Banking Deals of the Week: Nov. 25

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It’s Thanksgiving eve, and we’ll spare you the jokes about giving thanks for all the great bank deals out there — because in all honesty, there are more turkeys than triumphs in the bank rate marketplace this holiday season.

But, as always, Deals of the Week finds a juicy drumstick or two. Let’s take a look.

Bank Checking

We’ll begin down in Ozark country, at the Bank of Fayetteville, which has a 3.5% APY — yes, you read that right — on its free, high-interest checking account with no minimum deposit.

Just how good is 3.5%? Compare it to the average U.S. bank checking account rate this week, as measured by BankingMyWay.com’s Weekly Interest Checking Rate Tracker. This week, the tracker is at a lowly 0.13%.

Here are the benefits, in addition to the great 3.5% rate:

  • 3.5% APY* on balances up to $50,000
  • 0.4% APY* on amount of balance more than $50,000
  • $100 deposit to open
  • Unlimited check writing
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • ATM fee refunds (up to $25 each month)
  • Free Visa Check Card
  • Free Online Banking with Bill Pay
  • Free eStatements
  • Direct deposit available
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • 0.15% APY* if qualifications are not met

A review of the Bank of Fayetteville Web site reveals no fees or restrictions, but there are a few hoops you’re going to have to jump through to get the big rate.

  • Make 10 Visa CheckCard transactions (excludes ATM transactions)
  • Make one direct deposit or ACH auto debit
  • Sign up for and receive eStatements
  • There’s an 0.15% APY if checking account qualifications are not met

Check out the Web site for more details, and how to open an account.

Credit Cards

Organizing your credit card reward points is a chore, ranked somewhere between matching your just-laundered socks and undergoing a root canal, sans Novocain.

But Discover (Stock Quote: DFS) has a good idea, and you can find it on the bank’s ItPaysToDiscover.com Web site.

It’s a “one-stop” site for all Discover cardholders that features, among other benefits:

  • A list of participating vendors, with gift cards from more than 100 Discover vendors.
  • Seasonal promotions (like double-cash back bonuses for this week’s Black Friday extravaganza).
  • Links to Discover’s 5% cash-back bonus program.
  • A real-time map of cash-back rewards that are being redeemed at that very moment.
  • A list of ways cardholders can use their plastic to redeem cash.
  • An option to forward your rewards cash to your favorite charity.

Maybe the most useful feature is a Web link where Discover card users can tally up their own bonuses and rewards points, making it easier to manage and organize things.

The site is well worth a look. Check it out here.

Bank Deals

ING (Stock Quote: ING) may be getting out of the U.S. market in 2013, but the Dutch bank still has some great deals on this side of the pond.

There is a “surprise” element to the bank’s Black Friday special. Step one is visiting ING’s special Web site where you’ll be teased with a message stating “No 4 a.m. lines or sleeping in the car for our bargain deals. Check back here Friday, Nov. 27 to take advantage of the biggest saving day all year!”

But the Web site MyBankTracker.com has a more specific list of Black Friday specials on the ING docket (the site says it received the list from an ING insider).

Here’s a brief rundown:

  • ING DIRECT will offer $683 off Easy Orange and Orange Mortgage closing costs for anyone who applies on Black Friday. It isn’t exactly a round number, but it is intentional — it’s the amount the average American will spend on gifts this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • On Cyber Monday, ING Direct’s brokerage, ShareBuilder, will offer a 20% rebate on trades to help investors save money while they grow their investments.

In addition, ING is announcing new Orange certificate of deposit and Electric Orange checking account deal on Friday morning.

So get up early, and see if you look good in Orange.

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

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