I just called Advanta and confirmed that these rates are still valid. In adition, the CSR said they will remain valid through Saturday, January 26, 2008 (which is also stated on the rate table). To guarantee these rates, the CSR recommended that you either mail in a check or you do a wire transfer. They will guarantee the rate at the postmark date of the mailed check.
You can also choose an electronic ACH transfer to fund the CD. However, the rate won't lock until they receive the funds. So if the funds don't get received by Advanta until Monday, you may not lock in the current rate.
If you want to close the CD at maturity, you can choose either to have them mail you the check or do a wire transfer out. The CSR said there's no fee for either a wire transfer in or out (which is not common, so please verify this). The grace period, when you can close the CD without penalty, is 7 business days.
More details of the CDs are available at their Deposit Products page. All the CD details are provided in the CD Rules and Regulations PDF document (link on the left side of the page). The early withdrawal penalty is a little convoluted. It's either the greater of 90 days of interest or the "Economic Replacement Value" which is basically the cost that Advanta would incur to replace the funds that are withdrawn early by the depositor.
Advanta's Money Market Account
Advanta's money market account also has some competitive rates. The minimum deposit is $2,500 or $1,000 if you already have an Advanta account. Money market accounts can be useful when CDs mature. You should be able to request that they transfer the CD funds into the money market. Then you can write checks to fund other CDs or accounts. Below are the money market features told to me by the CSR:
- No monthly service charge for balances over $100.
- They do have an ACH transfer system, but it's cumbersome. You need to send in an authorization form for each bank to which you want to link.
- When you make an ACH transfer, you have to call to initiate a transfer
- Transfers take 2 to 3 days
- No fees for ACH transfers
- No limits to the dollar amounts for either deposits or withdrawals
- You can link to as many banks as you like. You just have send in a form for each.
- Statements are mailed. There's no online-only option.
- No support for Quicken or Microsoft Money
For those looking for a strong bank with good rates, Advanta may be the bank for you. Bankrate.com gives Advanta a 5 out 5 star rating (superior). BauerFinancial gives Advanta 4 out of 5 stars (excellent). Some statistics from the FDIC page: 845 employees, $2.3 billion in assets and $1.7 billion in deposits. These ratings and stats are based on 9/30/07 financial data. Based on this December 30th ratings downgrade announcement, their bank ratings may go down a bit this year.