CIT Bank Savings Builder $300 Bonus – New and Existing Customers (2020)

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. Thank you for your support.

Bonus refreshed, bigger bonus, new promo code. CIT Bank has refreshed their Savings Builder Account deposit bonus. The bonus has increased to up to a $300 cash bonus depending on deposit amount, and it is open to both new and existing customers. The bonus is on top of the interest rate, currently 1.75% APY (as of 2/4/20) at their top tier for qualifying accounts. Unfortunately, if you did an earlier bonus, you are not eligible for this one:

PLEASE NOTE: Existing Customers enrolled in a Savings Builder bonus promotion prior to January 17, 2020, are not eligible for this promotion.

New deposit bonus details. For new customers, you must first open a new account with at least $100 and promo code Spring20 at this link. If you already had an existing account as of 2/19/20, you need to first officially enroll in this offer via the “Let’s get started” button at this link for existing customers. After doing that:

  • A new deposit of $25,000 to $49,999 within 15 calendar days of your open/enrollment date will get you a $150 cash bonus.
  • A new deposit of $50,000+ within 15 calendar days of your open/enrollment date will get you a $300 cash bonus.

New accounts will have to maintain this balance for 90 calendar days following the end of the 15-day Funding Period. However, existing accounts will only have to maintain this balance for 30 calendar days following the end of the 15-day Funding Period. The shorter holding period for existing customers is nice, but remember it has to be additional money new to CIT Bank. This is their definition of “starting balance” when measuring new deposits for existing customers:

The balances of all the customer’s individual Savings Builder accounts, any joint Savings Builder accounts in which the customer has ownership, if not already enrolled in the bonus promotion by another joint owner as of February 18, 2020.

They will deposit your bonus within 1 to 5 business days after the Funding Period, but it will be on hold (can’t withdraw) until 7 days after your minimum holding period of 30/90 days to make sure you satisfy the requirements.

Effective APY. Here are the effective interest rates you could get as either a new or existing customer:

  • For a new customer earning either the $150 bonus on $25,000 or $300 bonus on $50,000, which also qualifies you for the 1.75% APY rate, that works out to a total 4.15% APY for 90 days (2.4 + 1.75).
  • For an existing customer earning either the $150 bonus on $25,000 or $300 bonus on $50,000, which also qualifies you for the 1.75% APY rate, that works out to a total 8.95% APY for 30 days (7.2 + 1.75).

Note this is somewhat optimistic as you will probably add a several days of holding time unless your deposit lands at the very end of the 15-day funding period. Still, it’s always nice to stack a cash bonus on top of an already competitive interest rate. This promotion is scheduled to last through May 30, 2020. There are no minimum balance fees, no monthly service fees, no inactivity fee.

Savings Builder high interest qualifications reminder. This a unique savings account with two ways to qualify for their highest interest rate tier. You need ONE of the following in each Evaluation Period:

  • Maintain at least one single monthly deposit of $100+, OR
  • Maintain a balance of $25,000+.

Everyone earns the top tier rate for the first monthly “Evaluation Period”. Then, if you meet one of the requirements listed above during the first Evaluation Period, you’ll earn the top rate for the next monthly Evaluation Period. If you don’t meet a least one of the requirements, you will receive the base interest rate during the next Evaluation Period. They have an indicator in your online account that confirms that you have qualified.

One option that I did is to set up an automatic monthly transfer from my checking account to this account for $100 and satisfy the requirement on auto-pilot. (I can always transfer additional funds in or out as needed.) More details in my previous full review.

Bottom line. CIT Bank has refreshed their Savings Builder Account deposit bonus with a bigger bonus. You can get up to a $300 cash bonus depending on deposit amount, and it is open to both new and existing customers. Unfortunately, if you’ve done a Savings Builder bonus already, you are not eligible for another one. The bonus is on top of the interest rate, currently 1.75% APY (as of 2/4/20) at their top tier for qualifying accounts. These types of bonuses help me earn higher interest rates even when rates are dropping.

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.

Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union Certificate Deal: 5-year at 2.99% APY

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Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union has some solid rates on their term share certificates, most notably the 5-year jumbo certificate at 2.99% APY ($25,000 minimum) and 2.89% APY ($5,000 minimum). Available both in regular taxable and IRAs. These are even “step-up” CDs where you can bump up the rate once if the advertised rates rise. NCUA-insured. Found via DepositAccounts.

This is a relatively small credit union, so this rate probably won’t last very long. I would also expect it to require a little effort to be opened if you don’t live near their branches in North Carolina. Even their 2.99% APY is a bit odd. When it’s a loan where you pay interest, you always see APRs of 2.99% or 9.99%. When it’s a bank account where you get paid interest, you always see APYs of 2.00% or 2.05%. It’s almost like they don’t want people to notice that they have the highest 5-year CD rate in the country by a decent margin.

Membership eligibility. Credit union membership is open to:

  • Active-Duty or Retired military service member
  • Family member of primary member
  • Regularly works on Fort Bragg
  • Most persons who live, work, worship, or attend school in, and businesses and other legal entities in Cumberland County, NC
  • Members of the Braxton Bragg Chapter of AUSA

The last option makes membership open to anyone nationwide. Here is the PDF application which shows the cost of $40 for a 2-year membership, but you may wish to try and apply over the phone at 855-246-6269. Be sure to join the Braxton Bragg Chapter. You will need your AUSA membership number before they can finish your credit union application.

Many credit unions do a hard credit pull upon joining, but I’m not sure about Fort Bragg.

Early withdrawal penalties and limitations. Please note the following language taken from the Full membership agreement (PDF). The penalty is short (3 months), but there may be restrictions for early withdrawals.

Early Withdrawal Penalties – All Term Share Certificate Accounts. You have agreed to leave the principal of this account on deposit for the full term stated in your Certificate. If all or part of the principal is withdrawn before the maturity date, the Credit Union may charge you a penalty. Withdrawal of the principal amount of your Certificate may be made only with the consent of the Credit Union. Unless stated otherwise, owners of non-IRA Term Share Certificate accounts shall forfeit an amount equal to three (3) months dividends on the amount withdrawn. Owners of IRA Term Share Certificate accounts shall forfeit an amount equal to three (3) months AND assessed an Administrative Fee, refer to Term Share/IRA Certificates Rates for current fee. The penalty may be calculated at the rate paid on the deposit at the time of the withdrawal. The penalty will, if necessary, be taken from the principal amount of the deposit.

Bottom line. Fort Bragg FCU has a 5-year share certificate at 2.99% APY. As of 2/19/2019, a 5-year Treasury bond currently yields only about 1.4%. The SEC yield of the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) is only 2.14% and it has a longer duration. This margin means this rate won’t last very long. The possible credit check and $40 entry fee make it better for high balances to make it worth the trouble.

I am skipping this one as I don’t have any CDs maturing soon. Still, this is another example of smaller credit unions offering up a very high rate for a limited-time. Such opportunities only available to motivated individual investors and not big institutions.

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.

Simple Bank Bonus: $300 Bonus + 1.90% APY for $20,000 New Deposit

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. Thank you for your support.

Bonus updated 2/5/20. Simple is one of many fintech startups adding fancy tech and smartphone app sprinkles to your vanilla checking account. They were acquired by the big European-based bank BBVA in 2014. It looks like they are trying the direct route of customer acquisition (and my favorite of course) – paying you a cash bonus!

Simple has updated $150 and $300 bonuses for new accounts. They had similar bonuses in July and October 2019 that were bigger ($250/$500), but we are also in a lower interest rate environment these days. The competition is paying out less too.

$150 Bonus Details ($10,000+)

  • Open a new Simple Account by 2/15/2020 at 3:59 PM PT.
  • Deposit(s) totaling $10,000 or more must post to the new account by 3:59PM PT 10 days after the account is opened.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $10,000 through 4/30/20 4:59 PM PT.
  • The combined balance between your Simple Account and Protected Goals Account counts towards this bonus. The Protected Goals account currently pays 1.90% APY while the primary checking only pays 0.01% APY, so I would recommend opening one of those as well. Note that balances in *Shared* Accounts and *Shared* Protected Goals Accounts do not toward this bonus.
  • Qualifying customers will receive the bonus credit into the eligible Simple account by 5/15/2020 at 4:59pm PT.

$300 Bonus Details ($20,000+)

  • Open a new Simple Account by 2/15/2020 at 3:59 PM PT.
  • Deposit(s) totalling $20,000 or more must post to the new account by 3:59PM PT 10 days after the account is opened.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $20,000 through 4/30/20 4:59 PM PT.
  • The combined balance between your Simple Account and Protected Goals Account counts towards this bonus. The Protected Goals account pays 1.90% APY while the primary checking only pays 0.01% APY, so I would recommend opening one of those as well. Note that balances in *Shared* Accounts and *Shared* Protected Goals Accounts do not toward this bonus.
  • Qualifying customers will receive the bonus credit into the eligible Simple account by 5/15/2020 at 4:59pm PT.

This offer is for new accounts only. Any person who has applied for or opened any Simple Account before 4:00pm PT on 1/31/20 is ineligible to participate in this promotion. Maximum of one (1) $300 bonus OR one (1) $150 bonus per customer.

If there are two people with a lot of available cash in your household, you might have each person do the bonus individually. A couple could now earn $600 bonus + 1.90% APY (variable). No minimums, no monthly fees, FDIC-insured, see if you like the bells and whistles. Here is their full fee schedule.

Note that for some reason Simple limits ACH transfers to/from an external account to $5,000 cumulative during the first 30 days, when initiated on the Simple website. However, you can simply initiate a transfer from another bank (Ally Bank, Marcus, CIT, etc.) and there are no transfer limits.

Bottom line. Simple is offering a $150/$300 bonus on $10,000/$20,000 of new money. This works out to a 1.5% bonus after 90 days, which makes it roughly 6% APY annualized. The bonus is on top of the standard interest rate, currently 1.90% APY (as of 2/5/20). That is a pretty good return on FDIC-insured cash in this current rate environment. Compare with my most recent roundup of best interest rates.

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 – February 2020

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. Thank you for your support.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for February 2020, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I track these rates because I keep 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and also invest in longer-term CDs (often at lesser-known credit unions) when they yield more than bonds. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 2/4/2020.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks make huge profits while paying you 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from 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.

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 (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. Marcus has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. My eBanc has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $100,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.90% APY with a $25,000 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.75% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Marcus (GS Bank) has a 12-month CD at 2.15% APY ($500 minimum).

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 1.64% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund which has an SEC yield of 1.51%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 1.93% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 2.03% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 1.86% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.14% 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. 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 2/3/2020, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.56% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.46% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 1.83% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 1.37% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

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. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between November 2019 and April 2020 will earn a 2.22% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-April 2020, 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.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore.

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking (my review) has up to 5.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you make $500+ in ACH deposits, 12 debit card “signature” purchases, and spend $1,000 on their credit card each month. Elements Financial has 3% APY on balances up to $20,000 if you make 15 debit card “signature” purchases or other qualifying transactions per statement cycle. Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements, the rate won’t be nearly as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 0.90% APY.

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.

  • Hiway Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 2.71% APY ($25k minimum) and 2.61% APY with a $10,000 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 1 year of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 17-month CD at 2.25% APY ($50 minimum + add-on feature up to $75k), but you must have a military affiliation to join (includes being a relative of a veteran).
  • Andrews FCU still has their special 84-month certificate at 3.05% APY. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • 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. The rates are not competitive right now. Be wary of higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

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. I don’t see anything noteworthy. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • 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 which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as a hedge against prolonged deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 2/3/2020, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 1.84%.

All rates were checked as of 2/4/2020.

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.

Bank of America Free Museum Tickets 2020 Dates

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Bank of America is running their Museums on Us program again for 2020, which offers cardholders free admissions to 200+ museums, science centers, and botanical gardens nationwide on the first full weekend of every month (Saturday and Sunday). Each person just needs to show their valid Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit/debit card and photo ID for free admission.

Each cardholder gets one free general admission for themselves only, so be sure everyone with their own cards brings them. If you have a BofA credit card, you may consider adding family members (of any age) as a free authorized user. Another option is to open a Kids Savings Account with no monthly fee and also comes with a debit card. You may need to open this in a physical branch.

2020 Calendar Dates (Check specific museum for hours)

  • January 4th & 5th
  • February 1st & 2nd
  • March 7th & 8th
  • April 4th & 5th
  • May 2nd & 3rd
  • June 6th & 7th
  • July 4th & 5th
  • August 1st & 2nd
  • September 5th & 6th
  • October 3rd & 4th
  • November 7th & 8th
  • December 5th & 6th

Here is the full list of participating locations. For example, one of the available museums is the Thinkery in Austin, Texas. We found it to be a fun and interactive children’s science center. The admission was $12 per person including kids (23 months and under free), which means this could have saved our family of five a total of $60 for that one day. I’ve seen other museums on their list with $20 admission prices.

Sign up for reminders! I admit that I’ve probably missed more free dates than I’ve actually gone. I recommend signing up for their free e-mail reminder before each free weekend. I signed up and didn’t notice any horrible spam from BofA, just the reminders.

Bottom line. While I wouldn’t open a new bank or credit card account for this feature, free museum admission on the first full weekend of every month is a nice perk if you already have accounts with Bank of America.

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.

Marcus Bank $100 Bonus on $10,000 Deposit (New for 2020)

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. Thank you for your support.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is offering a $100 bonus if you deposit $10,000+ in new funds into their online savings account within 10 days of enrollment at this special offer page. You must enroll by 11:59pm EST on 2/11/20 and maintain the new $10,000+ deposit for 60 days.

Both new and existing customers are eligible. Marcus had a very similar offer last year, but having done it in 2019 does not exclude you from doing it again in 2020 (looking at you, CIT Bank, ha). This offer is actually a bit better because their 2019 offer had a 90-day minimum holding period and this is only 60 days.

After enrollment, you must deposit $10,000 or more in new funds (internal transfers won’t count) into a Marcus Online Savings Account within 10 days of enrollment and maintain at least $10,000 of those new funds in your account in addition to your account balance at the time of enrollment for 60 consecutive days from the date of reaching the required dollar amount. Multiple deposits are allowed to reach the required dollar amount and can be made by joint owners for a joint account.

Offer available to new and existing customers. Each customer is limited to one bonus offer, which can only be applied to a single account. For eligibility purposes, each joint owner will be treated as a separate customer. For example, if you apply the bonus offer to a joint account, the remaining joint owner(s) may apply this offer to another account they own if they have not done so already. […] The bonus will be treated as interest for tax reporting purposes.

Basically a 1% bonus on $10,000 if you keep it there for 60 days, which makes the bonus itself the equivalent of ~6% APY annualized. They will deposit $100 into your account within 14 days after that 60-day period. (I usually like to wait until the bonus shows up before taking out any money.) The bonus is on top of the standard interest rate, currently 1.70% APY as of 1/22/20. This combination makes it a great short-term rate at that balance size when compared to my last monthly update of best interest rates.

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.

Bask Bank Review: Earn American Miles On Your Cash Savings

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. Thank you for your support.

Bask Bank is a new online savings account that pays you American Airlines (AA) miles instead of cash interest. Every $1 earns 1 mile a year. For example, $1,000 kept for a year would earn 1,000 AA miles at the end of the year. If you kept $50,000 there for a year, you would earn 50,000 AA miles at the end of a year. There is no minimum balance and no monthly fees. They state there is no hard credit check upon opening. Note: They do not currently offer joint accounts.

Bask Bank is part of Texas Capital Bank (FDIC Certificate #34383), which also runs BankDirect. BankDirect has been giving out American Airlines miles for a while on their checking account, but with different requirements and a $12 monthly fee. Note that they are all the same bank in regards to the $250,000 FDIC insurance limits per depositor type. Bask Bank routing number is 111026177.

New account bonus + feedback bonus. If you maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 for 30 days within 60 days of opening a new account, you get a 5,000 mile bonus. You must apply by February 29, 2020. In addition, if you provide feedback on their app, they will give you another 1,000 miles. For this bonus, you must open an account by April 30, 2020. These are the “easy” bonuses.

Log into your Bask Savings Account, select “provide app feedback” in your Welcome Checklist and take our quick survey!

Additional deposit balance bonus. If you maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 for 360 days, you can get an additional bonus of 10,000, 20,000, or 40,000 miles respectively at the end. Note that you must open by 3/31/2020, fund within 60 days of opening, and maintain the balance for 360 consecutive days without dropping below even once.

Value calculations. If you valued American Airlines miles at 1 cent per mile, then this account would earn you the equivalent of 1% APY. ($10,000 a year = 10,000 AA miles = $100 value.) Given that many established online savings accounts earn 1.70% APY, you would need to value AA miles at more than 1.7 cents per mile to exceed that alternative.

This calculation ignores the bonuses above. If you kept $25,000 in the account for 360 days, you would earn 25,000 + 10,000 bonus = 35,000 miles. At 1 cent per mile value, that is still only an effective APY of 1.4%.

1099-INT details. If you get miles instead of cash, what happens at tax time? Bask Bank and BankDirect has stated that they plan to issue 1099-INT for 2020 interest earned based on a valuation of 0.42 cents per mile. This can be found deep in their disclosures:

Since you are Awarded Miles based on the average collected balance in your Account each month instead of interest, Bask Bank calculates an interest equivalent based on a good faith estimate of the value of the miles. Your interest rate and annual percentage yield may change based on a change in either the Miles Award Rate or the estimated value. Miles are currently valued at 0.42 cents per mile, the equivalent of 0.42% annual percentage yield.

So if you held $10,000 for all of 2020 and earned $10,000 miles, current your 1099-INT will show $42 in interest paid. However, this is subject to change and I don’t like that sort of uncertainty. It is unlikely but still possible that they could change this to as much as 2 cents per mile and it would be a pain to dispute such a valuation.

Low-hanging fruit… Airline miles are useful, but also subject to rampant inflation. Since AA miles are worth less every year AND they are not worth 1.7 cents a point in my opinion, I do not plan on using this as my main savings account. The balance bonus takes too long in my opinion (1-year inflexible lockup) and does not improve the effective rate enough to exceed that of cash-earning alternatives anyway.

However, the relatively easy upfront 6,000 mile bonus and the ability to keep about $15 in there and earn at least 1 mile per month to prevent my existing American miles from expiring, that could be useful. If I need a certain amount of American Airlines to reach an award, this may be a backup option as well.

Bottom line. Bask Bank is an online savings account that pays you American Airlines (AA) miles instead of cash interest. It’s not a great deal, but may be interesting to those that can maximize the value of an American Airlines mile. There are also some low-hanging fruit you could pick. Read all the details above and make sure you understand how it works.

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.

Big List of Free Consumer Data Reports (1/2): See Your Confidential Credit, Banking, and Payday Lending Data

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. Thank you for your support.

magDouble-checked and updated for 2020. Since these are available every 12 months, it is a good idea to check these near or around the same time each year. A lot of companies make their money by collecting and selling data – your personal data. In the past, it was often difficult if not impossible to see what they were telling prospective lenders, landlords, even employers about you. Under the FCRA and/or FACT Act, many consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) are now legally required to send you a free copy of your report every 12 months, as well as provide a way to dispute incorrect information.

Some have an online request form, but some require snail mail with proof of identity. You probably won’t want to bother checking all of them, but if you’ve experienced any sort of rejection or adverse reaction in these areas the cause might be found inside one of these databases. Keep in mind that you may not have a file with all of these places. Requesting a copy of your own consumer reports does not hurt your credit score.

Based on my situation, I have checked the following reports out of the ones listed below – Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, CoreLogic Credco, Chexsystems, and LexisNexis.

Credit-Related

Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The three major credit bureaus track your credit accounts, payment history, and other related information like bankrupts and liens. Free copy of each once every 12 months.

You can also now freeze your credit reports for free, but you must contact each bureau separately. For the contact info, please see Big List of Ways To Protect Your Identity: Free Credit Monitoring, Free Credit Locks, and Free Credit Freezes

CoreLogic Credco. One of the largest credit-related CRAs and often used by mortgage lenders, your CoreLogic Credco Consumer File can contain: previous homeownership and mortgage info, rental payment history, any reported delinquencies, and other debt obligations like child support. Free copy once every 12 months.

LexisNexis. One of the largest personal information databases that includes public records, real estate transaction and ownership data, lien, judgment, and bankruptcy records, professional license information, and historical addresses on file. Free copy, must mail in form.

Innovis. A supplementary credit report and identity verification provider. Free copy once every 12 months.

SageStream, LLC (formerly ID Analytics). Per their site, they are a “a credit reporting agency that produces credit reports and scores from our repository of consumer information contributed by a wide array of companies including leading financial services organizations, wireless providers, utilities, retailers, auto lenders and many others” Free copy, must fax or mail in a written form.

Banking-Related

Chexsystems. A consumer information database used by an estimated 80-90% of all banks to help determine the risk of opening new accounts. Think of it as the banks’ version of a credit bureau. If a person commits check fraud or overdraws their account, it will be listed here. In addition, the simple act of opening or closing a bank account may be recorded in their database. Having a negative ChexSystems record can leave you blacklisted from opening bank accounts at most major banks. Free copy once every 12 months. You can now request your report online.

CrossCheck, Inc. Provides check verification services for various industries, including automotive sales and repair, building supply, home improvement, retail, medical, dental, and veterinarian industries.

Global Payments Check Services, Inc. Provides check verification services for various industries.

TeleCheck. Per their site, they provide “industry-leading check acceptance, check processing and risk analytics services to merchants and financial institutions.” One of the major companies that protect businesses and banks from bad checks. Must order by phone or mail.

Certegy Check Services. Per their site, a “check risk management company that provides verification, guarantee and risk analytics to thousands of businesses that choose to accept checks as a form of payment for goods or services.” Clients include check-cashing stores and casinos. Free copy once every 12 months. Must order by phone or mail.

Early Warning Services. A collaboration between a group of big banks including Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Provides fraud prevention and risk management in relation to bank accounts and payment transactions. Must order by phone.

Subprime-Related (Payday Lending)

The following companies focus on subprime customers with clients including payday lenders, title loan lenders, rent-to-own stores, and subprime auto loan providers.

Teletrack (affiliated with CoreLogic).

FactorTrust. Free copy once every 12 months. Owned by TransUnion.

Clarity Services, Inc.

DataX Ltd.

Microbilt and subsidiary Payment Reporting Builds Credit (PRBC). Microbilt is a provider of credit data for the “approximately 110 million underserved and underbanked consumers in the United States.” Free copy once every 12 months.

Next up, I will double-check and update Part 2: Rental History, Insurance, & Employment Data.

Sources: ConsumerFinance.gov, FTC.gov, Wikipedia

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 – January 2020

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. Thank you for your support.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for January 2020, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I track these rates because I keep 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and also invest in longer-term CDs (often at lesser-known credit unions) when they yield more than bonds. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 1/9/2020.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from 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.

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 (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. Marcus Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. My eBanc has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $100,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.85% APY with a $25,000 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.75% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Quontic Bank has a 12-month CD at 2.20% APY ($1,000 minimum).

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 1.69% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund which has an SEC yield of 1.54%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 2.00% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 2.16% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 1.97% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.25% 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. 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 1/9/2020, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.53% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.54% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 1.83% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 1.38% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

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. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between November 2019 and April 2020 will earn a 2.22% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-April 2020, 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.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore.

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking (my review) has up to 5.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you make $500+ in ACH deposits, 12 debit card “signature” purchases, and spend $1,000 on their credit card each month. TAB Bank Kasasa Cash Checking has 4.00% APY on balances up to $50,000 if you make 1 ACH transfer and 15+ debit card purchases of $5+ each month, but read their vague fine print first. Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements, the rate won’t be nearly as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 0.90% APY.

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.

  • Financial Partners Credit Union (LFCU) has a 5-year Jumbo certificate at 3.00% APY ($100k minimum) and 2.85% APY with a $1,000 minimum. As with many credit union specials, this likely won’t last long. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization American Consumer Council ($8 one-time fee).
  • Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 37-month IRA CD at 3.00% APY ($50 minimum + add-on feature), but you must have a military affiliation to join (includes being a relative of a veteran).
  • Andrews FCU still has their special 84-month certificate at 3.05% APY. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • 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. The rates are not competitive right now. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

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. I don’t see anything noteworthy. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • 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 which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as a hedge against prolonged deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 1/9/2020, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 2.17%.

All rates were checked as of 1/9/2020.

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.

Bank of America Free Museum Tickets 2019 Dates (+ New Holiday Dates)

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(Update: BofA has added an additional six days of free museum admission in 2019, from 12/26-12/31. In case you need something extra and no-cost to do during the winter break! I just went back to the Thinkery in Austin, TX again recently and it was awesome again but those admissions quickly added up for an entire family.)

bofa_musBank of America is running their Museums on Us program again for 2019, which offers cardholders free admissions to 200+ museums, science centers, and botanical gardens nationwide on the first full weekend of every month (Saturday and Sunday). Each person just needs to show their valid Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and photo ID for free admission.

Each cardholder gets one free general admission for themselves only, so be sure everyone with their own cards brings them. If you have a BofA credit card, you may consider adding family members (of any age) as a free authorized user. Another option is to open a Kids Savings Account with no monthly fee and also comes with a debit card. You may need to open this in a physical branch.

2019 Calendar Dates (Check specific museum for hours)

  • January 5th & 6th
  • February 2nd & 3rd
  • March 2nd & 3rd
  • April 6th & 7th
  • May 4th & 5th
  • June 1st & 2nd
  • July 6th & 7th
  • August 3rd & 4th
  • September 7th & 8th
  • October 5th & 6th
  • November 2nd & 3rd
  • December 7th & 8th

Here is the full list of participating locations [pdf]. One of the available museums is the Thinkery in Austin, Texas. We found it to be a fun and interactive children’s science center. The admission was $12 per person including kids (23 months and under free), which means this could have saved our family of five $60 for that one day. I’ve seen other museums on their list with $20 admission prices.

While I wouldn’t open a new bank or credit card account for this feature, it is a nice perk if you already have such accounts. You can also sign-up for a free text reminder before each free weekend. I signed up and haven’t gotten any spam texts from BofA, just the reminders.

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.

Navy Federal IRA Certificate Special: 37-Month at 3.00% APY + $50 Bonus

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. Thank you for your support.

navyfed0

Udpated. Navy Federal Credit Union is the nation’s largest credit union, but is primary limited to those with a military relationship. However, their membership now includes veterans and family members of veterans. They just released a few new special offers for December 2019:

  • 37-Month IRA/ESA Certificate at 3.00% APY. $50 minimum. Add-on deposits are allowed at any time, up to $150,000. IRA/ESA only.
  • $50 New IRA Bonus. Deposit $50 or more to your first IRA within 45 days of account opening and get a $50 bonus.
  • EasyStart Certificate at 3.50% APY. Open with as little as $50. Make additional deposits anytime (up to $3,000). 12-month term. Certificate owner(s) age 18 and older must have Direct Deposit of Net Pay or payroll allotment and a Navy Federal checking account within 90 days of the certificate issue date.

If you wanted a conservative investment for your IRA, compare this NCUA-insured certificate at 3% against a 3-year US Treasury that is only yielding 1.62% as of this writing. You can also just open with $50 and add more each month.

This 3-month certificate rate would be a top rate in my Best Interest Rates on Cash – December 2019 post. Too bad it is not available outside of an IRA/ESA.

Navy Federal Credit Union has solid bank and loan products, including checking accounts with ATM rebates, competitive mortgage rates, and limited-time 0% balance transfer promotions. Readers have commented on their excellent customer service and the fact that they often keep and service the mortgages and other loans they originate.

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.

Keep or Close Old Bank Accounts? How To Manage Multiple Bank Accounts

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. Thank you for your support.

In 2019, I opened new accounts at the following banks and credit unions in order to earn higher interest on my cash reserves. Some of the offers are now expired, but the idea is to show you that I do accumulate new accounts every year:

For the most part, I keep these new accounts. I also profited from these promotions via accounts I opened prior to 2019:

I’ve gotten a few questions about what I do with all of these accounts. Do I keep them forever? Close them immediately? Here’s my thought process.

Opening new accounts. In general, I will consider opening a new bank account or credit union account if the following conditions are met: Is the net benefit is roughly $100 or higher? Are the monthly fees avoidable? Is my money not already tied up elsewhere? Does it incur a hard credit check upon opening? Most banks do not perform a hard credit check for new accounts. Many credit unions do, however, as their business model is strongly dependent on lending between members. This used to matter more when you could open 20 credit cards in a year and thus you’d want to avoid having too many inquiries on your report, but nowadays the credit card issuers have limits based specifically on your credit card history and less about your number of inquiries.

However, a lot of it also depends on soft factors. Does it seem like it will be a hassle to collect the bonus? Does this bank/CU offer a history of competitive rates and offers? Does it have a reputation for good customer service?

For inactive bank accounts that you don’t care about. For a bank that is no longer offering me something useful and doesn’t look like it will in the future, I will set it to paperless statements, remove all external bank account links, and withdraw all my money. Usually, if there is no activity and $0.00 inside for over a year, the bank will quietly close the account for me. If not, there is minimal ongoing mental load and I’ll usually just let it sit idle indefinitely. If the account charges a monthly fee or somehow causes me hassle, I will go ahead and close it manually.

For inactive bank accounts that you want to keep open. For a bank where I don’t keep my cash there anymore, but I still want to keep it open in case the interest rate improves, a future promotion pops up, or to maintain a perk like free notary service, I will keep at least $10 in the account and also make a $1 in/out transaction once every 12 months. This keeps the account active so that they won’t close it without at least some sort of warning.

Finally, I track all my bank accounts using Mint and Personal Capital. I also use a password manager to keep complex, distinct passwords at each financial institution. Enable two-factor authentication where available.

By monitoring all of my open accounts using such services, I help guarantee that I will stay well within the 60-day window provided by Regulation E to notify the bank of any unauthorized activity. If you lose your debit card (“access device”) and report it lost or stolen no more than two days after becoming aware of the theft, your liability is limited to $50. If you experience an unauthorized ACH transfer, you must report it within 60 days of the statement. Here’s an example from ConsumerFinance.gov:

For example, a consumer’s account is electronically debited for $200 without the consumer’s authorization and by means other than the consumer’s access device. If the consumer notifies the institution within 60 days of the transmittal of the periodic statement that shows the unauthorized transfer, the consumer has no liability. However, if in addition to the $200, the consumer’s account is debited for a $400 unauthorized transfer on the 61st day and the consumer fails to notify the institution of the first unauthorized transfer until the 62nd day, the consumer may be liable for the full $400.

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.