By MyBankTracker  Fri Nov 5, 2010

Bank Deal Comparison: Cash Bonus vs. Free Gift

Most bank deals fall into one of two categories: They offer either a cash bonus or a free gift of some sort. When the free gift is worth as much or more as the cash bonus would be, choosing between the two can present a tough call.

The variety of bank deal you opt for probably depends on your banking habits and the kind of gift you’d like to receive. If you are looking specifically for a checking account, a stellar gift giveaway on a savings account might not be of much interest to you. If you’re on the hunt for a savings account, that iPod-enhanced checking account probably won’t change your mind.

You also might have a personal prize preference. If you have your mind set on receiving an iPod with your checking account or a Flip camcorder with your savings account, these gift-based account incentives would be the way to go. If you’d rather receive a boost to your bank account, a cash bonus would do the trick. As for the overall quality of the two kinds of deals, they compare reasonably well. Some banks offer cash bonuses as small as $15 while others could reward you with up to $300. Some gifts are flashy electronic devices like iPods while others are less attractive options such as roadside assistance kits.

Here are a few of the gift or cash offers currently featured at MyBankTracker.com’s bank deals section:

Free Gift Deals

Free iPod, GPS for ReferralsIntegra Bank — This bank deal takes a little bit of work to redeem, but the prizes are solid. Integra Bank National Association gives you a tote bag off the bat when you sign up for its checking account and refer one friend. If you want to bring home some more substantial earnings, start referring more friends to the Indiana-based bank. If five of your acquaintances sign up for an account you’ll receive an Apple iPod Shuffle. If 10 open accounts, you’ll get a DVD system. If 15 open deposit accounts, a GPS could be yours. You can also choose other gifts if those don’t sound good to you.

Free Flip CamcorderFirstBank — If you’re looking for a savings-checking hybrid account and a portable Flip camcorder, FirstBank’s deal would be a good place to start. The bank’s eSave account comes with an interest savings account and non-interest checking account, and the deal doesn’t require any extra effort — all you need to do is open an eSave account at the Southwestern bank.

Free iTunes DownloadsSouthCoast Community Bank — SouthCoast Community Bank’s free gift offer is simple and small. It doesn’t require much effort on your end: All you need to do is open a Rockin’ Rewards checking account at the bank and make ten check card purchases per billing period to earn five iTunes downloads. Five downloads doesn’t seem like much, but it’s not a bad incentive considering you don’t need to meet minimum balance requirements to earn.

Check out a full list of free gift bank offers.

Cash Bonus Deals

$50 Checking BonusING Direct — ING Direct’s ongoing $50 checking bonus deal is a good example of a straightforward cash bonus deal. You just need to open an Electric Orange checking account at ING Direct and make three signature-based (credit) transactions within 45 days of opening the account. ING Direct is an online bank with “cafe” locations in select North American cities. You’ll receive the $50 cash bonus on the 50th day of your account being open.

$75 Credit Card OfferBank of America — Sign up for a Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa Signature card, make at least $50 of purchases with the card and sign up for online banking at BankofAmerica.com. That’s all you need to do to receive a cash infusion of $75. The account is convenient because Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the nation and maintains branches on seemingly every corner, and making $50 of purchases on your card is not out of the question.

$50 Rewards Card With Linked AccountsUS Bank — US Bank, another one of the nation’s largest and widest reaching banks, is offering a free $50 rewards card when you set up automatic transfers between your US Bank Package Checking account and your US Bank Package Money Market Savings account. If you’re already a US Bank customer looking to add a MMA or checking account, this deal offers a simple way to gain $50 while you’re at it.

View a comprehensive listing of cash bonus bank deals.

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