While banks play a wait-and-see game with the economy (banks won’t offer better rate deals unless the economy improves, when more cash is pouring into the system), it’s not easy finding the best interest rate deals.
You’d think that at the beginning of the year, with a fresh start and a chance to reboot, more banks would be out there waving great rates at customers. But that’s really not the case, so taking advantage of the deals that do exist becomes even more important.
Let’s take a short cut and encapsulate some of the best bank deals available - right here and right now.
IRA Certificate of Deposit
Let’s begin with an IRA CD from Apple Federal Credit Union. The credit union is touting a 14-month “IRA-to-get-your retirement-growing” with a 3.00% APY. The minimum deposit is $500. Apple says it’s offering the deal for a “limited time” so you need to check it out quickly – banks have a nasty way of pulling great deals off the table - sometimes even a week or so after offering it. For now, Apple says the deal comes off the table on February 20, 2010. You can visit the Apple web site or you can call the bank directly at 703-788-4800.
While you’re at it, ask Apple about its auto loan-refinancing program. If you’re in the market for such a refinancing deal, Apple is offering to pay up to $600 of the first month of your new loan payment. Rates begin at 3.74%, the credit union says on its web site. Anyone can join the credit union, but you’ll have to join the Northern Virginia Athletic Directors Association, which is listed in the credit union’s membership list on the web site. Anyone can join – but you’ll need to pay a $20 membership fee.
The bank calls it “S.T.A.R.T.” and it works fairly simply. Just set up recurring transfers from your U.S. Bank Package Checking Account into a U.S. Bank Package Money Market Savings Account. The idea is to save a little each week from wherever possible – your pay check, your cookie jar – wherever you can come up with some savings. When the amount grows to $1,000, you’ll earn a $50 U.S. Bank Rewards Visa Card. If you keep the balance for a full year, you’ll get another $50 credit card.