"Keep the Change": The basic premise of Bank of America's (BAC) "Keep the Change" plan is sound: Americans have a hard time saving and need help doing so. Great. Sadly, Bank of America's plan, which rounds up debit card purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference into a customer's savings or money market account, is more of a piggy bank than a nest egg.
Words such as "automatic" and "matching" get customers' attention, but the fact that Bank of America only matches 100% of the plan's deposits for the first three months and then 5% for the duration -- with an annual maximum of $250 -- sours the pot a bit. That Bank of America's standard savings account yields only 0.05% interest doesn't help, either.
Here's an idea: Start actually saving a fixed amount of money in a separate account at, oh, ING, with an interest rate of 1.1% or greater and, instead of spending money in the hope that you'll get 502 purchases that round up by 49 cents, you stop being an imbalanced debit card junkie, save without spending and earn that $250 more quickly.
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