Start Saving Money! How Banks Pay You To Save

by Guest Blogger on Deals and Offers

How to get more out of high yield savings accounts and internet banking.

So how is your savings plan going? In the past, we’ve shared many banking resources that can help you get started with your savings program. For example, if you’re looking for better savings account rates, perhaps this list of online accounts can provide you with some ideas on where to put your liquid, short-term funds today:

Online Bank
APY Rate
Min. Balance
EverBank 2.25% $1,500
Sallie Mae 1.30% $0
Ally Bank Savings 1.25% (Updated 09/08/10) $0
Ally Interest Checking 0.50% to 1.05% $0
WT Direct 1.21% $1
FNBO Direct 1.10% $1
HSBC Advance 1.10% $1
ING Direct Savings 1.10% $1
ING Direct Checking .25% to 1.25% $1
E-Trade 0.40% $1
Dollar Savings Direct 1.30% $1,000

Recently, however, I’ve been hearing a lot of commercials for automatic bank savings plans. The plans sounded pretty good, so I thought I would check them out.

Start Saving Money! How Banks Pay You To Save

I looked online and found several banks offering such programs for their customers. These banks pay you to save money. Seems only fitting that they would pay their customers something after receiving all that stimulus money!

banking, saving

Here is a rundown of the plans:

1. Bank of America has taken the proverbial change jar to the next level. Rather than putting your spare change into a jar every night, you can use BOA’s Keep the Change program to round up every purchase made with your debit card to the nearest dollar amount and the difference is automatically put into your online savings account. For the first three months, BOA matches your contributions 100 percent. After that, they match it 5 percent up to a total of $250.00 annually.

2. US Bank’s program is called START (Savings Today and Rewards Tomorrow). With their program, you can set up one of the following:

  • Automatic transfers of at least $25.00 from your checking to savings account, or
  • $1 transfers from checking to savings every time you use your US Bank check card or credit card ($25.00 limit per month).

You can also have the bank’s FlexPerks cash rewards automatically transferred to your savings every month. Customers receive a $50 US Bank Visa Rewards Card when you maintain a savings balance of at least $1,000 in your account for one year.

3. Wachovia’s Way2Save program pays you not only interest but also a bonus to save money. With this savings program, Wachovia will transfer $1 from your checking account into your Way2Save account when you make check card purchases, pay bills online, and set up automatic debits from your checking account. The first year, you will receive 5 percent APR on your savings as well as a 5 percent bonus of up to $300 per year. In the second and third years, you’ll receive 2 percent APR and a 2 percent bonus of up to $300 per year.

4. Suntrust’s Get Started Savings program offers a one-time bonus of up to $50 after the one-year anniversary of account opening.

I bank at Regions, and they do not seem to have a similar program. Maybe one day they will. I could benefit from it!

As you can see, banks are highly encouraging us to start depositing our money with them — either by offering competitive rates or by coming up with interesting programs, gimmicks and rewards to get us to save more.

What’s important is that we get started with saving and investing as soon as we are able. The earlier we start, the bigger a nest egg we can accumulate over our lifetime.

Contributing Writer: BEM

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CreditShout November 17, 2009 at 8:50 am

Although I’m a big proponent of CD’s, I think right now the rates are so pathetic you would be better off buying some low risk stock such as GE or Alcoa, there are so many stocks you can still pick up that will be great long term buys and as long as you keep an eye on it, it’s sure going to beat 1.5% a year.

2 The Smarter Wallet November 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Good points Credit Shout, although there is a place for savings accounts in any portfolio. If you need a place to park your short term funds — say, your emergency funds — then I believe that CDs, money market funds, accounts and online savings accounts should do the trick for you.

I would certainly avoid investing my short term savings in any kind of stock no matter how “safe” they seem to be. There’s just no guarantee… regardless of how attractive the dividend rates are.

In short — liquid accounts are for short term savings, for money you’ll need within the next several years, or for money you’ll use for unexpected expenses and emergencies. Everything else should go into long term investments like stocks, bonds, gold, real estate and so forth, where you’re likely to experience more volatility. But you get better rewards for a bit more risk.

3 Niche Marketing Man November 17, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Very informative, thanks for putting this together!

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