List of Banks/CUs "Good" To Have For Various Reasons

Lots of good content in this thread though some is dated.

Original post from robronson (aka ‘TripleB’)

In the past, opening a bunch of new bank accounts in a short period time was not a problem. In modern days, it can lead to adverse action as data mining/aggregation is more widespread, government anti-money laundering rules are stricter, and banks view this as risky behavior. Further, the account opening bonuses for many banks are becoming either non-existent, or much smaller. Thus, it may make sense to pre-plan opening a smaller number of bank accounts as small bonuses become available, not for the meager bonus money, but for access to the account. This could be for rate-chasing purposes or for access to best-in-class products one institution may offer over another.

For example, NFCU offers amazing 0% fee BT deals. They also, on occasion, offer a small bonus to sign up ($20 I think). It’s a good idea to have an NFCU account (if you’re eligible), but if you don’t need one right now, it makes sense to wait for the next $20 account opening promo, and then just sit on that account until the next BT deal. That allows you to maximize the bonus while spacing out the account opening to look less suspicious.

Another example is Barclays. They seem to offer really high CD rates. I’m not currently in the market for a CD, but I may be next year, so I’m looking for any small bonus to open an account with them. I’m in no rush to do so, because I am at least 1 year out from needing to buy a new CD, so I have the luxury of waiting for the small bonus, and spacing out the account opening from other accounts.

The purpose of this thread is two fold:

  1. To discuss whether this is a worthwhile strategy.
  1. To make a list of banks and credit unions for us to keep an eye for bonuses that might not be worth the Chex inquiry/hard pull for the $20 bonus, but might be worth having the account for actual use, and free money is free money.

If the consensus is this a good idea, we can keep the quick summary updated with links to other FWF threads as small bonuses arise for any worthwhile banks/CUs.

I’ll start:

Alliant Credit Union - offers a meager signup bonus on occasion. Has decent rates on HSAs and checking/savings account. Used to be one of the highest rates of any bank, has gone down over time, but is still very respectable and in the top quartile.

Navy Federal Credit Union - amazing credit card BT deals. Offer an obscenely high credit limit to people who probably don’t deserve it, which could be you.

Original Thread Archived

Quick Summary

Alliant CU (credits: robronson [OP], psm321, SpeedingLunatic, loheiman, )
decent rates on HSAs and checking/savings account
1-day ACH transfers
generous limits (ACH limits?)
Ability to easily create numerous sub-accounts (each with its own unique account number)

Ally (credits: fish777, scottybweyy, )
1% ATM fees worldwide
high end of the list for interest on savings accounts.

Bank of America (credits: bharatiya, qcumber98, )
Free checks
excellent customer service
convenient B&M locations without lots of people in line all the time.
great online billpay
Travel Reward CC with EMV chip & no forex fee
<censored, not relevant >

Barclays (credits: robronson [OP], )
high CD rates

Digital FCU (credits: stiltner, )
Free FICO scores
High CLs - $50,000

Fidelity (credits: qcumber98, fish777, )
Free checks
excellent customer service
no ATM fees
convenient B&M locations without lots of people in line all the time.
1% ATM fees worldwide

First Republic Bank (credits: fish777, )
(no fees) foreign ATM access

Lake Michigan CU (credits: Argyll, )
VISA 3% gas, 2% groceries, 1% everything else
Checking 3% APY up to $15K

NFCU (credits: robronson [OP], jaytrader, )
can’t beat $0/0% BT offers with SUPER high credit limits
Possible occasional $20 sign up bonus on BT offers

PenFed CU (credits: wraithtech, )
good mortgage rates

PSECU (credits: jaytrader, )
PLOC/VISA combo for utilization padding ($20k max shared line between PLOC/VISA but shows up as two accounts ($40k) on your reports)
PSECU is also good if you’re ineligible for NFCU
They offer $0/2.99% BT offers to their PLOC/VISA for typically 24 months (renews every two years for a December 31 expiry date for the next two years out)
Pro tip: “pay” your checking account from the PSECU BT request form and you’ll just get cash-money.

Redneck Bank (credits: burgerwars, )
debit card with smiling horse (seriously?)

Schwab (credits: TravelerMSY, loheiman, )
checking account with (no fees/rebates) foreign ATM access
no currency exchange fees
great customer service

SF Fire CU (credits: loheiman, )
ATM rebates worldwide
No Currency exchange fee
Free Coinstar machines in branch

United Nations FCU (credits: burgerwars, )
chip/EMV credit card


Schwab bank can be set up to draw on their brokerage account for overdrafts automatically.
This permits setting up automatic payments from lots of billers without worrying, and is very useful if you have 20 or more credit cards.

Bank of America account is needed to get the benefits of Platinum Honors or other preferred status from Merril holdings ($100,000 plus).
Their bill pay is good in that you can easily change the bank drawn on. My many BOA cards are set up to receive BOA bills to them, but paid from my Schwab account.

The original poster did not say why zero balance transfers fees are good. This is useful when another bank offers good deals on balance transfers. You can sometimes create a balance on one of these cards, and then take advantage of a good offer from another card.

Consumers CU (IL) - High-rate rewards checking (up to 4.59% APY for $20K). Cash-Rebate Visa (3% on grocery/convenience store purchases - $6K max annually). Ability to pay credit card with a debit card (details to be tested).

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For anyone keeping track of my alternate accounts once my main got banned on FWF, RobRonson was one of my last alts. Probably not hard to believe if you compare the writing style in this post to my others.

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  • Chase checking and savings is good to churn annually

I keep meaning to churn Chase but I enjoy the convenience of paying off my Chase cards through the checking account and they have the most branches in my area, which I do to occasionally deposit cash. BoA is good for Platinum Rewards but their interest rates are awful. Otherwise Alliant and Ally are my cores for decent rates and easy access, plus apps that aren’t larded up with lots of features.

Instead of keeping cash in BoA to qualify for Preferred Rewards, you can stash $100k+ worth of investments with Merrill Edge. They pay you a bonus too.