Friday, September 29, 2006

How to Open Your New E-LOAN 5.50% APY Savings Account, Part 3

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

e-loan took my money! wait, i told them to. nevermind!

Those two test deposits from E-LOAN hit my Bank of America checking account yesterday. (And as they promised, E-LOAN didn’t let me keep those 40-some cents.) I also confirmed that my opening deposit was transferred. I logged into the E-LOAN savings website, verified them, and that’s it!

For those of you opening new E-LOAN accounts, write down the answer to your security question. You might think that, as long as you remember your password, you’ll never need to provide the answer to your security question. That’s not the case! Instead, you’ll be answering your security question each time you want to make a transfer into and out of your E-LOAN savings account. So be sure to jot down that pet’s name, car model, or ex-girlfriend’s favorite soft drink for future reference.

As we speak, my HSBC savings account is being drained into my Bank of America checking account. Once that’s complete, the vast majority of my savings will be with E-LOAN.

My final initial thoughts on E-LOAN: Simple, easy, awesome.

Unless something big happens, this will be the last post in the series. Feel free to ask questions about the E-LOAN savings account here and I’ll answer them as best as I can.

(And yes, I said “final initial.” I’m an oxymoron!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How to Open Your New E-LOAN 5.50% APY Savings Account, Part 2

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

small test deposit coming soon

I received a lovely e-mail from the folks at E-LOAN today. My comments in bold.

Dear Nicholas [Please, call me Nick!],

Thank you for opening a Savings account with E-LOAN. Our online Savings and CD accounts offer the following benefits:

– The great rates you deserve [Actually, I deserve 100% APY!]
– Absolutely no fees
– FDIC insured

Within the next four business days [!!!], we will send [yay!] and withdraw [boo! cheap jerks!] two small deposits to and from your external bank account. They will be noted as “BPNA re: ELOAN”. Your initial deposit will also be withdrawn from your external bank account at this time. [Really, shouldn’t they wait for me to confirm my external account first before they take $5,000 out of it? What if I stole someone else’s account information? Honestly!] For your security, no further transfers or account changes can occur until you verify these deposits. [So I can steal someone else’s $5,000; I just can’t do anything with it. Ah.]

To complete your account verification, simply:

– Log on to your account at
– Click on “Verify”
– Enter the amounts of the deposits
– Press “Continue”

Please note that this verification must occur by Oct 26,2006. After that, we are required to close your account and return any deposited money and interest earned to your external bank account. This helps ensure your security.

Again, thank you for your business!


E-Loan, Inc.
6230 Stoneridge Mall Road
Pleasanton, California 94588
Toll Free: 866-576-7283

E-LOAN (R) – Radically Simple (SM)

More news on the E-LOAN savings account front as soon as I have it…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to Open Your New E-LOAN 5.50% APY Savings Account, Part 1

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

cracking open one piggy to feed another

My wife: Nick, are you feeling all right?

Me: Of course. Why do you ask?

My wife: It’s just that you haven’t opened a new online savings account in a couple months, and the last time that happened you came down with a mysterious illness that caused you to uncontrollably impersonate 1970s sitcom actors.

Me: What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

Yeehaw! It’s that time again. Let’s open yet another online savings account together!

This time, we’ll be doing some banking business with the fine folks at E-LOAN, the internet mortgage lender. As found on the Bank Deals website, they now have a 5.50% APY online savings account similar to those of HSBC (currently 5.05% APY) and Emigrant Direct (currently 5.15% APY). The only caveat with E-LOAN’s savings account is that you need a $5,000 opening balance. Also note that E-LOAN’s rate chart indicates that balances dropping below $5,000 only earn a 5.25% APY–still higher than either HSBC or Emigrant Direct. It appears there are absolutely no fees associated with the E-LOAN savings account.

Enough talk. Let’s get bankin’!

Opening An E-LOAN Savings Account

It’s really, really simple.

  1. Pick your type of account. Go to the application start page. You want a “Savings Account” opened with “5000” (or more). Pick your ownership; I went with individual because there’s an option to add a beneficiary in the next step.
  2. Fill out the application. As usual with internet savings account, you’ll need to fill out an application online that asks for a good amount of personal details. Hopefully you know your name, address, and the like. If not, maybe you should let me hold onto your $5,000.
  3. Supply your other bank account information. Like HSBC and Emigrant Direct, you’ll need an account with another bank that will be linked to your E-LOAN savings account. It’s through that account that you get money to and from your new E-LOAN account. Make sure this account has enough money in it to fund your opening deposit!
  4. Verify that you’ve read the Terms. Just check the first box. Only check the second if the IRS told you to do so.
  5. Double-check and submit! Make sure your information appears correct on the final page. Then hit the big button at the bottom and you’re done with the application!
  6. Verify two small deposits. Also like other internet savings accounts, E-LOAN verifies your external banking account by sending it two small test deposits. After a couple of days, you’ll see those amounts in your external account. Log in to the E-LOAN savings account website with your username, select a security image, provide your password, enter the amounts of those two deposits, and your account is ready for action… well, as much action as money just sitting there gets.

Once my account is open and funded, I’ll write another article detailing anything else that might come up during the account opening process. But so far, this was the easiest time I’ve had opening a savings account online. And at 5.50% APY, E-LOAN has taken the lead from Emigrant Direct in the online savings rate wars.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Punny Money Hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance on October 2nd

Author: Nick
Category: Money

keep this ticket

An event 63 years in the making: it’s Punny Money hosting the legendary Carnival of Personal Finance! If you’ve been living under a rock in a cave on the moon, then allow me to explain how the Carnival of Personal Finance works.

  1. People write personal finance articles.
  2. They send me the links.
  3. I post the links in an amusing format.
  4. Everybody loves me.

So if any of the above sounds good to you, then be sure to send in your Carnival of Personal Finance articles by Sunday, October 1st at 6pm Eastern Time. As always, late submissions will be tattooed on my butt, a picture of which will be e-mailed back to the submitter.

And you don’t have to wait for Carnival goodness because Canadian Capitalist hosted this week’s edition. While you’re at it, check out Free Money Finance’s Carnival of Investing featuring my awesome article on investing in barrels.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Barnes and Definitely Not A Bookstore

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

this is not a book

It’s been a few months since I’ve sung the praises of our Citi mtvU Visa card which has been earning us 5% back on all our restaurant, movie, bookstore, and intercontinental ballistic missile purchases for quite some time. Imagine my horror when our two recent bookstore purchases–totalling over $200–showed as earning a pitiful 1% back on our previous statement.

“Perhaps Citi ran out of ThankYou Points,” said my adorable wife. “Maybe it’s because we didn’t give them any You’reWelcome Point back.”

So in some spare time this afternoon, I phoned the ThankYou Network redemption hotline (1-877-7-REDEEM) in an effort to retrieve our missing 800-or-so points. Here’s how that call went, and I am not making any of this up.

Operator Guy: Thank you for calling Citi ThankYou Network. How may I help you?

Me: Yes, hi. I made a couple of bookstore purchases in August with my Citi mtvU Visa card that weren’t awarded 5% back in ThankYou points. I was wondering if I could have that adjusted.

Operator Guy: Certainly, sir. May I put you on hold for a moment?

Me: I’d rather you didn’t–

(On hold music plays for about three minutes.)

Operator Guy: All right, sir. Can I verify your…

(Seven minutes of verifying my existence omitted.)

Operator Guy: Great. Now I can help you get started resetting your password.

omg teh pain

Me: R–resetting my password? That’s not why I called. I’m calling for a ThankYou point adjustment.

Operator Guy: Oh, right. Sorry, sir. Let me transfer you to a customer service agent who can help you.

(On hold for a few more minutes.)

Operator Girl: Hi, how can I help you?

Me: Yes, hi. I made a couple of bookstore purchases in August with my Citi mtvU Visa card that weren’t awarded 5% back in ThankYou points. I was wondering if I could have that adjusted.

Operator Girl: Certainly, sir. Can I verify your…

(Another ten minutes of verification.)

Operator Girl: All right. Now you say you’re supposed to be receiving 5% back on bookstore purchases with your Citi mtvU Visa card, correct?

Me: Well, that’s what you guys told me when I signed up for the card. And I’ve been getting 5% back on bookstore purchases for a while. So I kinda just figured, you know?

wtf, citi girl?

Operator Girl: I’m actually not showing that promotion on your card.

Me: I’m looking at the Citi mtvU Visa card website right now, and it says “five ThankYou Points for dollars you spend at places you already go, like restaurants (including fast food), bookstores, record stores, movie theaters and video rental stores.”

Operator Girl: If you have documentation showing that you’re supposed to be receiving that bonus, then you can go ahead and send that into us–

Me: No, I think I’ll just talk to your much smarter supervisor instead.

Operator Girl: Okay, one moment please.

(A hundred moments later.)

Really Great Supervisor Lady: Yes, how can I help you today?

Me: Yes, hi–

Really Great Supervisor Lady: Wait, I’m sensing something. You… have two bookstore purchases for which you weren’t awarded the proper ThankYou Points?

Me: Um, yeah, how did you–

really smart supervisor lady to the rescue

Really Great Supervisor Lady: I have corrected your point balance, and I’ve also arranged for your favorite music band to perform for you and your wife live at your house tonight.

Me: You mean The Beatles?

Really Great Supervisor Lady: Yes, sir. They’ll be at your house shortly.

Me: But… two of their members aren’t alive anymore.

Really Great Supervisor Lady: You’d be surprised what Citibank can do, sir. Have a lovely weekend.

Okay, I might have exaggerated a little near the end, but that’s pretty much what happened.

barnes and noble, no books here, sorry

One serious item of note that came up during my conversation with Really Great Supervisor Lady is that, for reasons unknown to mortal man, Barnes and does not report itself as a bookstore to Visa. Hence the reason I was not originally credited with 5% back on that purchase. This makes about as much sense as not reporting itself as a pie seller. Heck, reports itself as a bookseller on virtually all of their sales, even if they’re not remotely book-like.

Oh, and the other bookstore purchase was from Montgomery College Bookstore. No, they don’t think they’re a bookstore, either.