Get $100 Free When You Open A Checking Account

It’s always good to know about checking account promotions. Right now, Bank of the West is giving away $100 for free if you open a checking account with them.

To avail of the promotion, all you have to do is make an initial deposit of $100 and set up a recurring deposit of at least $250. You get to choose from three types of checking accounts that matches your needs.

1. Free Checking – The free checking account means no monthly service charges and no minimum balance required. With the free checking account you get to enjoy unlimited use of the Bank of the West ATMS, online banking with bills payment, free mobile banking, discounts on loan rates, unlimited check writing if you have sufficient funds, and much more. You just need to have $100 minimum opening balance, your social security number, driver’s license or state ID, and your contact details.

2. Choice Interest Checking – Although the free checking sounds really hassle free, choice interest checking will give your more earnings as you can earn interest on every dollar of your account. You get to enjoy the same services as with the free checking account but you also have interest rates that vary by balance tier. However, you’ll be charged $10 monthly but there is a way to waive it through the amount of monthly balance you have. Same requirements will be needed.

3. Choice ATM Checking – With Choice ATM Checking, you can have free cash withdrawals at any institution’s ATM for one year. This saves you a lot of fees when you withdraw in other bank’s ATMS. Plus you will be free from the hassles of having to look for a specific ATM to save some bucks. After one year, your Choice ATM Checking account will be converted into a
Choice Interest Checking Account. You get to enjoy the same services and the same requirements will be needed.

If you’re wondering where to open a checking account, why not try opening one in Bank of the West? Doing so will get you $100 free plus the usual benefits of a regular checking account. Promotion is available from February 14, 2011 to March 25, 2011.

Free iPod Touch Checking Account Promotion with Bank of the West

Bank of the WestBank of the West is offering a free iPod Touch for opening a new checking account.

To get your free iPod Touch you must open a personal checking account with new funds by September 3rd and either:

  • Set up a recurring monthly direct deposit of no less than $500
  • Pay 10 Online Bills
  • Or make 20 Debit Card Transactions

Check out all our Checking Account Promotions.

I placed a call to Bank of the West to get information concerning the promotion and the iPod you will receive.  The gentleman on the phone told me the easiest way to qualify for the promotion is sign up for the free checking account and fulfill the 20 debit card transactions. There is no minimum dollar amount per debit card purchases which means you can eat off the McDonalds dollar menu 20 times and that would satisfy that requirement.

All requirements need to be met before October 31st and the iPods will ship after that. Be sure your 20 debit transactions are completed before this day.

To open a free checking account you will need a $100 deposit.

This promotion is not available in all states.

If you live in CA, CO, UT, WY, and NV you can visit a local branch to open a checking account and qualify for this promotion.

Those living in AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI and WY can apply online to receive this promotion.

Bank of the West has 3 options for Checking accounts.  Ranging from Free to Bonus accounts there may be something for you.  The offer does not apply to second or multiple checking accounts.  Be sure to read the fine print.  You can go here if you would like to get more information.

Please take note in the fine print… The iPod touch® shipped may differ from the iPod touch® shown. This typically means that they will ship the lowest end iPod Touch on the market.  When I was speaking with the representative I was sure to ask about this.  The iPod is…

  • 8 gig
  • Valued at $199
  • unsure of the Generation. (but it sounds like a recent model… if not the most recent.)

Please be sure to let us know if you were able to take advantage of this checking account promotion.  And remember to share this with your friends via Facebook or Twitter.

Is Overdraft Protection Right For You?

Sometimes life can throw a curve ball at you and you find yourself on the boarder of over drafting your bank account.  Or perhaps your finances come down to the wire every month and over drafting your account is a possibility every month.  Trying to balance the details of life can be difficult and most Americans have faced an over draft fee.  So what can be done to avoid these fees when faced with this situation?

What is Over-drafting Your Account?

Instead of bouncing checks, banks now accept the payment and as a penalty for spending more money then you have in your account they charge you a fee.  The overdraft fee typically costs around $30-$40.

Here is one problem: Banks are cashing in from the overdraft policy. It seems better to be denied a purchase, especially a minute purchase like a cup of joe, is better then incurring  a $35 overdraft fee. But in the name of protection and avoiding embarrassment for the customer, banks institute the overdraft policy.  Quite a way to make an extra buck.

Computing Overdraft Fees

The issue of overdraft fees goes like this…

If you overdraft your account you get say a $35 overdraft fee, but it doesn’t start there.  Say your previous 4 financial transactions were $50, $30, $5 and $5, and you only have $70 in the bank.  Once processed by the back, highest amount to lowest amount, your $50 payment go through and now you have $20 in the bank.  Therefor the $30 transactions overdrafts your account and a $35 fee is enforced.  Followed by a $5 transaction AND another $35 fee, follow by another $5 AND another $35 fee.  That is $105 in fees.

How do you stop this from happening?

Many banks have the option to open an overdraft line of credit.  If you overdraft your checking account the amount you over-drafted will be pull from the overdraft line of credit (which is just like a standard LOC and charges interest).

You will be responsible to pay the balance as well as the extra interest charges on the loan.  If you pay the balance of quickly the “fees” or interest charges will be far less then the $35 or more you typically pay.

Although this is a good alternative to paying high overdraft fees it can cost you much more if you continually hold a balance on this line of credit. You will eventually pay more in interest then just a few overdraft charges, being as these LOC interest rates are typically abysmal.  Not to mention if the line of credit is used just once an annual fee is usually charged.

So do you have any other options?

Some financial institutions have a 2nd option for you, called a savings transfer.  In this form of overdraft protection you need a savings account at the same banking institution that you have your checking account with.  The two accounts are linked and when you overdraft on your checking account a transfer from your savings account to your checking account  is automatically made to cover the cost of the overdraft.

This option does not go without its fees though.  Typically a smaller “transfer” fee of around $10 is incurred for overdraft transfers. $10 is much better then $35.

The catch here is that you need money in the savings account that can cover the cost of the overdraft. If you have no money in savings then the overdraft line of credit is the better option.

The best answer for you.

Sure setting up overdraft protection is a great idea for those that have that occasional hic-ups, but overdraft protection should never be a long term solution.  If you are continually facing overdrafts in your checking account month after month learning better money management is the best answer for you.

Learning to keep an active budget and managing your money will save you far more money then overdraft protection.

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