Get $100 Free by Starting to Save & My Credit Score Update

Start Saving – Get $100 Free

I was forwarded a link over the weekend that I wanted to share with everyone.  TD Ameritrade is offering a unique promotion that will give its customers a Free $100 for signing up and continually depositing money into their non-retirement savings account.  You can see the promotion details here.

The Fine Print

In essence, TD Ameritrade wants to promote the concept of savings, so if you deposit $100 a month into your account for 12 straight months, you will be given $100.  The account also has a small interest rate of .50% .  The interest rate is kind of weak, but if you are only going to deposit the minimum, you will still earn over 8% on your money for that first year.  For those that don’t mind opening an extra account to take advantage of a promotion, I say this is a worthwhile option.

My Credit Score Update

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Liz Pulliam Weston’s discussion with Jim and JD on the Personal Finance Hour.  Since that discussion I have signed up for MyFico just to watch my credit score (with a free trial) and to see how things change.  I was shocked to see that my score was in the high 600s.  Last time I checked it was around 730 or so from one of the credit bureaus, but maybe that wasn’t my “real” score.

Having a score of  692 was a bit of a shot to my ego, but that is a decent score for someone who doesn’t have more than a few credit cards and is only 24 years old.  I also had a ding on my report for a late payment or two from before I figured out how to handle my student loans and my finances in general.

The Decrease

About two weeks ago I received an e-mail that my score had dropped by 17 points.  I was flabbergasted! The only thing that had changed was that I had built up about  $2000 in credit card bills over an extended period (I changed the billing date of my Amex and it basically meant that my bill was due 24 days later, almost a whole month!).

The Increase

Just as Liz said, my credit score will adjust itself quickly.  I paid off all of my cards in full, and sure enough my balance jumped back up 18 points to 693.  An almost 20 point swing, both positive and negative, seems quite large, I will be watching for as long as I can to learn more about credit scores and I will report my findings here.  Take a look at the chart below to see how MyFico tracks your score.

My Credit Score Tracking from MyFico

My Credit Score Tracking from MyFico

I am debating about buying the MyFico service to watch my score and report.  I probably don’t need it, but it would provide some interesting perspective over the course of a year.  Has anyone else used these services for an extended period and has anyone seen such large fluctuation within one month?

7 Responses to Get $100 Free by Starting to Save & My Credit Score Update
  1. Angie
    July 15, 2009 | 5:04 pm

    I refuse to pay for any service that provides credit scores. Mainly because I do not need it right now. I probably will subscribe to one in the 12 months prior to buying a house. But that is years away. I do follow my “credit score” on credit karma. It would be interesting to see how close to reality it is.

  2. Brian
    July 28, 2009 | 2:32 pm

    @Angie – that makes a lot of sense. I like knowing the actual number, but i wish it was easier to get. There is very little information about my financial life that i don’t feel i need to have at my finger tips, and my credit score is not on that short list.

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