Card.

The new card also aims to offers a graphical element that might go well with the Vistaprint audience. This from the Vistaprint Web site:

“The card stays true to Vistaprint’s legacy of providing highly customizable and personalized printed products by giving Vistaprint small business customers the ability to create and design their own card online — complimenting a business’ marketing strategy through branding and advertising.”

Get all the details here.

CD Rates

Everything old is new again with Flushing (N.Y.) Savings Bank’s “new toaster-like” offer to new customers — free gifts when you open a bank account.

OK, so the gifts don’t include a new toaster — something your grandparents may have recognized when they opened a new bank account back in the day. But Flushing does offer some creative gifts based on the size and term of your bank deposit.

Here’s a short list:

  • A cordless phone system (for a $5,000 deposit on a two-year CD).
  • A Nikon CoolPix digital camera (for a $10,000 investment in a two-year CD).
  • An Oreck XL Tower Air Purifier (for a $10,000 investment in a five-year CD).

As the Web site states, the more money you commit, the more valuable the gift.

As for CD rates, they seem highly competitive:

  • Two-Year CD APY = 1.9%
  • Three-year CD APY = 1.7%
  • Five-year CD APY = 3.15%

All compare favorably to the national CD rates, as tallied by

Get more info here.

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

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