Saturday, November 19, 2011

{Money Smarts} Generating Random Income, Part 2

A while back I talked about some really random ways that I generate income, like contests, surveys, and cash back sites for online shopping. Today I'm going to talk about how your bank can pay you more for things you already need.

Earn Interest on Savings AND Checking

Banks want your money, and if they're going to enjoy the benefits of having that cash on hand, why should you give that to them for free? Obviously you want to earn interest on your savings, either in a savings account or a CD, but why not earn interest on ALL the money you have at a bank?

Lots of banks are now offering interest-checking. The interest rate is lower than a savings account, but still--every little bit helps, right? Even 1% interest is as good as a lot of credit card reward rates.

Online banks, like ING Direct (who I've banked with for several years) and Ally often offer better rates, but you can easily shop savings, checking, and CD rates at all kinds of banks & credit unions online at sites like

Wait for Sign Up Deals

Banks are businesses, and they want to attract new customers just like any other business--which is why they often offer sign-up deals. So when I decided to get an interest checking account with ING Direct, I waited until they had a $50 signup deal. I got a referral link from someone, signed up, paid 3 bills in the first month, and BLAM-O, $50 credited to my account, for something I was going to do anyway.

Right now they have a $25 account opening deal through a referral (I will email you one if you want one), but I suggest waiting until Black Friday--they have great deals and bonuses on sale days sometimes!!

Note: Okay while you may be tempted to open a new account any time you see a bonus, keep in mind that in some cases, opening a bank account can effect your credit score, so, you know, do your research, and don't go overboard. :)

Watch for Bill Pay (or New Service) Deals

A while ago two of my bank accounts (yes, we have money at more than one bank... is that weird?) sent emails offering a bonus if I used their bill pay service. All I had to do was pay from there instead of my credit card or using a check, and I got a $10 bonus from each bank. $20 for paying some bills that I had to pay anyway. Are you noticing the trend? :)

A Few More Things

And while we're talking about banks, just in case you don't know this, you should know that:

  1. You don't have to pay a fee for banking. You can make one of those calls to your bank and ask them how to get rid of a charge, or you can switch to a bank with no fees (which is what I did, because our original bank kept sneaking fees back in for other things!)
  2. Lots of banks offer free checks. So look for that if you are a check-person.
  3. Many also offer free ATM transactions. Those add up fast. Online banks, which usually have no physical branch you can go to, usually offer free ATM transactions at ANY bank's ATM.

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