$25 bonus for opening an ING Direct account

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

For the dozen beings on this planet that don’t already have one, you can get a $25 bonus when opening an ING Direct account with $250 or more. To get the bonus, you must be a first time account holder and use a valid reference code.

ING Direct was one of the first in the online savings game, and pays a good rate relative to traditional banks (4.5% APY), although not nearly as good as some other online outfits like FNBO Direct and EmigrantDirect. However, some people take comfort in the size of ING Direct (it pretty well dwarfs all its competitors) and they probably have the most user-friendly website out there. Even if you don’t use ING Direct for most of your savings, you can’t beat the instant 10% return on a $250 investment!

If you would like me to send you a bonus code, please email me at billyoceanseleven(AT)sbcglobal.net, or just leave a comment on this post with a valid email and I’ll get you hooked up. In the interest of full disclosure, I do get $10 for each referral. =)


August 10, 2007 Posted by | Deals, Savings | Leave a comment

Weird stuff from FNBO Direct

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I had to go out Jersey for the beginning of the week, and then fell ill Wednesday evening, so I haven’t had a lot of time this week.

Anyway, this morning I had a weird email from FNBO Direct. As many of you know, FNBO Direct is one of the new online banks offering high yield savings, currently at 6.0% APY through September 30. They sent me an email this morning saying that I did not include my employment information on my initial account application as required by the USA Patriot Act and they had previously tried to contact me to update this information. As I had not responded to their prior email, they had frozen my account until I contacted them with the information.

Since I had not received a prior email for the information, I was pretty irate at the idea of them freezing my account. So I tried calling them this afternoon to get the issue resolved, waited on hold for about 20 minutes, and then hung up. Right after I hung up I got another email from them saying the initial email was sent in error and they apologized for the inconvenience.

I guess in the end there was no real harm, but it makes you wonder about how FNBO Direct is being run. It makes me doubt whether I will keep any money there after the promo rate expires.

August 10, 2007 Posted by | Customer Service, Savings | Leave a comment

Move over HSBC – Here comes FNBO Direct at 6.0% APY!

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Happy day! Just when I thought the days of 6.0% APY were over, here comes FNBO Direct with their own 6.0% APY promo rate, valid until 9/28/2007. The account has no minimums and no fees, and the application process was relatively painless. The application took about 10 minutes to complete and the only issues were that they required date of issuance for the drivers license (Texas licenses do not have date of issuance printed, only date of expiration) and they couldn’t link my account at Presidential Bank using my online credentials (although the last account I opened online couldn’t either, so it is probably an issue with Presidential). I just estimated the date of issuance and the application went through fine.

In case you are curious, that loud sucking sound you heard today was the sound of millions of dollars being pulled out of HSBC after they ended their 6.0% APY promo yesterday. Sorry HSBC, but if you want to be competitive and keep our money you have to do better than 5.05%!

Special thanks to our friends at Bank Deals for posting about this deal.

May 2, 2007 Posted by | Savings | Leave a comment

Life after HSBC 6.0% APY – Where to next?

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

I am a complete interest rate whore when it comes to my savings. Over the past couple of years I have moved my excess funds from ING to Emigrant Direct back to ING to Presidential Bank to Emigrant Direct back to ING to ELoan to Presidential again and then back to HSBC. The only reason it is in HSBC Internet Savings is that they are paying 6.0% APY through April 30, after which it goes to whatever their normal rate is (looks like it will be 5.05%). The obvious question now will be where to move the funds after the promo is over? There is a discussion on the topic over at FW Finance here.

It looks like the winner will probably be AmTrust Direct, which is currently offering 5.36% APY. The nice thing about this account is there are no fees and no minimum balance requirements. The only minimum is $1,000 to open. There is a good summary of the current rates here.

The funny thing is that it seems to be the norm for online banks to thumb their noses at current customers. In the HSBC promo as well as a promotion ING ran last year, the promotional rate is good only on new deposits. If you held money elsewhere because the rate was marginally higher, this was such a great opportunity. If you were actually loyal to HSBC or ING in these instances, the message is “Sorry you dumb bastard! Even though you have been a good customer to us we would prefer to reward customers that will probably take their money in a few months when we kill this promo.” Doesn’t exactly seem like a good way to build customer loyalty, does it?

April 12, 2007 Posted by | Savings | Leave a comment

Online Personal Finance Tutorials from the LDS (Mormon) Church

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

It isn’t my intention to make my religion part of my personal finance blog, but I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more popularly known as the Mormon Church. One of the topics that has been mentioned on several occasions by the leaders of our church is prudent resource management, including prudent management of financial resources (money). Understandable considering that the rate of bankruptcy filings in Utah (home of a large percentage of the membership of the LDS Church) is one of the highest in the country. The Church has published various guides and pamphlets on the topic, and has even started a website dedicated to resource management called ProvidentLiving.org.

One of the newest resources on this website is an online tutorial discussing the basics of personal finance. The tutorial does have an LDS flavor to it (as would be expected), discussing concepts like tithing and including quotes from various LDS Church leaders. However, the tutorial has a lot of great information for members and non-members alike. The tutorial can be found online at:


April 2, 2007 Posted by | Basics, Debt, Education, Religion, Savings | Leave a comment