November 28, 2006

Pay it forward

My girlfriend got this cool direct piece in the mail last week.

If she opens a Citibank® checking account, they’ll deposit 25 cents into the account every time she uses her Citi® credit card. Although the legal says, “up to $250 per year.” So great deal, if you use your card 84 times a month. But is it enough to make anyone switch?
I've had a checking account at Bank at America for years, so I signed up for their Keep The Change™ program when it launched. They describe it as an electronic coin jar, which is catchy. Every time I use my debit card to spend $6.15 on a Large Wendy’s® Spicy Chicken Combo – add cheese/hold the mayo, BofA automatically transfers 85 cents (my change) from my checking account into my savings account. The kicker is they matched it 100% for the first 3 months and 5% a year after that.
Despite the deal, I stopped using my debit card for every purchase after a month because it was impossible for me to balance my checkbook with so many transactions (even with their painless online banking.) Plus I looked like an idiot every time I left a tip, because I felt compelled to add on an extra penny to force the bank to match 99 cents. But just for that month's charges plus using it sporadically the rest of the year, BofA deposited a matching $35.54 into my saving account.
Anyway, I’m sticking with my Discover Card, which gives me 1 percent back on every purchase. I average just over 20 bucks every month.
It may not be the best deal, but it’s become a habit over the years. And isn’t that awfully close to brand loyalty?

p.s. Room 116 had a post awhile back about WaMu’s awful 3 cent promotion. You can read it here.

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