Best Interest Rates on Cash – October 2022 Update

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

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of October 2022, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. We all need some safe assets for cash reserves or portfolio stability, and there are often lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 10/3/2022.

TL;DR: 4% APY on up to $6,000 for liquid savings at Current with no direct deposit requirement. Elements Financial at 3.25% APY liquid savings, rate guaranteed for 1 year. 1-year CD at 3.85% APY. 5-year CD at 4.42% APY. Compare against Treasury bills and bonds at every maturity (12-month near 4%). 9.62% Savings I Bonds still available if you haven’t maxed out limits.

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.

  • 4% APY on $6,000. Current offers 4% APY on up to $6,000 total ($2,000 each on three savings pods). No direct deposit required. $50 referral bonus for new members with $200+ direct deposit with promo code JENNIFEP185. Please see my Current app review for details.
  • 3% APY on up to $250,000, but requires direct deposit and credit card spend. HM Bradley will now pay up to 3% APY on up to $250,000 if you open both a checking and credit card with them and maintain positive cashflow each month, $500 in total direct deposits each month, and $500 in credit card purchases each month. Existing customers will get 3% APY with requirements waived through end of 2022. Please see my updated HM Bradley review for details.

High-yield savings accounts
Since the huge megabanks pay essentially no interest, I think every should have a separate, no-fee online savings account to accompany 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.

  • Rates rising across the board, while the leapfrogging to be the temporary “top” rate continues. Elements Financial at 3.25% APY ($2,500 minimum, new money, rate guaranteed for 1 year).
  • SoFi Bank is now up to 2.50% 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 their own bank charter now so no longer a fintech by my definition. See details at $25 + $300 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at closer to 2.15% APY. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is on that list, and if you open a new account with a Marcus referral link (from reader Paul) you can get an extra 1.00% APY for your first 3 months.

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 2.75% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY for all balance tiers. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.20% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • State Bank of Texas has a 12-month certificate at 3.85% APY. $25,000 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 60 days of interest.

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

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is the default sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, which has an SEC yield of 2.77%. Compare with your own broker’s money market rate.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 3.42% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 3.52% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so your principal may vary a little bit.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 3.05% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 3.41% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

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

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 10/3/2022, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.79% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 4.00% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 2.44% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 2.36% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. 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 2022 and October 2022 will earn a 9.62% 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 2022, 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.

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

  • Mango Money pays 6% APY on up to $2,500, if you manage to jump through several hoops. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.
  • NetSpend Prepaid pays 5% APY on up to $1,000 but be warned that there is also a $5.95 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain regular monthly activity.

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.

  • (Rate will increase to 4.00% APY with the qualification cycle beginning October 20, 2022.) The Bank of Denver pays 2.50% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each, receive only online statements, and make at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. If you meet those qualifications, you can also link a Kasasa savings account that pays 1.00% APY on up to $25k. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • Presidential Bank pays 3.00% APY on balances between $500 and up to $25,000 (2.50% APY above that) if you maintain a $500+ direct deposit and at least 7 electronic withdrawals per month (ATM, POS, ACH and Billpay counts).
  • Liberty Federal Credit Union pays 3.45% APY on up to $20,000. You’ll need at least 15 debit transactions and other requirements every month.
  • Lake Michigan Credit Union pays 3.00% APY on up to $15,000. You’ll need at least 10 debit transactions and other requirements every month.
  • 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.

  • Lafayette Federal Credit Union has a a 5-year certificate at 4.42% APY ($500 min), 4-year at 4.32% APY, 3-year at 4.22% APY, 2-year at 4.11% APY, and 1-year at 3.80% APY. Early withdrawal penalty can be quite severe though, with the 5-year CD penalty being 600 days of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • Bread Financial has a 5-year certificate at 4.25% APY ($1,500 min), 4-year at 4.15% APY, 3-year at 4.00% APY, 2-year at 3.75% APY, and 1-year at 3.60% APY. The early withdrawal penalty for the 5-year is 365 days of interest.
  • 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 no 5-year CDs available (non-callable). Be wary of higher rates from callable CDs, which 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 no 10-year CDs available (non-callable) vs. 3.72% 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 which is quite low (currently 0.10%). Purchase limit is $10,000 each calendar year for each Social Security Number. However, this feature is no longer interesting because as of 10/3/2022, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 4.00%.

All rates were checked as of 10/3/2022.

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

SoFi Checking: 2.50% APY w/ No Cap, $300 Direct Deposit Bonus, $25 Opening Bonus

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

Rate increased to 2.50% APY, $325 promo extended through 12/31. SoFi has added an excellent deposit bonus worth up to $300 to the new member referral offer on their SoFi Money checking account:

  • $25 bonus if you open a new SoFi Checking & Savings account and deposit at least $10.
  • $300 additional bonus if you deposit at least $5,000 within 30 days from the date of your first Qualifying Direct Deposit. SoFi will credit members who meet qualification criteria within 14 days of the end of the 30-day Evaluation Period. Promo ends 12/31/22. (Alternatively, $100 bonus for $2,000 deposit, $50 bonus for $1,000 deposit. See table below.)
  • 2.50% APY on ALL account balances (no cap) in Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults) with monthly direct deposit (of any amount). 1.20% APY without direct deposit. Rates are as of 10/2/22.
  • Overdraft coverage of up to $50 on on debit card purchases available to customers with monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more.

Not a bad deal if only for the $25 easy bonus and 2.50% APY with any direct deposit amount (1.20% APY without direct deposit). Even a $1 direct deposit works to get the higher APY. On top of that, $300 is a very high bonus for only having to commit $5,000 for 15-30 days. Even the lower bonus tiers are solid. Assuming a 30-day holding period, the bonus is the equivalent of earning 60-72% APY on top of the standard APY!

What makes it harder is that it must be “qualifying direct deposits” as described below (emphasis mine). You should still be eligible for this promo if you are an existing SoFi Money account before today and have yet to complete your first direct deposit.

Eligible Participants: All new members who open a SoFi Checking and Savings account during the Promotion Period and all existing SoFi Checking and Savings customers who have not previously set up Direct Deposit transactions(“Direct Deposit”) into their SoFi Checking and Savings account as of the beginning of the Promotion Period are eligible for the Program.

Bonus Terms: In order to qualify for eligibility for a bonus, SoFi must receive at least one Qualifying Direct Deposit from an Eligible Participant during the Promotion Period. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. The amount of the bonus, if any, is described below. No bonuses shall be paid for qualifying Direct Deposits of less than $1,000 during the Evaluation Period (defined below).

NOTE: Social Security benefits do qualify as Direct Deposits

Evaluation Period: The bonus amount will vary based on the total amount of Qualifying Direct Deposits received during the Evaluation Period. The Evaluation Period is defined as 30 days from the date your first Qualifying Direct Deposit is received. For example, if you receive $1,000-$1,999 in Qualifying Direct Deposits in the Evaluation Period, you will receive a cash bonus of $50. A member may only qualify for one bonus tier and will not be eligible for future bonus payments if inflows subsequently increase beyond the Evaluation Period.

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

HMBradley Bank Review: 3% APY w/ New Requirements, New Partner Bank, New Intro Offer

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

Update: As of October 2022, HM Bradley announced several significant changes to their product (again). I’ve updated the review completely and removed all the historical changes as it was just getting too long.

HM Bradley (HMB) is a fintech software layer on top of a partner bank’s infrastructure. They are terminating their initial relationship with Hatch Bank at the end of October 2022 and changing completely over to New York Community Bank (NYCB). Existing HMB customers will need to open up a new account at NYCB before the end of October. HMB is also changing up their interest rate structure, but is offering a special intro offer to existing HMB customers. Detailed review below.

Rate tiers. Interest is earned on balances up to $250,000 with NYCB (up from $100,000 with Hatch Bank) and the rate you earn is set for the next month based on the current month’s activities. Here are the current rate tier and requirements:

  • 1.00% APY. All customers who open an HMBradley Deposit Account with NYCB will be rewarded with 1.00% APY. No other requirements.
  • 2.00% APY. Customers who make a direct deposit of at least $500 per month to their HMBradley Deposit Account with NYCB and maintain positive monthly cash flow (meaning that monthly deposits exceed monthly withdrawals, not including HMBradley Credit Card payments) will earn 2.00% APY in the following month.
  • 3.00% APY. Customers who fulfill the 2.00% APY requirements AND also spend $500 per month on their HMBradley Credit Card will earn 3.00% APY in the following month.

Limited-time new user offer. HM Bradley is offering to waive some of the requirements for a few months:

Customers who open an HMBradley Deposit Account with NYCB by October 31, 2022 may be eligible to earn either 3.00% or 2.00% APY until January 31, 2023. The direct deposit, positive cash flow, and credit card spend requirements, as applicable, are waived for these customers through December 31, 2022.

– The APY for new NYCB accountholders who have an HMBradley Credit Card at the time the HMBradley Deposit Account with NYCB is opened is 3.00%.
– The APY for new NYCB accountholders who do not have an HMBradley Credit Card at the time the HMBradley Deposit Account with NYCB is opened is 2.00%.

Requires a “real” direct deposit every month. You must receive some sort of direct deposit each month, as defined below:

For our accounts, we define direct deposits as those deposits made by the customer’s employer, a federal or state government agency, or retirement benefits administrator. These generally include payments made by corporations and other organizations. We do not consider deposits to an account that are made by an individual using online banking or other payment provider such as PayPal or Venmo as direct deposits. HMBradley shall make the final determination as to whether a deposit qualifies as a direct deposit for purposes of qualifying to earn interest.

Based on my experience, they do have a system for filtering incoming deposits, but it is not 100% accurate and your direct deposit may have to be reviewed manually. Their online account interface should clearly indicate whether you have made the required direct deposit for the current month. I had to contact them in order for them to manually check and mark the transfer as a direct deposit. Having it marked properly is required to get the top rate.

Positive monthly cash flow is based on ALL deposits and withdrawals (except HMB credit card spend). For the calculation of “positive monthly cash flow”, all deposits are considered including incoming transfers from another personal bank account. At the same time, your “spending” will also include any transfer out of your account, even if it’s just to another bank account that you own. They don’t count purchases made on your HMB credit card, which incentivizes you to use it – but conveniently they don’t care about your credit card spending habits as long as you’re using their card…

Basically, money has to keep coming into HMBradley and not go back out on a net basis every month. That’s a very unique requirement, but also hard to keep up forever. Even if you are a diligent saver, you will want to redirect some of those funds into other assets like stocks, ETFs, real estate, etc.

Credit card details. The HMBradley credit card is invite-only and partially based on their estimate of your income (which is in turn based on the size of your deposits, although you can attempt to self-report). Invitations are not guaranteed. You must opt in to their “One Click Credit” service which basically checks your TransUnion credit report so they can market stuff to you (soft inquiries). If your TransUnion credit file is frozen, they will not offer you an invite. But once you officially apply, you will have a hard inquiry.

Starting at the October 2022 monthly billing cycles, the HM Bradley credit card is basically a flat 1.5% cash back credit card with no annual fee. Prior to this, it used to be a more complicated 3/2/1% rewards card with tiered categories and a $60 annual fee (waived for first year). 2% cash back would have been nice, but now it’s just another vanilla mediocre rewards card.

Additional features. It’s still not exactly clear how other basic features will change with the new NYCB accounts. ATM rebate policy? Well, right now, they don’t even give you a debit card! This change seems a bit rushed.

Once you accept the new NYCB deposit account agreement and disclosures, we will ask you to agree to allow us to transfer your funds (including any funds in a Plan and accrued interest) from your deposit account at Hatch Bank to your new deposit account with New York Community Bank (NYCB). We will also provide you with your new account and bank routing numbers. You will want to use this information to change your direct deposit and recurring ACH transfers as soon as you can.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer debit cards for new deposit accounts at this time. You will still be able to make ACH transfers, and we will let you know when a new debit card is available.

My thoughts. As of October 2022, the ability earn 3% APY on liquid deposits is nice but no longer exceptional. You can get 2.50% APY and up without nearly as much hassle as HMB is asking for. I currently direct deposit a single dollar each paycheck into SoFi and get 2.50% APY in my liquid checking account with no other hoops.

If I didn’t already have an HMB account, I wouldn’t bother opening one up with the current hoops required. As it is, I do already have an HMB account and the credit card. I’ll take the no-hassle 3% APY for now, but I will be looking for them to raise their rates at least a bit more above the competition if I am going to keep jumping through that many hoops.

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

CIT Bank Review: 11-Month No Penalty CD 2.75% APY, Savings Connect 2.70% APY

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

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Rates went up again 9/30/22. No-Penalty CD up to 2.75% APY if you want to ratchet up. CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citi Bank) is an online-only bank with a multi-year history of competitive rates. They have a checking account, but their specialty is a variety of savings and CD products with high interest rates. Here are the highlights:

  • 11-Month No-Penalty CD at 2.75% APY with $1,000 minimum to open. The 11-month CD keeps a fixed rate, but has no withdrawal penalty seven days or later after funds have been received. This means that your interest rate will never go down, but you can still move out if interest rates go up. (If you have an existing No Penalty CD that you want to close and open up a new one, please see my instructions below.)
  • Savings Connect Account at 2.70% APY if you open with $100. No minimum balance and no monthly fees. There is no longer a requirement to “connect” this to a checking account, so if you have any other savings accounts at CIT, you should move the funds over to this account.
  • 13-month Term CD at 3.50% APY.

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

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

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

After deposit verification, then your funding will go through.

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

citnewcd

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

citmm

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

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

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

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

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

Robinhood Gold Review: 3% APY, Morningstar Premium Stock Reports, 5.75% Margin Interest

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

Updated with 3% APY details. The Robinhood app became well-known for their free stock trades and sleek app-only interface. People wondered, how will they make money? Well, one way is Robinhood Gold, a premium plan that costs $5 per month (new users get free 30-day trial) with the following benefits:

  • 3% interest on your uninvested brokerage cash with cash sweep (1.5% without Gold). Details below.
  • Bigger instant deposits. Instant Deposit eliminates the three-day wait period for funds to transfer from your bank into Robinhood. With Gold, customers can get larger Instant Deposits of up to $50,000 depending on their brokerage account balance and status.
  • Free premium stock reports from Morningstar. Gold members get unlimited access to Morningstar’s premium, in-depth stock research reports. These reports are available for approximately 1,700 stocks and are updated frequently to reflect important company events.
  • Level II market data from Nasdaq. Level II market data shows multiple bid and ask prices from Nasdaq for any given security so investors can better determine the availability or desire for a security at a certain price.
  • Access to margin investing at 5.75% interest (9.75% without Gold). Eligible customers can borrow money from Robinhood and leverage their holdings to purchase securities. For Gold customers, the first $1,000 of margin is included, and then Gold customers pay 5.75% yearly interest beyond that. Non-Gold customers who are eligible have access to a margin interest rate of 9.75%.

3% APY on cash sweep details. 3% APY for Gold, 1.5% APY for everyone else. Interest is compounded daily and credit monthly. Here is the blog announcement. You must enroll in their cash sweep program:

Customers who wish to enroll in cash sweep can search for ‘Cash Sweep’ directly within the app, can find it via the ‘Discover more’ carousel, or they can tap the ‘Account’ icon in the bottom right corner, navigate to the ‘Investing’ tab in the top left menu, and select ‘Enable cash sweep.’

Here’s some math around paying $5/month to upgrade for the 3% APY. If you had $4,000 in idle cash, earning an additional 1.5% APY (as everyone gets 1.5% APY on cash sweep) means an extra $60 in interest per year. That would be completely offset by the $60/year cost of Gold. If you’re keeping a lot more than that in idle cash, then you should be comparing with other savings options that can get you close to 3% APY without any monthly fees. However, if Robinhood is your primary broker for some reason (I personally have found their customer service quite slow) and you want to have your idle cash readily available to trade into stocks immediately, then this may be a worthy upgrade.

How do I downgrade from Gold?

You can end your Robinhood Gold subscription by going to the Robinhood Gold section of your account settings and tapping Cancel membership. If you downgrade, you will immediately lose access to the premium features, including the lower margin interest rate offered with Gold, and the higher brokerage cash sweep rate.

Be sure to cancel your subscription before your next billing date to avoid being charged a renewal for another 30 days of Gold. You can find the billing date in the Gold section of your account settings. Every time you upgrade your account, your billing cycle will reset to 30 days and you will be charged the $5 monthly fee.

Also see: Big List of Free Stocks from Brokerage Apps

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

5% Cash Back Cards: Walmart, Amazon, PayPal, Digital Wallets, Gas, Groceries – October through December 2022

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

5percentbackActivation reminder for 2022 4th Quarter. The credit cards below offer 5% cash back and up on specific categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but it can add up to hundreds of dollars in additional rewards per year without changing your spending habits. You can also buy gift cards at places with 5% back now but spend the gift cards later. (* Reminder that you can buy gift cards from lots of places at grocery stores…) New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom Flex Card

From October 1st through December 31st, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back (or 5X Ultimate Rewards points) on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Walmart (includes Walmart Discount Stores, Walmart SuperCenters, Walmart Neighborhood Markets, www.walmart.com, Walmart branded gas stations operated by Walmart, any other Walmart branded retail stores operated by Walmart and purchases made with Walmart Pay.)
  • PayPal (includes purchases made using your Chase Freedom Flex card with PayPal. Qualifying purchases made using PayPal at Walmart will only earn a total of 5%.)

(The categories are also the same for the old Chase Freedom card, which is no longer available to new applicants.)

Enroll each quarter online in your Chase account or at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the 14th of the first month in each quarter, the rewards are retroactive. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which may be worth even more when converted to airline miles or hotel points instead of cash if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You could also use the Pay Yourself Back tool to get 25% to 50% more than 1 cent/point value. Currently, the Chase Freedom Flex card is offering new applicants a $200 bonus if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months. No annual fee.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it Card

From October 1st through December 31st, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Amazon.com (includes purchases made through the Amazon.com checkout, like digital downloads, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through Amazon.com’s marketplace.)
  • Digital Wallets (includes purchases made online and in-store with your smartphone, tablet, or wearable. Wallets that qualify include Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Garmin Pay.)

Enroll after logging into your online account. 5% rewards won’t apply until after you activate your rewards, so it is best to activate now before you forget. No annual fee.

Discover it $100 bonus details. If you are a new applicant and sign up via Discover Card referral link, you will get a $50 improved $100 Cashback Bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of being account opening. You will also get Cashback Match for an entire year – a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. During those 12 months, your 5% cash back rewards becomes 10% cash back, and your 1% cash back rewards become 2% cash back. You can verify this on the application by looking under “Terms and Conditions” or searching for “cashback match” and “statement credit offer”:

Cashback Match: We’ll match all the cash back rewards you’ve earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods.

* You will receive a $100 Statement Credit after making a purchase within three months of account opening. You must apply through your friend’s referral link and be approved by December 31, 2022 in order to be eligible for the $100 Statement Credit offer. Offer may not be combined with any other introductory offer. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks.

Citi Custom Cash Card. This new card offers 5% cash back on your *single* top eligible spending category up to $500 spent each monthly billing cycle (which effectively adds up to $1,500 a quarter). Eligible categories include broad ones like restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, or select travel, but you only get 5% for the top category that month and 1% on everything else. To simplify things you could, for example, elect to only use this card for 5% cash back on gas all year long (up to $500 per month).

Similar to the Chase Ultimate Rewards system above, this card and the Citi Double Cash card (earns 2% cash back) both technically earn Thank You points. You can’t convert your points to airline miles with this card alone, but you can transfer them to the Citi Premier Card, which does allow you to convert miles in various programs on a 1:1 basis including JetBlue, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

Currently, the Citi Custom Cash card is offering new applicants a $200 bonus after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You’ll actually get 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back. No annual fee.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card.

  • 6% cash back at US supermarkets all year long (on up to $6,000 per year)
  • 6% cash back at select US streaming subscriptions (includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube TV, and more).
  • 3% cash back at US gas stations and transit (taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).

I use this card all year long for groceries and put all my streaming services on it, and then in December use up the $6k annual limit on gift cards bought in the supermarket aisle. New cardholders are also eligible for a generous welcome offer. See details in link.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. You must choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of specific categories:

  • Fast Food
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Home Utilities
  • Ground Transportation
  • Select Clothing Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Car Rentals
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers
  • Sporting Goods Stores
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie Theaters
  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services

Unfortunately, you can’t pick a broad category like gas stations, restaurants, or grocery stores. Make sure to choose your categories each and every quarter, even if you want them to stay the same. If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter. No annual fee.

Amazon Prime Rewards Card. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods all year long. Prime membership required. New cardholder bonus varies by person. No annual fee.

Citi Dividend Card. This card has not been available to new applicants for years now, but if you still have the grandfathered card you can view and activate your quarterly 5% category here. Limit of $300 cash back for the calendar year.

Don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer. Get 2% cash back or higher. There are multiple options out there, here are the ones I’ve had for years. Check out the card-specific reviews for details.

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

AnnualCreditReport.com: Free Weekly Credit Reports Extended Through End of 2023

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

Extended again through 2023. AnnualCreditReport.com remains the official government-mandated source of free credit reports. Usually, you can only request a free copy of your credit report every rolling 12 months from each credit reporting company. For example, if you request an Experian report in September 2022, then you must wait until September 2023 to request another Experian report. You could also spread things out by staggering requests, for example Experian every April, Equifax every August, and TransUnion every December.

From now until December 2023, you can request all 3 major credit reports as often as once every week at no cost for any reason. Consumer Reports called out that the weekly reports were set to expire at the end of 2022, and this 9/23/22 press release confirmed that they would extend it by another 12 months.

The three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax® (NYSE:EFX), Experian (LON:EXPN) and TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) – are taking joint action to continue offering free weekly credit reports to consumers in the United States through the end of 2023.

This higher frequency may also come in handy for anyone who has requested some relief on their mortgages, auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and so on. If you agree to a forbearance or some other COVID-related relief agreement with your lender, you will want to make sure that your credit reports are still marked as current and that your credit will not be adversely affected as part of that agreement.

According to Consumer Reports, mistakes on credit reports are the No. 1 consumer complaint so far this year.

Last year, CR asked a panel of nearly 6,000 volunteers to review their credit reports for mistakes. In almost a third of cases, participants found at least one error.

And in a January 2021 CR nationally representative survey (PDF) of 2,223 adults, 12 percent of people who had ever checked their credit report said they found at least one mistake.

In addition, Consumer Reports offers the following advice if you need to file a dispute for a correction:

Create a paper trail. Tempting as it may be, don’t file the dispute online, because that doesn’t provide a written record that you can rely on later if needed. And avoid the standardized online forms provided by the credit bureaus, which might oversimplify your dispute by requiring you to choose among predetermined check boxes. Further, by submitting your dispute online, you could unwittingly waive your right to sue as an individual or in a class action. Instead, write a letter explaining the problem. Use this sample letter from the CFPB (PDF).

Free full reports upon manual request are nice, but I have been quite happy with my “suite” of additional services that continuously and passively monitor my credit reports for new credit inquiries and other changes.

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

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Review: 100,000 Bonus Points Limited-Time Offer

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

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is one of the co-branded rewards card for Marriott hotels (including hotels from the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott). Here are the highlights:

  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • Additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy(R) with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless(R) Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

Keep in mind the following:

The bonus is not available to you if you:

(1) are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express);

(2) are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months; or

(3) applied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) within the last 90 days.

That’s a lot of long card names, but note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include Marriott business cards. (See my Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review.) This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer) if you do apply.

As of April 2022, Marriott no longer has a fixed hotel category chart for booking points. You can still use these points at either Marriott properties (Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites) or former Starwood Properties (Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, Aloft), but now it is “dynamic” awards where the points required are more linked to the actual cash cost than before.

For reference, 50,000 Bonvoy points used to get you a peak award at Courtyard Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, a standard or off-peak award at the Sheraton Kauai Resort or Residence Inn Maui Wailea, or an off-peak award night at the Westin Moana Surfrider in Waikiki, Honolulu or the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas.

You can use the Marriott free night search tool to price out some sample hotels. In general, I’ve found that you can get most mid-tier hotels (Sheraton, Marriott, Residence Inn, Courtyard) but often not the higher tier (Westin, St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton) at most major US cities. Still, for 5 free nights times $200 a night value easily in my experience, that’s already $1,000+ in potential value.

Here are details on the Free Night Award Top Off option.

Bonvoy Points can also be transferred to airline miles with a bonus. 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 airline miles. Similar to the old Starwood bonus structure, they will add 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles.

Finally, Marriott points are also convertible to gift cards, but it takes 60,000 points to redeem for a $200 gift card for Marriott or retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Nordstrom. That ratio isn’t all that great so you’ll definitely get the most value via hotel night redemptions or airline miles transfer.

Free Night Award with Card Renewal. At your card anniversary (when you pay the annual fee), you will receive a Free Night Award that is good for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. This excludes the very top properties, but for regular travelers it will be very easy to get your $95 value. Here are some sample hotels that I have tried to book in the past that came in at or under 35,000 points for selected dates:

  • Sheraton Kona Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Courtyard Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Oahu)
  • Sheraton Kauai Resort (Kauai, Hawaii)
  • W Atlanta
  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • W Chicago
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, China
  • The S. Regis Bangkok, Thailand

No annual fee alternative. The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card is also offers bonus points and some (lesser) perks, but with no annual fee.

Bottom line. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card) is currently offering a special offer for new cardholders. As with all hotel cards, the value is dependent on your unique travel preferences. If you stay at Marriott/Starwood properties regularly, the free night award every year should easily cover the annual fee.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

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

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Points + Free Annual Award Night

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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is the re-branded business credit card of the Marriott Bonvoy program (formed after the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest). This card offers unique perks for Marriott customers. Here are the highlights:

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6X points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy(R) program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2X points on all other eligible purchases
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy(R) points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy(R). Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Each calendar year you can receive credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.
  • Annual fee is $125. (See Rates and Fees)
  • Terms Apply.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Credit Card from Chase, or the Marriott Rewards® Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new Card Member bonus offer in the last 24 months on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase.

This is more specific than before, note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include consumer cards. American Express usually gives you a pop-up warning during the application process if you are ineligible based on their records. This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer) when you do apply.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or other one-person business owners. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Free Night Award. At your card anniversary, you will receive a Free Night Award that is good for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. This excludes the very top properties, but for regular travelers it will be very easy to get your $95 or even $125 value. Many W Hotels, Westin, and even some Ritz-Carltons worldwide are included. Here are some sample hotels that qualify under the 35,000 point limit:

  • Sheraton Kona Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Courtyard Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Oahu)
  • Sheraton Kauai Resort (Kauai, Hawaii)
  • W Atlanta
  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • W Chicago
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, China
  • The S. Regis Bangkok, Thailand

Bottom line. The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card is the co-branded business card between Marriott hotels and American Express. You also get a Free Night Award at card anniversary, which can be worth much more than the annual fee.

Also see: Top 10 Best Small Business Card Bonus Offers.

(See Rates and Fees)

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

Elements Financial CU: 3.25% APY Savings Guaranteed For 1 Year, 4% APY Rewards Checking

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

Elements Financial Credit Union has a new promo rate of 3.25% APY on their Helium Savings account. The promo rate is valid for 12 months from your account opening date, and only on “New Money Not Already on Deposit at Elements”. (Technically, it lasts until the 1st of the 12 month after you initial month, so actually between 11 and 12 months.) Valid on balances $2,500 and above. No monthly fee. Current Helium Savings account holders and those with Helium Savings accounts closed less than 90 days are not eligible.

This is an interesting combination because this is a liquid savings account where you can still add or take money out whenever you want, but still enjoy a floor rate of 3.25% APY for a year (usually liquid savings account can also decrease their rate with zero notice). Essentially acts as a 12-month No Penalty CD at 3.25% APY with partial withdrawals and add-on deposits allowed.

There is also a promo rate of 4% APY on their High Interest Checking account. Also for new accountholders only, with the promo APY fixed for 12 months from account opening date. Requires 15 qualifying transactions every statement cycle. Only valid on balances up to $20,000. No monthly fee with electronic statements.

I’m usually not a fan of these “reward checking” accounts, but if you’re already going to open another account there, this might is worth considering. Their definition of qualifying transactions is also less strict than others. The following are qualifying transactions: Debit card purchases, checks, bill payments, ATM withdrawals and ACH withdrawals.

Per DepositAccounts, anyone can join with one-time $5 membership in Tru Direction, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving financial literacy. However, I couldn’t find anything about this on their membership page, other than Elements will provide you with $5:

Open an Elements checking or savings account or apply for a loan or credit card. During the application process, we will open you an Elements savings account (that’s the part that makes your membership official). We’ll even put $5 in to get you started — no need to transfer funds from an existing account!

I don’t plan on opening this account myself as I hope others will soon follow (and I’m still waiting to see if some juicy credit union CDs pop up), but this is a top rate right now for liquid savings.

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

CIT Bank Promo: Free 1 Year Amazon Prime Membership ($139 Value) w/ $15,000 Deposit

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

Update 9/22: CIT Bank has raised the rate on their free year of Amazon Prime promo to 1.55% APY, remaining competitive with the major online savings accounts plus a free year of Amazon Prime worth $139, resulting in now an estimated effective 5.26% APY for 90 days (details below). As an existing CIT Bank customer, I was able to sign up for this offer very easily and quickly. I just used my existing login and could even use an existing external linked bank account to fund. Here’s a screenshot from the last page of my initial application:

CIT Bank also has an 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.50% APY as of 9/22/22. The benefit the No-Penalty CD is that your rate can’t go back down (as it could with a savings account), but you can still close it if rates keep going up. Here’s how to open a new No Penalty CD and fund it using your old one if the rate rises, all within CIT Bank.

In addition, the CIT Bank Savings Connect account is at 2.40% APY as of 9/22/22 and no longer requires a “connected” checking account. This Amazon Prime offer below requires $15,000 to remain in their Money Market account for the first 90 days and is much better for those first 90 days, so do it first! But after the required holding period, you can transfer your funds over to this savings account or the No Penalty CD for the higher rate.

Original post (updated maths with new APY):

CIT Bank is an FDIC-insured bank (now a division of First Citizens Bank) that has offered competitive interest rate options to savers in the past including the Savings Builder and No-Penalty CDs, so you may already have an account with them.

The CIT Bank Money Market account has launched a new Amazon Prime deposit promotion: when a new or existing customer makes a deposit of $15,000 from an external funding source and keeps it there for at least 60 days, they get an additional bonus of a 1-year Amazon Prime subscription (cash value of $139). Additional details:

  • Open a CIT Bank Money Market account here using the promo code AMZN22.
  • Fund your account with at least $15,000 within 15 days and keep a minimum balance of at least $15,000 for 60 days following the 15-day funding period.
  • Within 30 days following the end of the funding period, if you’ve fulfilled the requirements, CIT Bank will send you an email with your Prime membership code.
  • Yes, this works for existing Amazon Prime users. Customers who are already Amazon Prime members can use the one year of Amazon Prime to renew their membership for an additional year.
  • Existing CIT Bank members are eligible, but you have to open a new Money Market account (you can have more than one) and fund with “new money” outside of CIT Bank.

Bonus math. If you assume the bonus is worth $139, this is a ~0.93% bonus on $15,000. Let’s assume an overly-conservative minimum holding period of 90 total days, which makes it the equivalent of ~3.71% APY annualized. The bonus is on top of the standard interest rate, currently 1.55% APY as of 9/22/22. This total of roughly 5.26% APY over 90 days makes it a great short-term rate at that balance size when compared to my latest update of best interest rates. CIT Bank also has a decent history of offering competitive products and promotions on their savings account and CD products.

I plan on grabbing this year of Amazon Prime – I already have accounts at CIT Bank and I already have idle liquid cash elsewhere sitting at effectively the same base APY. Nice to see another bank itching to gather deposits.

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

SoFi Offers: 2.50% APY + $325 Checking Bonus, $300 Personal Loan Bonus

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

If you don’t have a SoFi checking account yet, check out the new referral offer of $25 new user bonus + $300 direct deposit 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. Details here.

SoFi (“Social Finance”) is a financial “super 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, Crypto, etc).

  • SoFi Invest Referral Offer: $25 new user bonus. Brokerage account. Open an Active Investing account with $100 or more, and you’ll get $25 in stock.
  • SoFi Invest Alternate Offer: Claw Game. Feeling lucky? Compare the $25 guaranteed above with a ~95% chance of a smaller $5 or $10 bonus, but a 0.028% chance of a $1,000 bonus.
  • 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 Credit Card Referral Offer: $50 bonus. Standard feature is 2% cash back with no annual fee.
  • SoFi Credit Card Alternate Offer: 3% Cash Back on SoFi Credit Card Purchases for 12 months.
  • SoFi Crypto: $10 to $100 new user bonus. Get $10 bonus for a $50 trade, $100 bonus for $5,000 trade.
  • SoFi Student Loan Refi: $300 bonus. Warning: Do your research before refinancing your Federal student loans to a private lender.
  • 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.
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