Finding good bank deals these days isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity.

Consumers certainly feel this way. A new study by StrategyOne shows that 65% of Americans fear a “double-dip” recession, and 64% of those surveyed say they see either few signs or no signs of an economic recovery here in the U.S.

In addition, most Americans don’t see any help on the economic horizon. Of those surveyed by StrategyOne, 70% say they don’t expect to see an economic recovery until the end of 2011. Another 23% say that the U.S. economy will never fully recover.

One last statistic from the StrategyOne survey — 67% of survey respondents say they are living paycheck to paycheck right now.

That last number shows the importance of wringing every last penny out of consumer banking investments. That’s what we do here at Deals of the Week, and this week is certainly no exception.

Bank Checking

Let’s start with a whopper of a deal from TrustBank — a 7% APY on its online bank checking account.

It’s called iChecking, and it really does pay up to 7% if you clear specific hurdles, including using the bank’s online bill pay system and using a bank debit card.

Here’s a rundown on the deal:

  • Earn 7% APY on balances up to $1,000
  • Earn 0.2% APY on balances over $1,000
  • TrustBank iCard with Allpoint nationwide access and cash back
  • Online banking
  • Online bill pay
  • E-Statements
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance required

Here, from the TrustBank website, are more specifics on what you have to do to earn that great interest rate:

  • Make at least 10 TrustBank iCard transactions per month. You’ll receive a free iCard — which acts as a debit or check card — with your account.
  • Make at least one monthly direct deposit.
  • Make two online bill pays or receive e-statements.
  • Access online banking at least one time per month.

One word of warning: If you don’t meet the TrustBank guidelines, your rate will sink to 0.2%.

TrustBank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rich Land Bancorp, Inc., a one-bank holding company.

Credit Cards

Chase has upped the ante on its Chase Sapphire Card and its Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with some nice perks if you use the credit cards the way Chase wants you to.

You can earn $100 in rewards points by accumulating 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase with the card.

The bank is also offering double points on airfare booked using the card, and one point earned for every dollar spent on additional purchases.

Here’s the breakdown from the Chase web site:

  • $100 in rewards in the form of 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase.
  • The ability to redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more.
  • Double points earned on airfare booked through Ultimate Rewards.
  • One point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn.
  • 24/7 dedicated service advisors (No voice recording).
  • Premier travel and purchase protection benefits.
  • No annual fee.

Chase is also sweetening the pot on its Sapphire Preferred Card, with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points when you get the Sapphire card, which can immediately translate into $250 in cash-back dollars. You can also earn up to $312 in airline fare by signing up for the card, with no travel restrictions or blackout dates.

Find out more at the Chase website.

Bank CDs

Ally Bank is out with a new 12-month high-yield certificate of deposit deal — it sports a 1.47% interest rate with no minimum deposit.

That’s a big upgrade over the national 12-month CD average of 0.707%, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

Here, direct from the website, are the details:

  • Open with $0.
  • No monthly fees.
  • Get the best rate offered with Ally's “Ten Day Best Rate Guarantee.”
  • Daily compound interest for maximum earnings.
  • FDIC insured.
  • Automatic renewal at maturity.

One note of caution. This is not one of Ally’s “no penalty” CDs. You’ll be charged an early withdrawal penalty if you try to take your money out before the expiration date. The penalty amounts to 60 days of interest earned on the CD.

Find out more at

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