Banks giveth, but banks also taketh away


Looking for a safe place to stash my money recently, I debated whether I should choose the one-year CD that currently yields 4.2%, or the free airline ticket for opening up a new bank account. Or should I open an account at the bank that will make a $100 donation to charity in my name, or the one that gives me $250 for referring friends who also open up accounts?

My choices are numerous these days, as banks battle it out to get my money. USA Today reports on the trend of banks offering airline tickets, charitable donations and even cash to drum up business as they search for low-cost funding.

Finally, one area where we can get more for our money. Now that more non-traditional lenders are turning into bank-holding companies (American Express being the latest), there's more competition for the deposits they need to stay funded, so plan on seeing more banks offering you more perks if you just hand your money over to them. It also means they'll bid up the rates offered on CDs, jumbo CDs and other deposits. I'm hoping they bid it up to a 5% yield; a federal credit union did just that recently for a nine-month CD. And if a positive return sounds better to you than an airplane ticket, check out Bankrate for the highest CD yields, updated daily.