Banking Deals of the Week: Sept. 15

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After weeks — even months — of a steadily dour bank interest rate picture, we’re finally seeing some upward movement. Last week we saw mortgage rates rise, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly Mortgage Rate Tracker, with the bellwether 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising by 36 basis points; from 4.489% to 4.525%,

Certificate of deposit rates rose, too. The average one-year CD rate rose from 0.656% to 0.677%, as calculated by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

And there’s more good news on the economic front. Retail sales rose 0.4% for the month of August, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. That’s the second consecutive increase, and was the largest uptick in a key consumer spending category since March.

So all is not lost on the bank rate front. We’re not saying the good news is here to stay, but the fact we’re talking about good news at all is a step in the right direction.

Rewards Checking

Now onto the Deals of the Week.

Leading them off is Coulee Bank of Wisconsin, which is offering a 3.33% APY on its signature personal checking account.

The deal is good for balances between $0 and $25,000, but if you exceed that amount, your APY will fall to 0.51%. In addition, if you don’t meet the bank’s monthly requirements, your rate falls to 0.1%.

What do you have to do to earn that high 3.33% rate?

  • Make at least 10 debit card point-of-sale purchases each month.
  • Receive a monthly electronic statement.
  • Receive one direct deposit per month.

The bank isn’t imposing any monthly service charges, and you can earn up to $20 back on ATM fees.

For more information, visit the Coulee Bank website.

Credit Cards

JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) is one of those big, bad banks that don’t often match or even measure up to the rate deals offered by smaller banks. That’s probably by design because smaller banks have to offer better deals to compete with the big boys, who are too often complacent in the bank rate marketplace.

So let’s give credit when credit is due. Chase is out with a nice deal in the credit card arena. a fee-free first year and 25,000 miles gratis on its Continental Airlines (Stock Quote: CAL) OnePass Plus Credit Card.

Here, from Chase’s website, is a list of the card’s perks for new holders:

  • No fee during your first year with OnePass, an $85 benefit.
  • The initial purchase using the card earns you 25,000 points, enough for a round-trip within the continental U.S.
  • Adding another user to your account within two months of getting the card offers you 5,000 extra points.
  • If you spend $25,000 on your card, you'll get 10,000 more points.
  • Your first checked bag will be free on Continental Airline Flights.
  • You'll earn double points for Continental tickets and a point per dollar spent on other purchases.
  • The regular APR for the card is 10.99%.

Note that Continental is merging with United Airlines (Stock Quote: UAUA) in a $3 billion deal. The new airline will operate under the United brand, but that shouldn’t impact any air miles gained from the Chase credit card.

Find out more at the Chase website.

Checking Account Rates

Another big bank, Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC), is out with a deal that nets you up to $50 if you refer a new customer to the bank, specifically for its signature personal checking and business checking accounts.

Both you and the person you refer who opens a business checking account will receive $50 as part of the bargain. Also, the personal checking accounts will net you and your referral $25, according to the bank’s website.

To get the deal, which is good through Dec. 31, apply at the Bank of America website.

You’ll receive a check from Bank of America within 90 days of opening the account. Opening balances must exceed $125 for personal checking and $250 for business checking. And your referral will receive a credit directly to their account.

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

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