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.
To me, it makes a perfect backup when you use an online bank for checking (Ally, USAA, Fidelity, Schwab, …).
[Photo credit: Flickr user bruceg1001]