Monday, January 30, 2006

HSBC raises rate to 4.8%

HSBC's view rate link shows the new rate for online saving account is 4.8%, although the main page still indicates 4.25%. The new rate has been confirmed by the csr from hsbc. The $25 bonus is still valid. Check out the application process.

Update: This offer is valid until 4/30/2006

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Got full $25 blink bonus from chase

On Nov 22nd, I mentioned chase was providing $25 bonus to promote a new feature called "blink" aka. pay without signature. Up to today, I completed six small purchases in a local cvs and got the full $25 bonus.

emigrantdirect increased rate to 4.25%

The interest rate war between online banks is still continuing. Emigrantdirect just increased its rate to 4.25% to match HSBC's rate. Considering the two days' interest loss in HSBC, Emigrantdirect becomes more competitive. Let's see what HSBC will react.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the place to visit before you hit the store

Just got an email from a friend, who recommended a good website for coupons.
Check this out: link

Don't forget your CVS extracare card

When I was applying the CVS extracare card, I thought that it was just like the regular frequency card in other grocery stores. You can use it to buy goods with discount price during that week. But it turns out I was totally wrong. When I was browsing the website of cvs, I found that actually the extracare card carried a lot of extra features.
(1) Extra bucks:
(a) You can earn 2% rebate on most purchases, both online and in local.
*Excludes alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid debit cards, prescriptions, and special order Home Health Care items, including footwear.
(b) Earn $1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions purchased.
*Excludes pharmacy items paid for in whole or in part by state and/or federal health care programs and prescriptions purchased in-store in NJ and NY, and controlled substances in LA. All online prescription purchases qualify to earn Extra Bucks.
(2) Extra savings:
Earn free merchandise when you buy participant products & Enjoy extra savings without cutting coupons when you use your ExtraCare card in-store
(3) Special programs:
If you have an account in Upromise and register your extra care card with them, cvs will contribute 5% of your nonprescription online purchase price to your Upromise account.
(4) Sign up their mail list and get coupons for extra savings.

By combining it with your citi divident card or chase cash plus card, you can save a lot for your parmacy spending.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

emigrantdirect is offering a new credit card

Just one day after ing announced its winter saving up sale, emigrant direct started to promote its new credit card. Before you read the fine prints, you may think it might be replace you other cash-rebate cards when you buy something other than those in 5% category (grocery, gas and phamaceutical products).
Here I create a summary for your reference:
(1) No annual fee only if you have an ED account.
(2) 1.5% rebate only if you maintain a 10K balance.(otherwise only 0.5% rebate)
(3) 6 month 0% apr balance transfer but with transfer fee. The transfer fee even doesn't have a upper limit after the trial peiod.
(4) rebate will only be credited twice annually.

Upon careful consideration, I decided to pass this offer.

Lucky circle: the winter save up sale from ing

From my precious post, you may know that I just had b2b tansfer in HSBC set up last week. I was planning to transfer all my money from ing to hsbc within this week. However, because Jan 16th was a bank holiday, the transfer request was scheduled on Jan 17. And the fund was deducted from ING on Jan 18th.

The interesting thing was that ING offered a big promotion right on Jan 19th: the winter save up sale (4.75 apr on all new deposit from Jan 19th 2006 to Apr 15 2006). How lucky I am! If I had made the transfer earlier, I would have already transfered my money to hsbc. If I made had made the transfer later, my money in ing would have become the old deposit and so I would have missed this promotion.

Anyway, in order not to lose the interest over the weekend, I just scheduled the tranfer back to ing tonight. Hopefully, it will be performed tomorrow and the fund will arrive ing no later than wed.

Don't miss this opportunity. If you want to open an account, drop me a line or leave a comment with your email address. I can send you a referal link. You can get a easy $25 bonus. Just please note that you must make a depoit over $250.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Open Process for HSBC online saving

On 11/30/2005, I mentioned a promotion for opening an online saving account in hsbc. Well,
I din't take action until 2006. Don't know why it was delayed. Vacation, holiday parties or just being lazy or scared by its tedious processing... Anyway, 25 bonus has been deposited to my new account yesterday. It's time for me to review the whole process.

1/2/2006 Finished my saved online application. Answered some wired questions that were totally unrelated to our credit report. I think I did the same thing when I requied the free credit report from one of the credit bureaus. Don't remember exactly which one though. Fortunetely I got passed right away. Then I filled the signature card online. There are two ways to verify the initial deposit account. (1) provide online username and password (2) trial deposit. I am not comfortable to give them my password in another bank and want to get some extra money. I heard that hsbc has always beem always generous than the others. So I choose the trial deposit.

1/3/2006 Two small trial deposit showed up on my local checking account. So I went to the application page and verified the two deposit.

1/4/2006 The initial deposit amount disappeared from my local checking account. And I found that it was deposited to hsbc account on 1/6/2006. Lost two days' interest!

1/6/2006- Received several snail mails including userid, password
-1/9/2006 and account numberrouting number. Finally I got logined on my account using the 20 letter-long id and 8-letter long password. You may ask how can you remenber those numbers. The good thing is that you can choose your own id and password after you login.
But, you can not be relieved yet. To set up bank to bank transfer, you have to set up a securrty key, which can only be typed by mouse. After that, it requires the atm car number and pin.

1/10/2006 I am in east coast so I think the atm card and pin
-1/12/2006 should arrive soon. But I was wrong. I checked my mailbox everyday but didn't received any mails from hsbc thereafter

1/13/2006 I called the customer service and they skipped that step for me. So I can initiate bank to bank transfer now. I add all my account except ingdirect. Again I choose the trial deposit instead of providing password. You even need to set up b2b transfer again for the bank where you made the initial deposit.

1/14/2006 Received atm card. Don't know why it took so long.

1/17/2006 After weekend and a bank holiday, the trial deposits showed up on all my linked accounts. And $25 bonus showed up in HSBC account. It's faster than I thought. Just 15 days after I filled in the application.

Incorrect Quotes due to Nasdaq Error

Last night Mr. Circle came back from work and told me that he found a weird thing in the stock quotes provided by scottrade. He had a conference call at 4:30. Before the conference call he checked the close price of our stocks. But to his surprise, when he was back from the conference call, he found that most of our stocks' closed prices became different. When I heard the story from him, I said "Maybe you are so concentrated in that conference call that you forgot what you saw before that". In order to prove he was correct, he pulled the chart and compared it to the quotes. Oh, my god. It turned out he was correct.

Then this morning when I checked out yahoo finance. I found there was an article written at 11:12am which declared the reason of those errors. I can't imagine what would happen if there was a price error when they execute your orders. Still "A spokeswoman for the Nasdaq had no immediate comment beyond the Nasdaq Operations notice sent Wednesday night. A spokesman for the NYSE had no immediate comment." Let's see what will happen.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Prepare yourself for the tax season(2): Get the software

Considering my simple tax issues, first I thought I would not need the tax software and I could continue using my 2005 money deluxe to do all my account management. However, the other day when I was browsing fatwallet and found a really good deal about the combination of these two software. You can easily get them with a negative price after pm and rebate. Yes, I am not kidding. You can get money back from this purchase. So I changed my mind. Why not grab one to save the hassle of the paperwork? Also with money, I can get free one year of credit monitoring. It's really useful for me to decide if I should take some credit card deals.

Here is the trick: you can order them from staples and ask for price match right after you submit the order. You can also buy them separately like 2 million did.

Prepare yourself for the tax time(1): Collecting forms

Tax season is around the corner. You may need a lot of documents and forms when you file your tax return. So it would be wise to keep them handy in advance so that you can easily reach it whenever you need them.

Basically, you will received the forms from different sources starting from February. So January turns out to be a good time to make the list for the incoming documents: employer, bank (especially when you have a bunch of accounts open in order to get the bonuses and promotions), brokerage firms, loan companies, mortgage and property tax (if you are a house owner), school (for the tuition payment) and so on......

Every year I have a big envelop for all these forms and write down the list on the envelop. Then I will cross it off whenever I receive one. This year I only got the dividend statement from the espp administrator so far.

Monday, January 09, 2006

5% bonus in health care spending

5% rebate on internet purchases ended on 12/31/05. There comes another promotion from discovercard.

You can get 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in health and wellness purchases through March 31, 2006.

CVS/pharmacy® RITE AID® Walgreens GNC Bally Total Fitness® Jenny Craig LensCrafters® Doctor Visits Dentist Visits

Enjoy and take care.

My new year's resolution

Seems a little bit late to think about the new year's resolution nine days after the new year. But it's still better than not to think about it.

1. Buy a house
We have been looking for a house since last May. Extended several offers but didn't finalize the transaction for various reasons. Now the housing market is cooling down while the interest rate is moving upward. It's really tough for us to decide when we should enter the real estate market and what price is reasonable.

2. Maximize 401k
Last year we made a big contribution into 401k out of our last month's pay check in order to catch the maximum limit. Luckily the stock market was in its yearly low on the day of contribution about it was in a high position? It was really risky not to plan ahead. So this year we still want to maximize our 401k contribution and will adjust the contribution wisely.

3. Open a Roth IRA account
We didn't buy a house last year, which allows more time for us to save for the downpayment. Since we already have enough money to pay 20% downpayment for the price range of the houses we are planning to buy, we can put the extra savings to the retirement account and save all the investment for the future. Even if we need some unexpected fund, we can still cash out our contributions.

4. Monitor credit report every 4 months
Now that the residents in New York are allowed to receive their credit report every year, we can take this opportunity to request a credit report from one of the three credit bureaus every 4 months.

5. Replace current cell phone plan with a prepaid plan
The contract of our cell phone plan will end in Feb. After checking the monthly usage, I found it was really a waste of money for us to carry the current contract. The prepaid plan may be the better choice for us. Still doing a research on that and will try to find a good deal in the next two months.