Banks make money in all sorts of ways, but one of the main things they want to do is have a lot of cash on hand — so they can loan it out to others, or meet their own legal liquidity requirements. That's why they offer you amazing bank bonus offers!
Because banks need giant piles of cash on hand, they need to offer the rest of us incentives to choose their FDIC-insured bank over someone else's.
Banks compete on their ability to offer personal service to local residents, on the number of their national locations, and on fee levels for basic services like checking and savings. But they also offer cash incentives to use their deposit and checking services! With the economy picking up, and interest rates rising, there seem to be more and more of these on offer.
Done right, switching banks for bonuses can be a great way to make some extra side cash. But you do need to be careful: look at the terms and conditions and be sure you can avoid monthly fees, account closing fees, and so on. Also, remember that you'll have to pay income tax on this cash, so you might want to set some of it aside for that.
That said, if you pay careful attention to the terms of these offers, you can make much more than you make even by parking your money in a high-interest savings account. You might want to just do this once for a few hundred dollars, but if you invest a little more time, you can make thousands of dollars a year treating it as a regular side hustle.
And who among us doesn't like free money?
These offers change every month, but right now here's the best of the best on offer, divided into offers that require you to begin with large amounts of cash on hand, and offers that let you start with very little money.
Bank Bonus Offers If You Have A Lot Of Cash
If you have a lot of cash that you don't mind having in the bank for a few months, these are the best promotions out there right now:
Up to $600 with Citibank
Citibank has some great promotions right now if you open a combined checking and savings account.
You don't have to go to a branch or set up direct deposit, but you do need to make a substantial deposit and leave it there for a while, so you'll need to calculate the opportunity cost of what else that cash could be doing.
The basics of the bonus are pretty good though: If you deposit $5,000 into your new Basic Banking Package accounts and leave it there for 60 days, you can receive $200.
If you can deposit $15,000 in a Citibank Accounts Package and maintain that for 60 days, you can receive $400. That's a better rate than you'll get on most savings accounts, so if you have a large emergency fund it might be a good idea to take this offer.
A Couple Of Notes:
First, you won't qualify if you've had a Citibank personal checking account within the last six months.
And second, you need to watch out for monthly fees if you keep the account open past the bonus period but withdraw most of your money.
There is a fee of $12 for the Basic Banking package, waived if you maintain a $1,500 balance, and a fee of $25 for the Citibank Accounts package, waived if you have a combined balance of $10,000 across both accounts.
This won't be a problem during the period when you're earning your bonus, but it's something to keep an eye on afterwards.
Up to $350 with Chase Savings℠ and Chase Total Checking®
Chase Bank usually has a variety of bonuses for opening various kinds and combinations of accounts.
Here are two that are available right now to customers who have not had a Chase account within the last 90 days or have had one closed with a negative balance:
This isn't quite as good a deal as what Citibank is currently offering, but it may be available more regularly or for longer.
Get up to a $350 bonus!
Up to $200 with Discover
When you open your first Discover online savings account, you can get $150 if you deposit $15,000 by September 19, or $200 if you deposit $25,000.
Since there's an APY of 1.75% currently on this savings account, it's not a bad place at all to park this much cash — if you have a big emergency fund, I think this is a good deal overall. But as far as I can tell, this bonus doesn't require you to maintain the cash in the account for a set period of time — all you have to do is deposit it.
Two other nice things about this bonus:
You can open the account entirely online, eliminating the need to go to a branch and fill out paperwork; and there is no monthly maintenance fee on the account, so there are fewer rules to worry about following.
Up to $500 with Huntington Bank
Huntington Bank is a Midwestern regional bank, but this offer, unlike some of their offers from the past, seems to be available for anyone, not just those who live in certain states. (You won't qualify, however, if you've had a Huntington account open in the last six months.)
This bonus offer has two levels:
- If you have $1,000 to work with, open a Huntington 5 checking account with a coupon code. Deposit $1,000 and leave it there for 90 days, and you'll receive a $200 bonus. There is a monthly maintenance fee of $5, which is waived if you maintain an account balance of $5,000 during the month.
- If you have quite a bit of cash on hand, open a Huntington 25 checking account by September 30, 2018. Then deposit $15,000 within the first 60 days and you will receive $500! The account does have a $25/month fee which is waived if you keep $25,000 in the account; if you can't do that, then the bonus is really more like $425. There is no fee for early account closure.
If You Don't Have A Lot Of Cash
If you don't have much cash to begin with, but can set up direct deposit with all or a portion of your work paycheck, you can try these promotions instead:
$200 with Citizens Bank with Direct Deposit
Citizens Bank offers One Deposit checking, which is a pretty good deal for those who don't want to maintain a minimum checking account balance. As long as you have a single deposit each month, all fees are waived. (Otherwise, the fee is $9.99 per month.)
To receive the $200 bonus, simply open a One Deposit account — entirely online — and make a direct deposit of at least $500 during the first 60 days the account is open.
The only other qualification is that you must not have had a Citizens Bank personal checking account in the last six months. Unless you're a very dedicated bonus hustler, this probably won't be an issue!
$300 with 1st Source Bank with Direct Deposit
1st Source Bank is offering a checking account bonus right now that's a pretty good deal.
If you open an Easy Banking Club account with at least a $50 opening deposit, then make a direct deposit of at least $250 within 65 days of opening the account, then you'll receive $300 (in the form of a Mastercard gift card) within two months.
Start now, and you can use the gift card to buy Christmas presents.
$200 with Fifth Third Bank with $500 Deposit
You'll have to go to a Fifth Third branch to open an account, but otherwise this is an easy one: Deposit $500 and maintain the balance for 60 days, and you'll receive $200. The offer expires September 30.
Note: Service charges are $11/month unless you maintain a $1,500 balance or spend at least $500/month or are a student with a valid ID or if you meet some other conditions, which you can check here.
Up to $300 with PNC Bank with Direct Deposit and Debit Card Use
PNC bank has tiered offers ranging from $50 to $300. You cannot have had a PNC account open within the last 90 days, and you have to be a resident of: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia.
The $50 level is, in my opinion, not really worth it unless you have another reason to open a PNC account; you need to set up a direct deposit of $500/monthly and make 10 purchases with your debit card to receive a free $50.
If you can set up direct deposit of $2,000/month or $5,000/month, though, you can receive $200 or $300, respectively. (You also need to use the debit card at least 10 times a month.) That makes it a much better deal if you're looking for a new main debit/checking account and you live in one of the states where PNC is authorized to operate.
$225 with Santander with Direct Deposit
Santander is originally a Spanish bank, but it's been making inroads in the U.S. in recent years.
If you open a checking account by September 30, set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 a month, and keep the account open for 90 days, you'll receive a $225 bonus.
You need to register for a code before opening the account, which you can do at Santander's site.
This bonus has more complex qualifications than some others on the list, though.
First, you have to be a resident of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island.
Second, you can't have had a Santander checking account open within the last year.
And third, you have to watch out for their monthly fees, which vary based on which kind of checking account you open. Basic checking in particular has a $3 fee which cannot be waived no matter what. Simply Right checking has a $10 fee, but it is waived if you make any transaction (deposit or withdrawal) during the month, so that might be a better choice.
Up to $300 with TD Bank with Direct Deposit
You can open this account online, but to qualify for the bonus you must be a resident of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.
If you meet that requirement, and also are a new customer of TD Bank, you can open an account at one of two bonus levels:
- Open a TD Bank Convenience Checking account and direct-deposit $500 within the first 60 days the account is open, and receive $150 — ta-da! There is a $15 monthly fee, but it can be waived with a minimum daily balance of $100, which is pretty minimal.
- Open a TD Bank Premier Checking account and direct-deposit $2,500 within the first 60 days. (This is cumulative, not on a single deposit, so multiple paychecks during that period are fine as long as they add up.) Then, you receive $300. This account has a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived with a minimum daily balance of $2,500.
Other Great Savings Accounts
These accounts don't always have bank bonus offers, but they do have some amazing interest rates!
Overall, there are some great bank bonus offers out there right now. I'd advise you to decide what kind of bonus hustler you are: do you want to do this once while you're switching to a new account permanently? Or do you need a complex calendar to keep track of your multiple bonus accounts?
Be careful, but also, take advantage of free money if you're sure you can follow the rules! If this is all too much, check out our list of the best online banks and just park your cash there!