Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Update on WaMu's Money Market Savings Account and CD Promotion


Update 9/26/08: WaMu closed. JPMorgan Chase acquires WaMu's banking operations. Please refer to this post for more details.

Washington Mutual has increased the bonus rate of its Money Market Savings Promotion. The yield is now 4.00% APY for balances of at least $25,000. The yield includes a bonus rate of 1.12%, and this bonus rate is guaranteed for the first year for balances of $25,000 and above. When I first reported on this promotion, the yield was 3.60% APY with a bonus rate of only 0.74%.

It doesn't seem to be listed at the website. A reader mentioned seeing it advertised at a branch in Brooklyn. It's also being advertised in a Southern California newspaper. The ad is available online here.

In addition to this money market promotion, the ad also lists a 4.50% APY CD with terms from 13 to 17 months. The minimum deposit is $1,000. This is similar to the online CDs that I reported on yesterday. For those who prefer to open the CD at a financial center or who want a little longer term, this advertised CD may be a better option.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there a few details that hurt this money market promotion. Here are some of the important details:
  • 4.00% APY is only for balances of $25K and over. Rates for balances under $25K are much lower.
  • The 4.00% APY is composed of two parts: a rate bonus of 1.12% and a base rate
  • Rate bonus of 1.12% is guaranteed for 12 months for balances over $25K
  • Base rate is not guaranteed and is variable
  • There's a $15 monthly fee for balances under $25K
  • New money is required
  • Checking account is required
  • Can't be opened online. Can be opened by phone or at a branch.
  • May not be available in all states.
Those who don't want to worry about minimum balances and potential monthly fees, WaMu's Online Savings Account is a better deal. WaMu just recently increased the yield to 3.75% APY on all balances (see post).

As I recommend with any bank, make sure you stay under the FDIC limits. WaMu is FDIC insured under two banks: Washington Mutual Bank FSB and Washington Mutual Bank. Washington Mutual Bank appears to be the main bank which holds most of the deposits.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me info on this promotion.

  Tags: New York, money market accounts, California, CD rates

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Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
I received this from Emigrant DIrcet (also known as Banco Fortuna). They also called me at home last night to tell me about the change. It all seems very unorthodox for a bank.

Dear Valued Customer:

We are proud to announce that as of August 8, 2008, BancoFortuna will become DollarSavingsDirect. In connection with this change, you will be awarded with a higher annual percentage yield of 3.75%, the highest rate for a no fee online savings account.

As a valued customer, we assure you that you will continue to receive the highest quality customer service along with the benefits of our state-of-the-art online banking and security systems. For your added convenience, your account number will remain the same and you will continue to use your current User ID and password to access your account at

The first time you log in to you will be prompted to complete a one-time enrollment process where you will select a new security image and phrase to ensure the most secure online banking experience. Our toll-free telephone number will remain the same so please feel free to contact us at 1-866-395-8693, seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 11:30 PM Eastern Time.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

Howard P. Milstein

Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
This is a good deal and I believe Wamu will be around for a few years (and maybe more than that). I was interested in a historical profile of interest rates, so I checked the federal reserve website and found these ratesfor a 6 month CD...hope this helps everyone:

1964, 4.03
1965, 4.45
1966, 5.60
1967, 5.19
1968, 5.97
1969, 7.34
1970, 7.64
1971, 5.21
1972, 5.01
1973, 9.05
1974, 10.02
1975, 6.90
1976, 5.63
1977, 5.91
1978, 8.60
1979, 11.42
1980, 12.94
1981, 15.79
1982, 12.57
1983, 9.28
1984, 10.71
1985, 8.24
1986, 6.50
1987, 7.01
1988, 7.91
1989, 9.08
1990, 8.17
1991, 5.91
1992, 3.76
1993, 3.28
1994, 4.96
1995, 5.98
1996, 5.47
1997, 5.73
1998, 5.44
1999, 5.46
2000, 6.59
2001, 3.66
2002, 1.81
2003, 1.17
2004, 1.74
2005, 3.73
2006, 5.24
2007, 5.23

Comment #4 by Sofa King Frustrated (anonymous) posted on
Sofa King Frustrated
1981 was a very good year indeed.

Comment #6 by David (anonymous) posted on
Called my local branch here in Houston, TX and they said that the base rate was 2.89 (8/8/2008) and the total rate was 3.70. CSR mentioned that the bonus rate (0.81) was good for a year.

Was wishing I could get the high CA bonus rate

Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
i gave my son $1,500 when he was born in 1978 and want to know what it would be worth now if it was invested in cds for all of this time..

Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
a checking account is required for the branch CD. What's what the CSR and the branch manager CD.