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Updated on Sunday, August 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 July 2021
|Bank||Bonus*||Minimum Required Deposit to Earn Minimum Bonus||Expires|
|Bank of Hope||$500||Maintain balance of at least $20,000||9/30/2021|
|PNC Bank||Up to $300||$500||9/30/2021|
|SunTrust||Up to $300||$500||9/30/2021|
|TD Bank||$150||$500||No expiration date|
|PSECU||$250||Recurring deposits of $200||12/31/2021|
Looking for a new checking account? Take a look at the offers below
HSBC — $600 bonus with $5,000 in direct deposits
Offer rules: To earn this $600 bonus, open an HSBC Premier Checking account and make recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 for three consecutive calendar months from the second full calendar month after account opening or maintain balances of $75,000 in combined U.S. consumer and qualifying commercial U.S. dollar deposit and investment accounts.
In order to qualify for the 3% cash bonus on qualifying direct deposits for up to $100 per month for the first six months, you must open a new account and set up recurring direct deposits from a third party.
Who’s eligible: You must not have held an HSBC consumer deposit or investment account as recently as March 31, 2018 in order to take advantage of this offer. You must also fund the new account with new money not already held with HSBC.
Account details: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.
Bank of Hope — $500 bonus with $20,000 minimum balance
Offer rules: Customers who open a new checking account with Bank of Hope can earn a $500 cash bonus if they open an account in person and maintain an average balance of at least $20,000 for the first 4 months of account opening. In order to receive the bonus, customers must also request a debit card and use it for a purchase or withdrawal, register for online banking, enroll in e-statements and either make a bill payment or receive a direct deposit.
Who’s eligible: New or existing customers are eligible to receive this bonus, but since the bonus is available only to those who open an account in person, those who are in Bank of Hope’s geographic footprint are able to receive the offer. They have locations in Alabama, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington — and are headquartered in Los Angeles.
Account details: Bank of Hope offers a few different checking account options:
- Regular Checking — Offers unlimited check writing, includes an easily waived $7 monthly service fee and requires a deposit of $100 to open.
- Basic Checking — Features low minimum opening balance ($25) and monthly fees ($3) that are waived with five or more transactions per month.
- Reserve Checking — An account that accrues interest but requires a high opening balance of $500 and a monthly service charge that requires a linked Regular Checking account.
- Interest Checking — Offers unlimited check writing on an interest-bearing account with a minimum opening balance of $1,000; monthly fees can be waived with a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or an average daily balance of $5,000.
BMO Harris — $500 bonus with $7,500 in direct deposits
Offer rules: BMO Harris offers a $500 bonus on their Premier Account and a $300 bonus on their Smart Advantage Account.
In order to receive the Premier Account bonus, customers must have a cumulative total of $7,500 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening the account; in order to receive the Smart Advantage Account bonus, those qualifying direct deposits must total at least $4,000. These offers cannot be combined.
Who’s eligible: Customers who haven’t had a BMO Harris personal checking account within the last 12 months are eligible for this offer. Account holders who open their account online are eligible for the bonus if they reside in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, or Wisconsin.
Account details: The BMO Harris Smart Advantage Account is their most basic checking account — there’s no monthly fees with paperless statements, and there’s a low minimum opening deposit of $25. The Premier Account has more perks as an interest-bearing account, including unlimited non-BMO Harris ATM withdrawals, but there’s a monthly maintenance fee of $25. That fee is difficult to waive unless there’s a minimum daily balance of at least $10,000 in the account.
PNC Bank — $300 bonus with $5,000 in direct deposits
Offer rules: PNC offers three different chances to earn a cash bonus with Virtual Wallet. You can earn a $300 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 24 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 on balances over $2,000. Its long-term savings account earns APY as well, unless you qualify for higher relationship rates.
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.
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.
SunTrust — Up to $300 bonus with qualifying direct deposits and account openings
Offer rules: Customers can earn $200 for opening a new personal checking account as long as they have at least two qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening the account. They can earn an additional $100 bonus if they open a new personal savings or money market account with SunTrust on the same day; they must also deposit $10,000 or more into the new account and maintain that balance through 90 days.
Who’s eligible: Clients with an existing SunTrust account are ineligible to receive the bonus. Customers must have a mailing address in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or Washington D.C. in order to earn the checking account bonus.
Account details: SunTrust’s Advantage Checking account earns interest and has some cash perks for some types of purchases. There’s a monthly fee of $20 that can be waived if the customer makes $3,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits in a month, holds $10,000 in total combined assets across SunTrust, or has a Small Business Checking account linked to their Advantage Checking account.
The SunTrust Essential Checking account doesn’t bear interest or have cash back rewards, but it has a lower monthly maintenance fee that is more easily waived.
TD Bank — $300 bonus with $2,500 in 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 in the previous 12 months. 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. 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 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.
PSECU — $250 bonus with $200 in monthly direct deposits
Offer rules: Customers who sign up with a promotional code and who are approved for checking, debit card, and digital banking can earn a bonus of $250 if they set up qualifying payroll direct deposits that total $200 per month and recur monthly within 90 days of account opening.
Who’s eligible: This offer is open to new members who meet PSECU membership. In order requirements. In order to become a member, you must attend, work at, or graduate from a partner college located in Pennsylvania, or you must be a state or local government employee in Pennsylvania.
If you don’t live in Pennsylvania, reside with a PSECU member, or have a relative who’s already a member, you can join the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society to become eligible for membership. There’s a one-time fee of $20 to join, but PSECU covers $10 if you open your account online.
Account details: PSECU offers a very basic checking account: there’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees, and there are free basic checks for PSECU members.
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.