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Best of

Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Geeting advice on future investments

Credit Unions offer Americans alternatives to doing business with the big banks (or even local banks). Instead of answering to shareholders, a credit union must act in the best interest of its members — who also happen to be the customers. By joining a credit union, you own a share in the financial institution and thus have voting rights. Credit unions are often a slightly exclusive, with membership eligibility requirements being strict and often focused geographically.

Take one of these paths if you’re interested in joining a credit union:

  1. See if you’re eligible for a credit union because you live, work, worship, volunteer in its region or belong to an organization/work for an employer with membership privileges.
  2. If not, you can join any of the credit unions below by making a donation to join an organization with membership privileges or in some cases, by registering to volunteer or pledge support to a credit union approved organization.

A List Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to Affinity Plus Foundation
  • You can join by first becoming a member of The Friends of CityDance Association – $20 dues.
  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to the Airman Heritage Museum
  • You can join by making a $10 or greater donation to Foster Care to Success (FCS)
  • You can become a member by joining the Altra Foundation with a one time $5 lifetime membership dues
  • You can join with a one time membership fee of $5, along with an initial deposit of $25 for individuals and $100 for Ministries and Businesses into your regular share savings account
  • You can join by depositing $15 into a share savings account and maintaining this minimum balance
  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.
  • You can join by accepting the stipulations of the following agreement on the membership form: I agree to become a member of American Consumer Council through Aspire Federal Credit Union. There is no fee for ACC membership when I join Aspire Federal Credit Union. I further understand that the information above will be provided to ACC to establish my membership with their organization.
  • To qualify for membership with CapEd you can join the Idaho CapEd Foundation as a Sustaining Member Volunteer. The Idaho CapEd Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds worthwhile educational endeavors that include the CapEd Teacher Grant Program. Minimum donations are $1 for students and $10 for non-students
  • You can join by making a $10 donation to Chartway Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic arm, the We Promise Foundation
  • You can join by making a $5 donation to The Hope Group. You must also maintain $25 in your savings account.
  • Membership in one of over 200 groups makes you eligible. If you don’t fit into one of those groups, CUNJ offers to get in touch with them to see if they can find a way for you to be eligible. The application offers the ability to make a one time donation $5 to the CUNJ foundation
  • You can join an organization with member privileges. Joining these organizations range in membership cost from $25 to $120. Once you join DCU, you have a lifelong membership, so you could cancel a membership with the other organization after joining.
  • You can join one of the following associations with a small donation of $5-$10 to qualify for First Flight membership.  You can easily join one of these associations while you open your account online or at one of our financial center locations.
    • Capital Area Preservation Club
    • Holly Springs Arts Council
    • Beaufort Historical Society
  • You might not have heard of this credit union, but anyone can join. You just need to pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council / Kentucky and you’re eligible.
  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.
  • The online application system will automatically qualify you if you click “let us help”
  • CUSavers for a one-time $10 membership fee qualifies you for credit union membership.
  • One of the eligible associations for membership is the National Sheriff’s Association. It costs $38 to join the NSA as an auxiliary member or student. By joining the NSA first, anyone can then become a member of the Justice Federal Credit Union. This brings the cost of membership to $43.
  • You can join through the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica. Kinecta will process the enrollment into CCSSM for you. A $10 fee applies CCSSM.
  • If you are a donor to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, West Michigan Chapter, you can be eligible to apple.
  • A one time minimum donation of $25 to become a member of the Voice Foundation
  • Regardless of where you live or how you earn a living, you may qualify for membership. There is a $1.00 one time membership fee and a minimum opening deposit of $25.00.
  • You can become eligible simply by making a one-time donation to Gifts for Easter Seals. Use this Easter Seals Donation Form. However you do have to bring it to any Money One location to complete your application, which does make this credit union pretty regional specific.
  • A complimentary membership to the National Space Society (NSS) entitles you to join NASA FCU.
  • You would select employer/organization: Financial Awareness Network. They will sponsor you for a onetime $10.00 fee.
  • Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op, which costs $15 for three adults who share a kitchen.
  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.
  • Become a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society by making a $3 donation to qualify for membership with Pen Air FCU.
  • Members of the National Military Family Association and Voices for America’s Troops are among those eligible for PenFed membership. PenFed makes it easy for you to join one of these associations, and subsequently join PenFed. You pay a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15.
  • You can become eligible with a $5 minimum donation to the People’s Trust Foundation
  • You can join Pinnacle FCU by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council in which they will pay your membership fee of $5.00.
  • You can qualify for membership by joining the Alliance for the Arts From $50 – $1200
  • Membership in any one of the organizations listed below qualifies you for RTN membership. The Credit Union handles the process for you to join whichever organization you choose.
    • Amesbury Carriage Museum
    • Danvers Historical Society
    • Greater Boston Sickle Cell Association, Inc.
    • Gore Place
    • Tewksbury Historical Society
    • Waltham Historical Society
    • Wakefield Repertory Theatre
  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member, click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.
  • You can become eligibile with a $10 is a tax-deductible donation to the credit union’s non-profit Center for Financial Empowerment.
  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. You have to mail in or bring the form into a local branch. There is no online option.
  • Apply for mission supportive membership by joining the credit union’s founding charitable sponsor, the Center for Community Self-Help, for a one-time $5 fee.
  • A Membership Share Savings Account with a minimum deposit balance of $50 is required to become a Member and open any other account type.
  • Make a $5.00 donation to the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee to automatically qualify for Southeast Financial membership.
  • You are eligible to join the SDFCU if you’re an employee of the Department of State or one of the extensive organizations with ties to the credit union (all listed here under “who can join”). If you don’t work for the Department of State, you may also be eligible through the American Consumer Council. You can join the ACC for only $5 if you’ve used any major consumer product or service within the past 12 months
  • You can apply by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member with an $8 fee. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member please click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.
  • Join the American Consumer Council through the website. Enter the promo code “consumer” to waive the membership fee. TFCU can also enroll you when it opens your account. Become a member of the Tobyhanna Army Depot Chapter of the Association of the United States Army: $14+ for military affiliation and $34 for civilians.
  • You can become eligible through a contribution to the US Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) and you must open a primary savings account with a minimum of $5 and one-time-only membership fee of $1.
  • Join the University of Texas Longhorn Foundation for instant eligibility to join UFCU. A one-time $20 donation to The University of Texas is required to become a member.
  • Western Federal Credit Union will allow potential members to join through a complimentary membership with a partnering nonprofit organization: Surfrider Foundation or Friends of Hobbs.
  • Click associate member or volunteer when filling out the application to fulfill eligibility requirements.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

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Best of

The Best Checking Account Bonus Offers

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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. At least that way, you get to avoid the hassle of switching your money and accounts, even if it does mean you miss out on some great savings rates.

Banks realize that it’s easy to stay put, too. So in an attempt to gain some new customers, banks can offer some great bonus offers on checking accounts. The promise of a few hundred dollars just for opening an account can be enough to incentivize potential customers to open an account. These bonus offers can be so tempting, that many people chase bonus offers to try and make a few extra bucks.

When looking for bonus offers, it’s important to look past the promotional dollar amount that’s being advertised. For starters, make sure you trust a bank before opening an account with them. You don’t want to be stuck with a new bank that has terrible customer service! Also, be sure to check what’s required of you to snag that bonus offer. Often, it’s opening the new account with a certain balance and maintaining that balance for the next few months. It could also require several direct deposits posted to the account. Make sure you can fulfill these requirements before opening an entirely new bank account.

If you should see an offer you like, just be aware that you may have to open the account from a specific webpage to qualify for the bonus. Other banks could require you to visit a branch to redeem your offer, so it’s important to double check the application requirements.

The best checking account bonus offers in 2020

BankBonus*Minimum Deposit to Earn BonusWhen the deal expires
Chase$2,000$250,0003/06/2020
Chase$1,000$75,0003/06/2020
HSBCUp to $750$5,0001/6/2020
Citibank$700$50,0003/31/2020
CitibankUp to $500$15,0003/31/2020
Wells Fargo$400$4,0007/31/2020
TD Bank$300 $2,500No expiration date
Chase$300$001/21/2020
Huntington BankUp to $200$1,00001/07/2020
Chase$200 $2501/21/2020
SunTrust$200$5003/31/2020
Citibank$200$5,0003/31/2020
Fifth Third Bank$200$5004/30/2020
TD Bank$150$500No expiration date
*Terms apply

Methodology

The best checking account bonus offers are — simply put — 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.

Chase — $2,000 bonus with $250,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Earn this $2,000 cash bonus by joining Chase Private Client. You’ll need to transfer at least $250,000 in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts and maintain the balance for at least 90 days. This excludes any You Invest, J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available only to existing Chase customers in select states and Washington D.C. You can redeem this offer by visiting a Chase Private Client branch of emailing an upgrade code.

Account details: Chase Private Client requires you to maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more. This can be in any combination of qualifying personal or business deposits and investments. Chase Private Clients gain access to further perks and benefits in banking, credit cards, loans and investing. This includes free ATM withdrawals abroad, home and auto loan specialists and free online stock and ETF trades with You Invest by J.P. Morgan.

There is no monthly service fee on Chase Private Client Checking or Chase Private Client Savings accounts. Private Client Savings Accounts earn 0.01% APY.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $1,000 bonus with $75,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Earn this $1,000 bonus when you join Sapphire Banking. Within 45 days, transfer at least $75,000 in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts and maintain that balance for 90 days. J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs are excluded from this combination.

Who’s eligible: The offer is available in select states and Washington D.C. Anyone can snag this offer as long as you meet the requirements detailed above.

Account details: Chase Sapphire Checking earns 0.01% APY. You can link your Chase Sapphire Checking account to a Chase Premier Savings account to earn higher relationship rates on the Premier Savings account. That enables higher balances to earn higher rates.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

HSBC — up to $750 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 1/6/2020

Offer rules: There are two offers available here. For the $750 bonus, you can open a Premier Checking account and make recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 for three consecutive consecutive calendar months from the first full calendar month after account opening.

To earn a $350 bonus instead, open an Advance Checking account and deposit at least $5,000 in new money to combined accounts within 30 calendar days of account opening and maintain at least that balance for 90 days. You must also set up recurring direct deposit for at least three consecutive months following the account opening month.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new HSBC customer to take advantage of these offers and fund your new accounts with new money. This means money not already held with HSBC.

Who’s eligible: The Premier Checking account earns 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more but charges a hefty $50 fee that can be waived with a whopping $100,000 minimum balance. The Advance Checking also earns 0.01% APY, but has a smaller $25 fee that you can waive with a $10,000 minimum balance.

LEARN MORE Secured

on HSBC’s secure website

Member FDIC

Citibank — $700 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/31/2020

The offer: To earn this $700 bonus, open a new Citi Priority Account Package with an initial deposit of at least $50,000 within 30 days of opening. This deposit can be shared between the new checking and savings accounts in the Package.

You must also maintain at least that balance for 60 consecutive calendar days following account opening.

Who’s eligible: Only new-to-Citibank customers who have not been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days are eligible for this offer. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident who is at least 18 years old. You can redeem the offer by opening online here.

Account details: The Citi Priority Package earns 0.03% APY on its Interest Checking account and 0.04% – 0.15% APY on the Citi Savings account.

The package includes access to Citi Personal Wealth Management Financial Advisors by phone, investment resources and financial planning tools. It also adds extra perks like waived fees for overdraft protection, checkbooks and incoming wire transfers.

The Citi Priority Package charges a $30 monthly service fee. You can waive it by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Citibank — $400 or $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/31/2020

Offer rules: You can earn $400 in bonus cash if you open a new eligible checking and savings account in a Citibank Account Package. You’ll need to deposit at least $15,000 in new-to-Citibank money within 30 days of opening. Since the package includes a checking and savings account, you can split that deposit between the accounts. You’ll need to maintain at least that much money in your accounts for 60 consecutive days to receive the bonus.

You can earn $100 more — for the total $500 bonus — when you complete at least one qualifying direct deposit (within 60 days of account opening) each month for two consecutive months.

Who’s eligible: You qualify for this offer if you are a new Citibank customer opening a new Checking and a new Savings account. To redeem the offer, you can easily apply online. You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident to apply for these accounts online.

Account details: The Citibank Account Package earns 0.01% APY on its Interest Checking account and 0.04% – APY depending on your balance on the Citi Savings account. The account includes certain perks like a free order of checkbooks, fee-free ATM access (when you meet balance requirements) and the opportunity to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards.

The Citibank Account Package charges a $25 monthly service fee. You can waive the fee if you keep at least $10,000 in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts with the bank.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Wells Fargo — $400 bonus with $4,000 in direct deposits

Offer ends 7/31/2020

Offer rules: Open a new Everyday Checking account with a $25 minimum opening deposit. Then within 90 days of opening, you must make at least $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits. This includes your salary, pension, Social Security or other regular monthly income deposited by your employer or another outside agency.

Who’s eligible: Only new Wells Fargo checking and savings customers from Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix, and Seattle are eligible to redeem this offer. You must also not have received a bonus for opening a Wells Fargo consumer checking or savings account within the past 12 months.

You can redeem the offer online here or receive the offer code through the same page to bring to a branch to open your new account.

Account details: The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account is simple, with a Platinum Debit Card and access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs. There is a $10 monthly fee on the account, which you can waive in a few different ways:

  • Make 10 or more debit card purchases or payments
  • Receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students)
  • The primary account owner is between 17 and 24 years old

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo’s secure website

TD Bank — $300 bonus with $2,500 minimum direct deposits

No expiration date

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on TD Bank’s secure website

Chase — $300 bonus with direct deposit

Offer ends 01/21/2020

Offer rules: It’s pretty simple to earn this $300 bonus offer when you open a new Chase Premier Plus Checking account. You just need to make a direct deposit in this account within 60 days after opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Who’s eligible: You cannot apply for this offer if you’re an existing Chase checking or fiduciary account holder. You do not qualify if you had an account closed within the last 90 days or closed with a negative balance.

Account details: Like its name suggests, Chase Premier Plus Checking is a high-end account. It earns interest, although at a minimal 0.01% APY on all balances. It has a high fee of $25, which you can waive with an average beginning day balance of at least $15,000 in combined balances between this account and any linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other accounts.

The account includes four free non-Chase ATM transactions per statement cycle and free Chase design checks. You can also take advantage of a rent-free small safe deposit box.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Huntington — up to $200 bonus with $1,000 cumulative deposits

Offer ends 01/07/2020

Offer rules: You can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Huntington 5 checking account or a $150 bonus with an Asterisk-Free Checking account. Whichever account you open, 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 to earn the reward.

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 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.

The Asterisk-Free Checking account is more basic. It does not charge a monthly fee, earn interest or have a minimum balance requirement.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Huntington National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $200 bonus with $25 minimum deposit

Offer ends 01/21/2020

Offer rules: When you open a new Chase Total Checking account with at least $25 and set up direct deposit, you can get a bonus of $200. The direct deposit needs to be made to the account within 60 days of account opening. This can be your paycheck, pension or government benefits.

Opening the checking account alone can earn the $200 bonus. If you would also like to open a Chase Savings account along with the Chase Total Checking, you can boost your total reward to $350.

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website

SunTrust — $200 bonus with $500 in direct deposits

Offer ends 03/31/2020

Offer rules: This checking bonus offer applies to new SunTrust Essential Checking accounts. You must make at least $500 in direct deposits per statement cycle for two consecutive cycles within the first three full months after opening the account.

The bonus will be deposited into your new account up to 8 weeks after all qualifications have been verified.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available to new SunTrust personal checking customers. You can’t even be a secondary account holder on another account or have closed a personal checking account within 180 days of the promotion start date. You must also have a mailing address in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

To qualify, you must use the application link on this SunTrust page with the code Q120ESSENTIAL. You can also use the page the email yourself a coupon to bring into a SunTrust branch to redeem the offer.

The SunTrust Essential Checking account does not earn interest. There is a $7 monthly fee which you can waive with one of the following per statement cycle:

  • Making 10 or more client-initiated transactions
  • Making $500 or more in total qualifying monthly Direct Deposits
  • Keeping a $500 minimum daily collected balance

Students opening a new account may also receive a 5-year Student waiver.

LEARN MORE Secured

on SunTrust Bank’s secure website

Citibank — $200 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 03/31/2020
Offer rules: Opening a new Citibank checking account in a Basic Banking Package can earn a $200 bonus if you deposit at least $5,000 in new money within 30 days of opening. You need to maintain at least that minimum in the account for 60 consecutive calendar days to fully qualify for the reward.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer through the offer webpage. You’re eligible if you’re a new Citibank customer who is at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or resident.

The account: The Basic Banking Package is made for simple checking. It includes unlimited check writing and free non-Citi ATM usage for customers 62 and older. There is a $12 monthly fee that you can waive by making one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment each cycle, or by keeping a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in this account and other eligible linked accounts. Customers 62 and older can also waive the fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Fifth Third Bank — $250 bonus with $500 minimum deposit

Offer ends 04/30/2020

Offer rules: You have the option of opening a new Fifth Third Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free checking account to earn the bank’s $250 bonus offer. While you don’t need to open the new account with a specific deposit amount right away, you have 45 days to reach an account balance of at least $500. Then you’ll need to maintain at least $500 in the account for 60 days to qualify completely for the bonus.

Who’s eligible: To redeem this offer, you will need to visit this Fifth Third webpage, email yourself the offer coupon and bring it to a Fifth Third branch to redeem. This limits the offer’s availability to customers near a branch, which you can find in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

You do not qualify for this bonus if you are already a Fifth Third Bank customer, or have closed an account with the bank within the last 12 months.

Account details: Unlike most other banks, Fifth Third Bank allows you to choose which checking account – Essential, Enhanced, Preferred or Free (when available) — you’d like to open with the bonus offer. This gives you the flexibility to open the account that works better for you in the long run. The Fifth Third Enhanced and Preferred Checking accounts earn interest on your balances, with the Preferred Checking earning at a slightly higher rate. As for fees, the monthly service fee ranges from $8 to $25, which you can waive with minimum balances.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Fifth Third Bank (OH)’s secure website

Member FDIC

TD Bank — $150 bonus with $500 in direct deposits

No expiration date

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on TD Bank’s secure website

 

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Best of

Best Savings Account Bonus Offers

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

There’s no shortage of checking account bonus offers, with everyone from small local banks to the big household names offering hundreds of dollars to new customers. Banks know it’s hard to get you to leave your old bank, especially when you’re comfortable with the accounts you have. But what better way to entice you than with a big cash bonus?

You’ll find these bonus offers attached to more checking accounts than savings accounts. After all, checking accounts are a crucial part to banking, as they allow you to easily access your money for purchases and transfers.

That’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities to earn money with a new savings account. We’ve found six of the best savings account bonus offers as of the date of publishing. It’s easy to go straight for the highest amount, but pay attention to the bank and the account you’re getting ready to open. Make sure it’s a bank you actually want to do business with.

Further, double check that you’ll be happy with the new account for months to come. It can take months to meet the offer requirements and even longer to actually receive the bonus. If there’s a monthly fee on the account, you could be stuck paying that unnecessary fee, especially if you can’t meet the balance requirements to waive it. You may not even be happy with the interest rate on the account, which might make the savings account bonus offer not entirely worth it.

The 9 best savings account bonus offers in January 2020

Methodology

To find the best savings account bonus offers, we looked for the highest bonus amounts offered. Below, you’ll find the six biggest bonus offers on savings accounts being offered. Offers are current as of this publication date and we will update the article periodically to show the freshest ranking.

Chase — $2,000 bonus with $250,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Become a Chase Private Client customer and get a chance to earn this $2,000 bonus. You’ll need to transfer a total of $250,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts within 45 days of opening and maintain the balance for at least 90 days. Eligible accounts excludes any You Invest, J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs.

Who’s eligible: Only new Chase customers in 32 select states and Washington D.C. may qualify for this offer. You can visit your nearest CPC branch or email an upgrade code to yourself to redeem this offer.

Account details: Chase Private Client requires you to maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more between qualifying personal or business deposits and investments. Chase Private Client extends the perks and benefits you can receive on your Chase accounts, including banking, credit cards, loans and investments.

Chase Private Client does not charge monthly fees on Chase Private Client Checking or Chase Private Client Savings accounts. Private Client Savings Accounts earn a minimal 0.01% APY.

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $1,000 bonus with $75,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/06/2020

Offer rules: Become a Sapphire Banking customer by transferring $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excluding any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs). You must also maintain that balance for 90 days.

Who’s eligible: This offer is available only to customers in 32 select states and Washington D.C. You can open a Sapphire Banking account online and email yourself a code to redeem this offer.

Account details: Despite its premier placing, Chase Sapphire Checking earns only 0.01% APY. Linking a Chase Sapphire Checking account to a Chase Premier Savings account (and meeting other requirements), offers a small boost to your Premier Savings rates. It also unlocks higher rates for higher balances.

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Citi — $700 bonus with $50,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/31/2020

Offer rules: Open a new checking and savings accounts in the Citi Priority Account Package and deposit at least $50,000 in new-to-Citibank money within 30 days of account opening. Your funds can be shared between the new checking and savings accounts. Maintain at least $50,000 between the accounts for 60 days to qualify for the bonus.

Who’s eligible:New Citibank customers are eligible for this offer. This means those who have not been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days.

Account details:The Citi Priority Account Package is a premium account, including investment resources and on-demand access to Citi Personal Wealth Management. The account costs $30 each month to own. You can waive the fee by maintaining a combined average monthly balance of at least $50,000 in eligible linked accounts.

With the Citi Priority Account Package, you can earn 0.03% APY on the Interest Checking account and 0.04% – 0.15% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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on Citi’s secure website

Citi — Up to $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/31/2020

Offer rules: You must be a new Citibank customer and open a Citibank Account Package, which includes a checking and savings account. Within 30 days of opening these accounts, you must deposit at least $15,000 in either of these two accounts with money new to Citibank, and maintain a minimum balance across both accounts of $15,000 for 60 days.

After meeting the above requirements, you’ll get $400 in bonus money deposited into your checking account (or savings account if you’ve closed the checking account). If you make at least one qualifying direct deposit each month for two consecutive months within 60 days of opening the account, you’ll receive an additional $100, boosting your total bonus to $500.

Who’s eligible:You must be a new customer to Citibank and enroll in the offer through the offer page or in person at a branch.

Account details: There’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which you can avoid be keeping a minimum of $10,00 deposited across both accounts (which you’ll want to do anyone in order to qualify for the bonus, which requires a minimum of $15,000). You may not want a checking account and are free to close it, but keep in mind in order to get the $100 bonus (to bring the total amount to $500) you need to make the ACH deposits into a checking account, not a savings account.

The Citibank Account Package earns 0.01% APY on the Interest Checking account and between 0.04% and 0.13% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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on Citi’s secure website

Citi — $200 bonus with $5,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 3/31/2020

Offer rules: Citibank’s $200 bonus is available when you open a new Basic Banking Package. Qualify for the offer when you deposit at least $5,000 in new money into the package within 30 days after account opening. You can split the funds between the checking and savings accounts. Then maintain at least $5,000 in the package for 60 days to fully qualify.

Who’s eligible:You must be a new Citibank checking customer to be eligible for this bonus offer, which means you must not have been a signer on a Citibank checking account within the past 180 days.

Account details: The Citibank Basic Banking Package does not include a checking account that earns interest, but its Citi Savings account does earn interest between 0.04% and 0.06%, depending on your balance.

The Basic Banking Package charges a $12 monthly fee, which you can waive by make one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintaining a combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in eligible linked accounts. Account holders who are 62 or older can also have the fee waived.

The Citibank Account Package earns 0.01% APY on the Interest Checking account and between 0.04% and 0.13% APY on the Citi Savings account, depending on your balance.

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Associated Bank — $400 bonus with $25,100 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: This offer requires you to open both an Associated Choice Checking account and an Associated Relationship Savings account. Open the checking account with at least $100 and make three payments through Associated Bank Online Bill Pay or at least one direct deposit of $300 or more within 45 days of account opening. You must open the savings account with at least $25,000. Together, you must maintain a $25,000 minimum combined balance in those accounts for 90 days to receive the reward, 120 days after account opening.

Email yourself a coupon code from the offer page and bring that coupon into a branch to redeem.

Who’s eligible: You must fund the new accounts with money not already held with the Bank. The offer is not available to Associated Bank employees and those who already have or have had a checking account or Associated Relationship Savings account at Associated Bank within the last six months.

Account details: A heavy-hitting account, the Associated Choice Checking account earns interest between 0.01% and 0.05% APY, depending on your balance (higher balances earn higher rates). It charges a high $25 monthly fee, which you can waive with at least $10,000 in combined deposit accounts or either an HSA or investment account.

The Associated Relationship Savings account earns between 0.10% and 1.35% APY, where higher balances earn more.

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Member FDIC

Chase — $150 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 1/21/2020

Offer rules: In another bonus offer from Chase, you can get $150 when you open a new Chase Savings account. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (not previously held with Chase or its affiliates) within 20 business days and maintain at least that minimum balance for 90 days.

Want to do more banking with Chase and open a Chase Total Checking account, too? Opening both a new checking and savings account can get you a $350 bonus, as long as you follow the above savings account rules and set up direct deposit on your new checking account.

Who’s eligible: You’re eligible for the Chase Savings account bonus offer if you are not already a Chase savings customer. You also cannot have had an account that was closed within 90 days or with a negative balance.

If you close this new savings account within six months after opening, Chase will deduct the bonus amount from the account at closing.

Account details: The Chase Savings account earns interest at a nominal rate of 0.01% APY, which isn’t ideal for savings growth. There is a $5 monthly fee on the account. You can waive the fee with one of the following, each statement period:

  • A daily balance of at least $300
  • At least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card
  • An account owner who is younger than 18
  • Linking this account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account

You could also face a $5 fee for each excessive transaction you make over the six-transfer limit per statement cycle.

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Associated Bank — $100 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2020

Offer rules: Opening a new Associated Bank Money Market account can get you a $100 bonus. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (held outside Associated Bank) at opening and maintain at least that much in the account for 90 days to receive the bonus.

The bonus will be paid within 120 days of account opening if you meet the requirements. The account must be open at that time. You must also keep the account open for at least 12 months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer online or by taking a coupon sent via email to an Associated Bank branch. This offer is limited to one per household. Households who have or have had an Associated Bank Money Market account within the last six months do not qualify. You must be 18 years or older to apply for the bonus. If you close the new account within 12 months of opening, Associated Bank can deduct the bonus amount from your funds at closing.

Account details: The Associated Bank Money Market account is a true money market account, with the ability to write convenience checks and access Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs. It earns interest, too, between 0.03% and 0.05% APY. You can earn at higher rates by having a higher balance and a qualifying Associated checking account.

The money market account does charge a $16 fee, which you can waive by maintaining a $1,000 minimum balance.

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on Associated Bank, NA’s secure website

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How do these accounts compare to the best online savings accounts?

When looking for the best online savings accounts, you won’t find much overlap here. Bonus offers tend to come from brick-and-mortar banks, as incentives for you to place your deposits with them.

Online banks still win by and large. But don’t let these financial carrots mislead you into thinking they are the best on the market — many of the best accounts are being offered by online banks these days. Online accounts tend to have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees — what more could you want? That’s why you’ll find most sign-up bonuses being offered by brick-and-mortar banks.

Know the pros and cons. You should figure out whether it’s worth it for you to open a new account with a traditional bank just for a bonus offer. Don’t forget, you can’t open a new account for a bonus offer and close it immediately. Qualifying for and receiving the bonus takes months. You could even lose your bonus offer if you close the account too soon. Plus, a savings account bonus offer is a short-term boost in savings, rather than the ongoing growth of a high-yield account. It won’t help your savings situation if your new account charges a monthly fee that you can’t waive, either.

Factor in fees. If you do desperately want to snag a couple hundred dollars by opening a new account, make sure you won’t be paying a monthly fee for the months you have the account. That way, you won’t lose any of that bonus right off the bat. Again, double check the account’s closing terms to ensure you won’t lose the bonus at closing, either. It’s also important to be able to meet the account’s minimum balance requirements. It may not make sense for you to keep $10,000 in a low-earning account just to earn a $200 bonus, for example.

Do the math. Let’s say you do deposit and maintain $10,000 in a new savings account that has an interest rate of 0.01%, which is typical of brick-and-mortar savings accounts. After a year, you’ll have earned $1 in interest. Add that to your $200 bonus and you can add a whopping $201 to your savings. Now, if you were to forgo the bonus offer and deposit your $10,000 into a high-yield savings account with a 2.25% APY, you’ll earn just over $227 after a year (with monthly compounding) — a better savings boost than the savings account bonus offer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here