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Updated on Saturday, May 1, 2021
Check out the best checking account bonus offers — and what to look out for — below, ranked by bonus amount. Be sure to pay attention to expiration dates, as these offers don’t last forever.
It’s easy to stick with the same bank your whole life. If you’re not rate-chasing for the best deals out there, all you really need from an account is convenient access to your money to get by each day. Banks realize that it’s easy to stay put, too. So in an attempt to gain some new customers, banks can offer hundred- or thousand-dollar bonus offers on checking accounts.
The best checking account bonus offers of May 2021
|Bank||Minimum deposit to earn bonus||When the deal expires|
|HSBC - Up to $450 bonus||$5,000||6/30/2021|
|PNC Bank - Up to $400 bonus||$5,000||6/30/2021|
|TD Bank - $300 bonus||$2,500||No expiration date|
|Huntington Bank - $200 bonus||$1,000||7/7/2021|
|Chase - $225 bonus||N/A||7/14/2021|
|Huntington Bank - $150 bonus||$1,000||7/7/2021|
|TD Bank - $150 bonus||$500||No expiration date|
HSBC — $450 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit
Offer rules: To earn this $450 bonus, open an HSBC Premier Checking account and make recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 for three consecutive consecutive calendar months from the second full calendar month after account opening.
Who’s eligible: You must be a new HSBC customer to take advantage of this offer and fund the new account with new money. This means money not already held with HSBC.
Account details: The Premier Checking account earns 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more. An HSBC Premier relationship costs $50 per month. You can waive the fee by keeping a combined balance of at least $75,000 in qualifying deposit and investment accounts; monthly recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 to an HSBC Premier checking account; or with an HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan of at least $500,000.
PNC Bank — Up to $400 bonus, with direct deposits of $5,000
Offer rules: PNC offers three different chances to earn a cash bonus with Virtual Wallet. You can earn a $400 bonus when you open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select and receive direct deposits totaling at least $5,000. You can earn $200 if you open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account and make at least $2,000 in total direct deposits. Finally, you can earn a $50 bonus if you open a new Virtual Wallet and make $500 in direct deposits.
You can only earn one bonus, depending on the account you open. Your qualifying direct deposit(s) must be made within the first 60 days. Direct deposits can be from a paycheck, pension, Social Security or other regular monthly income from an employer or an outside agency.
Who’s eligible: You must be a new PNC customer to qualify for this offer. This means you must not own an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account, have closed an account within the past 90 days or have been paid a promotional premium in the past 12 months.
To redeem this bonus, open the new checking account via the bonus page or at a PNC branch.
The account: The Performance Select offers various banking perks like free non-PNC ATM use and ATM surcharge reimbursement. The account’s checking aspects earn 0.01% interest. Its long-term savings account earns APY as well, unless you qualify for higher relationship rates. There is a $25 waivable fee.
The Performance Spend also pays 0.01% interest on its checking account for balances of $2,000 or more, in addition to its savings account, which earns 0.01% APY. There is the opportunity to earn at higher relationship rates. Performance Spend charges a $15 waivable fee.
Virtual Wallet includes a primary checking account, which does not earn interest, a short-term, interest-earning checking account at 0.01% APY and a long-term savings account, again with the opportunity for relationship rates. There is a $7 waivable monthly fee.
TD Bank — $300 bonus with $2,500 minimum direct deposits
Offer rules: You can earn a $300 bonus when you open a new TD Beyond Checking account. The account needs to receive direct deposits of at least $2,500 within 60 days of opening to qualify. The direct deposit must be from your paycheck, pension or government benefits from your employer or the government.
Who’s eligible: To qualify for this checking account bonus offer, you must be a new TD Bank customer, without any previous or current TD Bank personal checking accounts. You must also open the account through this web page. You cannot redeem the offer if you’re a Canadian cross-border banking customer.
Account details: The TD Beyond Checking account earns interest on all balances. Higher balances have the chance to get a slight rate boost, but all rates are still pretty minimal. Account holders can access non-TD ATMs without a TD fee and receive reimbursement for other ATM surcharges with a minimum daily balance of $2,500. The account also includes a free standard checks, money orders, stop payments, paper statements and incoming wire transfers.
The account charges a $25 monthly maintenance fee. However, you can waive the fee when you receive monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more, maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or maintain a combined balance of $25,000 across eligible TD accounts.
Huntington — $200 bonus with $1,000 cumulative deposits
Offer rules: You can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Huntington 5 checking account. To earn the reward, you must make cumulative deposits of at least $1,000 within 60 days of account opening and keep your account open for at least 90 days.
Who’s eligible: You must be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia to qualify for this bonus offer. You must also be a new Huntington checking customer who hasn’t closed a checking account within the last six months.
You’ll need to fund this new account with money not currently on deposit with Huntington. You cannot combine this offer with another checking offer.
You can redeem the offer by applying either online at the link below or through a code found online to bring to your local branch.
Account details: The Huntington 5 Checking account earns at a modest 0.05% APY. There is a small $5 monthly fee that you can waive with at least $5,000 in total relationship balances, which includes other Huntington deposit and investment accounts.
Chase — $225 bonus with direct deposit
Offer rules: When you open a new Chase Total Checking account you can get a bonus of $225 but the direct deposit needs to be made to the account within 90 days of coupon enrollment. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.
Who’s eligible: You cannot open a new account with the checking account bonus offer if you already have a Chase checking account. The offer also doesn’t apply to those with fiduciary accounts, who have had accounts closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.
Account details: Chase Total Checking is the bank’s most popular checking account out of its three checking options. It’s also the most basic and straightforward without any added perks or features. It charges a $12 monthly service fee that you can waive with either direct deposits of at least $500, a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in combined linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances.
Huntington — $150 bonus with $1,000 cumulative deposits
Offer rules: If the Huntington 5 Checking account above isn’t for you, consider snagging a $150 bonus with a new Asterisk-Free Checking account. Again, you have to make deposits totaling at least $1,000 within 60 days after account opening and keep the account open for at least 90 days.
Who’s eligible: Only residents of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia are eligible for this bonus offer. Additionally, only new checking account customers may qualify, which excludes anyone affiliated with a Huntington checking account within the last six months.
Once you open the new Asterisk-Free Checking account, it must be funded with new money not already held with Huntington. Redeem the offer by applying either online or through a code found online to bring to your local branch.
Account details: The Asterisk-Free Checking account is the more basic of Huntington’s checking offerings. It does not charge a monthly fee, earn interest or have a minimum balance requirement.
TD Bank — $150 bonus with $500 in direct deposits
Offer rules: If the TD Bank Beyond Checking account above isn’t quite your style, you can still earn $150 when you open a new TD Convenience Checking (SM) account. You’ll also have to make at least $500 in cumulative direct deposits within 60 days after opening to qualify for the offer. The direct deposits can be a paycheck, pension or government benefits from your employer or the government.
Who’s eligible: This offer is open only to new TD Bank customers without any previous or current TD Bank personal checking accounts.
The account: The TD Convenience Checking account doesn’t earn interest. It charges a $15 monthly fee that you can waive by maintaining a $100 daily balance or if you’re aged 17 to 23.
Bonus offers selection methodology
The best checking account bonus offers are the ones with the biggest cash amounts we could find at the time of publishing. Below, we’ll detail each of the best checking account bonus offers. You’ll find out whether it’s available in your area and what the requirements you have to meet to earn the bonus.
You might also want to read more about what each account is like on its own. For example, you might want to snag the highest bonus, but what if the account normally charges a monthly fee that you can’t afford? Check it all out below.
5 things to watch out for with checking account bonus offers
#1 Checking account bonus offers aren’t entirely “no-strings-attached.” You can see above the various requirements you typically have to meet to earn a bonus, whether that’s meeting a minimum deposit amount or completing a certain number of direct deposits. But there’s often more to checking account bonus offers than what meets the eye.
#2 Banks report bonus payouts as interest to the IRS. In the year you receive your bonus, you’ll also receive a 1099-INT form, indicating you need to file the “income” in your taxes for that year. This lessens the total reward you gain from the checking account bonus offer. The exact amount deducted will depend on your tax bracket, but the higher the bracket, the smaller your final bonus.
#3 Banks may pull a credit check and a ChexSystem verification report when you apply for an account. This allows them to check for a history of good account standing, or, to the opposite, any dings in your financial history, like a trail of unpaid fees or bounced checks. Even if you have nothing to hide, a hard inquiry into your credit can temporarily dip your score just a little, so if you’re just opening one account, the effect won’t be catastrophic. However, if you’re opening multiple new accounts within quick succession, your credit score can take a hit.
Opening several accounts can also appear in a ChexSystem report. Whenever a bank pulls a ChexSystems report, it shows up as an inquiry. While this doesn’t ding your credit score or financial history, it may hurt your chances at a new account if a bank sees all those recent inquiries.
#4 You need to keep the account open for at least a few months. If you thought you could quickly open an account, collect your checking account bonus and close the account before moving onto the next one, we’re here to tell you that’s not how it works. Remember all those requirements you need to meet to redeem the offer? Not only is there a minimum deposit requirement, but you also need to keep your balance above that minimum for a certain number of days, typically 60.
Even after waiting two months to fully qualify, you may not see the bonus deposit into your account until months later. For example, Citi will deposit your bonus into the qualified account 90 days after you complete all the required activities. You may need to wait even longer if there are delays in depositing your reward. If that does happen, though, contact customer service to see what the delay might be.
You could also lose your bonus rewards if you close the new account within a certain time period. For example, Chase will deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account at closing if you close the account six months after opening with the bonus offer. This protects banks from paying out too many bonuses without getting any new account deposits in return.
#5 Finally, make sure you’re opening your new account the right way. To snag a checking account bonus offer, you often need to start your application through the right webpage. Other banks may require you to visit a branch to redeem the offer. Pay attention to the specific bank and account requirements; otherwise, you could find yourself with a new checking account, just without a bonus.
Think beyond the bonus offer when committing to a checking account
Although it’s tempting, you shouldn’t open new accounts left and right just for a checking account bonus offer. Once you snag that bonus, you’re stuck with an entirely new checking account. You should make sure that you’re comfortable enough with the account to make chasing the bonus worthwhile.
Pay attention to the account’s fees. Banks are quick to advertise the checking account bonus offer and the account’s many benefits. But make sure you also look for the account’s monthly maintenance fee. Once you open that account, you’ll be responsible for paying that fee each month. Plus, don’t forget that it takes months to meet the offer requirements in the first place, and another few months for the bonus to be deposited into your account. Paying that fee over those months can really add up, cutting into the total bonus you’ll actually receive. No one wants to be trapped paying an unnecessary and high fee that could have been avoided.
If you do choose to close your new account, whether before or after snagging the bonus, you’ll likely face a fee for closing it early. Paying this fee certainly isn’t worth it if you didn’t earn the bonus. But even if you do earn those extra dollars, paying any fee lessens the total reward you could have received. Some banks may also deduct the checking account bonus amount from your account if you close it too early, leaving you with zero net gain.
Make sure you can meet an account’s minimum balance. You can often waive an account’s monthly fee by meeting further requirements, typically a minimum balance. These can reach pretty high, though, especially when accounts have several features and perks. These accounts also tend to offer higher bonuses, so be careful if you’re looking solely for the highest bonus.
Instead, look for the checking account bonus offers that require lower balances to qualify. These accounts tend to charge smaller monthly fees. Even better, look for an account that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee, no matter your balance.
The accounts with high bonuses may not be the most favorable ones. Banks create these checking account bonus offers to invite consumers to become a customer. But perhaps there’s a reason why not too many new customers are opening these accounts. If you take a look at the accounts above, you’ll see they’re all from brick-and-mortar banks. They all charge monthly fees and can require sky-high balances to waive those fees. Those that earn interest only earn at the most minimal rates. These accounts, while appealing in the short-term for their bonuses, may not be the most beneficial in the long run for your finances. You should invest in accounts that grow and save you money.
Analysis: Checking account bonus offers holding steady
- According to a biyearly analysis of DepositAccounts blog posts dating back to 2014, bonus offers for opening checking accounts have held steady in recent years. In both 2018 and 2020, we estimate the average bonus offer provided an annualized rate of return of 10.9%.
- The average minimum deposit to earn a bonus saw a dip from 2018 to 2020. In 2018, the average offer required $23,333 in deposits to unlock a bonus after opening an account. In 2020, that figure dropped by almost $10,000 to $13,540. Over the same period, average bonus offer amounts have also trended downward.
- Looking back biennially, 2016 had the best average checking account bonus offers available. That year, the annualized rate of return on bonus offers was an estimated 42.2%, which was tied to a few generous offers. For example, one bank offered a $150 checking account bonus for opening an account and making a direct deposit of $500 within 60 days. That equates to an annualized return rate of 393%.
- The average time frame to earn a bonus offer has remained relatively steady since 2014, but it saw an increase from 2018 to 2020. Here are the time frames going back biennially to 2014:
- 2020: 75 days
- 2018: 60 days
- 2016: 68 days
- 2014: 70 days
MagnifyMoney researchers compiled data from an assortment of DepositAccounts blog posts reporting on checking account bonus offers to track how these have changed. We focused on biyearly data, looking at 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. We gathered data on the average:
- Bonus offer amount
- Minimum deposit to earn bonus
- Time frame (in days) to earn bonus
We combined these figures to estimate an annualized rate of return. These offers were only available on a one-time basis, so check above for details on the latest bonuses.