After a temporary bump-up last week, interest rates are back down again, most likely victimized by continued skepticism by the American consumer that the Great Recession is really over, and affirmed policy by the Federal Reserve that it won’t raise interest rates anytime soon.

In such an environment, finding good bank rate deals is like finding an honest politician in Washington – it’s doable, but you really have to dig through a few haystacks to get the job done.

But this week, the deals are a bit easier to find – and are good for your wallet or pocketbook. Let’s take a look.

High-Yield Checking

We haven’t written about NorStates Bank, but NorStates Bank hasn’t come across with many great rate deals – until now.
The bank is touting a – get this – 4.50% interest rate on its signature high-yield checking account. It’s a free checking account based on meeting some standard monthly banking requirements.

The bank offers a wrinkle we often don’t see at “Deals of the Week.” If you don’t meet the checking account requirements, you don’t lose the deal - and you still get the 4.50% APY.

Here’s a summary of the deal, straight from the bank’s web site:

  • Earn 4.50% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • Earn 1.01% APY on portion of balance over $25,000
  • ATM fee refunds nationwide
  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum balance
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • Free online statements with check images
  • Unlimited check writing with no per-check fees
  • Free MasterCard debit card with UChoose Rewards
  • FDIC insured

Get a great rate, but check the fine print first here.

Rewards Checking

Staying on the checking account theme, Cross Key Bank has a nice deal on its Gold Key Reward Checking Account  - a 4.05% APY on account balances up to $25,000.

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With bank CD rates at historic lows, a 4.00% rewards checking rate is nothing to sneeze at. And, like the NorStates Bank deal, the penalties for falling short on the account requirements, aren’t really that onerous.

Here, from the bank’s web site, is a good look at the deal.

  • 4.05% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 1.00% APY on balances over $25,000
  • 0.10% APY if qualifications aren't met
  • ATM fee refunds (up to $25 per cycle)
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Free Visa Debit Card
  • Unlimited Online Banking
  • Online Bill Pay
  • Free eStatements
  • Telephone Banking
  • Direct Deposit available
  • $100 to open
  • FDIC insured

You can easily apply online. Give it a go here.

Auto Insurance

Allstate Insurance (Stock Quote: ALL) is offering a $100 discount off its latest auto insurance policy, along with other discounts if you maintain a good driving record.

Here’s the skinny:

The Allstate Deductible Rewards Program will cut $100 from your deductible, and take an additional $100 annually up to $500 if you maintain a good driving record (i.e., avoid getting into a accident).

To get the deal, log into the web site (below) and tap in your zip code. That will take you into the Allstate inner sanctum, where you can register for the Deductible Rewards program and get the $100 discount.

One downer: car owners in California, North Caroline, North Dakota, and South Dakota aren’t eligible for the promotion.

Here’s the web site.