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Banks push savings bonuses

By David McMillin ·
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Thinking of opening a savings account? Plenty of banks are looking for your business, and they're willing to sweeten the deal.

According to a survey from Chicago-based marketing consultant firm Mintel Comperemedia, 40 percent of all offers to open a new savings account in 2012 included some kind of incentive. Those incentives include cash bonuses or higher interest rates for larger deposits.

Despite a low-rate climate, many customers are still looking for low-risk places to save, says Susan Wolfe, vice president of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia.

"Savings accounts haven't been actively promoted over the past several years, likely due to low interest rates," Wolfe said in a statement. "That doesn't mean, however, that the product has completely lost its appeal."

To boost that appeal, some financial institutions are offering $25 to $250to open a new account. Those cash bonuses are often found at big banks, which are facing new competition from online banks that are able to offer higher interest rates due to lower overhead expenses.

While some extra cash always sounds nice, account holders must research the potential strings attached to savings accounts. That bonus can quickly be offset if you have to fork over monthly maintenance fees for failing to meet minimum balance requirements. Many savings-account deals are relationship-based, which means you have to open a checking account at the same institution to qualify for promotional deals.

Have you been tempted by cash bonus offers from a bank? Is $250 enough to entice you to open a new savings account?

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