SaveBetter No-Penalty CD Review: How To Cancel No-Penalty CDs

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

No-Penalty CDs try to offer the best of both worlds – the liquidity of a savings account, and the higher fixed interest rate of a term CD. If rates go up, you can still move to the new higher rate. If rates drop, you are covered because the interest rate you earn can never go down during your term (usually around a year). When a financial crisis and/or recession hits, interest rates can drop quite quickly. Below is a historical chart of the Fed Funds rate since 1990. (Other times, a bank may just decide for any reason to drop their rate on a savings account.)

SaveBetter consistently offers some of the top interest rates on No-Penalty CDs. See my full SaveBetter review for more details on SaveBetter overall. Here are some details on the No Penalty CD specifically; their product is a bit unique in both good and bad ways.

  1. You cannot make any withdrawal within the first 30 days of opening a No Penalty CD, which is longer than usual. At CIT Bank, you can withdraw after 7 days. At Ally Bank, it’s six days.
  2. However, the minimum opening amount is only $1, which is much smaller than usual. At CIT Bank, it is $1,000. Ally also has no minimum. This means you can open multiple No-Penalty CDs in whatever amount you want, and only “break” the ones you need to. If, for example, the minimum at a competitor bank was $5,000, then you’d have to break an entire $5,000 CD even if you only needed $500.

Finally, I noticed that the website does not offer details about the actual process of how to make an early withdrawal from SaveBetter No-Penalty CD. I asked the Live Chat feature and this was the official reply provided:

Please email service@savebetter.com using the email address that you use to log into SaveBetter.com

In your email be sure to include the bank or credit union’s name and the current balance of the CD. If you have more than one CD from the same institution with the same balance, please specify the number of CDs you would like us to cancel.

Once we have processed your cancellation you will receive a note from the team letting you know the process has been completed.

If you have any questions please call Customer Service at (844) 994-3276. The team is available weekdays 9AM-4PM Eastern Time (excluding holidays).

So I sent them the following simple e-mail late on a Friday night:

Hello,

This is a request to close my No Penalty CD from Sallie Mae Bank with a current balance of $XXXX.XX.

Thank you,

Jonathan

On Saturday morning, I received the following reply:

Your cancellation request has been processed.

All available funds will be transferred to your linked bank account within 3 business days.

Please reach out if we can be of further service.
Regards,

Mio
SaveBetter Customer Service
service@savebetter.com

The withdrawal amount arrived in my linked bank account on the third business day (Wednesday), but they did credit me with at least one additional day of interest because the final amount was higher than my Friday closing balance (I figure they initiated on the next business day of Monday, cash came out Tuesday).

I was still satisfied that a simple 100% online-only option exists. I just sent a single e-mail. I did not have to call in, go through a complicated confirmation process, or answer any “Are you sure?” type of questions.

With SaveBetter, all deposits and withdrawals have to go in and out through your linked external bank account. You can’t just transfer the money internally directly into another type of account at another partner bank. That means that if you wanted to cancel one No Penalty CD and immediately open another “new” No Penalty CD at a higher rate, you might lose a business day or two of interest on the way out to your linked account before transferring the money back in to purchase the new CD.

This contrasts with CIT Bank, where I you can directly fund a new No-Penalty CD (at higher rate) with an existing No-Penalty CD. Of course, if you were to move funds between two different banks, you’d also have to deal with some days of lost interest in transition.

Their No-Penalty CD rates are currently above 5% APY, but the specific rates and the banks offering them change all the time, so I won’t list it in this review. Click here to see current No-Penalty CD rates at SaveBetter.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

AllAmerica and Redneck Bank: 5.05% APY Money Market (up to $100k), 5.30% APY Rewards Checking (up to $15k)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Update 5/23/23: Rates increased to 5.05% APY on up to $100,000 for Mega Money Market and 5.30% APY on up to $15,000 for Rewards Checking (debit card usage and other requirements apply). Details below.

All America Bank and Redneck Bank are sister internet banks that offer the same types of accounts (with different marketing shtick). Looking back in my archives, I actually opened an account with them way back in 2009 (later closed), as they offer a simple product lineup and have intermittent periods where they are very competitive with interest rates. (There are also some periods where they choose to lag.) Looks like they are looking to attract deposits again, recently raising both their interest rates and their balance caps.

Mega Money Market

  • 5.05% APY on up to $100,000. Amounts over $100,000 earn 0.50% APY.
  • No debit card transactions required.
  • $500 minimum to open an account. No ongoing minimum balance requirement.
  • Must agree to receive online statements only.
  • Limit of one Mega Money market account allowed per individual. (I believe you can have one account at each bank, though.)
  • Technically a money market checking account which means it includes a debit card (you can pay for checks too) but is still limited to six withdrawals per month. This limits its functionality to more like a savings account.

Rewards Checking

  • 5.30% APY on up to $15,000. Amounts over $15,000 earn 0.50% APY.
  • 10 debit card transactions required per monthly statement cycle. Monthly statement cycle ends on the 20th of each month. If the 20th falls on a Saturday, the cycle will end on Friday the 19th. If the 20th falls on a Sunday, the cycle will end on Monday the 21st. ATM and ACH transfers don’t count.
  • $500 minimum to open an account online. No ongoing minimum balance requirement.
  • Must agree to receive online statements only.
  • Limit of two (2) Rewards Checking Accounts allowed per individual. (I believe you can have two accounts at each bank.)
  • A full-featured checking account with online billpay, ATM rebates (up to $25 per month), and mobile check deposit abilities.

Note that both are under the FDIC insurance certificate of All America Bank (#20093), so you should be careful not to exceed the $250,000 limit across both banks (a reminder that the $250k limit is per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category).

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Reader Questions: Worried About Debt Limit? Worried About Smaller Banks?

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

I’m probably dating myself using the image above. How old do you have to be to remember when MAD magazine was popular? In retrospect, the magazine served a very important purpose, which was basically to show kids the many tricks out there and how to be less gullible. From Robert Boyd of the LA Times (source):

The magazine instilled in me a habit of mind, a way of thinking about a world rife with false fronts, small print, deceptive ads, booby traps, treacherous language, double standards, half truths, subliminal pitches and product placements; it warned me that I was often merely the target of people who claimed to be my friend; it prompted me to mistrust authority, to read between the lines, to take nothing at face value, to see patterns in the often shoddy construction of movies and TV shows; and it got me to think critically in a way that few actual humans charged with my care ever bothered to.

As I’m old and a bit under the weather this week – though temporarily lucid thanks to behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine – if I end up rambling… that’s my excuse. Anyhow, I’ve been getting emails from two different camps in the past few months:

  • Don’t put your money in US Treasury bills, that’s risky. Haven’t you heard about the debt limit crisis?
  • Don’t put your money in non-huge banks, that’s risky. Haven’t you heard of those bank failures? You should keep your money in US Treasury bills.

Am I worried about the US debt limit?

No and yes. No, I am not worried that my Treasury bonds (and money market funds based on Treasury bonds) will fail to be paid back with interest. In fact, I’ve thought about buying some of those affected short-term T-Bills, but it wouldn’t be much additional benefit for my small amounts.

Yes, I am worried that this signals a high level of disfunction between our elected officials. Imagine my partner and I already previously agreed to a mortgage for the house, an auto loan for both our cars, and put shared household bills on the credit card. Is the best way to make ourselves more financially responsible to threaten not to pay the debt that we have already agreed to take on? We should certainly examine our future expenses closely, and government spending is an important topic. But what is the point of threatening to ruin our collective credit score by not paying our existing bills? Is it honorable to openly consider defaulting on your debts? The US enjoys a lot of benefits from its top credit rating. I’m disappointed.

Am I worried about having my personal money deposited at non-huge banks?

No. As long as they are under the covered FDIC-insurance limits of $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. Both of these things (NCUA/FDIC-insured bank deposits and US Treasury bonds) are backed by the US government, which has the power to create as much fiat currency as it likes. The FDIC is quite good at transitioning if a bank failure does occur. So I’m personally not worried about either thing. I just opened a relatively large 5-year CD at 5.00% APY at a small, friendly credit union in Oxnard, CA with only a few physical branches (deal expired). I hope they in turn lend it out to some small businesses in their area.

If you can get past the paywall, read this interesting Bloomberg article (close alternative) about the smallest bank in the US. One full-time employee (the CEO), a part-time teller, no ATM, no website. I kind of want to open an account.

The thing is, for a business with a huge cash balance that is over the FDIC-insured limits, then it indeed might be rational to move that money into the safest possible bank. You’d think that these sorts of problems would be solved by now. Berkshire Hathaway rolls billions of Treasury bills every month. But that’s how it works sometimes. Problems are only faced after it becomes a painful issue. I believe they’ll figure it out.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

CIT Bank Review: 11-Month No Penalty CD 4.90% APY, Platinum Savings up to 4.85% APY, 6-Month 5.00% APY

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

citbank200

No-Penalty CD up to 4.90% APY if you want to ratchet up. Platinum Savings now up to 4.85% APY. CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citi Bank) is an online-only bank that I keep open and going back to due to their multi-year history of competitive rates. They have a checking account, but their specialty is a variety of savings and CD products with high interest rates. I use their No-Penalty CD regularly for maximum optionality while maintaining a high interest rate (details below). Here are the highlights:

Check out my rate chaser calculator to see if it makes sense for you to move money over.

New customer? Opening process overview. Here’s my review of the opening process if you are a new customer.

  • The application process was completely online. You provide the usual personal information.
  • You must submit to a credit check, but in my experience it was a “soft” pull which did not harm my credit. None of my various credit monitoring services showed it was a hard pull.
  • You may fund via (1) electronic ACH transfer, (2) wire transfer, (3) mobile check deposit via CIT Bank mobile app (iOS and Android), and (4) mailing in a paper check. There was no option for credit card funding. I picked online ACH funding and you need to provide routing and account numbers, followed by manual verification via micro-deposits after a day or two. There was no instant linking option via login information.

After deposit verification, then your funding will go through.

You have successfully verified your external account. Please allow up to 5 business days for your funds to appear in your CIT Bank account.
No further action is required for this account. Thank you!

citnewcd

Existing savings or money market customer? Check your rate. If you already have an existing High Yield Savings account, it may remain at a lower interest rate than this money market account. If so, take a minute and upgrade yourself to the better interest rate. Click on “Open an Account” here, then “I have a CIT Bank account”, and then login with your username/password. You can do everything online and even fund your new Money Market account with an instant transfer from your existing Premier High Yield Savings. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but at least it literally only took a minute to complete.

citmm

How to transfer your money from an existing No Penalty CD into an new, higher-rate No Penalty CD (or any other new account). You have the option of moving the funds (with no penalty of course) over to a new CD with a new 11-month holding period if the current rate is higher than your existing rate. Here’s the easiest way to do so:

  • Start a new online application for the 11-Month No-Penalty CD. Click on “Get Started” and sign-in as an existing CIT customer.
  • After signing in, go through the opening process but look for “Existing CIT Bank Account” under “Funding Source”. You should see a list of your existing accounts, including any No Penalty CDs. (Screenshot below.)
  • Note that online, your only option will be to have the entire CD balance (including accrued interest) moved over into the new CD. If you want a different amount, you’ll have to call CIT Bank customer service at 855-462-2652, open M-F 8a-9p ET, Sat 9a-5p ET, Sun 11a-4p ET. Press “0” for operator. Tell them you opened up a new No Penalty CD and you wish to fund it by closing out your old No Penalty CD.
  • That’s it. The online option says it will take 2-3 business days to complete. Your new accounts will show up online.

User interface. While the front-facing website is pretty slick, after you login the backend is run by Fidelity National Information Services (subdomain ibanking-services.com). This is a popular backend software system used by many smaller banks and credit unions who don’t want to create their own software from scratch. It is better than before, but remains more functional than flashy. Similar story with the iOS/Android app.

Bottom line. CIT Bank is a lean bank offering targeted products for folks looking to get higher interest rates on their cash balances. They don’t maintain physical bank branches or fancy apps. However, I have been pleasantly satisfied with their customer service on my accounts with them. Their most compelling products are their Platinum Savings accounts, 11-month No Penalty CD, and often they have a competitive rate on at least one of their Term CDs. The No Penalty CD is unique in that you are always able to move out to a higher rate, even within CIT bank itself, all while maintaining a floor if rates drop (yes, it is still possible for rates to drop!).

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

CIT Bank Platinum Savings Review: 4.85% APY ($5,000 Minimum Balance)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

CIT Bank is another bank where I maintain an ongoing relationship because they tend to offer competitive rates. They are one of those banks that likes to run unique promotions and/or start new types of accounts, and their newest savings account is the Platinum Savings that pays 4.85% APY on balances of $5,000+ as of 5/9/23.

Here are the details:

  • 4.85% APY on daily balances of $5,000 or more (as of 5/9/23).
  • 0.25% APY on daily balances of less than $5,000 (as of 5/9/23).
  • $100 minimum to open.
  • No monthly fees. No minimum balance requirement.
  • Member FDIC.

If you are also a CIT Bank customer, you should consider moving your funds from other CIT bank accounts into this one. It’s not hard, but you do have to take the initiative and it’s certainly worth spending the few minutes to do it. Here is a comparison of the best CIT Bank account options. They have also recently bumped the rate on their No Penalty CD slightly if you are worried rates might drop and want to ratchet up instead.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Wings Financial Credit Union: $300 Checking Bonus + $50 Refer-a-Friend + 0% APR Credit Card

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Wings Financial Credit Union has an improved $300 checking bonus along with other promos and products that may add up to make joining worthwhile. Please note that each has its own separate set of requirements. Here are their official membership requirements, but anyone can join Wings Financial via partner organization (Wings Financial Foundation). When I applied, they paid the $5 membership fee for that partner organization on my behalf. I did experience a hard credit check, which is (unfortunately) common amongst credit unions.

$300 Checking Bonus

  • Join Wings and open a new checking account by 5/31/2022.
  • Within 60 days, establish a recurring direct deposit(s) totaling at least $600 to your new checking account.
  • Enroll in eDocuments. You must do this manually after logging into your account online, and they will send you an e-mail confirmation afterward.
  • Make five debit transactions of $25 or more each on your Wings Visa Debit Card.

New checking account holders and new recipients only: 1) Cannot have been a Primary Owner of a Wings Financial Credit Union checking account in the last 12 months; 2) Cannot have previously received a new account bonus offer.

$50 Refer-a-Friend Checking bonus

  • Register your information at member’s referral link (that’s mine). I have already registered on my end. This form is completely independent of the $300 bonus above and does not require a promo code, and was stackable for me.
  • Become a Wings Financial member and open a Share Savings Account (minimum balance of $5.00 required)
  • Open a new checking account (High-yield or First Class)
  • Enroll in eDocuments. You must do this manually, and they will send you an e-mail confirmation afterward.
  • Complete one (1) direct deposit* of $300 or more into new checking account OR complete five (5) debit card transactions of $5+ each.
  • Both referring and referred parties will receive a $50 Visa Reward card mailed to them upon completion.

“Rewards” checking account. Most importantly, both checking options have no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. The High-Yield Checking is a “rewards” checking account that currently pays 3.04% APY on balances up to $25,000 if you (1) are enrolled in eDocuments, (2) have ACH direct deposit(s) totaling over $300 in the 34 calendar days preceding the last day of the month, and (3) have 15 net PIN or signature point-of-sale debit card transactions over $5 in the 34 calendar days preceding the last business day of the month. The net is calculated by counting the number of PIN and signature point-of-sale debit purchase transactions over $5 and subtracting any PIN or signature point-of-sale debit return transactions processed during that period.

Credit card with no-fee 0% balance transfers. On top of a total $350 bonus, their Wings Financial CU Platinum Card also offers the possibility of 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, subject to credit approval. Plus, no balance transfer fees.

Also see: Best No Fee / Low Fee 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers (the Wings FCU card was already on the list)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Swagbucks Review: Unique Bank, Broker, Crypto, and Finance App Bonuses

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Swagbucks is a loyalty rewards site where users can earn “Swagbucks” points (SB) for activities like shopping online, taking surveys, scanning grocery receipts, playing games, watching videos, or even searching the web. Many of these activities tend to be low on the “hourly-wage equivalent” scale, but you can also earn bigger (and more time-efficient) bounties for opening financial accounts like banks and brokerages. Existing members can go to the “Discover” section, then click on “Finance”, and you’ll see offers like these:

There are a few things to be aware of (that also make them difficult to write about):

  • The bonus values can vary widely and quickly for any specific institution. They may go up and down without warning from one day to the next.
  • The bonus values can also vary per user. The offer amounts that you see and what I see in my account could be completely different.

Is Swagbucks legit? Will I get paid? I do view Swagbucks as a legitimate company, BUT you have to understand the inherent limitations of their business model. Swagbucks operates by skimming off a fraction of the bounty that they receive from partner companies. The margins are thin and there are multiple moving parts.

Let’s say Bank A will pay Swagbucks $60 for a new customer, and then Swagbucks promises you $50 of that. That means both Swagbucks has to track that you opened the account, and Bank A has to track that someone from Swagbucks opened the account, and they both have to agree that Swagbucks user was you specifically.

As a result, Swagbucks is not going to want to pay you the $50 until they themselves get their own $60. Swagbucks doesn’t have full control over this because Bank A will have their own tracking system that isn’t 100% accurate. If Swagbucks gets caught making too many payments before they get paid on their own, they run the chance of going bankrupt. So if Bank A is late in either tracking or paying out, Swagbucks will most likely be late in paying you as well. Swagbucks will have to work with the Bank A to resolve any tracking issue discrepancies, so I don’t view them as reliable as a direct bonus.

This is why I prefer to only use Swagbucks when they offer a bonus that is stacked on top of another bonus, and not instead of another bonus. For example, with Plynk they may only offer 3500 SB right now (worth ~$35), but at least it is on top of the standard $50 bonus. That way, it’s just gravy on top, instead of a possible net loss by making you miss out on an alternative bonus if the tracking goes awry. I usually avoid Swagbucks if they tell me I’ll be disqualified from the standard bonus.

How much are Swagbucks worth? Thankfully, their redemption options are relatively easy to understand. 2500 SB is worth approximately $25 via various options. 2500 SB = $25 cash deposited directly into your bank account or brokerage account, no fees, uses Plaid service:

2500 SB = $25 PayPal transfer. 2500 SB = $25 Amazon gift card (although the first one per month is only 2200 SB). 2500 SB = $25 Walmart gift card. There are discounted redemptions from time to time. For example, right now I see a $25 virtual prepaid credit card for 2450 SB (2% discount from cash).

I don’t consider myself a heavy Swagbucks user, but usually go for the 10% discounted Amazon gift card at the beginning of each month. I have not had any problems cashing out my Swagbucks once they have been earned.

Swagbucks $10 referral bonus. If you sign up using my Swagbucks referral link, you can get a $10 bonus after spending $25 in their shopping portal. It’s similar to other shopping portals such as Rakuten/eBates or TopCashBack, where you get rebated back a percentage of your purchase. Make a $25+ purchase at Walmart, eBay, Amazon (select categories only), Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Best Buy to trigger the bonus. If you trigger the bonus, I will get $10 (1,000 SB) as well. Thanks if you use it. Here’s the fine print:

*Member must “Activate” the Bonus in the Swag Ups section of your account. Bonus value is earned in the form of points, called SB. Get a 1000 SB bonus, which is equivalent to $10 in value, when you spend at least $25 at a store featured in Swagbucks.com/Shop. You must receive a minimum of 25 SB for this purchase, which you must complete within 30 days of registration. MyGiftCardsPlus.com and travel purchases do not qualify.

Another site that is similar to SwagBucks is MyPoints ($10 bonus referral link as well). MyPoints has been around even longer than Swagbucks and also offers some finance-related bonuses which are worth a quick comparison check, although you should note that their redemption options are a little more complicated (you might get more points, but 1 MyPoint usually gets you less rewards than than 1 Swagbuck).

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – May 2023

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of May 2023, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. We all need some safe assets for cash reserves or portfolio stability, and there are often lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you could earn. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 5/1/2023.

TL;DR: 5% APY available on liquid savings. 5% APY available on multiple short-term CDs. Compare against Treasury bills and bonds at every maturity.

Fintech accounts
Available only to individual investors, fintech companies often pay higher-than-market rates in order to achieve fast short-term growth (often using venture capital). “Fintech” is usually a software layer on top of a partner bank’s FDIC insurance.

  • 5.05% APY ($1 minimum). SaveBetter lets you switch between different FDIC-insured banks and NCUA-insured credit unions easily without opening a new account every time, and their liquid savings rates currently top out at 5.05% APY. See my SaveBetter review for details. SaveBetter does not charge a fee to switch between banks.
  • 5.10% APY (before fees). MaxMyInterest is another service that allows you to access and switch between different FDIC-insured banks. You can view their current banks and APYs here. As of 5/1/23, the highest rate is from Customers Bank at 5.10% APY. However, note that they charge a membership fee of 0.04% per quarter, or 0.16% per year (subject to $20 minimum per quarter, or $80 per year). That means if you have a $10,000 balance, then $80 a year = 0.80% per year. You are allowed to cancel the service and keep the bank accounts, but then you may lose their specially-negotiated rates and cannot switch between banks anymore.
  • 5% on up to $25,000, then 4% up to $250k. Juno now pays 5% on all cash deposits up to $25,000 and 4% on cash deposits from $25,001 up to $250,000. No direct deposits required. This fintech has crypto exposure, please see my Juno review for details.

High-yield savings accounts
Since the huge megabanks STILL pay essentially no interest, everyone should have a separate, no-fee online savings account to piggy-back onto your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I list the top rates as well as competitive rates from banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you with a temporary top rate and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

  • The leapfrogging to be the temporary “top” rate continues. Newtek Bank at 5.00% APY. Notice that last month’s leader, UFD Direct, has since dropped down to 4.81% APY. CIT Platinum Savings at 4.75% APY with $5,000+ balance.
  • SoFi Bank is now up to 4.20% APY + up to $275 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has their own bank charter now so no longer a fintech by my definition. See details at $25 + $250 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at 3.75%+ APY that aren’t the absolute top rate, but historically do keep it relatively competitive for those that don’t want to keep switching banks.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (plan to buy a house soon, just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.80% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.25% APY for all balance tiers. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 4.15% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Blue FCU via SaveBetter has a 9-month No Penalty CD at 5.00% APY. Minimum opening deposit is $1. No early withdrawal penalty. Withdrawals may be made 30 days after opening.
  • BrioDirect has a 12-month certificate at 5.25% APY. $500 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 90 days of interest.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs*
Many brokerage firms that pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). * Money market mutual funds are regulated, but ultimately not FDIC-insured, so I would still stick with highly reputable firms. I am including a few ultra-short bond ETFs as they may be your best cash alternative in a brokerage account, but they may experience losses.

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is the default sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, which has an SEC yield of 4.78%. Odds are this is much higher than your own broker’s default cash sweep interest rate.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 5.17% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 5.12% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks and are fully backed by the US government. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 5/1/23, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 4.41% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 4.87% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 4.69% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 4.55% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.08 years.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest. The annual purchase limit for electronic I bonds is $10,000 per Social Security Number, available online at TreasuryDirect.gov. You can also buy an additional $5,000 in paper I bonds using your tax refund with IRS Form 8888.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2023 and October 2023 will earn a 4.30% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More on Savings Bonds here.
  • In mid-October 2023, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.
  • See below about EE Bonds as a potential long-term bond alternative.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops which usually involve 10+ debit card purchases each cycle, a certain number of ACH/direct deposits, and/or a certain number of logins per month. If you make a mistake (or they judge that you did) you risk earning zero interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others would rather not bother. Rates can also drop suddenly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling.

  • Genisys Credit Union pays 5.25% APY on up to $7,500 if you make 10 debit card purchases of $5+ each, and opt into receive only online statements. Anyone can join this credit union via $5 membership fee to join partner organization.
  • Pelican State Credit Union pays 5.50% APY on up to $10,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, and make at least 1 direct deposit, online bill payment, or automatic payment (ACH) per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization membership.
  • The Bank of Denver pays 5.00% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each, receive only online statements, and make at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 5.05% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 10 debit card purchases each monthly cycle with online statements.
  • Presidential Bank pays 4.625% APY on balances between $500 and up to $25,000 (3.625% APY above that) if you maintain a $500+ direct deposit and at least 7 electronic withdrawals per month (ATM, POS, ACH and Billpay counts).
  • Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • Sallie Mae Bank via SaveBetter has a 27-month CD at 5.15% APY. $1 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 180 days of simple interest.
  • Credit Human has 18- to 23-month CDs at 5.15% APY and 24 to 35-month CDs at 4.90% APY. $500 minimum to open. The early withdrawal penalty is 270 days of interest for 12- to 35-month terms. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization (no fee).
  • Lafayette Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 4.68% APY ($500 min), 4-year at 4.73% APY, 3-year at 4.84% APY, 2-year at 4.89% APY, and 1-year at 4.99% APY. They also have jumbo certificates with $100,000 minimums at even higher rates. The early withdrawal penalty for the 5-year is very high at 600 days of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. Right now, I see a 5-year non-callable CD at 4.40% APY (callable: no, call protection: yes). Both Vanguard and Fidelity will list higher rates from callable CDs, which importantly means they can call back your CD if rates drop later.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10 years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. You might find something that pays more than your other brokerage cash and Treasury options. Right now, I see a 10-year CDs at (none available, non-callable) vs. 3.57% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate, currently 2.50% for EE bonds issued from May 2023 to October 2023. As of 5/1/23, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 3.95%.

All rates were checked as of 5/1/2023.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Savings I Bonds May 2023 Inflation Rate: 0.90% Fixed, 4.30% Total Composite Rates

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May 2023 fixed rate will be 0.90%, total composite rate is 4.30% for next 6 months. For Savings I bonds bought from May 1, 2023 through October 31, 2023, the fixed rate will be 0.90% and the total composite rate will be 4.30%. The semi-annual inflation rate is 1.69% as predicted (3.38% annually), but the full composite rate is dependent on the fixed rate for each specific savings bond and so it is a little bit higher.

Every single I bond will earn this inflation rate of ~3.40% eventually for 6 months, depending on the initial purchase month. The fixed rate was higher than I predicted, although still a bit lower than short-term TIPS yields. You may wish to wait until October if you don’t like what you see right now. See you again in mid-October for the next early prediction for November 2022.

Original post from 4/12/23:

Savings I Bonds are a unique, low-risk investment backed by the US Treasury that pay out a variable interest rate linked to inflation. With a holding period from 12 months to 30 years, you could own them as an alternative to bank certificates of deposit (they are liquid after 12 months) or bonds in your portfolio.

New inflation numbers were just announced at BLS.gov, which allows us to make an early prediction of the May 2023 savings bond rates a couple of weeks before the official announcement on the 1st. This also allows the opportunity to know exactly what a April 2023 savings bond purchase will yield over the next 12 months, instead of just 6 months. You can then compare this against a May 2023 purchase.

New inflation rate prediction. September 2022 CPI-U was 296.808. March 2023 CPI-U was 301.836, for a semi-annual increase of 1.69%. Using the official formula, the variable component of interest rate for the next 6 month cycle will be ~3.38%. You add the fixed and variable rates to get the total interest rate. The fixed rate hasn’t been above 0.50% in over a decade, but if you have an older savings bond, your fixed rate may be up to 3.60%.

Tips on purchase and redemption. You can’t redeem until after 12 months of ownership, and any redemptions within 5 years incur an interest penalty of the last 3 months of interest. A simple “trick” with I-Bonds is that if you buy at the end of the month, you’ll still get all the interest for the entire month – same as if you bought it in the beginning of the month. It’s best to give yourself a few business days of buffer time. If you miss the cutoff, your effective purchase date will be bumped into the next month.

Buying in April 2023. If you buy before the end of April, the fixed rate portion of I-Bonds will be 0.40%. You will be guaranteed a total interest rate of 0.40 + 6.49 = 6.89% for the next 6 months. For the 6 months after that, the total rate will be 0.40 + 3.39 = 3.79%.

Let’s look at a worst-case scenario, where you hold for the minimum of one year and pay the 3-month interest penalty. If you theoretically buy on April 30th, 2023 and sell on April 1st, 2024, I estimate that you’ll earn a ~4.48% annualized return for an 11-month holding period, for which the interest is also exempt from state income taxes. If you theoretically buy on April 30th, 2023 and sell on July 1, 2024, you’ll earn a ~5.07% annualized return for an 14-month holding period. Comparing with the best interest rates as of April 2023, these short-term rates are roughly on par on what is available via regular nominal Treasury bonds and other deposit accounts.

Buying in May 2023. If you buy in May 2023, you will get 3.38% plus a newly-set fixed rate for the first 6 months. The new fixed rate is officially unknown, but is loosely linked to the real yield of short-term TIPS. My rough guess is somewhere between 0.2% and 0.5%. The current real yield on short-term TIPS is lower than it was during the last reset, when the fixed rate was set at 0.4%. Every six months after your purchase, your rate will adjust to your fixed rate (set at purchase) plus a variable rate based on inflation.

If you have an existing I-Bond, the rates reset every 6 months depending on your purchase month. Your bond rate = your specific fixed rate (based on purchase month, look it up here) + variable rate (total bond rate has a minimum floor of 0%). So if your fixed rate was 1%, you’ll be earning a 1.00 + 3.38 = 4.38% rate for six months.

Buy now or wait? If you buy in April, you will get the remnants of the last period of higher inflation, and a fixed rate that won’t change much for May. If you wait until May, there may be a small possibility that the fixed rate might go up, but even if it does, it will take a while for that to breakeven due to the lower initial inflation rate. Therefore, my opinion is that I would purchase now in April. Note that the real yields on TIPS are currently about 1.2% for a 5-year term, higher than the fixed rate for I bonds.

Unique features. I have a separate post on reasons to own Series I Savings Bonds, including inflation protection, tax deferral, exemption from state income taxes, and educational tax benefits.

Over the years, I have accumulated a nice pile of I-Bonds and consider it part of the inflation-linked bond allocation inside my long-term investment portfolio.

Annual purchase limits. The annual purchase limit is now $10,000 in online I-bonds per Social Security Number. For a couple, that’s $20,000 per year. You can only buy online at TreasuryDirect.gov, after making sure you’re okay with their security protocols and user-friendliness. You can also buy an additional $5,000 in paper I bonds using your tax refund with IRS Form 8888. If you have children, you may be able to buy additional savings bonds by using a minor’s Social Security Number. TheFinanceBuff has a nice post on gifting options if you are a couple and want to frontload your purchases now. TreasuryDirect also allows trust accounts to purchase savings bonds.

Note: Opening a TreasuryDirect account can sometimes be a hassle as they may ask for a medallion signature guarantee which requires a visit to a physical bank or credit union and snail mail. This doesn’t apply to everyone and seems to have gotten better recently, but the takeaway is don’t wait until the last minute.

Bottom line. Savings I bonds are a unique, low-risk investment that are linked to inflation and only available to individual investors. You can only purchase them online at TreasuryDirect.gov, with the exception of paper bonds via tax refund. For more background, see the rest of my posts on savings bonds.

[Image: 1950 Savings Bond poster from US Treasury – source]

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

5.15% APY CDs, 5.06% APY No-Penalty CDs, 5.05% APY Savings via SaveBetter

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated rates. SaveBetter is a financial marketplace that allows you to access high-interest certificates of deposit and savings accounts from multiple different banks and credit unions without having to open up a new account at each one. Every participation institution is either FDIC-insured or NCUA-insured. The participating banks, product terms, and interest rates change regularly. Here are the top SaveBetter offers as of 4/24/2023:

High-Yield CDs

No-Penalty CDs

Liquid Savings

  • 5.05% APY for Money Market Deposit account from Ponce Bank via SaveBetter. Minimum opening deposit is $1. No limit on number of transactions.
  • 5.05% APY for High-Yield Savings account from Western Alliance Bank via SaveBetter. Minimum opening deposit is $1. No limit on number of transactions.
  • 5.01% APY for High-Yield Savings account from GreenState Credit Union via SaveBetter. Minimum opening deposit is $1. No limit on number of transactions.
  • View all available rates

Background on SaveBetter. SaveBetter is a fintech website that serves as a marketplace for partner banks and credit unions looking to promote their deposit products. They offer liquid savings account, No-Penalty CDs, and High-Yield traditional CDs. Funds are held in a custodial account at the bank or credit union that is providing your selected savings product(s). The banks are all FDIC-insured and the credit unions are all NCUA-insured. SaveBetter charges zero fees to consumers, and is paid by the partner banks. SaveBetter is a subsidiary of Raisin GmbH, a German financial company that also offers high-interest deposit products across Europe.

The benefit for the consumer is that you can easily access promotional rates at a new bank or credit union without having to open yet another new account (and endure identify verification hurdles, join partner organizations, open share savings accounts, etc). You can just go through SaveBetter and be done in a few clicks. This makes is easier to chase higher savings accounts and CD rates. You must link a single external bank account and fund electronically. You can only have one external bank account linked at a time, so choose carefully.

A drawback is that you do not get direct access to your SaveBetter sub-accounts via routing number and account number. You must go through the SaveBetter site to open accounts, make deposits, and make withdrawals. All deposits and withdrawals will use your single external linked bank account. That single external bank is your only access to SaveBetter, so in a way I mentally account for it as my “SaveBetter bank account”. Here is a simple illustration I made that helps me visualize this setup:

More details:

5. What is a custodial account and how does it work?
Custodial accounts are involved in how SaveBetter directs the money transfers from customers to the banks and credit unions holding their savings. When a customer makes a deposit through their SaveBetter account into a savings product offered by a given financial institution, the funds move from the customer’s external bank account (also referred to as the reference account) to an omnibus custodial account held by Lewis and Clark Bank (functioning in the role as a custodian bank) at the financial institution offering the savings product.

6. How does pass-through deposit insurance work?
Although SaveBetter customers’ deposits are pooled in omnibus accounts, there is no impact on the eligible deposit insurance coverage you receive from the financial institution holding your savings. This is because the government entities providing federal deposit insurance — the FDIC for banks and NCUA for credit unions — permit pass-through coverage. So your money that’s pooled in a custodial account still has the coverage it would have were it held in an individual account in your name.

I suspect this setup is a lower cost structure for the banks as well, which in turn allows higher interest rates. After learning about omnibus accounts, I noticed that other places like Fidelity Investments also use them in their cash sweep accounts as temporary holding accounts. Search for “omnibus” in your terms and conditions. This is also similar to how “brokered CDs” are usually managed when you buy them through a broker like Vanguard and Fidelity – the funds are pooled together at the issuing bank and don’t include individual account numbers.

Referral bonus. Many of their minimum deposits are below $1,000. But if you are new to SaveBetter and plan to deposit at least $5,000, you can open via a referral link and enter my personal referral code jonathanp31786. You must deposit $5,000 for 90 days to earn $25, and then additional $5 for every subsequent $5,000 deposit past that, up to a max of $125 bonus. Here’s the fine print:

Making $125 has never been so easy or rewarding. Simply enter in the code you received from your friend or family member when you sign up for an account with Savebetter. Once you fund your account and maintain an initial balance of $5,000 or more for 90 days, you will earn a minimum bonus of $25 and a maximum bonus of $125 depending on the account balance you maintained after 90 days. The bonus will be paid out within 30 days of qualification. Funds will be deposited into your external bank account linked to Savebetter.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Alternative Ways To Track Savings I Bond Values (Tools and Calculators)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

If you have accumulated some savings bonds but don’t really enjoy logging into TreasuryDirect.gov all the time, here are some alternative methods to tracking your balances over time. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the unofficial ones are the results of motivated DIY investors. As an example, I will track a Savings I Bond purchased in April 2013 for $10,000.

Official TreasuryDirect Savings Bond Calculator

Although this official calculator states that it is only meant for paper savings bonds, you can still use it indirectly to track electronic savings bonds (they have the same value as long as they are issued the same month). For example, let’s say you bought $10,000 of I Bonds issued in April 2013. While you can’t enter a $10,000 value directly, you can enter two $5,000 I Bonds. (Enter anything for serial number.) Thus, you’d see that as of April 2023, they are worth $12,636.

You can even save your entire inventory of specific I bonds if you follow the directions here. It feels a bit archaic (you’re basically saving a plain text .html file), but it works. You can even import the values into Google Sheets, according to this Bogleheads forum post.

EyeBonds.info

Created by a user on the Bogleheads forums, this is a very handy and simple website that tracks the price of every savings bonds based on the issue date. For April 2013, simply click on that date and see the growth in value shown below. As of April 2023, you get the same $12,636 value and since the rate is known for the next 6 months as well, you can see the value all the way out to October 2023. This may lead to the easiest way to import the values into your own custom Google Sheet; check out Bogleheads forum post.

eWorkpaper I Bond Calculator

This site also allows you to look up the price history of savings bonds based on the issue date. For April 2013, there are the same ending values along with a chart comparing the value against CPI inflation. You can also quickly create a list of multiple savings bonds here, although it doesn’t appear to allow you to save it for later.

(I personally use these tools once in a while for research, but for tracking balances I simply log into TreasuryDirect.gov during my quarterly portfolio updates and manually enter the values into my Google Sheets page under the “Inflation-Protection Bonds” asset class. It’s only four times a year, and I like to log into the official retro website to make sure my money is still there.)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

$6,500 IRA Contribution Bonus Challenge 2023 Q1 Update: $1,686+ in Bonuses

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Each year, I challenge myself to earn the equivalent of the maximum annual IRA contribution limit (up to $6,500 for 2023) using the profits from various finance promotions alone. In 2021, I reached $5,592 in bonuses. In 2022, I reached $6,259 in bonuses.

If you had put $6,000 into your IRA every year for the recent 10 year period (2013-2022) and invested in a simple Target Date retirement fund, you would have turned small, weekly deals into a $104,000+ nest egg. You didn’t need to be a genius. Another example of Focus + Long attention span = Surprising results.

That’s worth repeating: An extra 100 grand has been the real-world result of regularly investing $500 a month for the last 10 years! Not to mention, a couple could double these numbers.

Ground rules: Real-world results for one real person only. Following with My Money Blog tradition, this will track my personal, real-world results. It would be quite easy to list a bunch of promotions that add up to $6,000, but these will be promotions that I personally sign up for and complete the requirements (even though I’ve already opened 100+ bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts over the years). I will track my individual results only, although my partner does also participate on a more selective basis. Nearly all of them have been documented in real-time in the Deals and Offers category, Top 10 credit cards list, and brokerage bonus list.

2023 bonuses and promotions list. The 💵 symbol means I have received and/or cashed out the bonus successfully. The ⌛ symbol means that the promo is still in progress.

If I am optimistic and assume that all bonuses for which I have done the required activity will eventually post, the total tally so far is $1,686, which is 26% of the $6,500 annual IRA contribution limit for 2023. This puts me somewhat behind the pace required to reach my goal.

Additional background stuff. This is a personal challenge/game that I like to play. I enjoy trying out new apps and services. This is an enjoyable and profitable hobby for me, but I don’t like to waste my time either. I look for a solid return based on the time commitment required. I tend to avoid speculative bets, bonuses that are hard to convert to real value, and anything that requires driving to stores where things may or may not be in stock. The deals that I post usually last at least a few days, but it’s a bit like value investing where you have to be ready to get off your butt and take decisive action when an opportunity shows up, because they won’t last forever.

Many things I have to skip simply because I’ve already done them. For those new to this hobby, I would first grab the low-hanging fruit like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve and build up a nice stash of flexible Ultimate Rewards points. After that, I would recommend looking at the Citi Premier (ThankYou points), Capital Venture X (Capital One Miles), and American Express Gold (AmEX Membership Rewards points) to jumpstart your points stashes.

Exclusions. Importantly, this list ignores the interest earned from my existing bank accounts, as well as everyday credit card rewards like 2% to 2.6% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on specific categories or 1% or better cash back on rent.

I am also excluding small-business deals like big Chase Ink Business Cash card bonuses, big business checking bonuses, and so on.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.