Banking Deals of the Week: May 12

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The economy seems to be chugging along, with the financial headlines touting mostly good news from U.S. companies.

Today alone, news rolled out that Intel (Stock Quote: INTC) and Disney (Stock Quote: DIS) had surpassed quarterly earnings expectations for the last quarter. Then there’s a report that Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) and Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) are teaming up to develop an iPad rival. Even Macy’s (Stock Quote: M) returned to profitability in the first quarter of 2010.

So why are bank deposit investors so glum? In a few words, it’s due to lack of confidence. Specifically, there’s a lack of confidence that the economic growth that we’ve experienced so far in 2010 isn’t sustainable. Worrisome events in key foreign bourses like China and Greece are stoking fears among economists and bank investors, who rely on a stronger economy to get interest rates up on certificates of deposits and money market accounts.

Few economists are willing to go public with predictions that we’re returning to the bad old days of 2007, but just as equally, there are few that say the U.S. economy is geared for a boom in 2010 and 2011, either. The consensus is for slow, tedious growth, and that’s just what we’re seeing in bank interest rates these days.

With patience a wonderful virtue these days among bank investors, let’s get on to the deals.

Bank CDs

We’ll start with bank CD deals.

One of the best bargains Deals of the Week has found is over at Clear Sky Accounts, one of the younger Internet banks.

Aside from offering a highly competitive savings account rate of 1.5% (compare that to the average 0.217% national bank savings rate this week, as measured by BankingMyWay’s Weekly Savings Rate Tracker) Clear Sky has some solid CD deals, too.

Right now, the bank’s mainstay CDs — the 30-month and 13-month — are offering APYs of 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively. You’ll need a minimum balance of $5,000, but the path to getting the good rate is free and clear (one hang-up: you have to mail in a check to activate the CD).

Find out more here.

Credit Card

Want to make $30 by spending only $30 on your credit card?

That’s the offer on the table from Citi (Stock Quote: C) right now. As part of its credit card restructuring program, Citi is offering a $30 card credit on its Citi Platinum Select Mastercard (Stock Quote: MA) to new customers who make $30 worth of purchases within the first three months of activating the card.

There’s no annual fee, and the card comes up with a rock-bottom 0% introductory rate for the first 18 months (that’s based on credit history — if your credit is off a bit, you might only get the 0% rate for seven or 12 months, according to the fine print).

To get the $30, spend $30 in the required timeframe and then wait eight weeks for the $30 credit to appear on your statement.

Get the full story at the Citi Web site.

Personal Checking

If you live in Phoenix or Seattle you probably haven't heard of it, but anyone who lives along the highly populated Northeast corridor might recognize Sovereign Bank. It’s a big regional bank with a history of offering good rate deals to customers.

That train continues to roll on with a new offer — a $150 cash bonus for new savings and checking account customers.

All you need to do is set up either a Sovereign Premier savings or Sovereign Premier checking account (you can do so online), sign up for online banking and make five debit card transactions. After that, the $150 is all yours. It’s deposited directly into your account within 75 days after all the deal criteria are met.

The deal ends May 28.

While you’re checking the checking/savings deal out, make sure to give the Sovereign CD lineup a look. The Sovereign six-month CD is offering a 2% APY right now — compared to the national rate average of 0.504%, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

Get the facts at the Sovereign Bank Web site.

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

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