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5 hidden costs of checking-account bonuses

The long term may be less rewarding
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The long term may be less rewarding

While $100 upfront sounds like a good deal, remember to take a look at the big picture.

McBride says some promotional offers require a new customer to open a savings account or deposit a hefty amount of money. If the new account comes with bottom-of-the-barrel interest rates, McBride warns that foregone interest earnings could offset the bonus just as easily as fees.

"Have your eyes open to make sure that you're getting the best deal and finding an account setup that fits your lifestyle," McBride says. "If you don't, you'll cost yourself money and frustration."

Before you accept bonuses, be sure to look around at other checking accounts. Bankrate's 2011 High-Yield Checking Survey highlights some banks and credit unions that offer interest rates above 4 percent.

Remember to compare interest rates with your estimated average balance to find out where you can earn more.


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