Disclaimer: I am not a licensed financial adviser and the information in this article is not meant to be individualized financial advice. Everyone’s situation is different so if you are unsure about what to do with your funds, please seek an adviser that can consider your own individual case and make recommendations to you. Some of the links in this post are my personal referral links and we will both receive bonuses if you sign up through them.
Bank account bonuses can be much easier to complete than credit card bonuses. There are usually no spending requirements associated with bank account bonuses. Most of the bonuses involve making direct deposits or performing a certain number of transactions. Both of these should be easy for most people, but they can be made a little easier if those things are not feasible for you. For example, transfers from one bank to another, also referred to as an ACH push, often count as a direct deposit which makes that requirement easy to meet. Debit card transactions can easily be completed by buying very small denomination Amazon gift cards. Occasionally, some bank accounts will require keeping the account open for a certain period of time in order to keep the bonus, and there also may be a monthly fee charged if certain criteria are not met.
I am always willing to put in a little effort to grab the low hanging fruit, and that’s what I consider bank account bonuses to be. The bonuses are usually not as high as the credit card offers, but I still made around $1000 (between cash and gift cards) in the past six months from various bank account bonuses. This is nothing to scoff at in my opinion and can easily add up to a substantial amount toward financial independence. Many bank account bonuses are only available in certain states or regions, but some are available nationwide depending on the bank. Below I will discuss the bonuses that I have completed and were the least hassle.
Citigold Checking: Although this account involves some hassle and fees, I would consider it to be the most lucrative that I have completed to this point, which is why I have it listed first. There are two separate offers currently, one for 50,000 American Airlines miles and one for 40,000 Citi Thank You points. Which one you choose will be based on your goals and future travel plans. I chose the 40,000 Citi points which turned into $400 worth of Target gift cards. For many, the AA miles could be worth much more than this if redeemed for business or first class international flights.
Santander Checking: This bonus was very easy to complete and is worth $150 in cashback. The only requirements are to have $500 in direct deposits and keep the account open for 90 days. This one is definitely worth it in my opinion if you have easy access to changing your direct deposit to a new bank. For more information, here is a great article about the bonus and requirements: http://www.doctorofcredit.com/santander-150-checking-bonus/
Discover Bank Savings: Discover bank has been my primary checking and savings accounts for the past year or so due to good customer service and a decent interest rate (.95%) on their savings account. They are currently offering a $100 bonus on their savings account. This bonus will be difficult to complete for many because it requires a deposit of $15,000 into the account. Considering that is the only requirement, it is very easy to complete if you have the money available in another savings account. Simply open the account, move the money in and wait. After the bonus posts, you can always take the money back out, but if this money is part of your emergency fund, it may be worth it to leave it in the account for the interest which is better than most other traditional savings accounts.
Suntrust: This offer is not available in all states so click the link to see if you are eligible. It only takes $2,000 worth of direct deposits in the first 60 days in order to get $200 cashback on this checking account. They also offer a savings account with a $50 bonus when you deposit $5,000 into the account. To save some hassle, both of these accounts can be opened at the same time. I only opened the checking account because the savings account offer was not available when I opened the account, but the process was very smooth and I have already received the bonus.
Netspend: Although the sign-up offer on this account isn’t huge, I think it is a very good account for most people to sign up for. Netspend is a high yield savings account that I recommend to everyone. These days, when most people talk about “high yield” on savings account, they are still referring to an interest rate below 1%, or if you’re lucky, a little over 1%. Netspend offer 5% on their savings account currently which blows most others out of the water. The reason that they are able to offer such a high rate in today’s environment is the fact that they make money off of purchases made with an associated prepaid debit card. This does not apply to you if you don’t use the debit card and instead choose to leave your money in the savings account to reap the reward of the high interest rate. In addition to the high interest rate, they also offer a $20 sign-up bonus if you go through a referral link for the account and deposit $40 or more (mine is included above). The one catch with this account though, is that you can only earn the 5% interest on a balance of $5,000 or less. In my opinion, this is still a significant amount and I choose to keep my emergency fund in this account instead of in a savings account earning 1%. There are a few other accounts similar to Netspend, and I will make a specific post on these 5% interest accounts very soon, as I believe that they are a great place to get a safe return until US stock valuations return to a more reasonable level.
In the past year I have signed up for all of these accounts as well as a few others that are no longer available. I would also like to mention that Chase also has great sign-up bonuses on their checking and savings accounts, but I did not include them in the list because I am not able to apply based on my home address. Make sure to check to see if Chase accounts are an option for you. There are also several other great bank account bonuses that I haven’t been able to take advantage of because of my location, but depending on where you live you might be able to. I hope that some of these accounts will be helpful for you and allow you to make some extra money. Do you have any other recommendations for currently available offers that I didn’t list? Thanks for reading!