Taking advantage of freebies from US banks


freebiesIf you haven’t known already these are the things that offer for free from most of the US banks.


1. Notarize services – have a document that need a Notarize service? Chances are one of the bankers are a Notarize public officer, and if you are a customer, they’d do it for free.

2. Cashier checks – don’t pay a fee at Walmart or A Union for a money order, cashier check serve the same purpose, and the banks will do it for free.

3. Free stock and ETFs trading – Bank of America – Merrill Lynch Edge (BAC) offers 30 free trades per month, 100 free trades if you have $20k in your account. If you are starting out investor in the US, you might as well take advantage of this option, especially you don’t do day trading, just buy a few stocks per month. Or you might even buy a basket of stocks. With anything, there could be hick up at the beginning to learn how to link you BAC checking account to Merrill lynch edge and have a hang of it, things should go smoothly.

4. Free checks and free checking account – once in awhile you might need to write a check because government agencies would charge a fee if you pay by credit card.
5. Online banking – you’d think it’s primitive to say this, but some people still balance the check book by hand, write every last checks to pay the bills. The online banking can make it easy and visible so you can keep track of your spending.

6. Big banks like BAC and WFC offer cash back on their credit cards with bonus reward if you redeem at $300 or more. For me I’d much rather receive the cash than the points.

7. Credit card monitoring – some banks would actually watch your charges in your credit card for fraudulent for free. You can sign up for extra services, but normally they have a system build-in to call you for suspicious activity. My bank froze my account temporary when I made a big purchase at Home Depot awhile back. I thanked them for doing that instead of screaming at them.

8. Free drafting – if you ever overdraft or get charged for drafting fee, just call them, they’d reverse the charge with no problem.

Do I miss anything else? What’s your country checking account is like?

Disclosure: I’m long BAC and WFC. I think at some point US banks are too big to fail, so they will be forced to break up. Merrill Lynch, Well Trade will be break off from Bank of America and Wells Fargo respectively. WFC and BÁC are trading at P/E forward of around 10. And I’m looking to add a position in JMP as forward PE is only 7. When the stock market are getting overweight with PE creeping up to 25.

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