Call it the cooler, more refreshing transition from August to September, but there really does seem to be change in the air for bank interest rates.

Part of it is due to the six-month run-up in the stock market, and part of it is due to the fact that banks know consumers are refocused on their finances after packing the kids off to school this week. Whatever the reason, bank consumers are seeing some better deals out on the marketplace this week.

Bank Checking Accounts

Let’s start with a good deal at a community bank in Arizona.

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Horizon Community bank is offering a whopping 4.01% APY on its STAR personal checking account – on balances as low as $1 (up to $25,000).

That’s for starters. How about $15 back on ATM refunds for each statement cycle?

It’s all yours, if you can manage to adhere to some plain-vanilla, checking account program stipulations . . .

  • Make at least 10 purchases using your check card
  • Log in to Online Banking at least once
  • Receive e-statements

The bank goes out of its way to say that the deal is good for its personal checking accounts only.

Check it out for yourself here.

Bank Business Checking Account

JP Morgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) has apparently woken up from its summer slumber with a $200 bonus for opening up a Chase Business Classic Checking Account.

You need to act fast on this one – the Web site says the deal is only good through the end of September. In addition, you also need to be a Chase customer to qualify.

If you can manage that, here’s the skinny. Just enroll in a Chase Business Classic Banking Account by the end of this month, plunk down a minimum deposit of $500, and just wait 30 days from the time you enrolled for your $200 bonus to hit your bank.

You won’t pay any monthly service fees on the Chase account, and you’ll get immediate and free access to 14,000 Chase and WaMu bank ATMs nationwide. You also get free online bill pay and a free bank debit card with zero liability protection.

Take these steps to get your bonus money:

  • Go to and log in.
  • Click on “Get my Coupon Now.” Copy the coupon code.
  • Click back, and click on “Apply Online” or Print the Chase Coupon and bring it to your local branch

Bank CDs

With bank certificate of deposit rates sloughing off, NASA Federal Credit Union is stepping up to the plate with some “September Specials” on its 55-month, 18-month and nine-month certificates of deposit.

Here they are, from longest-to-shortest:
•    3.50% APY 55-months
•    2.25% APY 18-months
•    1.65% APY 9-months

The rates are good as of Sept. 1, 2009 in all three categories. For each CD, a $5,000 minimum deposit is also required.

On the plus side, the CDs come with no maintenance fees and balances that count toward the credit union’s membership rewards program.

You have to be a member of NASA Credit Union to qualify, but that’s easy. Just log onto the Web site’s eBranch page and choose "Open New Account" from the left menu. Or, you can visit any branch office or call (301) 249-1800 or 1-888-NASA-FCU (1-888-627-2328), ext. 203.

Note that the credit union will likely pull your credit report via Equifax (Stock Quote: EFX) and that action could temporarily lower your credit score.

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