When you use an online bank without a physical branch near you such as Ally Bank or USAA for your main checking account, sometimes it’s helpful to keep a local bank account as a backup for what you need done in person at a branch. I use a Citi Checking account for this purpose.
I opened a checking account at Citibank in a Basic Banking package last October when the bank was running a promotion. The checking account has no minimum balance. One direct deposit and one bill payment per month waives the monthly fee. I set up a monthly recurring ACH deposit from my main checking account to it. I scheduled a monthly recurring bill payment to a credit card from it. These two transactions on autopilot keep the account free every month.
From the promotion, I received 10,000 ThankYou points as the signup bonus. It took a while but the points posted automatically.
For having a direct deposit and a bill payment, which waives the monthly fee, I get 425 ThankYou points every month. For having a linked savings account and setting up an automatic transfer from checking to savings, I get another 175 ThankYou points every month. Altogether, after 4 months I redeemed my 12,000 ThankYou points for a $100 Amazon gift card. I’m still getting 600 ThankYou points every month like clockwork. When I have 6,000 points in 10 months, I will get another $50 Amazon gift card.
You hear big banks are cutting back on free checking accounts. Here we have a big bank offering a checking account that’s better than free. You get paid $5/month for having an account with no minimum balance. Even credit unions can’t beat this deal.
Citibank is doing the same 10,000 ThankYou points promotion again now through April 30, 2013. Read the complete terms if you are interested. To me, it makes a perfect backup when you use an online bank for checking (Ally, USAA, Fidelity, Schwab, …).
[Photo credit: Flickr user bruceg1001]