Having money automatically added to your savings account each time you buy something is one way to put something aside for the future.
Now U.S. Bank has come up with one of the best spend-and-save programs we’ve seen.
It’s more generous and flexible than other programs, allowing you to build a bigger balance and rewarding your efforts with up $100 in bonuses.
The “Savings Today And Rewards Tomorrow” or S.T.A.R.T. program is available to anyone with a U.S. Bank checking and money market account.
The program transfers whatever amount you choose — anywhere from 25 cents to $5 — from your checking account to your MMA each time you buy something with a U.S. Bank debit or credit card.
If you have a U.S. Bank FlexPerks Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card or FlexPerks Cash Rewards Visa Check Card, you can have your monthly FlexPerks Cash Rewards deposited in your money market account.
You can also arrange for regular transfers each week or month, corresponding to when you get paid.
There’s no limit on how many transfers you can make or how much you can move each month.
After you’ve accumulated $1,000, U.S. Bank will give you a bonus — a $50 U.S. Bank Rewards Visa Card.
Maintain a balance of $1,000 or more for a year, and you’ll earn another $50 Rewards Card.
Once you’ve signed up for S.T.A.R.T., your monthly bank statement will list how much you’ve saved using the program.
The average return on money market accounts is a pathetic 0.23%. U.S. Bank is paying anywhere from 0.15% to 1.0% on its MMAs, depending on where you live.
But that doesn’t negate the point of these programs, which is turn you into a regular saver even if the process is a little gimmicky.
S.T.A.R.T. allows you to save much more than a typical “Keep the Change” program, which rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar and transfers the extra coin from your checking to savings account.
It also allows you to set aside more than similar spend-and-save programs such as Wachovia’s “Way2Save,” which limits transfers to $1 per transaction.