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Being the personal finance nerd I am, I am always on the look-out around the Internet for new tools to use to help me streamline my finances and take advantage of the many free money promos available.
One of these tools that I’ve been exposed to recently is MicroMaximus.
At a high level, MicroMaximus is a service that helps to reduce the headaches caused by the “nick-picky” monthly transaction requirements present in a number of the rewards checking accounts out there.
Now that I’ve told you about MicroMaximus at a high level, let’s take a look at some of the finer details.
Reward Checking Accounts and Bonus Offers
To be perfectly honest, when I first landed on the MicroMaximus site, it was a little hard to tell what the site’s tools were for, as I initially thought it was a bill-payment tool. However, with a little understanding about the nature of some of the reward checking accounts out there, it becomes easy to see how the site can add value to one’s daily/monthly life!
These rewards checking accounts offer super-favorable terms, such as low fees and HIGH interest rates. However, in order to receive these favorable results, you have to meet certain criteria. And, many times, one of these criteria is a minimum number of monthly debit transactions.
An example of one of these rewards checking accounts for my state of Virginia can be found at the following link – 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia – Rewards Checking Account Details. In order to get their free Rewards Checking Account, which offers 4.01% APY, you have to meet the qualifications described below:
- Use your Debit Card at least 12 times each month,
- And, complete at least one bill pay or create one direct deposit/ACH transaction and sign up for eStatements.
What About National Banks?
With the increased competition in today’s banking atmosphere, I am happy to report that I was not able to find any national banks that currently require a minimum number of monthly transactions for personal checking accounts (business accounts are a different story – see below). However, it is important to note that none of these are able to come close to matching the higher interest rates offered by the local banks. Even Bank of America, the bank with perhaps the least favorable terms of all, did not feature this requirement for personal accounts! Links to the banks I researched can be found below so that you can have a look for yourself:
However, many of these same banks offer business checking accounts and free money bonus offers of anywhere from $25-$200 when you first sign up for their service AND meet several specific terms during the initial account-holding period. Some of the typical requirements for business checking accounts and getting this free money are shown below:
- Spend $____ during the first three months of opening the account,
- Set up a direct deposit to the checking account for your paycheck,
- Maintain a certain average monthly minimum balance,
- And often, make X number of transactions each month.
For me especially, since I have so many different checking, savings, and credit card accounts, the third requirement can be quite a pain! And, it is this third requirement (and the monthly transaction requirement for local bank Reward Checking Accounts) where MicroMaximus can come in handy and help you!
- After you sign up for a new checking account, you request and subsequently receive a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover debit card.
- You then enter the details of your debit card (name, billing address, credit card number, expiration date, and CVV number) in to the MicroMaximus system.
- After clicking the “create account” button, you then can click on the “Transactions” tab.
- From this screen, you then can schedule automatic $1 debit card transactions at the frequency you need as required by your rewards checking account.
- The benefit of this is that you then don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re going to meet the minimum transaction requirement for your accounts since you’ve automated everything! Talk about a headache relief medicine!
- The $1 transaction is paid directly to MicroMaximus. So, in effect, this $1 is the per transaction price/fee for the service.
- Note: I had thought that maybe MicroMaximus was some sort of bill-pay service. However, it is not. It is simply a way to schedule small $1 transactions (paid to MicroMaximus) to fulfill reward checking account requirements.
Recommendations for How to Optimize Use of MicroMaximus
Since times are tight with the economy nowadays, and there is the $1 per transaction fee involved with this service, there are several things to keep in mind in order to maximize the value achieved from this service. These are discussed below:
- First, remember to exhaust all normal recurring bill-payment options.
- What this recommendation means is that you should first set up automatic payments on your rewards checking account debit card to pay your normal monthly bills before tapping in to the power of MicroMaximus.
- For example, let’s say that in order to get a $100 bonus for opening a checking account from Wachovia, you must make 10 debit transactions per month. I would first make sure that I link up my checking account debit card to pay 1) my Netflix monthly bill, 2) my electric bill, 3) my monthly donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, 4) my cell phone bill, and 5) my gas bill BEFORE using MicroMaximus to automatically schedule the remaining 5 transactions.
- In this way, you minimize the cost involved.
- Second, make sure that the cost of using MicroMaximus is less than the bonus/rewards you receive from your checking account.
- This may seem obvious, but I just wanted to emphasize it to be sure. You should make certain that the rewards you receive from your checking account are greater than your costs.
- For example, let’s consider the hypothetical example of a checking account bonus of only $25 that requires 25 transactions per month. Naturally, if you have to use MicroMaximus to schedule 20 of those transactions, it will cost you $20, and most likely wouldn’t be worth it. However, if you are going to receive a $200 bonus by making 20 monthly transactions, MicroMaximus would be well worth your while!
- See what I’m getting at? Just use your common sense and you’ll be fine!
I hope you’ve learned something about this new tool today, and definitely let me know if you have any questions.
How about you all? Have you ever tried MicroMaximus? What other “cool” personal finance online tools do you use?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.creditcarddeposit.com/guide/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rewards.png