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NerdWallet’s Best Bank Account Bonuses and Promotions

Banking, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Bank accounts often serve as gateways to long-term relationships with customers. That’s why financial institutions entice you to sign up for them with checking and savings account promotions.

Chasing such promotions may cost you in the long run. But if you’ve decided to seek out a cash bonus for opening an account, these are our favorites that are available this month.

We focused on sign-up bonuses to narrow the long list of promotions.

» MORE: Switch banks in four steps

Best checking account bonuses

$200 FROM BMO HARRIS BANK

THROUGH Oct. 31, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must not have had or co-signed on a BMO Harris personal checking account within the past 12 months.
  • Use the form on the sign-up page to have a code emailed to you, and then use the code to open a personal checking account by phone or at a BMO Harris branch, located in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
  • To receive the bonus, you must have at least two direct deposits of at least $300 each made into the account within 90 days of opening it.
  • If you’ve completed the requirements, the bonus will be deposited into your account about 120 days after your account opening.

$150 FROM ASSOCIATED BANK

THROUGH DEC. 31, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must not have had or co-signed on an Associated checking account within the past 60 days.
  • To get started, open a Brewers Checking account online or in person funded with at least $100 and mention promo code 6000.
  • Within 45 days of opening the account, use it to pay at least three bills through online bill pay, or make a direct deposit of at least $300.
  • The bonus will be deposited into your account within 75 days of your meeting the bank’s criteria.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of Associated Bank

$150 FROM CHASE

THROUGH 10/15/16:

  • To qualify, you must not have had a Chase checking or fiduciary account within the past 90 days.
  • Use the form on the sign-up page to have a coupon emailed to you, and use that to open a Chase Total Checking account funded with at least $25. The account must remain open for six months.
  • Have a direct deposit within 60 days.
  • The bonus will be deposited into your account no more than 10 days after your first direct deposit.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of Chase Bank

Best savings account bonuses

$100 FROM CHASE

THROUGH 10/15/16:

  • To qualify, you must not have had a Chase checking or fiduciary account within the past 90 days.
  • Use the form on the sign-up page to have a coupon emailed to you, and use that to open a Chase Savings account funded with at least $10,000 within 10 days. The account must remain open for six months.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $10,000 for 90 days, and your bonus will be deposited into your account within approximately 10 days.

$100 FROM DISCOVER BANK

THROUGH OCT. 15, 2016:

Discover Bank says:

  • “To get your $100 Bonus:
  • “What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account (OSA) by 10/15/16. Enter Offer Code NW916 when applying. Deposit at least $15,000 by 10/31/16.
  • “What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers. Account must be open when bonus is credited.
  • “Bonus will be credited to the account by 11/15/16. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Offer may be modified/withdrawn without notice.”

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of Discover Bank

$50 FROM AMBOY DIRECT

NO EXPIRATION LISTED:

  • Use bonus code 505011 when opening a new Amboy Direct eSavings Account.
  • Maintain an average monthly balance of at least $3,000 for 90 days.
  • Your bonus will be credited to you in the following statement cycle. 

Other checking account bonuses

These other bank promotions didn’t quite make our list of favorites. Typically, these accounts have:

  • Stiffer qualification requirements for the bonus.
  • Lower bonus amounts for comparable requirements and accounts.
  • High minimum-balance requirements.

Be sure you read the fine print if you click through. Here they are in alphabetical order:

$100 FROM BANK OF AMERICA

THROUGH DEC. 31, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must be an employee or retiree of an enrolled Bank of America at Work employer.
  • You must not have had or co-signed on a personal checking account with BofA within the last six months.
  • Open a personal checking account with code BAW100N.
  • Have at least one direct deposit of at least $2,000 every 30 days for 90 days after opening the account.
  • The bonus will be deposited within 90 days of meeting the direct-deposit criterion.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of Bank of America

$300 FROM CHASE

THROUGH 10/15/16:

  • To qualify, you must not have had a Chase checking or fiduciary account within the last 90 days.
  • Open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account funded with at least $25. The account must remain open for six months. To avoid a $25 monthly fee, your Premier Plus account must have an average daily balance of at least $15,000 across linked deposit and investment accounts or automatic payments to a linked Chase mortgage.
  • Have a direct deposit within 60 days.
  • Your bonus will be deposited within 10 days of your direct deposit.

$150 FROM M&T BANK

THROUGH sept. 30, 2016:

  • Open an M&T checking account at the promotional webpage or at a branch using the coupon you emailed yourself from that page.
  • Have one direct deposit of $100 or more within 90 days of opening the account.
  • Your bonus will be deposited within 90 days of your direct deposit.
  • Offer not available nationwide; enter your ZIP code at the top of the promotional webpage to determine your eligibility.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of M&T Bank

$50, $200 OR $300 FROM PNC BANK

THROUGH sept. 30, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must not have had a PNC account within the past 90 days or received a PNC promotional payment within the past 12 months.
  • Your bonus amount depends on the type of account you open. Options include a Virtual Wallet account, a Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account, or a Virtual Wallet with Performance Select account.
  • You must set up a recurring direct deposit of at least $500, $2,000 or $5,000 per month, depending on which account you’ve signed up for, within 60 days. You must also make at least 10 purchases with your PNC Bank Visa debit card.
  • Your bonus will be deposited 60 to 90 days after meeting the criteria.
  • Offer available to residents 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 and the District of Columbia.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of PNC Bank

$150 FROM SANTANDER BANK
THROUGH sept. 30, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must be a new customer or not have had a Santander checking account within the last year.
  • Open a Santander checking account at the promotional page or at a branch using the coupon you emailed yourself from that page.
  • Have at least one direct deposit totaling at least $500 within 90 days of opening the account.
  • Keep your account open for 90 days.
  • After that period, your bonus will be paid within 30 days.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of Santander Bank

$125 0R $250 FROM SUNTRUST BANK

THROUGH sept. 19, 2016:

  • To qualify, you must not have had a SunTrust checking account within 180 days of the promotion start date (Feb. 3, 2016).
  • Open a new Essential Checking or Select Checking account either online using promo code Q316CHKNGOLP1 or at a branch.
  • To earn $125, deposit at least $100 into the account within 14 days of opening it and make one direct deposit of at least $500 within 60 days of opening.
  • Earn an additional $125 by making monthly direct deposits of at least $500 until Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Each bonus will be deposited eight weeks after the qualifying direct deposit is made.
  • Offer available to residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

$150 or $300 from td bank

  • To qualify, you must be a new TD Bank checking customer.
  • To earn $150, open a TD Convenience account online and receive cumulative direct deposits of at least $500 within 60 days of opening the account.
  • To earn $300, open a TD Premier account online and receive cumulative direct deposits of at least $2,500 within 60 days of opening the account. To waive the $25 monthly fee, maintain a minimum balance of $2,500.
  • Your bonus will be paid no later than 95 days after meeting the criteria.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s review of TD Bank

If it’s time to switch banks, and you’ve decided to consider a cash bonus, these picks should help you decide. If these bonuses don’t entice you, you may want to look for a different account.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm. Devan Goldstein of NerdWallet contributed to this article.

Updated Sept. 9, 2016.


METHODOLOGY

We looked at the 15 largest banks by assets and eliminated those without a significant retail banking presence. We also included financial institutions in the country’s five largest metro areas and several of the largest online-only banks that offer a full suite of checking and savings products. We rounded off the list with some of the country’s biggest credit unions with broad-based membership requirements. Finally, we considered banks we’ve reviewed. Financial institutions surveyed: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amboy Direct, Associated Bank, Bank of America, Bank5 Connect, Bank of Internet USA, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris Bank, Capital One 360, Chase, CIT Bank, Citibank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, HSBC, Huntington Bank, M&T Bank, Nationwide, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, Santander, Simple, State Employees’ Credit Union, SunTrust, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

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