Friday, April 28, 2006

Citibank e-savings: get $25 for online billpay

I openned a Citibank e-savings account earlier this month and received the welcome package days ago. I thought it might contain nothing important since I have been a customer with Citi for more than three years. So I put the material in my folder of "non-urgent letter" and didn't pay attention to it. Today I started to process all the letters marked non-urgent and found that actually there was something precious there. After the signature card, direct deposit forms and some rate chart, there is an offer for online billpay.

Starting no later than the calendar month after the month in which you opened the account, pay 2 or more bills each calendar month for 3 consecutive months online at citibankonline.com, $25 will be credit to your account within 90 days from the end of the statement period in which you met all of the above requirement.

If you miss the $200 bonus, you are still qualified for this one. Take a look at your welcome package for details.

No credit and debit card payment on Verizon.com

Starting from today, credit and debit card payment will no longer be accepted at verizon.com. There are only two options for you to make payment online. One is to make a one time payment from your bank account. The other is to set up the automatic monthly payments using direct debit. Of course it is also from your bank account.

According to the email sent by Verizon, you will only be able to pay with your credit card over the phone. Please be noted, however, that you will be charged a fee for that service.

Those change does not impact verizonwireless.com or verizon.net.

Currently both of my local phone and DSL provider are Verizon. It's been a long time that I have been considering the option of the naked DSL. Just didn't get a chance to call them. I sent an email days ago while getting an ambiguous answer. Anyone in New York area got the naked DSL from Verizon successfully?

HSBC online savings rate: 4.5% after Apr 30th

Just got an email from HSBC about the future interest rate

"We are writing to let you know that beginning May 1, 2006, your HSBCdirect Online Savings Account rate will change to 4.50% APY**. This is one of America's leading rates and still 8x the national average*, so you can continue to watch your money grow"

It's totally out of my expectation. I thought it would be something around 4.75%. Now two of the most competitive ones are GMAC and Presidential. Will do some research on those banks and see if I should open another account just for the 0.25% interest difference. Or maybe I would just start to buy some treasury bills. At least the interest is state and local tax free.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Am I missing anything?

Last week I introduced my blog to my friends in China but got reported that none of them were able to access it. Should I change anything in my blog setting? Or is it just that the blogger denies all access from overseas? Have any of you encountered the same problem? Any hint will be highly appreciated.

Open an EZ checking get $200 from Citibank

Citibank rolled out its e-savings account to catch up the rising interest rate in the internet banking competition. And yet in order to open an e-savings account, you must open a checking account first. According to other people's experiences, Citibank is pulling a hard inquiry on your credit report when you open an account. So what will me you think it is worth doing it considering that the rate is not that competitive? Obviously most people would say: a bonus. There you go. Citibank will pay you up to $200 if you open an EZ checking account with them and make 2 bill pays each month for 12 consecutive months.

The special code is CD3J
Deadline: 07/31/2006
Minimum deposit: $1500

Check the bonus terms yourself

To go or not to go, it's all your decision.

Experience on Transferring money between HSBC and Scottrade

I reported that I successfully linked my HSBC account and my Scottrade account last month. To make a test, I made a transfer from HSBC to Scottrade this week. Here is the detail story.

4/23 set up the transfer on the website of HSBC
4/24 fund was deducted from HSBC account
4/26 fund was deposited to the Scottrade account.

Seems the fund has been held somewhere for one day, the same way as the transfer between HSBC and other regular banking accounts does.

Unofficially I heard that Scottrade will have the ACH function by this summer. But the exact date has not been announced. With ACH, I believe that Scottrade will become more attractive.

Please note that Scottrade currently runs a referral program. If you would like to open an account there, drop me a line and I can send you a referral code. That way both you and I will get 3 free trades.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Where do you want to park your money next

The promotion period of ING has already ended. So will be that of HSBC in 13 days. Where is your next place to park your money?

As the Federal reserve keeps raising the interest rate, the rate competition between banks becomes more and more tough. It would be worthwhile to take some time to move your money around so that you could maximize your benefit.

If you are not in need of cash in a short term, you may consider lock up your money in a CD account. Bankrate publishes a list of the highly-yielding CD's. You may balance the terms and interest rate based on your own situation. Just keep in mind that you may incur a penalty if you withdraw the money before the maturity date.


Another option would be the online savings account. It offers the comparable rates with more flexible term. You can link it with your local checking account and transfer the money back and force to meet your own needs. Here is a snapshot of the current rates offered by some of the well-known online bankers.

HSBC 4.80% promotion rate up to 4/30/06
GMAC 4.70%
umbrella 4.70%
virtual bank 4.60%
Citi e-savings 4.50%
EmigrantDirect 4.50%
ING direct 4.00%
You can get a full list here