Several online brokers now provide checking account services with their brokerage accounts. A popular one is Charles Schwab and its Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking. Also popular is Fidelity Cash Management Account. Both offer FDIC-insured accounts, no monthly fees, free checks and ATM fee reimbursements. TD Ameritrade has joined in with its Online Cash Services. Like Schwab and Fidelity, TD Ameritrade offers FDIC protection, no monthly fees, free checks and ATM fee reimbursements. TD Ameritrade is now offering an extra incentive for its Online Cash Services. TD Ameritrade brokerage customers can receive up to $200 for opening the Online Cash Services account and performing the following activities:
- $100 for making 4 debit card purchases valued at a minimum of $10 each by 3/31/12
- $100 for using online bill pay to pay 4 bills totaling $100 by 3/31/12
Here's the link to the TD Ameritrade promotion page link. Credit for this find goes to FW member dzyr4tt who posted it in this FW thread. Below is the offer's small print. Note, it requires bill pay payments "be made to valid, third-party service providers or merchants".
Offer valid for TD Ameritrade clients who sign up for a TD Ameritrade Visa® debit card and/or bill pay by 3/31/12. Clients who successfully sign up for the TD Ameritrade Visa® debit card and make 4 purchases valued at a minimum of $10 each by 3/31/12 will receive $100 cash. Clients who successfully enroll in TD Ameritrade’s bill pay service and pay 4 bills totaling $100 by 3/31/12 will receive $100 cash. Bill pay payments must be made to valid, third-party service providers or merchants. Any bill pay transactions prior to 1/15/12 will not be counted toward the offer. Offer is not transferable and not valid with IRAs or other tax-exempt accounts, accounts using the Amerivest service, or TD Ameritrade Institutional accounts. Offer not valid for existing debit card holders or bill pay users. ATM withdrawals do not qualify as valid purchases. Please allow 2-3 weeks from the date TD Ameritrade receives your request for Online Cash Services to receive your debit card. The $100 credits will be applied to the account 5-7 business days from offer end date of 3/31/12. Limit one debit card offer and one bill pay offer per account. TD Ameritrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer at any time. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. (Offer code: OCSDBT100 & OCSBP100).
If you don't have a TD Ameritrade brokerage account, you should be able to open one and then take advantage of this promotion. There are also promotions for opening a new TD Ameritrade brokerage account. The FW thread lists several partner offers that allow you to earn Airline miles such as Delta SkyMiles, United MileagePlus and American Airlines AAdvantage. There's also an offer in which you can get a cash bonus of between $100 and $600 based on the amount you fund the brokerage account with.
Money in the brokerage account isn't FDIC insured unless you invest in brokered CDs or other FDIC-insured accounts. TD Ameritrade CD Center page describes the brokered CDs that you can purchase with your brokerage account.
TD Ameritrade provides an Insured Deposit Account (IDA) for its Online Cash Service. According to TD Ameritrade's small print:
Cash in the IDA is held at TD Bank, N.A., TD Bank USA, N.A., or both. Assets at each bank will be eligible for FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 per depositor. Because there are two banks in the IDA program, IDA balances could be covered for up to $500,000 per depositor. TD Bank N.A. and TD Bank USA, N.A. are affiliates of TD Ameritrade.
One downside with TD Ameritrade's IDA is that the interest rate is very low (0.01% rate). This is actually a downside with all the checking accounts from the online brokers. Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking used to offer a competitive interest rate. It's now very low with a rate of 0.10% as of 2/10/2012.