Hey America, banks want your business! So much so that some are paying hundreds of dollars in bank sign-up bonuses. You’re going to open a checking account somewhere, right? You may as well open one that offers one of the best bank sign-up bonuses. We’ve isolated five that we believe to be exceptional in this category, based on the amount of the bonus, how easy it is to qualify for, and how quickly you’ll be paid.
We’ve also identified who each of the best bank sign-up bonuses will be best for. Choose the one that will work best for you and sign up today. Speed is essential since the status of the best bank sign-up bonuses and promotions is changing day by day, based on the economic and financial developments brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and shut down.
Our top pick among the best bank sign-up bonuses is Wells Fargo Everyday Checking. Not only is it the best bonus offer for college students, but it’s also easy to qualify for, with a minimum opening deposit of $25, and $4,000 or more in direct deposits within 90 days of account opening. What’s more, the $10 monthly service fee is incredibly easy to avoid, with no less than five ways to make it disappear. Inquire at your local branch for more information on this offer or keep an eye out for mailers.
|Bank/Category||Bonus Amount||Qualification||Sign Up Period|
|HSBC Premier Checking||Up to $700||Minimum $5,000 in direct deposits in each of six months||March 30 to June 29, 2020||Visit|
|Radius Bank||Unlimited 1% cash back on qualified debit card purchases||Maintain a minimum account balance of $2,500, or receive direct deposits of at least $2,500 per month||No time limit||Visit|
|HSBC Advance Checking||Up to $270||Minimum $500 in direct deposits in each of three months||March 30 to June 29, 2020||Visit|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking||$400||
Make minimum direct deposits of $4,000 within 90 days of account opening
|Through July 31, 2020||Visit|
|Chase Premier Plus Checking||$300||Open an account and receive your bonus 10 days after making your first direct deposit||Through July 20, 2020||Visit|
HSBC Premier Checking Review
What you’ll get: A 3% cash bonus on direct deposits from third parties for up to $4,000 per month. The maximum bonus is $120 per month, covering six months activity, up to a maximum total of $700. The bonus will be paid on a monthly basis, approximately 8 weeks after you complete each qualifying month.
What you need to do to get it: The cash bonus is payable only on new accounts. To qualify for the maximum bonus of $700, you must receive qualifying direct deposits each month for six calendar months after account opening. Direct deposits must come in the form of salary, pensions, government benefits, or other monthly income sources.
To qualify for a Premier Checking Account – and to have the $50 monthly maintenance fee waived – you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Have $75,000 in combined US consumer and qualified commercial dollar deposit and investment accounts, or
- Monthly recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 from a third party into your checking account, or
- An HSBC US residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000 (this does not include home equity products).
Where to sign up: Online. The bonus will only apply if you make an application online. Applications must be completed between March 30 and June 29, 2020.
HSBC Premier Checking will work best for higher income/net worth consumers, who can meet at least one of the three financial requirements to both get the benefit of the cash bonus and have the monthly maintenance fee waived.
If you do qualify, this account is packed with benefits. Apart from the monthly maintenance fee, there are no fees for transactions, wire transfers, foreign transactions, or ATM usage. HSBC even provides unlimited rebates on third-party ATM fees in the US. The checking account also pays 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking Review
What you’ll get: Radius Bank’s Rewards Checking doesn’t pay a sign-up bonus, but they provide unlimited 1% cash back on online and in-store signature-based purchases using the Radius debit card.
What you need to do to get it: To qualify your account must be opened for a minimum of 30 days and either receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits from an employer or another source of income, or an average balance of at least $2,500 in the account. The direct deposits can come from an employer, pension, or government agency.
Where to sign up: Radius Bank is an all-online bank, requiring you to apply online as well. No time limit is indicated on the rewards offer.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking is best for those who prefer the ongoing rewards that can be earned from unlimited 1% cash back on debit card purchases. It’s also an excellent choice if you want free checking – and who doesn’t. There are no monthly maintenance fees, no ATM fees, and unlimited rebates for ATM fees charged by other banks.
And if that isn’t enough, the account pays interest of 0.10% APY on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99, then 0.15% APY on balances of $100,000 or more (no interest is paid on account balances under $2,500). You can open an account with just $100, with no minimum balance requirement after. And your first order of checks is free. The account offers an unrivaled mix of ongoing rewards and interest, and lot’s of free services!
HSBC Advance Checking Review
What you’ll get: You’ll receive a $225 welcome bonus payable after three months of qualifying direct deposit activity. The bonus will be paid eight weeks after you complete the direct deposit requirements.
What you need to do to get it: The cash bonus is payable only on new accounts. To qualify for the maximum Welcome Bonus you must receive qualifying direct deposits of at least $500 each month for three consecutive calendar months from the second full calendar month after account opening. Direct deposits must come in the form of salary, pensions, government benefits, or other monthly income sources.
To qualify for an Advance Checking Account – and to have the $25 monthly maintenance fee waived – you must meet one of the following requirements:
Have $5,000 or more in combined US consumer and qualified commercial dollar deposit and investment accounts, or
Have monthly recurring direct deposits (no minimum amount specified) from a third party into your checking account, or
Have an HSBC US residential mortgage loan with an original loan of any amount, not including home-equity products.
Where to sign up: The Welcome Bonus will only apply if you make an application online. Applications must be completed between March 30 and June 29, 2020.
With its low financial requirements, HSBC Advance Checking will be an easy bonus to qualify for. And since all you need to do is have regular monthly direct deposits of any amount to avoid the monthly maintenance fee, you can easily achieve free checking status. This is also an interest-bearing account, but it pays only 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more.
HSBC Advance Checking account will work best for anyone looking for an easy-to-qualify bonus. All you need are direct deposits of $500 or more three months in a row, and you qualify. And you can avoid the fee just by having a single direct deposit into the account each month, something you’d probably have anyway.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Review
What you’ll get: A $400 sign-up bonus, payable within 30 days after the 90-day qualification period has been met.
What you need to do to get it: Inquire at your local branch for more information regarding this offer. You must open the account with a minimum opening deposit of $25. You must then receive a total of $4,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of account opening. Deposits must come from your salary, pension, Social Security, or other regular monthly income via ACH deposit.
Where to sign up: You must sign up between now and July 31, 2020. The bonus is intended for new Wells Fargo checking customers, but you can qualify if you have other Wells Fargo accounts, and have not received a Wells Fargo consumer checking account bonus within the past 12 months.
The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account is an excellent checking account option for anyone, since it pays a very generous bonus that’s easy to qualify for. And as you’ll see below, they offer no less than five options to eliminate the monthly service fee. But the account is especially beneficial to college students, since the monthly fees are automatically waived if you are between the ages of 17 and 24 years old, and the primary account owner.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking as a $10 monthly service fee, but they offer five ways to make it disappear:
- $1,500 minimum daily balance, or
- Direct deposits totaling $500 or more, or
- The account is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card, or
- The primary account owner is 17 to 24 years old, or
- You have 10 or more posted debit card transactions using PIN, signature, online, phone or mobile wallet, as well as one-time and recurring debit card payments.
Chase Premier Plus Checking Review
What you’ll get: Chase is paying a sign-up bonus of $300 when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account. The bonus will be paid within 10 business days of making your initial direct deposit into your account.
What you need to do to get it: Inquire at your local branch for more information about this offer. Open the account and set up direct deposits. You’ll need to make your first direct deposit into the account within 90 days opening. The deposit must be a paycheck, pension or government benefit. You must be a new Chase customer, since the offer is not available for existing clients.
Where to sign up: You’ll need to sign up no later than July 20, 2020.
The sign-up bonus offered with a Chase Premier Plus Checking account will work well for anyone who is looking for a quick bonus. That’s because you can receive the bonus just 10 days after opening your account and making a qualified direct deposit. And that’s something that can happen within a couple of weeks of opening your account.
Chase Premier Checking offers free checks when ordered through Chase, and charges no fees on your first four non-Chase ATM transactions per statement period. This is also an interest-bearing account, paying 0.01% APY on all account balances. And when you open an account with Chase, you’ll be working with the largest bank in America with all the benefits it has to offer, including the Chase mobile app and Online Bill Pay.
The account does have a $25 monthly service fee. But that can be waived when you keep an average beginning day balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of the Premier Plus Checking account linked with a qualifying Chase checking or savings account. But the fee will also be waived if you have a qualifying Chase first mortgage that’s enrolled in automatic payments from your checking account.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Bank Bonuses
We love bonuses – everyone does! But there are some conditions involved that aren’t always obvious. That doesn’t mean the bonuses aren’t worth getting, only that we don’t want you dealing with any unexpected surprises.
Here are some things to know:
The bonus may be taxable. If the amount of your bank bonus reaches at least $600, the bank may issue IRS form 1099-MISC or 1099-INT. If so, the bonus earned will need to be reported as taxable income on your individual income tax return.
There’s often a minimum deposit required to get the bonus. The offer may require you to make a minimum deposit within a certain number of days of opening your account. As well, you may also need to maintain a specific minimum account balance to qualify. It may need to be maintained for several months or even as long as a full year.
Qualification may require specific account activity. Based on our research, many banks offering bonuses require either a minimum number of deposits or a minimum dollar amount of deposits each month. Most commonly, the deposits will need to be direct deposits. It’s likely the banks want to know your account will be funded on a regular basis.
Bonuses can be offset by bank fees. Some of the most generous bonuses are being paid on checking accounts that have monthly maintenance fees. A monthly maintenance fee of $15 can wipe out a $200 sign-up bonus in a little over one year. But most banks will allow you to avoid monthly fees either by having a minimum monthly balance with a specified number or amount of direct deposits. Be sure you can meet those requirements, or your bonus will be eaten up by monthly fees.
Keep an eye out for bonus offers in the mail and online. You’ll find mailers with unique bonuses and instructions as well as links online from various bank partners. By searching and doing your research, you can find the best bonuses available to you.
There are plenty of banks offering bonuses to open new accounts. But with many offering no more than $100 per $150 – or having complicated qualification requirements – we decided to set specific criteria to narrow the list down to the very best bank bonuses based on five different factors.
The Amount of the Promotion or Bonus
This was certainly the starting point of our analysis. We set a threshold of $200 as a minimum bonus, or the likelihood of earning at least that much in cashback over the course of a full year.
It would be easy to simply list the banks offering the best sign-up bonuses and leave it at that. But additional criteria do factor into the mix since they can affect your ability to a) qualify for the bonus, and b) determine the value of maintaining the account after the bonus has been paid.
Put another way, the amount of the bonus is certainly a compelling factor – but it’s only one of several.
What You’ll Need to Qualify for the Promotion or Bonus
Each bank sets its own requirements to qualify for their sign-up bonuses or promotions. As you can see from our reviews of those individual banks, they range from fairly easy to fairly difficult. But more difficult requirements won’t necessarily exclude a sign-up bonus.
For example, HSBC Premier Checking has the most difficult sign-up bonus to qualify for. But if you do meet the criteria – which will be easier for consumers who are either high income or high net worth – the bonus is also the most generous in the industry, at $700.
In this list, we’ve attempted to balance out the amount of the sign-up bonus or promotion with the ease or difficulty in qualifying for it.
The Timing of the Promotion or Bonus Offer
Obviously, the promotion or bonus needs to be currently available. Bank sign-up bonus offers are added and withdrawn at the discretion of the issuing bank. We’ve focused on the best bank bonuses available at least through the middle of 2020.
Other Features and Benefits Provided by the Offering Bank
Where the information was available, we’ve presented features and benefits offered by the issuing banks apart from the promotions or bonuses. This may include interest paid on your balance, the absence of common incidental bank fees, and other perks. After all, when you open a checking account, you’re looking for more than just a bonus. You’re also looking for the long-term benefits the account will provide, long after the bonus has been paid.
Ongoing Costs or Conditions to Maintain the Account
There are two parts to this criterion. The first is the qualifications needed to earn the sign-up bonus or promotion. That may include making and maintaining a certain minimum balance or meeting a certain minimum number or dollar amount of direct deposits.
The second has to do with monthly maintenance fees. These are typical on checking accounts, though as you can see from our reviews they can vary substantially. While acknowledging that monthly maintenance fees are common with checking accounts – especially those paying generous promotions or bonuses – our focus is primarily on the opportunities each bank offers to avoid the fee.
We’re happy to report that Radius bank charges no monthly maintenance fees at all, while each of the other four banks provide multiple ways to avoid their fee.