Thinking about changing banks? Maybe your bank started charging a fee or shut down a nearby branch, or you’ve just reached the conclusion that they’re not the type of people you want to lend money to for near-zero interest — we can’t blame you. What you should know, however, is that plenty of banks are offering cash rewards to lure new customers to their checking accounts. If you’re already shopping around, why not sweeten the deal?
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and these deals are no exception. All of them require a significant amount of legwork on customers’ part, typically doing things that help you avoid fees in the future. On the bright side, this will save you money in the long-run (unless your bank changes its policy.) But if all goes well, you could have about $100 free dollars waiting for you in your new bank account, or even a tablet computer.
Here’s a list of five checking account promotions that are as sweet as they are fleeting — so act fast!
1. Chase $150 Cash Bonus
If you go to this website and enter your email address, Chase will send you a coupon via email. Use that coupon to set up Total Checking with Chase, and then put at least $100 into the new account within the first 60 days, and make a direct deposit in the same time frame. Chase will drop $150 into your bank account
The Total Checking account has a $12 monthly fee, but it’s easily waived with a $1,500 minimum balance or direct deposits totaling $500 or more a month. You’ll likely find this is the best deal going. Whether you really want to bank with Chase is the question. This deal ends April 15th. Learn more here.
2. PNC Bank $100 Cash Bonus
PNC’s bonus is more modest, but so are the fees associated with the account. Here, all you need to do is open a new Performance Checking Account or Spend Account, and make both $750 in direct deposits and 10 debit purchases within the first 60 days.
Do that and PNC will drop $100 in your account. That would get eaten up by Performance Checking’s $10 monthly fee — but this can be waived by making $2,000 in monthly direct deposits or keeping an average daily balance of $1,500 in your checking account. This offer ends March 31, so act fast. Learn more here.
3. Bank of the West’s $125 Cash Bonus
Bank of the West has likely the most complex cash bonus deal out there right now. It come with an additional $25 donation to a local school.
First, you must set up a new checking account with Bank of the West — either Easy Checking or Choice Interest Checking — then establish a recurring direct deposit of at least $250 ($50), use your Bank of the West debit card for 10 or more point-of-sale purchases ($25), go paperless ($25), and get a Bank of the West credit card and make $25 in purchases ($25).
Bank of the West’s Easy Checking account has a $10 monthly fee, which can be waived in 1 of 3 ways: by maintaining a $1,000 minimum balance, having a $250 direct deposit set up, or by making 10 ore more debit card purchases a month. The fee can be reduced to $8 a month by going paperless. This deal ends on April 27. Learn more here.
4. Bank of Texas $100 Cash Bonus
For denizens of the Lone Star State looking to jump ship, Bank of Texas is apparently ready to catch you. Open a checking account with them, and jump through the usual hoops — start a recurring direct deposit, make 10 debit transactions — within the first 60 days of having the account, and Bank of Texas will drop $100 off in your new checking account.
Best of all, Bank of Texas actually offers no-frills free checking, but you’ve got to move quickly: the deal ends April 1. Learn more here.
5. Fulton Bank Free Kindle Fire
It used to be the case that a bank might give you a toaster for opening a checking account. Michael Moore once found a bank that handed out rifles for new customers. Fulton Bank, which has branches in the Midatlantic, is stepping it up by offering a free Amazon Kindle Fire to new checking customers.
Open up a checking account with Fulton, and make a direct deposit of at least $250 within the first 60 days. And within the first 90 days, make three online bill payments. If all goes according to plan, Fulton will send you a free Kindle Fire within a few weeks. The deal expires March 31. Learn more here.
Not finding what you like? Check out our Bank Deals page for more.