Archive for August, 2010

Bank of America Mortgages Rates and Tips

Bank of AmericaBank of America is one of the nations largest financial and lending institutions.  Because of their size Bank of America can offer some very competitive mortgage rates often times below the national average.

Bank of America has a system which will show you the rates for your local area.  Different parts of the nation may have higher or lower interest rates than others.  B of A helps you narrow down the mortgage rates to your area.

For this example I am going to use Washington State because that is where BankAim was founded.

Washington State Purchase Mortgage Rates from B of A:

  • 30-Year Fixed-Rate – 4.500% with an APR of 4.656%
  • 15-Year Fixed-Rate – 4.125% with an APR of 4.414%
  • 3/1 ARM – 3.375% with an APR of 3.365%
  • 5/1 ARM – 3.375% with an APR of 3.296%

Mortgage rates for purchases are based on 1 point which is equal to 1% of the loan size, 20% down payment and a conforming loan amount which is typically under $417,000*.

(*Conforming loan amounts may change due to the area you live.)

Washington State Refinance Mortgage Rates from B of A:

Rates for a refinance remain the same assuming you have an 80% Loan to Value(LTV) or lower, and are under the conforming loan limit for your area.  These refinance rates are also based on 1 point.

For Washington State Bank of America rates are above the national average mortgage rates. Personally I know of a few mortgage brokers that can currently offer under the national average so I would definitely shop this rate around instead of going with Bank of America.

If you want to see what B of A offers in your area and read their fine print you can do that here.

Remember to check the articles date for accuracy.

Top CD Rates For August 30 2010

CD Rates Hold SteadyThere have not been many changes to the top CD Rates in the past few months. Most banks have either lowered their short-term and long-term rates or stayed steady. Nothing has changed which can either mean one of two things. The US economy is holding steady or banks have mixed emotions on what will happen next. The Fed has stated they will step in and ‘do something’ if the US economy begins to falter. As long as the Fed keeps interest rates near zero percent, CD rates and mortgage rates will continue at their low levels.

The only certificate of deposit that has moved the most in the past few weeks is the 2 year CD.

Here are the best CDs currently available to resident’s nationwide:

  • 3 Month CD – 1.35% APY at iGobanking with a minimum deposit of $500.
  • 6 Month CD – 1.25% APY at NewDominion Bank with a minimum deposit of $3,000.
  • 12 Month CD – 1.55% APY at Sallie Mae Bank with no minimum deposit.
  • 24 Month CD – 1.95% APY at NewDominion Bank with a minimum deposit of $3,000.
  • 36 Month CD – 2.50% APY at Danversbank with a minimum deposit of $500.
  • 60 Month CD – 3.03% APY at Melrose Credit Union with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

The credit union listed in our leadership board is open to anyone in the U.S. regardless of where they live or work.

Be sure to check our CD rates page for the most up to date rates.

Get a Free Flip Camcorder with FirstBank

FirstBank is giving away a Free Flip Camcorder for new customers that sign up for FirstBank eSave.

What is FirstBank eSave?

Get eSave Checking and Savings accounts, a FirstBank Visa Check Card and Free Internet Banking with eStatements. Then watch money automatically transfer to your savings each time you use your Visa Check Card or make Bill Pay or ACH payments. Plus you can get a $25 bonus after you save $500 in your first 12 months (see fine print for details).

Good things to know:

  • There is a maximum check usage limit with eSave. You are limited to 3 checks per statement cycle for each account type. If you write more than 3 checks per statement cycle you will be charged $1 for each additional paper check that posts to your account during that cycle.
  • If you cancel or close any of the eSave Account Package components including eSave Checking, eSave Savings, Internet Banking, eStatements, or Visa Check Card then you will lose the package benefits.
  • To read the rest of the fine print click here.

Concerning the Flip Camcorder:

  • The must be a brand new eSave account being opened.
  • One Flip Camcorder per household per 2 years.
  • Must open the account with $50
  • The cost of the gift is considered a bonus that can be revoked if the account is closed within six months of opening. So do not close the account for at least 6 months.  Otherwise you will be purchasing that flip camcorder.
  • To read the rest of the fine print click here.

Not impressed by this offer? Checkout our other Checking Account Promos. Or if you are into electronics checkout our iPod Bank Promotions.

Free Falling – Mortgage Rates – August 26th

According to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey by Freddie Mac mortgage rates have continued to free fall.

Currently Rates are:

  • 30 year fixed – Averaged 4.36% – Last week it was at an average of 4.42%. A year ago this week the 30 year rate was at 5.14%.
  • 15 year fixed – Averaged 3.86% – Last week it was at an average of3.90%. A year ago this week the 15 year fixed 4.58%.
  • 5 year ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) – Averaged 3.56% which was the same as last week. A year ago this week the 5-year ARM 4.67%.

The 30 year fixed and 5 year arm are based on an average of 0.7 points, and the 15 year fixed is based on .06 points.  Additionally the rates posted are based on an average from across the nation and may not necessary reflect the mortgage rate you will receive if you refinance today.

This is a wonderful time for those that have a mortgage to refinance to take advantage of the lowest rates this country has seen in decades. Hundreds and thousands of dollars are being saved by those able to refinance their existing mortgage to a lower rate.  The trouble for most homeowners is the lack of equity in their home caused by the current recession which makes them unable to refinance.

How will this effect the ecomony?

As for how this will effect the economy the opinions are being reflected as both positive and negative. Many believe this is just more troubling news for an ever weakening economy. Signs that things are getting worse and we are not on the road to recovery quite yet.

Other experts feel these low rates could put more money in consumers pockets due to the savings from refinancing.  This higher cash flow could help spur the economy on for the better.

Time will tell.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Top Free iPod Bank Promotions

iPod Nano, iPod Classic and iPod TouchiPods are a hot topic these days for banks to give away as part of their promotions.  That is why we have made you a list of each bank giving Free iPods for signing up with them.

Whether it is for checking account promotions or for other banking promotions many banks are giving away iPods instead of money as incentive to sign up.

The iPod Touch seems to be the most popular item to give away.  We have seen iPod Shuffles and iPod Nanos given away by banks as well.  It seems to me that iPod free giveaways would attracted some people much more than cash would.  The reason, I believe, is the same reason some people would much rather open a gift on their birthday than get a card with cash.

When banks pay you cash most of the time they simply deposit it into your account and that is the end of it.  You never receive anything, you do not get to open anything and all in all it is kind of boring.  But if they send you an iPod Touch you get it in the mail and you are excited to open it and start playing with it.  It just seems more exciting and plus it is a great reminder to the consumer that the bank sent you this great gift.

Personally I would rather receive an iPod.  If I got $200 cash it would just get lost in the shuffle and end up being used to pay some bill or go out to dinner and a movie.

So here are some of the top iPod Bank Promotional Giveaways:  (We will continue to update this list.  If you know of more iPod promotions please let us know in the comments.)

  • Bank of the West iPod Checking Account Promotion:  This is a pretty simple promotion to qualify for.  All you need to do is use your new debit card 20 times and that is enough.  20 small purchases is enough.  I called and spoke with Bank of the West about this promotion and the gentleman on the line told said, “You could eat off the McDonalds dollar menu 20 times.”
  • KeyBank Free iPod Touch Promotion: (Expired) KeyBank is offering a free iPod Touch for those who open a new checking account from now until June 30th.  Update: Even though this promotion has expired those that opened an account still have until 10-1-10 to meet all the requirements.
  • Please let us know in the comments of more iPod or iPad bank giveaways.

You can checkout our cash bank promotions on our checking account specials page.

Ally Bank 12 Month Highest Yielding CD

Ally Bank has the highest yielding 12 Month CD rate of 1.44% APY. With Ally Bank you can open a certificate of deposit with no money down, have no monthly fees and get their best rate guarantee. Ally Bank carries a Ten Day Best Rate Guarantee, which means that within 10 days of opening your account, if CD rates increase you will be bumped up to the higher rate automatically.

Ally Bank has a 60 days interest, early withdrawal fee for closing out your CD early. They also have a ‘No Penalty CD’ offer at a lower rate, but your money is not locked up for the term of the certificate of deposit.

How much can you earn from this rate?

If you were to deposit at least $25,000 into the 12 Month CD from Ally Bank, you would earn $360.06 in 12 months.

Ally Bank also has a competitive 5 year CD at 2.79% APY, that would earn $3,684.89 for the same deposit.

If you decide to invest into any Ally CD’s be sure to watch your maturity date, as Ally will automatically renew the account if it is not closed. Check out their current rates here.

Being Wise with College Credit Cards

College Student with Handful of CashIn the past credit card companies have been able to set up booths around colleges and universities nationwide and offer free giveaways to those who are willing to sign up for a credit card.

This is much like you see at a Major League Baseball game or at the county fair.

“Sign up today and we’ll give you a shirt.” (or some other piece of junk you do not need.)

Now the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act stops such action from credit card companies.

The act means that credit card companies, if marketing on campus, cannot offer free goods.  It also requires consumers ages 18-21 to prove they earn enough to pay the credit card bill, or be force to have a co-signer.

The issue is that students are not paying their credit card balances.  According to Sallie Mae 82% of students did not pay their monthly balances in 2009. This lead to seniors graduating with an average of $4,100 in credit card debt.

So if you are a college student here are some tips for finding the best credit cards.

  • Find Cards with No Fees: You do not need to pay any monthly or annual fees in order to have a credit card. You also shouldn’t have to pay to open the credit card.
  • Be sure they have online access to check your account: Use this access to track your purchases, if any hidden fees pop up and you are charged you will be able to deal with that issue immediately.
  • Do not sign up because of a “Free Gift”: Sign up because of the benefits of the credit card and the benefits of building strong credit.  If you need a new shirt or iPod shuffle just go buy one.
  • Ask about any extra fees there are with the credit card: Sometimes credit companies include extra fees for certain things related to payments, missed payments, grace periods etc.  Be sure to ask about these fees.  They are in the fine print, but they should tell if you ask.

Be wise about picking out the right credit card.  Credit cards can benefit your or hurt you so do your research and make good decisions.

Check out different types of credit cards here.

Redstone Federal Credit Union Jumbo CD Rate Offer

Redstone Federal Credit Union out of Huntsville, AL has some competitive Jumbo CDs that are worth mentioning. Although they have regular certificate of deposits they also have Jumbo CDs with slightly higher interest rates. For those who have at least $100,000 to lock down on a certificate of deposit, then a Jumbo CD at Redstone FCU might be the place.

Most credit unions have strict membership requirements but if you live in the Huntsville, AL area, you might already qualify. They extend their services to hundreds of small and local businesses and their employees. To see if you qualify for their not-for-profit credit union, you will want to contact them.

Redstone FCU has been in business since 1951 and has assets valued over $2.6 billion. They are also insured by the NCUA.

Redstone Federal Credit Union Jumbo CD Rates:

Be sure to check out the Redstone Federal CU’s website for the most up to date CD rates. They also carry an A+ grade with the BBB, check it out here.

When Will CD Rates Go Back Up In 2011

This Post Is Out Of Date, Please Refer To The Newest Post – Are CD Rates Going To Increase This Year – 2011

This is a question that is frequently asked and searched for. If people knew the time frame that CD rates would go up, they would wait until the perfect time. This is a question that no one has an answer for, so is it pointless on asking it? Well no, not for speculation purposes. If you are looking for a place to stash your money, then CD’s might not be the place, at least not in the near future. As long as the U.S economy stays where it is at, then interest rates, mortgage rates and even inflation rates will stay low. When inflation increases, so will CDs and mortgage rates.

While CD rates and mortgage rates are sitting at record lows, some credit unions are taking advantage of these times by keeping their rates higher than average. Credit Unions are smaller more personal banking institutions and while some have strict membership policies, some credit unions like Melrose are making it easier for the average person to join. Melrose Credit Union currently holds the top spot for the 12 month, 2 year, 3 year and 5 year CDs, all the while, major banks are lowering their average CDs to record lows. Just take a look at Bank of America’s CDs and their news release about dropping their longer term CD rates.

CD rates may increase starting in early 2011, but that is just speculation. As long as the U.S economy lags and continues its meager growth rates, interest rates of all kinds will lag as well. If you are looking for a place to stash your money, a savings account is probably the place to start looking. Having a high yield savings account will allow your money to earn interest and keep it free from being locked up in a Certificate of deposit. By being locked into a certificate of deposit with such a low interest rate, even if rates increase by the beginning of 2011, you will be stuck at such a low rate.

You will want to avoid long term CDs, such as the 5 year CD which is currently sitting around 2.60% and long term Bonds. Any investment that locks your money up at these low interest rates and does not move, will be an investment worth avoiding. Stocks and savings accounts might be the way to go until the U.S economy begins its recovery.

The next question that should be asked is, how low will CD rates go?

iGoBanking has a Great Small Term CD (3 months)

iGoBanking is offering a very good 3 month cd rate (in comparison to the national average).

Right now it is difficult to find a good short term certificate of deposit.  Rates across the board are low but short term are the worst.

iGoBanking has a 3 month CD Rate at 1.35% APY with only a $1000 minimum deposit.  This rate is better then a lot of 6 month cd rates we have seen out there.

Check out all our cd rates.

This offer is for “new money” only, which means you have to open a new account to get this rate.  There may be an early withdraw penalty as well.

iGoBanking is FDIC insured and you can visit their website here.

Are short term certificates worth it?

The answer is not just a simple yes or no.  Right now CD Rates are so low and this means the return on investment will be low as well.  3 Months at 1.35% apy is not going to produce very much profit.  Now, in comparison to other investments CD accounts are very secure, and when you can find a certificate with a low minimum balance like the offer above it is a safe way to produce small amounts of interest.

I would not suggest putting money in a CD like this if you do not have much money.  Putting money in a CD can lock it away for the term of the CD, that is if they have an early withdraw penalty.  If you are forced to withdraw the money you may forfeit any profits you had.

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