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Updated on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Update: This deal has expired
We love a good deal, and we love no fee online checking accounts, but we also like paying attention to fine print.
Enter Nationwide Bank, which is offering $200 cash for opening an e-Checking account with them.
What is the catch?
First, you must set up direct deposit of at least $25 a month and use your debit card eight times a month, or keep an average daily balance of $10,000 in Nationwide checking or savings accounts. Otherwise you’ll get hit with an eight dollars per month fee.
Using your debit card eight times a month is a tall order, but if you’re already used to that then read on.
You also need to keep the account open for at least 90 days, and the $200 will be deposited about two weeks after you meet that requirement.
How about overdrafts?
Nationwide charges five dollars per day if you overdraft, which is reasonable (and less than Ally, which charges nine dollars per day). You’re only charged once per day, so if more than one purchase sends you overdraft in a day it will only cost you five dollars.
But like Ally, you will be charged every day you are overdraft until you clear it up.
Are ATMs free?
Any ATM withdrawal you make via the AllPoint network (which is the same one Simple bank uses) are free.
If you withdrawal from an out-of-network ATM you won’t be charged for your first six per month, but the bank that owns the ATM may charge you fees.
After your first six, Nationwide will charge you $1.50 per transaction, plus whatever the other bank charges you.
So if you are okay with using AllPoint ATMs (see a list of locations here) you don’t have to worry. But if you don’t, be ready to pay fees other banks charge, which are often $2.00 or more per transaction.
Will I earn interest?
Yes, Nationwide Bank pays 0.6% for average balances above $10,000.
But you shouldn’t think about that unless you really need over $10,000 a month in your account to handle your ongoing spending.
Should you do this?
$200 is tempting.
And if you are okay using AllPoint ATMs this is a very good deal for a checking account with reasonable overdraft rules. Just make sure you double-check all recurring payments from your old accounts so you don’t hit with phantom charges.
If you like to have maximum flexibility to use ATMs, consider a checking account that refunds all ATM fees, like Bank of the Internet USA or Charles Schwab.
You won’t get the same big bonus, but you will get convenience, and if you use non-network ATMs more than five times a month you’ll come out ahead in about a year.