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The New WaMu Free Checking Account is Official

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The early info that was posted at Fatwallet was correct. Washington Mutual's new Free Checking account has all the perks that I listed in Friday's post. Here is the official WaMu promotion page. The best perks of this free checking account include:
  • Free checks for life
  • Free outgoing wire transfers
  • One free waiver of an Overdraft/Non-Sufficient Funds fee per year
  • Free Gold Debit MasterCard with Rewards - get a $0.03 reward for each debit purchase transaction up to $250 per year

Note, the debit card reward is only for point of sale type purchases and not for ATM transactions. This wasn't stated clearly in the early info.

The FW thread mentioned an interesting note regarding the potential to max out the debit card rewards. It would take over 22 transactions a day for a year to reach the $250 limit. It could be useful when you make small purchases of under $3 when the 1% cash back rewards would be less than 3 cents.

For those who already have checking accounts with WaMu, you'll have to go to a banch to convert it into this new checking account. According to one of the FW posters, you'll have to close your current account and open the new one, but you're allowed to keep your same account number. Another poster was told that the account will be able to be switched automatically on April 23.

Comments
8 comments.
Comment #1 by Nick (anonymous) posted on
Nick
Free Gold Debit MasterCard with Rewards - get a $0.03 reward for each debit purchase transaction up to $250 per year

Drive to gas station.

Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop...

Now, could I do this fast enough to beat my equivalent hourly wage?

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
That would be a tedious way to earn $250....

1
Comment #3 by kat (anonymous) posted on
kat
WaMu just ran the new commercial referring to all that stuff, before American Idol. They're going for the big audience.

I'm on board. :)

1
Comment #4 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Looks to be a major advertising campaign. Should give banks like Bank of America some competition. Hope it helps to push BoA and other banks to do away with monthly fees.

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Comment #5 by kat (anonymous) posted on
kat
Apparently, there is a reason (other than B of A's usuual MO of robbing you blind, whenever possible) for their (even for them)laughably low interest rates (& high charges).

It was all about their compliance with SEC rules in order to complete their acquistion of MBNA last year.

"Dec 14, 2005 -- Banks want to ditch you for various reasons
Bank of America has purposely lowered interest rates on its savings and CDs. The company specifically wants to alienate some people so they will leave the bank. Why would a company do that? BOA is trying to merge with another bank right now. Federal law states that no bank is allowed to have more than 10 percent of people’s bank deposit assets. Right now, BOA has more than that. So, in order to get approval for the merger, the company is trying to drop people. If you buy a CD at banks with the best rates, you can get 4.8 percent. BOA is offering about 1.4 percent. They’re trying to get people with bigger bucks to leave. Clark doesn’t get it. But if you have CDs at Bank of America, just be aware that this is going on. They clearly want you to go away, so do it! Put your money in a bank where you’ll earn more."

Excerpt from Clark Howard:
Dec 14, 2005 -- Banks want to ditch you for various reasons

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Comment #6 by Jman (anonymous) posted on
Jman
"Drive to gas station.

Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop...

Now, could I do this fast enough to beat my equivalent hourly wage?"


I tried it, and it takes about 45 seconds each time because the pump machine has to authorize your card. So if there's only 3600 seconds in an hour, 3600/45 means you can use the card 80 times in an hour. 80x$0.03 is only $2.40 an hour.

So yes, you will make more than your hourly wage if you live in Mexico or China, but otherwise it's a waste of time.

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Comment #7 by d_dangman (anonymous) posted on
d_dangman
"Drive to gas station.

Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop. Card. Pump. Stop...

Now, could I do this fast enough to beat my equivalent hourly wage?"

I tried it, and it takes about 45 seconds each time because the pump machine has to authorize your card. So if there's only 3600 seconds in an hour, 3600/45 means you can use the card 80 times in an hour. 80x$0.03 is only $2.40 an hour.

So yes, you will make more than your hourly wage if you live in Mexico or China, but otherwise it's a waste of time.


Some newer machines work marginally faster just as some have a fee that will turn the plan against you. Just wait for a pump that has a contract with WaMu so you just swipe and your good to go. No zip code needed and as long as its not reported stolen, its quick to authorize.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I bet the gas station that has to pay merchant fees would hate you for it though haha

1