Banking Deals of the Week: May 26

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Money expert and TheStreet.com writer Doug Kass recently updated his 2010 predictions and found that estimates of interest rates rising this year have been off target. Way off target.

Here’s Kass, writing about the rate picture so far this year:

"Despite consensus expectations that interest rates would rise at the beginning of 2010, the yield on the 10-year U.S. note now stands at only 3.3%. With unit labor costs still declining, austerity measures instituted over here (local and state) and over there (Europe), the withdrawal of fiscal stimulus, 2011 tax rate increases on the docket and a flight to quality, deflationary pressures have mounted and there appears to be no upward pressure on interest rates at the current time."

Obviously, that’s bad news for bank interest rate investors. While there was some momentum back in April — as more and more reports filtered in touting a decent economic recovery — lately that momentum has largely petered out.

A troubling economic climate makes it even more imperative to find the best bank deals — and they are out there. Keep checking here every Wednesday, as Deals of the Week promises to leave no stone unturned in getting you the best bargains in the banking marketplace.

Credit Cards

Let’s start in the credit card market, where Citi (Stock Quote: C) is out with a $100 statement credit bonus on its signature Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card.

To get your mitts on the $100, you have to be a new cardholder, and once you’re approved, spend at least $300 within the first 90 days of card membership.

The Diamond card has no annual fee, and you can earn zero interest on the card from seven to 15 months from the time you sign up for the card. According to the Citi Web site, “(The) Length of your introductory period will be either 0% for 15 months from the date of account opening on purchases and balance transfers, or 7 months from the date of account opening on purchases and balance transfers based on our review of your application and credit history. After the promotional period ends, your standard APR will be applied to any unpaid promotional balances.”

Get the whole story at Citi's Web site.

CD Renewal Bonus

More and more banks are rolling out incentives to keep your certificate of deposit business.

One way to do is to offer you a financial incentive, and Ally Bank has been aggressive on that front.

Jim Wang, writing on Bargaineering.com, received an offer from Ally Bank “bumping up” his current CD rate by 0.25% from prevailing rates, as long as he kept his current CD accounts open.

As Wang points out, if you opt to take advantage of the offer, there are some additional sweeteners. For instance, you can change the deposit amount and the type of CD you want and the offer is also good on the bank’s popular “no penalty” CD.

Also, the 0.25% add-on could really help.

Ally’s 12-month CD is currently paying out an interest rate of 1.5%. That’s roughly double the national average on 12-month CDs of 7.54%, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

Get the full scoop at Ally.com.

Checking Account

You can take an Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) Kindle to the beach this summer, free of charge.

How so? Just sign up for a Premier Relationship checking account at HSBC (Stock Quote: HBC) by July 2.

There is a catch — you need some serious cash on hand to qualify for the deal. To qualify for an HSBC Premier Relationship, you must open an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain a $100,000 balance, including investments, according to the bank’s Web site. You can open the account with only $50,000, but you’ll need to bump to the $100,000 figure within 90 days.

The Premier Relationship account comes with a distinct overseas finance angle. With you, you earn the following benefits:

  • You can transfer your HSBC credit history to one of more than 40 different countries.
  • The Premier Credit Card comes with rewards for travel and dining purchases, no pre-set spending limit and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Worldwide financial support ensures that HSBC can provide you $2,000 in the case of an emergency, along with 24/7 telephone support and overnight card replacement.
  • You can pay bills in one country while living in another, transfer funds to different continents and manage accounts around the world while staying in the U.S.

Note that the offer isn’t applicable for IRA brokerage accounts of for existing HSBC Premier Relationship customers.

Learn more at HSBC.com.

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

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