Treasury Bills + State Income Tax Exemption = 6%+ Effective APY (October 2023)

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.

I’ve mentioned this before, but here’s a quick reminder as the tax-equivalent yields are now at 6% APY in most states with income taxes (anything 5% and up, see above graphic). Due especially to high state income taxes, my cash is mostly held in Treasury bills and money market funds that contain 90%+ treasury bills. Both can be owned within most major brokerage accounts that allow the purchase of individual bonds from either auction or secondary markets. (Treasury Direct allows purchase at auction, but I don’t like the user interface or customer service.)

So while I enjoy keeping track of new fintech apps, unless there is a good upfront bonus, it’s hard for me to justify another application at current rates. I skipped Milli when it hit 5.25% APY in August 2023. I skipped Elevault when it hit 5.50% APY in October 2023. I will likely skip Domain Money at 6% APY.

Treasury bond interest is exempt from state incomes taxes, which gives them a comparative boost over interest from banks. If you are subject to state income taxes, use a tax-equivalent yield calculator to compare Treasury bill/bond yields with interest rates from bank accounts and other bonds.

For example, if you are single with $70,000+ taxable income in California, your marginal state income tax rate is at least 9.3%. That means the 5.57% interest from a 4-week Treasury bill is equivalent to a bank account paying 6.42% interest or higher!

Be sure to check and make sure your “Treasury” money market fund is holding 90%+ Treasuries and not repurchase agreements. I’ve noticed that Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund is now back to 94% Treasuries and only 4% repos, but that could change again in the future, so I’m keeping an eye on it.

Finally, at tax time be sure to look up the appropriate U.S. government obligations income information and use it when filing your state income taxes. You may need to nudge your accountant along with supplying this information.

[Top image credit – Wikipedia]

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.


Domain Money: 6% APY Savings Account (No Longer Available On Free Tier)

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: As of 10/27/23, the 6% APY savings account is no longer showing as available on the free tier. You must be on the $79/month tier to get it now. I wonder if they will grandfather the existing users, otherwise that is a bad look for a supposedly reliable firm that you are trusting with financial advice… Definitely will avoid now.

Original post:

Let’s welcome Domain Money to the “small fintech with big ambitions” club. Their primary goal is to provide a suite of financial services including unlimited advice from CFPs (Certified Financial Planners) and income tax preparation, all for a flat $79 a month. However, some of their perks including model portfolios and a 6% APY savings account are available at no monthly fee as a sort of teaser:

6% APY is a nice number, and this is the first savings account I’ve seen reach it (other than some rewards checking accounts that require a bunch of debit card transactions, hat tip to Doctor of Credit), but it comes with some concerns. They are a relatively new startup that recently pivoted from crypto and stock trading. The terms stipulate that you can only initiate fund transfers from within the app, and it must be to/from a linked bank account that they approve. Cash and check deposits are not allowed. (They do not provide a routing number or account number.) It’s a savings account, so the interest rate can change at any time. 6% APY is high enough over the current funds rate that it essentially a “bonus” in that they are losing money, so taken altogether it is a big question as to how long the rate will last. Cash deposits are held with Georgia Banking Company, Member FDIC.

On the positive side, I did notice that the founder was previously Head of Product at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and I liked the user interface over at Marcus. They must also have some good relationships with folks within the Apple App Store, as they have earned “App of the Day”, “Best Apps for Investing”, and “Essential Finance Apps” honors despite a very short track record.

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.


Bank of America Credit Cards – 2% More Rewards Day on Thursday 11/9/2023

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.

Promo is back again for 2023, this time with a $50 cap per card. Bank of America has a one-day credit card promotion called “More Rewards Day” on Thursday, 11/9/23. Depending on your BofA credit card type (all consumer and business card are all eligible), you can earn an additional 2% cash back or 2 points or miles/$1 spent on purchases made on 11/9/23 only (Eastern time zone!), up to a $50/5,000 point cap per unique credit card account. That’s on on top of the rewards you’re already earning. No enrollment required. Specifically:

  • Cash Back Credit Cards. Earn an additional 2% cash back for every $1 spent on purchases made on 11/09/23 ET. This one-day offer is good for the first $2,500 in purchases up to $50 cash back. That’s on top of the rewards you’re already earning.
  • Points Rewards Credit Cards. Earn an additional 2 points for every $1 spent on purchases made on 11/09/23 ET. This one-day offer is good for the first $2,500 in purchases up to 5,000 points. That’s on top of the rewards you’re already earning.
  • Miles Rewards Credit Cards. Earn an additional 2 Miles for every $1 spent on purchases made on 11/09/23 ET. This one-day offer is good for the first $2,500 in purchases up to 5,000 Miles. That’s on top of the rewards you’re already earning.
  • Non-Rewards and All Other Rewards Credit Cards. Earn 2% cash back in the form of a statement credit on purchases made on 11/09/23 ET. This one-day offer is good for the first $2,500 in purchases up to $50 cash back.

You can get the bonus on each of your unique credit cards. Note that it expires 11:59pm in the Eastern time zone. It appears that somehow they can track the “transaction date” separately from when it posts to your statement. Last they they allowed some leeway, although some did have to contact them directly.

The promotional offer is in effect 12:00am to 11:59pm Eastern Time (ET) on November 9, 2023. Only purchases that post to your account and appear on your statement with a transaction date of November 9, 2023 ET will qualify. Merchants provide the transaction date, which may be on or after the date you authorized the transaction, and before the date the transaction posts to your account. Transactions with delayed processing of 90 days or more will not be eligible to be included in the promotional offer.

This is an interesting promotion that could work out well if (1) you have a BofA rewards card (or multiples) with good rewards already, (2) you have the Preferred Rewards boost, (3) you have large purchases planned in one of your customized bonus categories, or just any large purchase really, and (4) it is the type of purchase that applies the same day (sometimes you don’t get charged until something ships). Your total cash back could be 4.6% or more. Some possibilities:

  • Pay estimated income taxes at PayUSATax.com for only 1.85% fee.
  • Pay your insurance premiums upfront. My State Farm grouped monthly bill can also be timed using manual payment.
  • Pay your utilities, property taxes, phone bills, and other monthly bills upfront. Sometimes it just costs a one-time flat fee to pay by credit card, which can be worth if you are charging $1,000+.
  • Make your annual charitable contributions on 11/9/23 this year.
  • Gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings are choices for your 3% category for the BofA Customized Cash card = up to 5.25% with Preferred Rewards = 7.25% cash back total with this promo. You can change your category this month in app and then max your $2,500 quarterly limit using gift cards at Amazon (online shopping), Home Depot (home improvement), and so on.
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 – October 2023

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.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of October 2023, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. There are often lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you could earn from switching. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 10/10/2023.

TL;DR: Mostly minor movements upwards this month. 6% APY now (barely) available with 12-month CD and rewards checking accounts. More 5%+ savings accounts. 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.

  • 5.27% 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 5.27% APY amongst 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 10/10/23, 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. 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 Elevault (app only) at 5.50% APY, but there are catches. I see that it is only valid on balances up to $40k with a $2,500 daily deposit limit? Why? Unsure if that applies to externally-initiated transfers. BrioDirect at 5.35% APY. CIT Platinum Savings at 5.05% APY with $5,000+ balance.
  • SoFi Bank is now up to 4.50% APY + up to $275 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has their own bank charter now so no longer a fintech by my definition. See details at $25 + $250 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at 4.25%+ APY that aren’t the absolute top rate, but historically do keep it relatively competitive for those that don’t want to keep switching banks.

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

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Raisin has a 16-month No Penalty CD at 5.40% APY with $1 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.90% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.55% APY for all balance tiers. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 4.60% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. Consider opening multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Credit Human Federal Credit Union has a 12-month CD at 6.00% APY. Minimum opening deposit is $500. Early withdrawal penalty is a whopping 270 days interest (or $50, whichever is greater). Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.

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

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is the default sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, which has an SEC yield of 5.28% (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 5.53% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 5.74% 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 10/6/23, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.43% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.42% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 5.28% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 5.25% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.08 years.

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

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

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

  • 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.
  • Pelican State Credit Union pays 6.05% APY on up to $10,000 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.
  • Genisys Credit Union pays 5.25% APY on up to $7,500 if you make 10 debit card purchases of $5+ each, and opt into receive only online statements. Anyone can join this credit union via $5 membership fee to join partner organization.
  • The Bank of Denver pays 5.00% APY on up to $25,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each, receive only online statements, and make at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 5.30% 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.

  • Farmer’s Insurance FCU has their 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, or 60 month CDs ALL at 5.00% APY for a limited-time. $1,000 minimum. The early withdrawal penalty for all terms longer than a year is 180 days of dividends OR half of the remaining term’s daily dividends, whichever is greater. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • United States Senate FCU has a 60-month CD at 4.86% APY $1,000 minimum. Jumbo CDs have slightly higher rates ($100k+, $200k+). The early withdrawal penalty is 360 days of interest. 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. Right now, I see a 5-year non-callable CD at 4.85% 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, 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. 4.66% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate, currently 2.50% for EE bonds issued from May 2023 to October 2023. As of 10/10/23, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 5.13%, I’d wait to see what the new rate is for November 2023.

All rates were checked as of 10/10/2023.

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.


US Bank Business Checking: Up to $800 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.

US Bank has up to a $800 bonus when you open a new Business Checking account using the promo code Q3BUS23 and complete the following activities. Offer valid through October 31, 2023.

  • Open a U.S. Bank Business Checking account (Silver, Gold, Platinum). The lowest Silver tier has no monthly maintenance fee and includes 125 free transactions per month.
  • Deposit $5,000 or $25,000 in new money within 30 days of account opening and then maintain your balance until the 60th day after account opening. .

Your bonus is determined by the total amount of your deposits:

  • Earn $350 when you deposit $5,000.
  • Earn $800 when you deposit $25,000.

This offer may be restricted to those states where US Bank has a physical branch presence. In addition, sometimes people outside this footprint may be allowed to open an account if they have other US Bank products. They’ll tell you when you apply, early on in the process, if your address is not allowed.

The business checking bonus will be deposited into your new U.S. Bank Silver, Gold, or Platinum Business Checking account within 30 days following the last calendar day of the month you complete all the offer requirements, as long as the account is open and has a positive available balance.

Here is their definition of “new” account:

Offer is not valid if you or any signer on the new business checking account have an existing U.S. Bank Business Checking account or had a U.S. Bank Business Checking account in the last 24 months.

Thanks to Dividend Growth Investor for the tip.

This is for business checking accounts (their personal checking offer is different each month) but this offer is worth a mention due to the relatively big bonus combined with a reasonable minimum holding period. Earning $350 for holding $5,000 for 60 days is roughly a 42% annualized return. Earning $800 for holding $25,000 for 60 days is roughly a 19% annualized return. Self-employed business owners can open a business checking account for themselves as a sole proprietorship or LLC.

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.


American Express Rewards Checking Review: $250 Bonus For Existing Credit Cardholders

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.

American Express is continuing their expansion into banking by promoting their Rewards Checking with a new $250 direct deposit bonus. The bonus requirements are pretty straightforward:

  • Open a new American Express Rewards Checking Account by October 31, 2?023.
  • Have a single direct deposit of $500+ posted to your American Express Rewards Checking Account by December 10, 2?023.
  • After you have completed the above, American Express will deposit your Welcome Bonus into your Rewards Checking Account within 8-12 weeks.

This bonus is targeted for existing consumer credit cardholders (you have have received a direct e-mail), although for some reason business checking accountholders are also excluded:

We are currently accepting applications from Card Members with a U.S. Basic Consumer Card issued by American Express National Bank with 3+ months tenure. Current and prior American Express Business Checking customers are not eligible to apply at this time.

If you log into your personal credit card account, the application is mostly auto-filled and just takes a few clicks. There is no hard credit check.

Here are some quick highlights about the Rewards Checking account:

  • No monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirements.
  • 1.00% APY (as of 9/17/23)
  • Earn 1 Membership Rewards® point for every $2 of eligible Debit Card purchases. You can combine these points for redemption using your other AmEx cards.
  • Unlimited fee-free ATM withdrawals at over 37,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
  • Mobile check deposit is available.
  • Free paper checks are not included, but you can purchase them at additional cost.

From the full terms and conditions:

A Qualifying Direct Deposit is a single ACH transfer of $500 or more from an employer or the government for a paycheck, pension, government benefit (such as Social Security), or tax refund. The following are not Qualifying Direct Deposits: person to person transfers (P2P), demand deposit account to demand deposit account transfers (for example, from a checking account to another checking account), and deposits or ACH transfers not from an employer or the government (for example, online transfers or bank transfers).

You are not eligible for the Welcome Bonus if you have an existing Rewards Checking Account. Each individual customer may only have one Rewards Checking Account. You must keep your account open and in good standing until we award you your Welcome Bonus. If your account is closed for any reason prior to such time, including being closed by us, you will not be eligible for the Welcome Bonus. If we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have violated the Rewards Checking Account Terms or have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with your account, we may determine that you are not eligible for the Welcome Bonus. In such circumstance, we may rescind or decline to award you the Welcome 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, 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.


Schwab Cash Sweep Options – Increase Yield 10X, Updated September 2023

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 September 2023. Charles Schwab became a major player by offering discounted stock trades back when high commissions were the norm. These days, nearly every broker offers $0 commission trades on online equity/ETF trades. Where they differ is how they choose to squeeze out profit in such a lean environment. Even though Schwab will deny it publicly, they have chosen in many cases to focus on earning interest from their customers’ idle cash as one of their major sources of revenue.

Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, they all make money by making money off your idle checking account balances while paying you nothing or 0.01% APY. They could all pay you more interest, but they don’t. This is why I post regular updates and monthly summaries of better banking options.

However, Schwab has the worst default cash sweep option for cash sweep amongst the “Big Three” brokerage firms by asset size (Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab). Their mandatory default cash sweep pays only 0.48% APY as of 9/6/23.

For comparison, Vanguard’s default cash sweep is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 5.27% as of 9/6/23. If I make a sale or receive a dividend distribution, my Vanguard cash automatically waits in this low-cost fund and earns a competitive interest rate. I may complain about how Vanguard is slipping in the customer service area, but this feature by itself is a major reason that I maintain my Vanguard brokerage account.

Fidelity has a FDIC cash sweep available as well, but they also let me switch my “core position” (their term for default cash sweep) to a higher-yield money market fund like Fidelity Treasury Money Market Fund (FZFXX) which has an SEC yield of 4.97% as of 9/6/23 or Fidelity Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX) which has an SEC yield of 4.97% as of 9/6/23. I find it amusing that Schwab was so chippy with Fidelity in this old article Zero Confusion: Setting the Record Straight. There is a reason why Schwab places that “one click” wall between you and a higher APY.

In the end, the most important thing is for you as the customer to understand the situation. Schwab still has other positive attributes and a reputation for good customer service. The good news is that there are several options for self-motivated individuals (like you that read posts like this!) who are willing to put forth a little effort to earn what could add up to hundreds or thousands in extra interest.

Manually invest in Schwab money market funds. The key is to visit this page: Schwab Purchased Money Funds for the most current fund options, minimums, and rates. These are not FDIC-insured, but they are still regulated by the SEC and required to hold very safe investments of a very short duration. Here the the available Schwab funds and SEC yields as of 9/5/23 with zero minimums. No transaction fees. There are higher-yielding options if you have more than $1 million.

  • Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund® – Investor Shares (SWVXX) 5.23%
  • Schwab Government Money Fund – Investor Shares (SNVXX) 5.05%
  • Schwab Treasury Obligations Money Fund – Investor Shares (SNOXX) 5.06%
  • Schwab U.S. Treasury Money Fund – Investor Shares (SNSXX) 5.03%

Again, these money market mutual funds can’t be set as an automatic sweep; you must manually move money in and out of the product. Every time you have a dividend or capital gains distribution, or you made a sale, you have to remember to move your cash (“sort”) into a higher-yielding option. This also means that if you want to for example buy new shares of stock, you would need to first put in an order to sell your money market mutual fund shares into cash (in order to have the funds available to buy that stock). The system won’t be able to automatically sell your fund. You’ll have to coordinate settlement times, and it may be helpful to have a margin account for faster funds availability.

Treasury bills (auction and secondary). You can buy US Treasury bills and bonds directly through the Schwab fixed income desk. You can place either an auction order for a “new” T-Bill or buy them on the secondary market. There is no commission for online orders and a $25 fee per broker-assisted trade.

Buying an outside ETF. You can also use your free stock trades to buy an ETF that is close to cash (ultra-short duration, high-quality bonds). These will not be FDIC-insured and carry a bit of duration risk, but if your ETF holds T-Bills then those are also fully backed by the US government. Here are a few ideas (note the the reported rates may lag by up to one month):

  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has an effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has an effective duration of 0.08 years.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) hold a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Bottom line. Charles Schwab has a default cash sweep option with a relatively tiny interest rate. To earn more, you must do some research and manually buy one of the alternatives listed above that can earn ~10x more.

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 – September 2023

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.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of September 2023, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. There are often lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you could earn from switching. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 9/5/2023.

TL;DR: Mostly minor movements this month. 6% APY now (barely) available with 12-month CD special and rewards checking accounts. 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). SaveBetter lets you switch between different FDIC-insured banks and NCUA-insured credit unions easily without opening a new account every time, and their liquid savings rates currently top out at 5.26% APY from multiple banks. See my SaveBetter review for details. SaveBetter does not charge a fee to switch between banks.
  • 5.30% 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 8/7/23, the highest rate is from Customers Bank at 5.30% 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. 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 rates at the moment are at Valley Direct and Milli.bank (app-only) at 5.25% APY. CIT Platinum Savings at 5.05% APY with $5,000+ balance.
  • SoFi Bank is now up to 4.50% APY + up to $275 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has their own bank charter now so no longer a fintech by my definition. See details at $25 + $250 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at 4.25%+ APY that aren’t the absolute top rate, but historically do keep it relatively competitive for those that don’t want to keep switching banks.

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

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.90% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.55% APY for all balance tiers. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 4.50% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. Consider opening multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • American 1 Credit Union has a 12-month CD special at 6.00% APY. Probably won’t last long. Minimum opening deposit is $1,000. Early withdrawal penalty is 90 days interest. Anyone can join this credit union via $3 membership fee to join partner organization (must also keep $5 in share savings).
  • MapleMark Bank has a 12-month certificate at 5.75% APY. Also a limited-time offer. $25,000 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 6 months interest.

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

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is the default sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, which has an SEC yield of 5.28%. 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 5.52% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 5.57% 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 9/5/23, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.38% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 5.43% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 5.36% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 5.18% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.08 years.

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

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

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

  • 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.
  • Pelican State Credit Union pays 6.05% APY on up to $10,000 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.
  • Genisys Credit Union pays 5.25% APY on up to $7,500 if you make 10 debit card purchases of $5+ each, and opt into receive only online statements. Anyone can join this credit union via $5 membership fee to join partner organization.
  • The Bank of Denver pays 5.00% APY on up to $25,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each, receive only online statements, and make at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 5.30% 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.

  • United States Senate FCU has a 60-month CD at 4.86% APY $1,000 minimum. Jumbo CDs have slightly higher rates ($100k+, $200k+). The early withdrawal penalty is 360 days of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • Dept of Commerce FCU has a 60-month CD at 4.67% APY $500 minimum. The early withdrawal penalty is 180 days of interest. 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. Right now, I see a 5-year non-callable CD at 4.65% 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, 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 4.35% (callable: no, call protection: yes) vs. 4.28% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate, currently 2.50% for EE bonds issued from May 2023 to October 2023. As of 9/5/23, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 4.56%.

All rates were checked as of 9/5/2023.

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.


Vanguard Cash Plus Account Review: FDIC-Insured, But Missing Useful Features

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.

Vanguard has been piloting some new products recently, and I was finally invited to try out the Vanguard Cash Plus Account. I’ve been playing with it for a few days and here are my thoughts. First, it’s important to note that there are two separate FDIC-insured products available from Vanguard:

  • Vanguard Cash Deposit – This is a new option for the settlement fund (default cash sweep) in your brokerage account. The interest rate has historically been lower than Cash Plus. 3.70% APY as of 8/28/23. You can make immediate trades straight from the funds in this account. FDIC insurance up to $1.25 million ($2.5 million for joint accounts).
  • Vanguard Cash Plus Account – This is a separate FDIC-insured account with a historically higher interest rate that is not a settlement account. 4.70% APY as of 8/28/23. It is meant as an alternative to a bank savings account and allows incoming ACH direct deposits and ACH withdrawals. FDIC insurance up to $1.25 million ($2.5 million for joint accounts).

Invitation and opening process. I received a physical mailer with an invitation last week, but the application was all online. The invitations are sent to individuals, and if you want to open a joint account, the joint owner must also have a Vanguard brokerage account. The implication is that this product is meant for existing Vanguard brokerage customers only, not as a standalone product.

Features. This is not a full-featured account, but a pretty minimalist FDIC-insured savings account. No minimum balance, no monthly fees. You get a routing number and account number (routing number is 242071583 which turns out to be PNC Bank NA, their bank partner.

It’s important to note all that is not included:

  • No ATM or debit card. (No ATM rebates.)
  • No checkwriting. (I did find mobile check deposit on the app.)
  • No online bill payment service. (You can use your account number to link at your credit card’s website for example, but there is no in-house system.)
  • No automated recurring transfers.
  • No ability to use your money market fund as a backup overdraft source.

Historical note: For a while, Vanguard did offer an “Advantage” account to select customers which did include all these things, but they abruptly discontinued it in 2019. So Vanguard is definitely intentionally leaving all these features out.

Basically, you get to make ACH direct deposits and ACH withdrawals. This enables the direct deposit of paychecks, Social Security, pensions, PayPal/Venmo transfers, and pay bills through vendor websites.

You might think that since it is a Vanguard account, you could use the funds in Cash Plus directly to buy some Vanguard ETFs or mutual funds. Not quite. First, all accounts must be “like registered” for you to transfer from Cash Plus. I am not allowed to transfer to my trust accounts. Second, you must manually transfer the money over, and then it should be available the same day. I found this statement in one place:

A transfer from a Cash Plus Account into a Vanguard Brokerage Account will settle by the next business day, but will be available for trading immediately.

But a slightly different one on their public FAQ:

How long will it take to move my cash from one account to another?

Transfers (including from one Vanguard account to another) generally take 2–3 business days, but at times may be quicker.

The competition. This is a supplemental Vanguard account meant to add functionality for existing Vanguard customers. However, I must point out that Fidelity has included a much higher level of functionality for its customers for a long time.

The plain taxable Fidelity brokerage account will also provide you account and routing numbers so that you can perform ACH deposits and withdrawals. Their core options (settlement fund) also include an FDIC-insured option with lower interest rate, but you can use a money market mutual fund like SPAXX that currently has a 4.98% yield.

But Fidelity also includes a nice bill payment interface, ATM debit card, checkwriting (with free checks), and mobile check deposit all within their standard brokerage account. (Fidelity also includes domestic and international ATM rebates if you have at least $250k in total assets with them. The alternative Fidelity Cash Management Account does include ATM rebates with no minimum balance requirement, but takes a bit more work to manage the cash optimally by manually purchasing their money market funds. I’ll leave the details for another review.)

Basically, if you are the type to want an all-in-one banking solution, Fidelity has already been doing it for years and years with more features. I feel that Fidelity’s customer service is also much better than Vanguard’s.

The Cash Plus account appeals to a niche customer. You are a loyal Vanguard customer that wants the added functionality from a basic high-yield savings account with bank routing and account numbers. You want one that shows up when you log into Vanguard, so you don’t have to log into another bank. The interest rate is pretty good and should stay that way, but still lower than Vanguard’s own money market funds. Maybe you want that FDIC-insurance. Finally, you are satisfied with Vanguard’s level of customer service these days. In my experience, the differences in hold times between Vanguard and Fidelity is simply night and day.

Will I actually use it? Honestly, it’s kind of hard to get excited that Vanguard is offering a barebones FDIC-insured savings account like ING Direct in 2023. I’d love to see the Cash Plus APY as the standard settlement fund along with account/routing numbers. They could even add the other features like ATM debit cards, but I don’t think they can handle the customer service level required. Instead, we just get this little step forward.

Mostly, I don’t need the FDIC insurance as I have full faith in the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund (VMFXX, 5.28% yield as of 8/28/23) and Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund (VUSXX, 5.19% yield as of 8/28/23) which both offer much higher interest rates and partial state income tax deductions. These are perfectly acceptable as my “savings accounts”. Stay lean Vanguard, just take the customer service back to the acceptable levels you had before your huge growth.

For now, my plan is to simply keep my Cash Plus account open with minimal activity in case one day the APY is higher than the money market alternatives.

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.


Ally Bank Spending Account (Interest Checking) Promotion: $200 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.

Ally Bank is running a new checking account promotion, now called their “Spending Account”. You must open your first Spending Account by 11/30/2023 and use the promo code GET200, fund it within 30 days of opening, and set up direct deposits totaling $1,500+ within 90 days. You’ll then get a $200 bonus within 30 days of the qualifying direct deposits.

If you don’t have an Ally Spending account already, this is a good bonus to grab. Note the following details about bonus eligibility from the fine print:

Notably for this offer, we are defining a New Customer as: someone with no current, nor within the last twelve (12) months, Ally Bank Spending Account(s) [formerly known as Ally Bank Interest Checking Account], at any ownership level, whether it be primary owner, joint/secondary owner, or fiduciary owner. Additionally, customers who received a cash bonus from Ally Bank within the last twelve months for setting up Qualifying Direct Deposit, regardless of account type, are not eligible for this bonus and not considered a New Customer.

Spending Account mini-review. Their Spending Account itself is nothing special, a checking account with no monthly fees, no minimums, online bill payments, ATM rebates up to $10 per statement cycle, and it only pays 0.10% APY interest on balances up to $15k and 0.25% APY on balances above $15k. However, it does pair well if you already have Ally Savings accounts. You can set an Ally Savings account to be the automatic backup funding source if you overdraft the Spending account. You can also have multiple Savings Accounts (useful when they enforced the six withdrawals per month limit). So when Ally was my primary account, I would keep a very minimal amount in my Spending Account, a bigger amount in Savings Account #1 as overdraft backup, and another bigger amount in Savings #2 or Savings #3 or No Penalty CD or whatever.

All deposits would go straight into Savings #1, earning higher interest right away. You can even do mobile check deposit directly into Savings. Bill Pay must come out of Spending/Checking, but all of my 5-10 payments would be scheduled on say the 2nd of the month. (You can request to shift each of your credit card due dates to match up.) I would then schedule a big transfer from Savings #1 to Spending/Checking on the 1st of the month. If a random withdrawal hits my Spending/Checking, it would just trigger an auto-withdrawal from Savings #1. The result: maximum interest earned from Savings and minimal idle cash in Spending/Checking.

While I have used my Ally Bank accounts regularly for years due to their well-designed bank-to-bank transfer service and overall solid customer service, the Ally Savings APY has been lagging a bit during this period of interest rate hikes, usually 1% APY behind the rate leaders. Most of my idle cash has moved into money market mutual funds (like VUSXX or FDLXX) and Treasury bonds, both earning ~5.5% effective APY due to my local state income tax deduction.
.

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.


Wallet by BOSS Money $100 Referral Bonus + 3.75% APY Checking/Savings

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.

A new banking app called Wallet by BOSS Money is offering a $100 bonus via referral link (open link via smartphone, that’s mine). You need to set up direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 within 45 days. No minimum hold period. App only (iOS and Android). The referrer gets the same amount. I know that this is a relatively high requirement, and I’m hoping a brokerage transfer of my investment income will satisfy it, but definitely not guaranteed.

There is no minimum hold period and the terms state “Rewards are generally deposited within 14 (fourteen) business days after criteria are met.” Therefore, remember that you don’t actually have to keep the $5,000 in the account. You just need it to show up, and after that you can remove it whenever. You are also earning 3.75% APY in the few days in between as opposed to zero in some cases. (Worst case math: Even if you get $100 + 3.75% APY on $5,000 held for 45 days, that’s the equivalent of nearly 20% annualized return (16% + 3.75%). But I don’t plan on keeping the $5k there.)

Good news is the account opening process was very quick and easy, under 5 minutes, and did not require a hard credit check. So the upfront time commitment can be low. Have your photo ID and a good location with dark background and no glare ready, as the app will ask to take a live picture of your photo ID (and a selfie photo) as part of the application process. I passed without issue and did not have to upload any extra documentation. The account was open and ready less than an hour after application. FDIC insurance through Evolve Bank and Trust (routing number 084106768).

The stated mission of BOSS Money is to “provide accessible, affordable, and secure banking services to everyone, including underserved and unbanked communities.” As such, they do not require a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

In the US, 22% of adults are either unbanked or underbanked, lacking access to basic financial services like checking or savings accounts. This disproportionately impacts underserved minority communities, including immigrants, independent contractors, freelancers, on-demand workers, and college students. These communities are often excluded from traditional financial systems, leaving them without the tools and resources they need to achieve financial wellness and stability.

Here are the highlights:

  • 3.75% APY on both Checking and Savings accounts.
  • No minimum balance, no monthly fees (even without direct deposit).
  • No credit check.
  • Load cash to your Wallet by BOSS Money account at over 90,000 locations nationwide, including popular retailers like 7-Eleven, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart.
  • Get $2 cashback in your Wallet account when you send money using the Wallet Mastercard® in either the BOSS Money or BOSS Revolution apps.

Here are the full promo terms. If you direct deposit between $500 – $4,999.99, you’ll get $25. Hat tip to Doctor of Credit.

Refer a Friend, Get up to $100 in Wallet Account
Invite Friends to Join Wallet by BOSS Money:

Referral Rewards:
For Direct Deposits between $500 – $4,999.99: You both receive $25.
For Direct Deposits of $5,000 or more: You both receive $100.
Preferred Direct Deposit Method: We recommend connecting with your employer in the app using Argyle, a two-minute process.
Exclusions: Bank ACH transfers, Wallet transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer-to-peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, and cash loads or deposits are not considered qualifying direct deposits.
Reward Timeline: Rewards are generally deposited within 14 (fourteen) business days after criteria are met.
Referral Cap: Referrers may earn no more than $500 in monetary referral rewards per calendar year.
Account Standing: The Referrer’s account must be in good standing to receive the referral reward.
Amendments and Termination: Wallet by BOSS Money may modify or terminate these terms at any time without prior notice.

Another drop in my 2023 IRA challenge bucket.

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.


Capital One 360 Checking $350 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.

Capital One is running a $350 bonus for new 360 Checking accountholders. There was a similar $400 bonus back in 2020, but this is still a relatively good bonus. Note that if you have or had an open checking account of any type from then on or after January 1, 2021, you’re ineligible for the bonus. Here are the details:

  • Open a 360 Checking account between 12:00 a.m. ET on August 2, 2023 and 11:59 p.m. ET on October 18, 2023. When you open your account, ensure you enter in the promotional code BONUS350 in the Promo Code box.
  • Set up and receive at least 2 qualifying direct deposits each of $250 or more to your 360 Checking account within 75 days of account opening. A Qualifying Direct Deposit is a regular periodic payment, such as salary, pension, government payments (for example, Social Security), or other monthly income that occurs as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) or Real-Time Payment network credit from your employer or an outside institution. ACH credits or fund transfers initiated via the Capital One website or mobile app and wires are not considered a Qualifying Direct Deposit.
  • The bonus will be deposited into your account within 60 days after you have completed the requirements above. This 60-day period begins the day after your second Qualifying Direct Deposit has been posted to your account.

Selected fine print:

If you have or had an open 360 Checking, Simply Checking, Total Control Checking or Money Teen Checking account as a primary or secondary account holder with Capital One on or after January 1, 2021, 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.

(This can be a good reason to close your idle bank accounts.)

Their definition of direct deposit sounds pretty broad, but I don’t know what exactly will work. Usually, I would try a transfer from a brokerage account if possible, as opposed to another online bank.

The 360 Checking account is similar to many other online checking options. There is a rather disappointing 0.10% APY interest rate, and nothing special other than the ability to link easily with 360 Savings. Highlights:

  • No monthly fees, no minimum balance required.
  • 0.10% APY on all balance tiers, as of 8/7/2023.
  • Remote check deposit via app.
  • In addition to their own ATMs, Capital One uses the Allpoint ATM network for fee-free ATM access.
  • You can use your 360 Savings as the overdraft backup source of funds.

A pretty generous checking bonus if you are eligible, but not that attractive long-term unless you already prefer using CapOne 360 Savings.

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.