Juno Finance App: Banking Interruptions, 5% APY and 5% Cashback Terminated

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Update May 2024: Juno just sent out the following e-mail today, which may be the best of example of public relations double-speak that I’ve seen in a while. Look at all those meaningless words! 😳 Juno paid out a lot of above-average valuable perks for a while, even before their crypto pivot, and I’m still not sure where the money came from. Unfortunately, the music has finally stopped and the party looks to be over. 🎉 🙅 They are reporting banking interruptions (ACH transfers + debit cards) and are terminating their 5% APY interest and 5% cashback program with only 48 hours notice (5/15/24). If you still have money there, I would recommend starting the withdrawal process but also having some patience. I have no reason to expect any principal losses but these types of disruptions do occur with fintech apps at times, unfortunately. This tweet says they are looking to switch banking providers in the next 4 weeks (!), but when you allow something like this to happen, that may be too little too late.

Dear Jonathan,
Juno stands at the intersection of banking and cryptocurrency, providing the quickest and easiest access to over 20 blockchains in the United States through ACH, Wire, Cash App, and more. We pride ourselves on promoting self-custody by eliminating mandatory holding periods for crypto withdrawals, distinguishing us from many U.S. crypto exchanges.

The past 18 months have witnessed remarkable growth in crypto and stablecoin sectors. These innovations are essential for creating fair and transparent financial services. At Juno, we are committed to a future where financial control rests with the users, not the banks.

In the past few days, banking services on Juno have been temporarily disrupted. Our team is hard at work collaborating with our banking services provider, Evolve Bank & Trust, and brokerage partner, Synapse Brokerage LLC., to resolve the disruptions as quickly as possible. This disruption, however, further strengthens our commitment to build a future where you are in control of your money at all times, not the banks.

Introducing Juno 2.0 – Reimagining Banking for Tomorrow

In 2024, Juno will focus intensively on developing financial services centered around crypto and stablecoins to ensure that you are always in control of your money. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate banking and crypto infrastructures to foster innovative experiences in savings, payments, and investments, making crypto and stablecoins practical for everyday use.

As part of this strategic realignment, starting May 15, 2024:

Cash held in Juno accounts will no longer accrue the 5.00% bonus, regardless of the account balance.
Additionally, purchases made with the Juno card will no longer receive a 5% cashback.

We recognize that these changes might be disappointing. However, please be assured that this decision was made with careful consideration of our long-term vision to give Juno members financial freedom by placing crypto and stablecoins at the heart of banking and financial services.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. Should you have any questions or need more information, our customer support team is always here to assist you.

Update January 2024: Juno is now paying a 5.00% annualized bonus on balances from $20,000 up to $250,000 and 3.00% annualized on balances below $20,000.

Original post below, now outdated, last updated circa 2023:

Juno.finance (formerly OnJuno) is a fintech that combines an FDIC-insured bank account and a crypto custodian. Details:

  • New: Earn 5.00% annualized bonus on all cash deposits up to $250,000 and 3.00% annualized on balances below $20,000. This applies to traditional cash deposits (USD), which are FDIC-insured through Evolve Bank & Trust. Applies to both the Basic and Metal tiers. No transaction or direct deposit requirements.
  • New: JCOIN Loyalty Program. Earn loyalty tokens “JCOIN” when you complete certain actions with Juno. Existing users should check their accounts as Juno may have given you a bunch for free that you must claim. These loyalty tokens are redeemable inside the app for various perks including gift cards.

OnJuno partners with Evolve Bank and Trust for FDIC insurance. A reminder that cryptocurrencies, including USDC stablecoins, are not covered by FDIC insurance even though the creators claim they are backed 1:1 by US dollars. Juno has added support for crypto and external wallets. Don’t confuse your FDIC-insured USD deposits with stablecoins.

Traditional Bank-to-bank transfers. OnJuno uses the Plaid service to link with external bank accounts for funding and free ACH transfers (both deposits and withdrawals). They also provide you with the full account number and routing number, which you can use to connect with other banks like Ally, Marcus, CapOne 360, etc. The routing number is 084106768 which is confirmed as that of Evolve Bank & Trust. I was able to make a deposit and withdrawal initiated at Ally without issue (subject to transfer limits of $20,000 daily/$500,000 monthly). As with some other fintechs, their in-house limits are lower.

Bonus rate, not APY? You may notice that they don’t use “APY” and instead say “bonus rate”. Here’s their reason:

The Bonus Rate is offered entirely by OnJuno and is not interest provided by Evolve Bank and Trust. The bonus rate You earn will be credited to Your account at the beginning of each month. Your funds begin generating a bonus rate once they are available on Your OnJuno Checking Account. Please note that OnJuno reserves the right to cancel, remove, and change this bonus at any time. OnJuno also reserves the rights, in sole discretion, to refuse this bonus without cause, reason, and notice.

I’ve been getting my bonus rate every month without issue at the proper annualized rate, so this just seems to be a legal thing. Your interest is still shown on a 1099-INT at the end of the year.

Additional details.

  • Customer service. You can contact them via phone at 415-969-5775 (9am to 6pm Pacific) or online message (they replied to me within a few hours).
  • No minimum balance requirement.
  • Fee-free access to both Allpoint and Moneypass ATM networks (85,000+ locations).
  • Free debit Mastercard.
  • No mobile check deposit yet.

Bottom line. Juno is a fintech banking app with a high-interest checking account with no direct deposit or debit card usage requirements. FDIC-insurance from Evolve Bank and Trust. It does have ties with crypto, which may be either a plus or minus for you.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. 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 Roundup – May 2024

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Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of May 2024, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. There are lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors, often earning you a lot more money while keeping the same level of safety by moving to another FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you could earn from switching. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 5/8/2024.

TL;DR: Mostly only minor changes since last month. Still 5%+ savings accounts and short-term CDs, with long-term CD rates holding roughly steady since last month. Compare against Treasury bills and bonds at every maturity, taking into account state tax exemption.

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.

  • 5.26% APY ($1 minimum). Raisin 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 5.26% APY across multiple banks. See my Raisin review for details. Raisin does not charge depositors a fee for the service.
  • 5.36% 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 5/8/24, the highest rate is from Customers Bank at 5.36% 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. This service is meant for those with larger balances. 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.

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 and solid user experience. 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 top rate at the moment is at My Banking Direct at 5.55% APY . Poppy at 5.50% APY (3-month rate guarantee). I have no personal experience with them, but they are the top rates at the moment. CIT Platinum Savings at 5.00% APY with $5,000+ balance.
  • SoFi Bank is at 4.60% APY + up to $325 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has historically competitive rates and full banking features. See details at $25 + $300 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • Here is a limited survey of high-yield savings accounts. They aren’t the top rates, but a group that have historically kept it relatively competitive such that I like to track their history. Sad to see Ally Bank falling even further behind.

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. Raisin has a 9-month No Penalty CD at 5.10% APY with $1 minimum deposit and 30-day minimum hold time. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 4.70% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. Also available at 7- and 11-months. Consider opening multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • NexBank has a 1-year certificate at 5.40% APY ($25,000 min). There is a 180-day interest penalty if you withdraw your CD funds before maturity.
  • CIBC Agility Online has a 13-month CD at 5.36% APY ($1,000 min). Reasonable 30-day penalty if you withdraw your CD funds before maturity.

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). Note: Money market mutual funds are highly-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 5.26% (changes daily, but also works out to a compound yield of 5.39%, which is better for comparing against APY). 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 5.33% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 5.24% 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, which can make a significant difference in your effective yield.

  • 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 5/7/24, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.37% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.15% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 5.27% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 5.21% 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 2024 and October 2024 will earn a 4.28% 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 2024, 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.

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.

  • OnPath Federal Credit Union pays 7.00% APY on up to $10,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, and login to online or mobile banking once per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via $5 membership fee to join partner organization. You can also get a $50 Visa Reward card when you open a new account and make qualifying transactions.
  • Credit Union of New Jersey pays 6.00% APY on up to $25,000 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 $5 membership fee to join partner organization.
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union pays 6.00% APY on up to $25,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, and make at least 1 direct deposit or ACH transaction per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • Pelican State Credit Union pays 6.05% APY on up to $20,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, log into your account at least once, 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.
  • Orion Federal Credit Union pays 6.00% APY on up to $10,000 if you make electronic deposits of $500+ each month (ACH transfers count) and spend $500+ on your Orion debit or credit card each month. Anyone can join this credit union via $10 membership fee to partner organization membership.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 5.15% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 10 debit card purchases each monthly cycle with online statements.
  • 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.

  • Credit Human has a 59-month CD at 4.70% APY. 48-month at 4.70% APY. 35-month at 4.75% APY. 23-month at 5.30% APY. 1-year at 5.05% APY. $500 minimum. The early withdrawal penalty (EWP) for CD maturities of 36 months or more is 365 days of interest. For CD maturity of 1 year, the EWP is 270 days of interest. This is actually a credit union, but is open nationwide with a American Consumer Council (ACC) membership. Try promo code “consumer” when signing up at ACC for a free membership.
  • First Internet Bank has a 5-year CD at 4.50% APY. 4-year at 4.45% APY. 3-year at 4.61% APY. 2-year at 4.76% APY. 1-year at 5.26% APY. $1,000 minimum. The early withdrawal penalty (EWP) for CD maturities of 2 years or more is 360 days of interest. For CD maturity of 1 year, the EWP is 180 days of interest.
  • BMO Alto has a 5-year CD at 4.50% APY. 4-year at 4.50% APY. 3-year at 4.50% APY. 2-year at 4.65% APY. 1-year at 5.05% APY. No minimum. The early withdrawal penalty (EWP) for CD maturities of 1 year or more is 180 days of interest. For CD maturities of 11 months or less, the EWP is 90 days of interest. Note that they reserve the right to prohibit early withdrawals entirely (!). Online-only subsidiary of BMO Bank.
  • 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 4.60% APY (callable: no, call protection: yes). Be warned that now 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 (tbh, I don’t use them at all), 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 4.50% (callable: no, call protection: yes) vs. 4.47% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.

All rates were checked as of 5/8/2024.

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. 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.


Merrill Edge + BofA Preferred Rewards = Up to $1,000 ACAT Transfer Bonus, Improved Credit Card Rewards

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Updated May 2024. Merrill Edge is the self-directed brokerage arm formed after Bank of America and Merrill Lynch merged together. They are currently offering an increased cash bonus of up to $1,000 for moving “new money” or assets over to them from another brokerage firm. The offer code is 1000PR. Offer valid for both new and existing IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts (they call them Cash Management Accounts).

Here’s an overview along with my personal experience as I’ve had an account with them for a few years now.

Cash bonus. If you are holding shares of stock, ETFs, or mutual funds elsewhere, you can simply perform an “in-kind” ACAT transfer over to Merrill Edge. Your 100 shares of AAPL will remain 100 shares of AAPL, so you don’t have to worry about price changes, lost dividends, or tax consequences. Any cost basis should transfer over as well. Make a qualifying transfer and/or deposit to your new account within 45 days and maintain your balance for at least 90 days. The fine print version:

  1. You must enroll by entering the offer code in the online application during account opening or by providing it when speaking with a Merrill Financial Solutions Advisor at 888.637.3343 or at select Bank of America® financial centers. You are solely responsible for enrolling or asking to be enrolled in the offer.
  2. Fund your account with at least $20,000 in qualifying net new assets within 45 days of account opening. Assets transferred from other accounts at MLPF&S, Bank of America Private Bank, or 401(k) accounts administered by MLPF&S do not count towards qualifying net new assets.
  3. You must be enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days from meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2.
  4. After 90 days from meeting the funding criteria described in Step 2, your cash reward will be determined by the qualifying net new assets in your account (irrespective of any losses or gains due to trading or market volatility) as follows:
  • $100 bonus with $20,000+ in new assets
  • $200 bonus with $50,000+ in new assets
  • $400 bonus with $100,000+ in new assets
  • $1,000 bonus with $250,000 or more in new assets

Customers not enrolled in Preferred Rewards as of 90 days after funding will receive the following cash reward: qualifying net new assets of $20,000 to $49,999 receive $100; for $50,000-$99,999, receive $150; for $100,000-$249,999, receive $250; for $250,000 or more, receive $600.

This offer includes “instant” Preferred Rewards status, which does require a Bank of America checking account:

When you enroll in the Preferred Rewards $1000 More Cash Offer, you consent to early enrollment in the Preferred Rewards Program. Once you satisfy the funding requirement for the offer, you will be enrolled in Preferred Rewards within 45 days based on your current balances at that time rather than the usual requirement of three-month average combined balances. You also must have or open an eligible Bank of America personal checking Advantage Banking account to be enrolled in Preferred Rewards. All Preferred Rewards benefits available in the tier associated with your combined balance level will be active within 30 days of enrollment.

More fine print:

For purposes of this offer, qualifying net new assets are calculated by adding total incoming assets or transfers (including cash, securities and/or margin debit balance transfers), and subtracting assets withdrawn or transferred out of the account within the preceding 24 weeks.

After I did a similar bonus a couple years ago with a partial transfer (just enough to satisfy one of the tiers), a Merrill Edge rep contacted me and offered me a custom bonus to move even more assets over. (The bonus ratios were about the same, but higher limits.) Therefore, if you are considering this and happen to have more than $250,000 to transfer over, you may want to give them a call and see if they can offer even more money.

You can even transfer in Admiral Shares of Vanguard mutual funds – they won’t let you buy any additional shares, but you can only hold or sell them. You can, however, buy more shares of the corresponding Vanguard ETF if you wish. (Alternatively, you should consider having Vanguard convert your Admiral share into ETFs on a one-time basis that will preserve your original cost basis. After you have ETFs, you can move those over to Merrill Edge and trade them as you wish.)

The features for the account itself seem like most other online brokerages. Unlimited commission-free online stock, ETF and options trades (+ $0.65 per-contract fee). You can trade ETFs, fixed income, mutual funds, and options.

Preferred Rewards bonus. The Preferred Rewards program is designed to rewards clients with multiple account and higher assets located at Bank of America banking, Merrill Edge online brokerage, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Here is a partial table taken from their comparison chart (click to enlarge):

BofA checking accounts. With Gold status ($20k in assets) and above, you’ll get the monthly maintenance fee on up to 4 checking or savings accounts waived. That means you no longer have to worry about a minimum balance or maintaining direct deposit, depending on your account type. You’ll also get waived ATM fees at non-BofA ATMs at Platinum and above (12/year at $50k assets, unlimited at $100k). Free cashier’s checks.

Credit card rewards. With the Preferred Rewards boost, you can get up to 2.6% cash back on all your purchases with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card, or 2.6% towards travel and no foreign transaction fees with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. You can also get 5.2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card.

My personal experience. In terms of Merrill Edge, I’ve had an account with them for several years now and my lightning review is that they have a “okay/good” user interface and solidly “good” customer service (i.e. real, informed humans available 24/7 on the phone, not email-only customer service that takes hours to days like Robinhood). I am not an active trader and only make about 10-15 trades a year, but have been quite satisfied with the account. I can also move money instantly between my Merrill Edge and Bank of America checking accounts, making it relatively easy to sweep out idle cash into an external savings account, as their default cash sweep pays nearly zero interest. Don’t leave too much cash there!

The biggest financial benefit to this BofA/Merrill Edge combo with Preferred Rewards has probably been the 75% boost to their credit card rewards, allowing me to get a flat 2.625% cash back on virtually all my daily purchases. The second biggest benefit has probably been this cash bonus, and the third is the waived checking and ATM fees.

Bottom line. Merrill Edge is currently offering up to $1,000 if you move over new assets to their self-directed brokerage. This can simply be mutual fund or ETFs shares currently being held elsewhere. When you keep enough assets across Bank of America and Merrill Edge, their Preferred Rewards program can offer ongoing perks like waived bank account fees and boosted credit card rewards.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. 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.


Evergreen Money “Liquid Treasuries” Review: Checking Account + T-Bill Combo, $250 Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

Evergreen Money is a new fintech startup focused on tax-smart money management by Bill Harris, previously CEO of Intuit, PayPal, and Personal Capital (now Empower). Here a short video clip of his Bloomberg TV appearance. They are starting out with their “Liquid Treasuries” product, which combines a bank account and Treasury Bills using two different accounts:

  • Traditional checking account through Coastal Community Bank, member FDIC. You get the usual fintech bank stuff: ATM/debit card, ACH routing/account numbers. Currently pays 5.00% APY as of 4/1/2024. As with all checking accounts, the APY may change at any time.
  • US Treasury Bills held inside a brokerage account through Jiko Securities, Inc, member SIPC. US Treasury Bill are fully backed by the US government. Current yield for a 4-week T-Bill is ~5.48% and the interest is exempt from state and local taxes.
  • There is a 0.03% monthly fee for their Treasury Bill service, which works out to a 0.36% annual fee.

Here’s a visualization of how this works:

At a very high level, this is already how my Fidelity Brokerage and Cash Management Account works. Their money market mutual fund holds mostly Treasury bills and repos, which are also very safe, and then when I need money to pay for stuff, they sell some of those securities and my kids have new goggles to lose. Fidelity also charges a similar 42 basis points (0.42% annual expense ratio) for SPAXX.

However, I can see the appeal here because the Treasury Bill interest would be “pure” and 100% exempt from state and local income taxes. Very often, money market fund interest (like SPAXX) is not 100% exempt from state taxes as it holds a lot of stuff that isn’t T-Bills, and even something like the Fidelity Treasury Only Money Market Fund (FDLXX) that I manually buy was only about 90% exempt in 2023.

There is currently a $10,000 minimum to open account at Evergreen Money. T-Bills are sold in $100 minimum increments, so if you kept at least $10,000 there (which they technically require), they could probably get pretty close to maintaining 99%+ of assets in T-Bills.

You could also create your own ladder of T-Bills, either directly at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a broker with an auto-roll feature like Fidelity, but that is still some degree of work to manage. If you have significant cash assets, this might probably be worth saving the expense ratio, whereas 0.36% on $10,000 is $3 a month ($36 a year).

$250 New Client Bonus. Currently, if you open and fund with the $10,000 minimum buy 6/30/24, they will give you a $250 bonus. There doesn’t appear to be a minimum hold period, but it will take 15 days for the credit to post and I’m not sure if they will close your account if you go below $10,000. Their Rates and Fees page lists a “Minimum Relationship Balance Requirement: $10,000 (We may waive this at our discretion)”. The fine print:

To qualify for the $250 New Client Bonus, you must open a new Liquid Treasuries account and fund it with deposit(s) of at least $10,000 between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 11, 2024 and 11:59 PM Eastern Time and June 30,2024. The full $10,000 must be cleared and posted to your account prior to 11:59 Eastern Time on June 30, 2024 to be eligible for the bonus. The one-time bonus will appear as a credit to your account within 15 calendar days from the date the qualifying deposit has cleared and posted. Evergreen employees and paid testers are not eligible. You are responsible for any taxes owed. This offer is non-transferable and Evergreen reserves the right to change or cancel this offer at any time.

You know I can’t help myself with these things, so I decided to open an account and try it out. Expect the usual fintech ID verification process where you have to take a picture of your ID with your smartphone. I also had to send in a bank/credit card/utility bill with my name and address on it. Here’s a screenshot of my account (funds are still in-transit).

Despite the fact that the EvergreenMoney.com website has a very generic feel, after doing my own due diligence, they do appear to be a legit company trying something different (although Jiko has done the T-Bill thing with the Public brokerage app). I do wonder why Jiko is licensing out their technology when they themselves offer a very similar product called Spendable T-Bills. I am guessing Evergreen Money has the marketing budget, as they are on a hiring binge with many job openings on LinkedIn in Miami, Florida. I wonder what features they will add next. Thanks to reader Larry for the tip.

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Savings I Bonds May 2024: 1.30% Fixed Rate, 2.98% Inflation Rate (4.28% Total for First 6 Months)

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Update: Savings I Bonds bought from May 1, 2024 through October 31, 2024 will have a fixed rate of 1.30%, for a total composite rate of 4.28% for the first 6 months. The semi-annual inflation rate was 1.48% as predicted (2.96% 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. This total composite rate is a bit lower than current short-term Treasury yields, and the fixed rate is about 1% lower than that of current short-term TIPS yields.

Every existing I Bond will earn this inflation rate of ~2.96% eventually for 6 months; you will need to add your own fixed rate that was set based the initial purchase month. See you again in mid-October for the next early prediction for November 2024.

Original post from 4/14/24:

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 2024 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 2024 savings bond purchase will yield over the next 12 months, instead of just 6 months. You can then compare this against a May 2024 purchase.

New inflation rate prediction. September 2023 CPI-U was 307.789. March 2024 CPI-U was 312.332, for a semi-annual inflation rate of 1.48%. Using the official composite rate formula:

Composite rate formula: [Fixed rate + (2 x semiannual inflation rate) + (fixed rate x semiannual inflation rate)]

This results in the variable component of interest rate for the next 6 month cycle being ~2.96% to 2.97% if you use a fixed rate of between 0% and 1%.

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 2024. If you buy before the end of April, the fixed rate portion of I-Bonds will be 1.30%. You will be guaranteed a total interest rate of 1.30 + 3.97 = 5.27% for the next 6 months. For the 6 months after that, the total rate will be 1.30 + 2.97 = 4.27%.

Let’s look at the scenario where you hold for the minimum of one year and pay the 3-month interest penalty. If you theoretically buy on April 30th, 2024 and sell on April 1st, 2025, I estimate that you’ll earn a ~4.04% 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, 2024 and sell on July 1, 2025, you’ll earn a ~4.09% annualized return for an 14-month holding period.

Comparing with the best interest rates of October 2023, these rates are lower than what is available via regular nominal Treasury bonds and other deposit accounts.

Buying in May 2024. If you buy in May 2024, you will get ~2.97% 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 1% and 1.5%. The current real yield on short-term TIPS is a tiny bit lower than it was during the last reset, when the fixed rate was set at 1.3%. 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 specific purchase month. Everyone will eventually get this variable rate. 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%).

Buy now or wait? Between those two options, I would buy in April as you’ll likely get a the same or tiny bit higher fixed rate and a decent initial 6-month rate. However, I actually don’t plan to buy any savings bonds right now and will be waiting until the next CPI announcement in mid-October, as I have been buying longer-term TIPS instead (in tax-deferred) to lock in the current 2%+ real yields.

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 potential tax benefits if used toward qualified educational expenses.

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 useful 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.

Concerns about TreasuryDirect customer service. Opening a TreasuryDirect account or conducting other transactions 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 plan to experience delays in any transaction that you try to accomplish (registration changes, converting paper bonds, changing bank accounts). They just seem to be overwhelmed in general. Also know that if your password in compromised, they will not replace any lost or stolen savings bonds.

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: 1942 US Savings Bond poster – source]

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Navy Federal CU: 18-Month CD at 4.70% APY w/ Add-On Deposits & One-Time No-Penalty Withdrawal

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navyfed0Updated April 2024. Navy Federal Credit Union is the nation’s largest credit union, with a long history of serving active military members. More recently, they have expanded their field of membership to include veterans and family members of veterans. NavyFed often offers special rates and/or features on their share certificates. Here’s a recent example:

  • Limited-Time 18-month EasyStart Certificate at 4.70% APY. Open with as little as $50. No maximum balance. Make additional deposits any time. You also get a single early withdrawal with no penalty.

I opened one with the $50 minimum because I thought the optionality was neat. If rates drop drastically, I’ll have the ability to add unlimited additional funds at 4.70% APY. If rates rise drastically, I can withdraw it all at once with no penalty. If nothing big happens (most likely scenario), I’ll only have committed $50. I already have other products with NavyFed, so it didn’t require any additional paperwork.

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Capital One 360 Savings Deposit Promo ($300 to $1,500 Bonus)

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Capital One has brought back a deposit promotion worth up to $1,500 for new 360 Savings accountholders. It’s a good bonus, but only for “new” customers and those that are willing to keep an eye on things. Here’s their definition of “new”:

If you have or had an open 360 Performance Savings, 360 Savings, 360 Money Market, Savings Now or Confidence Savings account as a primary or secondary account holder with Capital One on or after January 1, 2022, you will be ineligible for the bonus. If your account is in default, closed or suspended, or otherwise not in good standing, you will not receive the bonus.

Note: Some readers have reported in the past that they were not able to apply the promo code even as valid new customers, and Capital One responded that this was a targeted promotion even though there is no such language on the offer page nor in the terms and conditions. After applying, I would contact them and make sure that the promo code “BONUS1500” was accepted before making a large deposit for this promo.

The steps:

  • Open a new 360 Performance Savings account with promo code BONUS1500 on or after April 3, 2024.
  • Deposit $20,000+ of external funds during the 15-day Initial Funding Period after opening your account.
  • Hold the deposit(s) in your account for an additional 90 days after the 15-day Initial Funding Period ends.
  • $20,000+ deposited = $300 bonus.
  • $50,000+ deposited = $750 bonus.
  • $100,000+ deposited = $1,500 bonus.
  • See the bonus in your new account within 60 days after holding.
  • You’ll also earn their normal interest rate (variable, but currently 4.25% APY as of 4/17/24). No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

Note that the 90-day “maintain balance” period is after and in addition to the end of the 15-day “initial funding period”. So if you are counting from the opening day, that is a total of 105 days after opening. This is important as other readers have gotten denied for the bonus when withdrawing after 91-100 days. You may wish to chat with Capital One to confirm the exact date.

As long as you hit the tiers exactly, you are getting 1.5% of your deposit with technically a minimum holding period of 90 days, but you’ll probably want to send it in a little early and take it out a little late to be safely within the deadlines. Let’s call it 120 days for a conservative round number. This works out to the equivalent of (a little more than) a 4.5% annualized yield. If you assume the current 4.25% APY holds, that would be an estimated 4.5% + 4.25% = 8.75% annualized yield for those 120 days.

A 4-month CD at nearly 9% APY is not bad if you have a lot of money and a short-term horizon for it. Again, this one is only for new customers or those that have closed their previous CapOne360 savings-type accounts by January 1, 2022.

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Acorns App Results: How Much Did Folks Earn Rounding Up Spare Change?

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If you don’t remember, Acorns was a hot app for a little while due to their primary feature of allowing you to automatically “round up” your purchases and invest them into a portfolio of ETFs. So if you made a $10.45 purchase, it would be rounded up to $11.00 and $0.55 would be invested.

This Axios article managed to obtain some proprietary data from Acorns and reverse-engineers it to estimate how much the average Acorns user saved (and spent) from their Roundups from 2015 to 2024. While the big-picture conclusions aren’t exactly surprising, the fintech geek side of me appreciated the peek into these details. My takeaways:

  • Survivorship bias. These numbers are taken from roughly 50,000 of their most dedicated users from 2015 to March 2024. Nine years is a long time in the fintech world! Everyone who closed their account before March 2024 was not included.
  • Average roundup per user: $43 a month. Times 9 years = $4,644. Assuming randomly-distributed purchases, that’s about 86 purchases a month. This assumes no other deposits, no withdrawals, and no investment growth.
  • Average withdrawal per user: $28 a month. In reality, over half of these Roundups were withdrawn, which led to a lower final balance.
  • Average additional deposit per user: $86 a month. In addition to the automated round-ups, this is the average additional deposit per month.

Did Acorns make users rich? The article title was “How much Acorns savers amassed by investing spare change”? Their conclusion:

Now we know just how meaningful the amount is — enough to buy a decent vacation, but not remotely enough to make a down payment on a house.

Well… yeah? Did anyone expect what used to be a jar of coins to cover a house downpayment? Back in the day, the big jar of coins also often went towards a family vacation.

My wife’s family once filled up one of those 5-gallon office water cooler jugs, and they weren’t alone. From Reddit/Imgur, this 5-gallon jug held very close to $3,000 and took the user 7 years to fill:

Did Acorns inspire additional savings? The optimistic way to think of Acorns is that it can show you that saving is indeed possible and easier than you thought, and that realization can inspire even more savings. A not-so-optimistic way is to point out that paying $3 every month to help you put aside $43 of your own money is kind of a big percentage. Especially if you’re going to take a lot of it out and disrupt the compounding growth.

The real-world results are that amongst Acorn’s most loyal users (the ones that kept using and paying for the service for 9 years), roughly and on average, along with the $43 in monthly Roundups contributed an additional $86 a month via recurring deposits but ended up withdrawing roughly half of the total amount (including any investment gains). My view is that this account was treated more commonly like a small emergency fund cushion, which is not a bad thing but a much smaller scale than they might have hoped for.

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Best Interest Rates on Cash Roundup – April 2024

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Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of April 2024, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. There are lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors, often earning you a lot more money while keeping the same level of safety by moving to another FDIC-insured bank or NCUA-insured credit union. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you could earn from switching. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 4/4/2024.

TL;DR: Future Fed rate cuts appear expected, and some banks are already making rate cuts themselves. Still 5%+ savings accounts and short-term CDs, but long-term CD rates dropped slightly again. Compare against Treasury bills and bonds at every maturity, taking into account state tax exemption.

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.

  • 5.26% APY ($1 minimum). Raisin 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 5.26% APY across multiple banks. See my Raisin review for details. Raisin does not charge depositors a fee for the service.
  • 5.36% 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 4/4/23, the highest rate is from Customers Bank and BankProv at 5.36% 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. This service is meant for those with larger balances. 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.

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 and solid user experience. 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 top rate at the moment is at Poppy Bank at 5.50% APY. BrioDirect at 5.35% APY. I have no personal experience with Poppy or Brio, but they are the top rates at the moment. CIT Platinum Savings at 5.05% APY with $5,000+ balance.
  • SoFi Bank is at 4.60% APY + up to $325 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has historically competitive rates and full banking features. See details at $25 + $300 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • Here is a limited survey of high-yield savings accounts. They aren’t the highest current rate, but historically have kept it relatively competitive and I like to track their history. This past month, I have seen some quiet, small, ominous rate drops.

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. Raisin has a 9-month No Penalty CD at 5.10% APY with $1 minimum deposit and 30-day minimum hold time. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 4.70% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. Consider opening multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • CFG Bank has a 1-year certificate at 5.40% APY ($500 min). There is a 180-day interest penalty if you withdraw your CD funds before maturity.
  • CIBC Agility Online has a 13-month CD at 5.36% APY ($1,000 min). Reasonable 30-day penalty if you withdraw your CD funds before maturity.

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). Note: Money market mutual funds are highly-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 5.28% (changes daily, but also works out to a compound yield of 5.41%, which is better for comparing against APY). 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 5.32% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 5.10% 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, which can make a significant difference in your effective yield.

  • 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 4/3/24, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.36% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.04% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 5.26% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 5.21% 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 November 2023 and April 2024 will earn a 5.27% 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-April 2024, 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.

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.

  • OnPath Federal Credit Union pays 7.00% APY on up to $10,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, and login to online or mobile banking once per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via $5 membership fee to join partner organization. You can also get a $100 Visa Reward card when you open a new account and make qualifying transactions.
  • Credit Union of New Jersey pays 6.00% APY on up to $25,000 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 $5 membership fee to join partner organization.
  • Andrews Federal Credit Union pays 6.00% APY on up to $25,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, and make at least 1 direct deposit or ACH transaction per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • Pelican State Credit Union pays 6.05% APY on up to $20,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into online statements, log into your account at least once, 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.
  • Orion Federal Credit Union pays 6.00% APY on up to $10,000 if you make electronic deposits of $500+ each month (ACH transfers count) and spend $500+ on your Orion debit or credit card each month. Anyone can join this credit union via $10 membership fee to partner organization membership.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 5.15% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 10 debit card purchases each monthly cycle with online statements.
  • 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.

  • First Internet Bank has a 5-year CD at 4.55% APY. 4-year at 4.50% APY. 3-year at 4.66% APY. 2-year at 4.82% APY. 1-year at 5.31% APY. $1,000 minimum. The early withdrawal penalty (EWP) for CD maturities of 2 years or more is 360 days of interest. For CD maturity of 1 year, the EWP is 180 days of interest.
  • BMO Alto has a 5-year CD at 4.50% APY. 4-year at 4.50% APY. 3-year at 4.50% APY. 2-year at 4.65% APY. 1-year at 5.95% APY. No minimum. The early withdrawal penalty (EWP) for CD maturities of 1 year or more is 180 days of interest. For CD maturities of 11 months or less, the EWP is 90 days of interest. Note that they reserve the right to prohibit early withdrawals entirely (!). Online-only subsidiary of BMO Bank.
  • 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 4.30% APY (callable: no, call protection: yes). Be warned that now 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 (tbh, I don’t use them at all), 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 4.05% (callable: no, call protection: yes) vs. 4.36% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.

All rates were checked as of 4/4/2024.

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

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SoFi Offers: 4.60% APY + Up to $325 Checking Bonus, 2.2% Cash Back Credit Card, $300 Personal Loan Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

Update April 2024: SoFi made a few notable changes recently, both positive and negative:

  • The SoFi Unlimited 2% Credit Card will now offer 10% boost on their rewards with direct deposit into SoFi Checking or Savings. This would work out to 2.2% cash back rewards points on everyday purchases, 3.3% cash back rewards points on SoFi Travel purchases, and 27.5% cash back rewards points on SoFi Stadium purchases.
  • There is a new inactivity fee of $25 per account for every 6 months of login inactivity.
  • The outgoing ACAT transfer fee was increased to $100. Previously $75.
  • The SoFi 2% IRA match promo is scheduled to end soon; it runs until 4/15/24.

The rest of the offers:

SoFi (“Social Finance”) is an all-in-one finance app that expanded from students loans into banking, stocks, crypto, credit cards, and more. Here are some of their other offers; New users can receive a separate opening bonus for each separate part of SoFi (Money, Invest, Loans, etc).

  • SoFi Checking Referral Offer: Up to $325 new user bonus. Open a new SoFi Money account and add at least $10 to your account within 5 days, and get $25. Then get up to $300 additional bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Plus up to 4.60% APY.
  • SoFi Invest Referral Offer: $25 new user bonus. Brokerage account. Open an Active Investing account with $10 or more, and you’ll get $25 in stock.
  • SoFi Invest Alternate Offer: Claw Game. Feeling lucky? Compare a guaranteed $25 above against having a 0.028% chance of a $1,000 bonus. (That is less than 1 in 1000 odds.)
  • SoFi Invest Asset Transfer Offer: Up to $5,000 Bonus. Transfer over your existing assets from another broker and SoFi will pay you a bonus. From $50 bonus for transferring $5,000 in assets all the way up to $5,000 bonus for $2 million in assets.
  • SoFi Student Loan Refi: $300 bonus. Warning: Do your research before refinancing your Federal student loans to a private lender.
  • SoFi Doctors and Dentists Student Loan Refi: $1,000 bonus. Special low rates just for doctors and dentists.
  • SoFi Private Student Loan: $100 bonus.
  • SoFi Personal Loans Referral Offer: Fixed $300 bonus. Fixed $300 bonus, 90 days after successful funding. The loan has no fees and you can pay it back in full after 90 days (you can pay it down to $50 before then to accrue minimal interest).
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

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Axos Bank Cashback Checking $300 Bonus w/ Direct Deposit

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

Updated with new offer. Axos Bank has a $300 bonus with relatively straightforward requirements using promo code FREEDOM300. You must open a new Cashback Checking account by 7/31/2024 and fund within 30 days of account opening. Set up direct deposit of $1,000+ each calendar month, and that will earn you $100 per month for 3 months ($300 total). Historically, they have been pretty flexible on what is considered direct deposit.

The fine print:

To be eligible to earn all or a portion of the cash incentive as part of the “FREEDOM300″ $300 promotion, an Axos Bank CashBack Checking account that includes the promotional code ” FREEDOM300″ must be opened between November 1, 2023, at 12 a.m. PST and July 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. PST. Axos Bank reserves the right to limit each primary account holder to one (1) checking account promotional offer per year, and customers who have held primary ownership of an Axos Bank or Axos Bank for Nationwide checking account at any time in the past 12 months may be disqualified from the “FREEDOM300” offer. Promotional terms and conditions are subject to change or removal without notice. Bonus cash may be taxable and reported on IRS Form 1099-MISC. Consult your tax advisor. After meeting the initial requirements mentioned above, the amount of cash bonus earned will depend on meeting the additional requirements outlined below:

To earn up to a $300 bonus, you must be approved for your new Axos Bank CashBack Checking account, fund it within 30 days of account opening, and have qualifying direct deposits that total at least $1,000.00 each calendar month. A cash bonus of up to $300 can be earned in the following manner during the first four (4) statement cycles. A statement cycle is a calendar month consisting of the days your account was open during that month. A maximum of three (3) payouts of $100 for each calendar month that the CashBack Checking account is receiving the direct deposit requirement, the bonus can be earned during the first four (4) statement cycles, and the bonus will be deposited into your Axos Bank CashBack Checking account within 10 business days following the end of the statement cycle in which the direct deposit requirement was met. Your Axos Bank CashBack Checking account must be open and in good standing at the time the bonus is paid to be eligible to receive the bonus, and your Axos Bank CashBack Checking account must remain open for 120 days, or an early closure fee of up to $300 may apply, equal to the amount of the total bonus earned up to $300.

I’ve done a few Axos Bank bonuses in the past (too recent for me to qualify for this), and the good news is that they do pay out reliably in my experience.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. 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.


First Tech Credit Union: $300 Rewards Checking Account Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone.

Updated with new bonus details. First Tech Federal Credit Union has a new $300 checking bonus. This new promo is set to run through 6/30/24, but is specifically for their new Reward Checking account that pays up to 5.00% APY (on up to $15,000 balance) if you meet a bunch of different hoops including 20 debit card transactions with $500+ in monthly spend. However, you can still get the $300 without meeting the 5.00% APY requirements. This promo is also valid for existing First Tech Rewards checking account owners who have not set up a direct deposit yet.

Here’s how to make it happen:

1) Open a First Tech Reward Checking account. Already have one? You’re set!
2) Set up a new payroll direct deposit to your First Tech Rewards Checking of $1,000+ per month for a minimum of three months.
3) Earn your $300 bonus!

When I applied for a previous promo, First Tech CU paid the $8 membership fee for the partner organization on my behalf so that I could join the credit union, although they mentioned it might be eventually be reported on 1099-INT. I did not experience a hard credit check, although they did a soft check on Experian.

The monthly requirements for earning the 5.00% APY interest (on up to $15,000 balance) are:

  • 20 card transactions with $500+ in monthly spend.
  • Electronic statements
  • ACH / direct deposit $1,000+ monthly

Offer valid for enrollment between February 26, 2024 and June 30, 2024 for members without an existing direct deposit. Members with existing direct deposits or who are already enrolled in a First Tech direct deposit campaign are not eligible. Participant is defined as 18 years of age or older and the primary account owner on a First Tech Rewards Checking (FTRC) account. Direct deposits are considered new if there has been no direct deposit activity in the Participant’s share accounts on which they are the Primary Owner within the previous 18 months. Membership is required and is subject to approval. Fees could reduce earnings on the account. FTRC accounts must be personal accounts. Fiduciary, trust, business, or organization accounts are not eligible. Participant will be enrolled in the promotion upon receipt of new direct deposit transaction into the FTRC account (“Enrollment”). In order to receive any bonus payout, in addition to satisfying the payout conditions set forth in this disclosure, the Membership Savings account must be in good standing (not in default, closed, inactive, or otherwise not in good standing) during the period of time commencing with Enrollment and ending with the applicable date of payout. Any inquiries or disputes must be received by January 31, 2025.

New Direct Deposit Offer: New direct deposit must occur at least on New Direct Deposit Offer: New direct deposit must occur at least once per calendar month from the Participant’s employer payroll into the First Tech Rewards Checking (FTRC) account of which the Participant is the primary account owner. Direct deposits from a non-employer payroll source do not qualify. The monthly aggregate amount of all qualifying direct deposits must equal to at least $1,000 to earn the $300 bonus. Enrollment is the date of the initial direct deposit transaction. During the period of time commencing with Enrollment and ending 120 calendar days after Enrollment (“Enrollment Period”), at least one direct deposit transaction must occur each calendar month starting with the initial direct deposit transaction. A minimum of three direct deposit transactions must be received during the Enrollment Period. (EXAMPLE: If a member’s initial direct deposit is March 1, 2024, additional required direct deposits must occur at least once in each subsequent calendar month following the month in which the initial direct deposit is made, the last direct deposit must be received by June 29, 2024.) Only the Participant will receive credit for the direct deposits. Any qualifying bonus will be deposited to the Participant’s Membership Savings account the first week following the Enrollment Period. Bonuses will be considered dividends and may be reported on IRS form 1099-INT.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. 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.