Basics

Get a Bonus for Opening a Bank Account

But choose an account that makes sense for the long run.

When you’re on the hunt for a new bank account, why not pick up a few hundred bucks just for signing up? To lure customers, some banks dangle cash bonuses for those who open an account and meet certain requirements.

Chase, for example, recently offered $300 to new customers who enroll in Premier Plus Checking and make a direct deposit within 90 days of opening the account. To avoid a $25 monthly fee, you have to keep a $15,000 minimum balance in Chase deposit accounts or link a qualifying Chase mortgage. TD Bank’s recent promotions included a $300 bonus if you open a Beyond Checking account and have direct deposits totaling $2,500 within 60 days (one way to waive the $25 monthly fee is to maintain a $2,500 balance). The bank also offered a $200 bonus for starting a Beyond Savings or Simple Savings account, depositing $20,000 within 20 days and maintaining a $20,000 balance for 90 days. Other major banks that recently offered bonuses include HSBC, PNC and SunTrust.

Some online banks extend bonuses, too. Aspiration hands over $100 if you open a Spend & Save account (which combines features of a checking and savings account) and spend at least $1,000 with the debit card within 60 days. The basic version of the account requires no monthly fee—although you can volunteer to pay a fee that you think is fair to Aspiration, which donates 10% of its earnings to charitable causes.

Watch the fine print. Banks regularly change their promotions, so check the current details. Often, bonuses are for new customers only. And you may have to keep the account open for a certain period. Chase, for example, rescinds the bonus if you close your account within six months.

Choose an account that makes sense for the long run—if you end up paying a monthly fee, that could cancel out any bonus. Over time, you may earn more by choosing an account with a high interest rate, especially if you hold a big balance.

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