How We Made $500 on a Saturday Morning
For most full-time employees, the weekend is a glorious time to relax, socialize or cross off things from the honey-do list. More often than not, many end up spending a majority of their money on the weekends either by going out to restaurants and bars, entertainment in the form of movies or attractions, or regular expenses like groceries or home improvement and clothing. It is pretty uncommon that someone, like us, working a 9-5 Monday-Friday schedule actually makes money on the weekend. So how did we do it?
New account bonuses
We opened two checking accounts and a savings account for a total of $500 in bonuses. We also got a $100 value in bonus points for opening a credit card with one of these banks. So a total of $600 value for rearranging our direct deposits. This took maybe two hours of our time to set up the accounts and just a few minutes to let our employers know the changes we had made.
I have read crazy stories of people churning checking accounts for the bonuses. Opening an account, meeting the requirements for the bonus and closing the account as soon as there is not a penalty to do so. Then repeating the process once they become eligible for the new account bonus again. This is a quick way to get some extra cash and we had planned to open a new account anyway.
If you are wanting to give this a try to give your account a little boost, it just takes a little research and a trip to the nearest branch. We opened accounts with Chase and Huntington to get these deals. For at least one of them, we got a special incentive in the mail as part of a “new home owner” junk mail mailing list. I’m glad we decided to actually open it because I saw a deal online for the same bank for only half of the bonus we got. Make sure to check your junk mail and email for any special bonus offers you may have received.
Once you locate the best deal for you, make sure to read the fine print to ensure that you can meet the requirements for the bonus. If the requirement is to direct deposit $3000 per month and you only take home $2500 in a month, that is not going to get you the bonus. Most checking accounts require either a minimum direct deposit or a total balance within so many days of the account opening. Be realistic, if you are opening an account just for the bonus, make sure you get that bonus. If you do get the bonus, you will be sent a 1099 as the IRS views this money as income, so plan to pay taxes on it later. Also, be sure to note, the bonuses do not show up when you open the account but within a few days of meeting the requirements.
Current offers (as of 7/29/16)
Chase Bank $150 for a checking account with a total of $500 per month direct deposit
Huntington $200 for opening a checking account and depositing $1000 in the next 60 days (not available in all states)
PNC Bank $50/ $200/ $300 dependent upon amount direct deposited over a specified period of time, only one bonus per person, must use debit card 10 times
Fifth Third $200 for setting up direct deposit and making three online bill payments
US Bank undisclosed dollar amount, follow the link to enter a promo code, you may need an email or letter with the promo code to get the bonus
CitiBank $400 for depositing $15,000 in the first 30 days of account opening
Key Bank $200 for setting up direct deposit of $500 or more within 60 days of account opening
Again, do not forget to read all of the fine print. I included some major details to help you narrow down your best options but it is ultimately up to you to make the right choice and follow the necessary steps to get your bonus. If you have further questions you can call the bank directly or speak with someone at your nearest location.
Bonus tip: Consider your interest rate when choosing which offer to utilize. Our checking account interest rate before our switch was 0.06% and our new interest rate is 0.25%. So not only did we get $500 in cash deposited into our checking accounts a few weeks following the switch, we will continue to make extra money on our account balance.
Have you ever opened an account for the bonus? How much was your bonus? Do you know of any other banks that offer new account bonuses? Do you have any other tips for someone looking to get a bonus for opening an account?