Banking Deals of the Week: Sept. 22

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Bank rates have seemingly stopped their year-long slide over the past few weeks. Bank checking accounts, savings accounts and money market rates aren’t exactly booming, but at least they’re not falling backward.

This week, bank rates, as measured by the BankingMyWay Bank Rate Tracker remained level are as follows:

Bank Rate                                        This Week                   Last Week

Interest rate checking                        0.111%                       0.111%

Money Market                                     0.283%                       0.284%

Savings                                               0.195%                       0.194%

Could that set the stage for higher bank rate growth? Some recent economic data might indicate yes (look at the stock market, jobless claims, and corporate profits in recent weeks — all have been trending favorably for economic growth). But the Federal Reserve, which held its Open Markets Committee meeting Tuesday, remains cautious and plans to keep the benchmark lending rate at 0.25% “for an extended period.”

We’re not out of the woods yet, but we can see some slivers of sunlight.

Personal Checking

Now, onto the bank rates this week.

First up is Viewpoint Checking, which has a personal checking account offer that deserves a close look. It’s a 4% APY for account balances up to $50,000.

The deal won’t last forever — the bank has already announced a tiered rate structure for its Absolute Checking accounts in November, so get in on the action now.

The requirements to get the 4% rate aren’t so bad. You’ll need to make 15 check card purchases a month (just use your debit card for that morning cup of coffee and you’ll clear that hurdle easily). You’ll also need to sign up for direct deposit.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • No monthly service charge
  • No minimum balance to earn interest
  • Unlimited ATM transactions
  • Free checks and a free Visa check card
  • Free online banking with free bill-pay and e-mail
  • Free FinanceWorks software powered by Quicken, an easy-to-use budgeting tool only available to Absolute Checking customers.

Find out more at ViewPointBank.com.

Certificates of Deposit

The Bank of the Internet is introducing a trio of good certificate of deposit deals, all available now and FDIC-insured.

Here’s a look at the Bank of Internet rates, compared to the national rates measured by BankingMyWay’s Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

CD Term              Bank of Internet Rate                          National Rate

Six-Month                        0.75%                                                 0.4%

One-Year                         1.48%                                                 0.64%

Two-Year                         1.79%                                                 0.98%

You’ll need at least $1,000 to open an account.

Check it out at BankofInternet.com.

Credit Cards

If you’re a sports fan, the PenFed Visa (Stock Quote: V) Platinum Cash Rewards Card has a deal for you.

You can get 3% cash back on electronics and sporting good purchases when you use the card by Dec. 31.

If you’re already using the card, then you know about the 5% cash back on gasoline purchases and 2% on grocery store purchases.

The deal is good at a wide variety of national and regional consumer electronics and sporting good stores. The PenFed website has a complete list here.

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

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