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Need Help Starting an Emergency Savings Account? US Bank's S.T.A.R.T. Account Program Could Help.

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US Bank's S.T.A.R.T program rewards savers with $50 for the first $1,000 saved, and another $50 if they're able maintain a $1,000 savings balance for a year.

It’s hard to set aside money for an emergency fund, especially during tough economic times. US Bank has a program that offers financial incentive for savers and rewards customers obtaining and maintaining a $1,000 savings account balance.

The bank’s S.T.A.R.T program works by requiring monthly saving account transfers via either specified monthly reoccurring transfers, or set transferred amounts per each US Bank Check Card or Credit Card. Once you reach $1,000 in your savings account, US Bank will reward you with a $50 US Bank Rewards Visa Card. After you maintain that $1,000 minimum balance for a year, US bank will give you another $50 Rewards Card. Additionally, you can chose to automatically transfer any cash rewards received through the US Bank FlexPerks Cash Rewards card into your savings account to accelerate savings.

To take advantage of this program, you must open and maintain a US Bank package, which includes a checking account and a money market savings account. A minimum of $50 is required to open a checking account, and a minimum of $25 is required to open a savings. Of course, you must also maintain the qualifying transfer schedule for the rewards as well.

US Bank Rewards programs can be added to any checking account. The FlexPerks Cash Rewards Check Card gives Gold Package customers 0.25% cash back on all non-PIN based purchases, and the FlexPerks Cash Rewards Credit Card gives all customers 1% cash back, with Gold Package customers receiving an additional 0.25% (for a total of 1.25%). Gold packages are free if you have direct deposit, AutoPay or AutoInvest. Otherwise, it will cost you $6 a month. Basic silver packages have no monthly fees.

The interest rates for the savings account vary by region and are minimal overall (0.05% APY for money market balances up to $999 and 0.10% APY for $1,000-$9,999 balances for account holders in the Boston area). As such, this account wouldn’t be ideal for someone who is already a disciplined saver, but the program could help someone who needs that extra boost to get started.

Youth Bank Products Provide Lessons on Fiscal Responsibility

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Fiscal responsibility is a lesson best learned early, as a few mistakes in early adulthood can have long-term consequences. USAA offers several youth banking products to help teach money management, while still giving parents financial control.


It seems every time we turn on the news today, we hear another story about fiscal mismanagement. In order to permanently fix the rampant fiscal mismanagement problems in today’s society, not only do we have to deal with the immediate problems facing us today, we also have to think long-term and begin educating our youth about good financial practices so they won’t repeat the mistakes of older generations. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the average high school senior only scored 52.4% on a survey that measured their knowledge about basic financial concepts. Teaching youth about financial literacy now can help prevent them from bad money mistakes in adulthood that could haunt them for years—or decades—to come. 

It’s important to talk to children early about budgeting, debt, saving, and overall financial management. It may also be beneficial to open up a youth banking account for them, so they can get first-hand practice at banking while still being under the watchful eye of a parent. USAA has several youth banking products to consider, including a savings and checking account. USAA even offers a youth pre-paid card, so teens can practice budgeting and also get used to the idea of spending and budgeting “virtual money.”

USAA’s Prepaid Card has no set-up fee, no reload fee, no inactivity fee, and no annual fee. It allows parents to set spending limits on the card, make allowance schedules, add money and track transactions online. The card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted. 

The USAA Teen Checking account works similarly, only it also has free checks, free ATM fee refunds for up to the first 10 ATM withdrawals, and free debit card rewards (debit card rewards is another important education opportunity for youth). If you don’t happen to live near a USAA bank branch, you can make check deposits at a local The UPS Store through their Easy Deposits program. Since the parent will be a joint account holder, they will have full access to their teen’s account. 

USAA’s Youth Savings account also has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement, although $25 is required to initially open an account. It also refunds ATM fees, and it allows youth to see the benefits of interest income first-hand. Deposit account APY rates are available here.

USAA was originally founded to serve the U.S. military and their families, but their banking products are now available to the general public. For more information on USAA, click here.

Everbank Offering $75 Cash On Top of Bonus Rate Of 2.25% APY

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Everbank is offering up to a $75 bonus for customers who open a high-yield money market and FreeNet Checking account. That's on top of their 3-month guaranteed bonus rate of 2.25% APY. As the BestCashCow savings rate tables shows, that is the top rate in the country. After 3-months, the bonus rate drops to 1.25% APY for a blended 1-year APY of 1.51%. But even the 1.51% APY is the top rate.

To get the $75 bonus, you must open both a Yield Pledge Money Market and a FreeNet Checking Account. Both offer the 2.25% APY 3-month bonus rate. If you just open the money market, you receive $50 and if you just open the FreeNet Checking, you receive $25.

You must fund the Yield Pledge with a minimum of $20,000 and the Checking with a minimum of $10,000 and maintain the respective balance through 4 statement periods. The bonus cash will be deposited into the respective account during the 5th bonus period. So presumably five months after the account was opened.

In addition, Everbank pledges to keep your account at the top 5% of competitive accounts. The rate is locked at 2.25% for  three of the five months so you're pretty much guaranteed to receive a decent return.

Everbank has 4 out of 5 stars (Excellent) from Bauer Financial for its safety and soundness.