Banking perk: free music, gift cards
It's pretty easy to find the banks and credit unions that offer the best returns on CDs, money market accounts and savings accounts. Our extensive database of the best rates on certificates of deposit is a good place to start.
But what about yields that don't have an interest rate attached?
A growing number of banks are offering tangible perks and deals that may be more valuable than your current interest rates.
If you sign up for one of these deals, you will receive a 1099 tax form from the bank at the end of the year for the fair market value of the merchandise.
Imagine loading up an iPhone, iPod or computer with free songs you earned for your normal banking activity. A bank product called RealTunes Checking makes this possible.
Security Bank in Texas is one of the growing number of banks that offer RealTunes Checking. The bank will give up to $10 of iTunes credits at signup and $10 every month. To qualify, customers have to make 10 debit card transactions, receive paperless statements and access online banking at least once a month.
It's easy to find a credit card that will allow you to earn frequent flier miles as you make purchases. But did you know that you could also earn free airline miles from your checking account? And unlike airline credit card miles, these miles will accumulate without you building debt or incurring fees.
BankDirect is one FDIC-insured bank with an airline mile promotion. Customers can earn 1,000 American Airlines miles for opening an account and another 5,000 for signing up for direct deposit. It doesn't stop there. Mileage awards are also available for using direct deposit or online bill payment.
Usually you don't associate savings accounts with great deals. But hold on, SmartyPig is a savings program where savers can earn significant cash awards on gift cards simply by saving money. Savers with Smartypig set a financial goal, make contributions to their savings account and track their progress online. Savings deposits earn 1.35% APY and are held at FDIC-insured BBVA Compass Bank.
When a savings goal is reached, your deposit can be redeemed for retailer gift cards with additional cash value added in. Amazon.com (3%), Best Buy (2%) and Lowe's (3%) are just a few of the major retailers tjat offer gift cards with additional cash back.