Remember, this is a Commoditized Business
When thinking of banking, you should keep in mind that almost all banks do the same thing. In other words, you’re going to find very little difference in the service over the long run. Most people simply use their debit card, deposit money via direct deposit or walk-in deposits, and expect their money to be there when needed. The banking industry is a commoditized business, and quite frankly, it comes down to things such as interest rates on loans and whether or not there are extra fees involved. One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is that they simply walk into a bank and open up an account without doing much research. Because they all function in a very similar way, you should the banks earn your business. As a result of the competition, many banks have started to use promotions to attract new checking accounts.
Bonuses Typically Work the Same Way
For the most part, banks around the United States will offer a bonus to your checking account after a certain amount of time. For example, you may deposit $100 in a bank and if you keep the checking account open for 90 days, they may give you a $100 bonus. It’s very rare that you get bonuses immediately, and because of this, when you read the list below, you will see the name of the bank, the amount of the bonus you could qualify for, and then the length of time that the checking account needs to be open in order to qualify for that bonus. Most of them simply deposit the money into your account automatically, therefore there’s not much to do to earn that money other than simply keep the account alive.
- Chase Total Checking: $200 bonus after 60 days with $25 deposit, account must remain open for 6 months.
- Chase Savings: $150 bonus after 90 days with $10,000 deposit, account must remain open for 6 months.
- Discover Online Savings: $150 bonus immediately with a deposit of $15,000
- Chase Premier Plus Checking: $300 bonus with direct deposit set up within 60 days. Bonus paid after 6 months.
- HSBC Choice Checking: $200 bonus after 90 days with a $1,500 balance across all HSBC accounts.
- TD Bank Checking: $150 bonus after 60 days with cumulative direct deposits of at least $500.
- Citizens Bank One Deposit Checking: $200 bonus after 90 days with a single direct deposit of at least $500 within 60 days of opening.
- Amboy Direct eSavings: $50 bonus for keeping a monthly average balance of at least $3,000 for 90 days.
- PNC Virtual Wallet Checking: $200 bonus 60 days after having direct deposits of at least $2,000 for the month and using your PNC Bank Visa debit card at least ten times.
- Santander Simply Right Checking: $225 bonus 30 after you meet the criteria of posting direct deposits of at least $1,000 within 90 days of opening the account.
- SunTrust Checking: $250 bonus 8 weeks after posting direct deposits of at least $1,000 into the account and making at least ten debit card purchases within 60 days of opening the account.
- Fifth Third Checking: $200 bonus with ten days of completion of the following criteria: Deposit at least $500 within 45 days and maintain that balance for 60 days.
Which One is Right For You? It’s a Personal Choice
At this point, you can see that many of these schemes work the same way. However, it comes down to simply whether you are looking for a savings account or checking account, and of course, what you’re spending habits are as many of them require a certain amount of purchases to qualify. Beyond that, you should also keep in mind that certain balance minimums are required and most of these checking accounts require direct deposits. In the end, I don’t know that the bonus will make a huge difference for you in the long-term, but it’s always nice to be rewarded for your business. All things being equal, look at the numbers in the list above and figure out which one is most realistic for you. At that point, simply fulfill the demands of the program and collect your free cash.
As most banks function the same way anyway, and of course, are all insured by the same federal programs, it makes sense to take the largest bonus all things being equal. However, you should always pay attention to fees as well, because in the end, those will have much more of an effect on your account than any of these bonuses.