Let’s say your bank sucks, treats you poorly, and you’re ready to break up with them. While you’re on the hunt for a new, better place to store your money, remember this: some banks will pay you to switch.
That’s right, many banks offer sign-up bonuses. They’re sort of like credit card sign-up bonuses, but instead of points, you get cold, hard cash. Not all bank bonuses, however, are worth it. Some of them come with frustrating fine print details, like monthly maintenance fees. You don’t want to switch from one bad bank to another, so we combed through some of the most popular offers to pick the best of the bunch.
If you open a Chase Total Checking account and set up a direct deposit into it, you can score a $200 bonus. While this checking account does have a monthly fee, it’s considerably easier to get that fee waived than with many other types of accounts. According to Chase you can get the $12 monthly fee waived if you do have any of the following:
- Direct deposit totaling $500 or more made to this account
- OR a balance at the beginning of each day of $1,500 or more in this account
- OR an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits
If you have the option to direct deposit through your work, and you make at least $500 a month, it might be worth the switch. To get the bonus, you have to fund your new account with at least $25, have it open for six months, and open it at a Chase branch near you. If you want to open a savings account with them, too, you can score another $150. More detail here.
TD Bank has a pretty generous sign-up bonus of $300 for their Premier Checking account. To qualify, you have to receive $2,500 worth of direct deposits into the account within 60 days. They also have a monthly fee of $25, but you’ll get it waived if you keep a minimum balance of $2,500. Personally, I’m not a fan of banks with minimum balance requirements, but if you’re confident you have that much coming in, this might be worth it—$300 is one of the highest bank bonuses I’ve seen.
They also offer a $150 bonus if you sign up for the TD Convenience account, for which the requirements are less strict. You need to receive at least $500 worth of direct deposits within 60 days. There’s a $15 monthly fee that’s waived as long as you keep a minimum daily balance of $100. With both offers, you have to open the account online. More details here.
SoFi, an online loan refinancing company we’ve mentioned here before, plans to launch SoFi Money in the coming months. If you open a SoFi Money account and set up direct deposit, you will get $100 in your Money account and $100 in a Wealth account.
Best of all, SoFi Money comes with many of the same perks as other online banks: absolutely no fees, higher interest rates (currently 0.92%), and free ATM access. More detail here.
Santander Checking Account
If you sign up for a Santander checking account, they’ll give you $150. You have to direct deposit at least $1,000 within 90 days of opening the account. Unfortunately, it’s not open to residents everywhere (only Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania).
Santander’s Simply Right checking account doesn’t require a minimum balance, but it does come with a monthly fee of $10. However, it’s easily waived if you have at least one transaction a month (deposits, withdrawals, transfer, or payments), so it’s incredibly easy to avoid the fee. Basically, as long as you actually use the account, you won’t have to pay. This one expires on March 31st. More details here.
U.S. Bank launched a S.T.A.R.T. savings program, designed to encourage customers to save more. You have to open a Silver, Gold, or Platinum checking account and connect it to their money market savings account. You’ll get a $50 goal reward when you reach $500 in your savings account. Plus, you can get a 1% bonus (up to another $50) when you use your debit card on gas or grocery purchases. It’s not a huge reward, but it’s nice to be rewarded for a savings goal.
Even their Silver checking account has a monthly maintenance fee of $8.95 ($6.95 if you opt out of paper statements), but it’s waived if you have a direct deposit of at least $1,000 a month or a combined average deposit balance of $1,500. More details here.
It’s also worth pointing out that many credit unions offer bonuses, too. While they might not be as high as many of the banks mentioned here, their terms are usually better and they don’t require a minimum balance to avoid fees. Of course, you might have to qualify for membership with a credit union, but we’ve told you how to find one here. Start your search at aSmarterChoice Credit Union Finder.
Finally, while a bonus is great (who doesn’t love free money?), it shouldn’t be the only reason you switch banks. After all, breaking up is hard. You don’t want to go from one crappy bank to another.