Any time you use a financial product, your goal should be to get as much out of it as you can. The same is true when opening a checking account. Bank account bonuses are one way to ensure that you get the most out of your money because if you meet the requirements of the bank or credit union, you will receive cash or other perks just for opening an account.
You only have to be aware of two things — many banks have promotion codes that you must use to be eligible for the bonus when opening an account, and the bank will report the bonus to the IRS as interest that you would add to your taxable income.
Ready to learn which banks have the best bank account bonuses? Benzinga has done the research for you.
Best Overall: SoFi
SoFi has combined a checking account and a savings account to offer its customers a new type of product that pays strong APYs and offers a generous welcome bonus. To receive the bonus, you must receive a direct deposit from a payroll provider or government agency in your account in what SoFi calls the Evaluation Period. This period starts on the date of your first deposit and goes for 30 days. The total sum of direct deposits made in that period determines the amount of your sign-up bonus.
- Direct deposits of $1,000 to $1,999 get $50
- Direct deposits of $2,000 to $4,999 get $100
- Direct deposits of $5,000 or more get $300
The bank is online only, and the only drawback Benzinga found is that when someone wants to deposit cash, they must use a third party that charges $4.95 per deposit.
Best for Managing Money: Current.com
Current.com is a financial app that makes the concept of managing your money that much easier. Teens and adults can both use these accounts, making it possible for the family to work on money management together.
As part of the Current.com rewards program, you earn up to 15x points on every purchase at 14,000 participating merchants. Once you have the points, you can:
- Redeem the points in the Current Shop
- Turn those points into cash
Plus, your account allows you to:
- Sign up quickly
- Get a debit card in short order
- Spend and save
- Set up direct deposits for even your child’s work paychecks
- Get paid 2 days early
- Use ATMs for free across America
- Get your gas hold refunds back almost instantly
Remember, adults you can sign up for free, but there’s a yearly fee when you want your teen to have an account you can monitor. It also works well for divided families because more than one adult can monitor the account at the same time.
Best for Non-Monetary Perks: CIT Bank
CIT Bank is a division of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company. It offers a welcome bonus of a free Amazon Prime membership for those account holders that meet the requirements. To qualify, you must open an account with the promotion code and then deposit $15,000 within the first 15 calendar days following the account opening. The deposit cannot come from existing CIT account transfers. You must maintain an end-of-day balance of $15,000 for 60 days following the deposit. After that, CIT will send you an email with instructions about how to claim your free Prime membership.
Best for Low Minimum Balance: TD Bank
When you use direct deposit to put $500 in your TD Bank Convenience Checking account within the first 60 days, the bank will credit your account with $200 within six months. Account-holders who are 17 to 23 years old pay no monthly maintenance fees, and those who are older can have their fees waived by keeping a daily balance of $100 in their account. The only drawback to this bank is that its fees are higher and more frequent than some of its competitors. On the flip side, TD Bank can be a great first-time checking account with its low entry point and waived maintenance fees for young adults.
Best for Branch Access: Chase
- securely through Chase Bank's websiteBest For:Best for Checking Account VarietyRating:
*With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, we won’t charge an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET (8 PM PT) to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts.
Chase Bank is a well-known bank that offers a lot of branches and in-network ATMs, making it one of the best checking accounts around. Its bonus offer of $200 comes with strings attached, but most are easy to meet. To get the bonus, you must have a direct deposit made to the account within 90 days of opening it. The deposit can only come from an employer or the government – Zelle and other similar deposits made by individuals do not count. The offer is only good for new customers. Once you meet the requirements, Chase will deposit the funds to an account in good standing in 15 days.
To avoid the $12 monthly fee that Chase charges, you must either have electronic payments totaling $500 a month deposited into your account by a payroll provider or the government, keep a daily balance of $1,500 in your account or keep a daily balance of $5,000 or more in this and other linked Chase accounts.
Best for Easiest Cash: U.S. Bank
To qualify for U.S. Bank’s welcome bonus, you must use the promotion code when applying, and you must apply for the checking account online. You also have to enroll in the mobile app or online banking within 60 days of opening your account and make two direct deposits within those 60 days totaling $4,000. The deposits cannot be person-to-person deposits but must come from an employer, payroll provider or the government. Sixty days after the qualifying direct deposit, U.S. Bank will deposit the $300 in your account as long as the account has a positive balance.
To waive the monthly maintenance fees on the Easy Checking Account, you must maintain a balance of $1,500, have combined monthly deposits of $1,000 or more or be older than 65.
Features to Look for in Bank Account Bonuses
When looking to open a checking account at a bank or credit union that offers welcome bonuses, you should look for a few things that will ensure you get the best deals. Here are some things to watch for.
1. The Welcome Bonus
The sign-up bonuses offered by banks and credit unions vary widely, and you should look for one that best suits your needs. Do you want to earn a cash bonus that you can use to invest or pay down debt? Look for a bank that offers cash. Would you prefer a bonus in the form of a perk that you can use to enhance your life? You’ll find those offers, too. The key is to decide what type of welcome bonus you want and look for a bank that offers it. Also, it may help to use a checklist when comparing banks to ensure that you find the right one for you.
When reading about the requirements of each bank’s welcome bonus, you will find that some require you to make a deposit within a short amount of time – for instance, two weeks – while others allow you to slowly build up to the required deposit amount. Some banks allow a year for customers to meet the bonus deposit requirement. Keep this in mind when shopping for your bank.
3. Minimum Deposit
Another important factor when deciding on a bank is the minimum amount of money required to receive the bonus. Some banks set high minimum deposits – and they aren’t always the banks that pay the biggest bonuses. Do your research to determine which banks will allow the deposit that you’re comfortable with and then narrow those down to the one that pays the best welcome bonus.
No matter how large the welcome bonus is, if the bank charges a lot of fees, that bonus can disappear quickly from your account. Today’s banks realize that consumers don’t want their bank balances eaten up by fees and many have reduced or even eliminated them. Be sure that the bank you choose won’t take a large portion of your bonus in fees.
How to Get Approved for a Checking Account with Bank Account Bonuses
Getting approved for your new bank account entails more attention from you when seeking to get a welcome bonus. Follow these tips to ensure that the bonus you’re after doesn’t accidentally slip away from a mistake on your part.
1. Look at the Requirements
Your first step in getting approved for a checking account that offers a welcome bonus is to ensure that you qualify for the bonus. Some banks and credit unions only offer bonuses to new customers while others allow existing customers to claim them with some caveats. Also, most bonuses are tied to a deposit amount, so make sure you have enough of a deposit to qualify for the bonus before opening the account.
2. Use Promotion Codes Correctly
An often-overlooked aspect of claiming a welcome bonus is the use of promotion codes. Many banks and credit unions issue a code associated with the bonus, and the only way you can claim the bonus is by using the code. And be sure to read the rules carefully. Some banks allow you to enter the code from any website while others only allow you to enter it on certain web pages.
3. Fund the Account
When it’s time to fund the account, make sure you understand the rules surrounding the bonus. Most banks have specific ways you must fund the account to receive the bonus. For instance, they may require that it be funded via a direct deposit that comes from a government pension fund, an employer or a payroll provider.
4. Watch for After-Funding Activities
In addition to funding the account in certain ways, some banks also require the account to maintain a certain balance for a period of time before the bonus can be claimed. Other banks require monthly direct deposits while still others require that you use the perks provided within a certain period of time. Understanding the rules will ensure that you don’t miss out on the bonus because you forgot to do something.
How you can Improve Your Finances
Improving your finances is one of the best things you can do to improve your life. Take these steps to ensure that you rule your finances instead of being ruled by them.
1. Don’t Be Passive
When thinking about improving your finances, it will be up to you to do the things necessary to improve your credit score. In other words, don’t think that you should sit back and wait for your score to rise all on its own. Instead, take the necessary steps – one at a time – and you will watch your score improve.
2. Understand Your Position
It will be difficult to improve your finances if you don’t understand your current financial position. To get a good picture of it, do a debt-to-income ratio. This easy formula will show you the percentage of your debt in comparison to your income. Your goal should be a minimum of 30%. To get your number, divide your total monthly debts into your gross income.
3. Pay Down Your Debt
The faster you pay down your debt, the quicker your finances will improve. Not only will it improve your debt-to-income ratio, but it will free up money that you can use for investments. Start by paying the smallest bills first if quick wins motivate you, and then move on to those debts that have high interest rates, like credit cards.
4. Set a Budget
Setting a budget is a great way to ensure that your daily habits won’t negatively affect your efforts to improve your finances. Some people stick to plans when they can see them in writing, and that’s why you might want to write down your budget or type it in your phone and look at it often. Need more motivation? Think about keeping a daily tabulation of the money you spend and comparing that to your budget at the end of the day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What bank has the best signing bonus?
Banks offer a multitude of signing bonuses, and the best one for you may not be the best one for others. If you want a cash bonus, look for a bank that offers the highest cash amount for the deposit requirement that fits your budget. If you prefer perks, look for banks that offer bonuses that fit your lifestyle.
What bank gives you money just for signing up?
While no bank offers money just for signing up, some banks make it so easy to meet the requirements, it feels like it. For instance, many banks only require that you make a direct deposit within a certain amount of time to receive a sign-up bonus. Be sure to research the banks that offer this option to find the one that best suits you.
What banks have the best checking account bonus offers?
Banks are always looking for new customers, and offering welcome bonuses is a great way to get them. To see the banks that offer the best checking account bonus offers, scroll up and check out the list Benzinga put together – it offers options for all budgets and lifestyles.