This bonus isn't much, but it's a fairly easy bonus to get. FNBO Direct will give a $25 bonus when you open an FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account and use your check card 6 times before December 31, 2010. They will automatically credit your FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account by January 14, 2011. This bonus is mentioned on FNBO Direct's home page as of 12/10/2010. Below is the offer's small print:
Limited Time Bonus Offer: If you do not have an existing FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account, open an FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account between October 1 and December 31, 2010 and you can earn a $25.00 account bonus. In order to earn the bonus, your FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account must: (1) remain open for 90 days, and (2) you must use your FNBO Direct Visa® check card at least six (6) times before December 31, 2010. If you earn the bonus, we will credit your FNBO Direct Online BilPay Account by January 14, 2011. This offer is only applicable to FNBO Direct Online BillPay accounts opened after October 1, 2010 and is limited to one bonus per household. This promotion is set to end on December 31, 2010, however, we may change or discontinue this offer at any time. The FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account pays an annual percentage yield of 1.10% as of 12/10/2010 and is subject to change.
I was told that it takes between 7 and 10 business days to receive the check card in the mail. So if you don't open the account in the next week, there won't be enough time to make the necessary six check card purchases.
I had reported on this same promotion in early November, but at that time the bonus wasn't listed on the website and it was only for those with the online savings account.
Cash Back Program
In that November post I reviewed FNBO Direct's new My Deals program for FNBO credit and debit card holders. It's intended to help you to get some cash back when you shop. For the ExtraEarnings Visa Card, the cash back would be on top of 1%-to-2% cash back that's part of the ExtraEarnings program. Please refer to my FNBO Direct Cash Back Program review for more details.
Online BillPay Review
The one nice feature of FNBO Direct's Online BillPay Account is that it has one of the better interest rates for internet checking accounts. The yield is 1.10% APY on all balances as of 12/10/2010. It's not as good as Alliant Credit Union or Incredible Bank, but it's better than most of the others like ING Direct and Ally Bank for small and moderate balances.
The one downside with this Online BillPay Account is their policy on ATMs. The only ATMs that are free are their own ATMs that have the circle 1 logo which are very limited to where FNBO has branches. On the website they mention the Plus ATM network, but I was told you may still be charged an ATM surcharge in this network. In addition, if you haven't maintained a $25,000 balance in the previous month, you'll be charged a $2.50 fee by FNBO for withdrawing money from any non-FNBO ATMs including those in the Plus ATM network. At the very least FNBO Direct should do what ING Direct does and offer free ATM use at Plus ATMs or some other major network of ATMs. For the case of ING Direct, you're not charged on any Allpoint ATMs.
FNBO Direct Overview
FNBO Direct became popular in 2007 when it launched its 6.00% savings account promotion. However, it also angered many customers back in 2007 when it put holds on some customer accounts when FNBO Direct determined the customers didn't comply with an employment history verification. I had an account during this time, but I didn't have this problem.
In terms of interest rates, FNBO Direct's savings account is now on par with ING Direct's Orange Savings. The rate is now about average for internet savings accounts.
FNBO Direct is a division of First National Bank of Omaha, and accounts at FNBO Direct are FDIC insured under First National Bank of Omaha (FDIC Certificate # 5452). For more about the financials of First National Bank of Omaha and more links of my previous FNBO Direct posts, please refer to the FNBO Direct rates and reviews page.