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Best Checking Account Bonuses And Promotions In 2020

Sarah Li Cain19-minute read
June 05, 2021

Taking advantage of a checking account bonus can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Many banks are clamoring for your business, which is why some of the bonuses you’ll see seem almost too good to be true. In many cases, you’ll have to sign up for the account and meet certain qualifications (such as keeping the account open for a specific amount of time) so you can earn a few hundred dollars in return.

To help you maximize the amount you can earn with your existing dollars, consider signing up for a bank that offers a higher interest rate. The time it takes to shop around for checking account bonuses could be worth your while. We’ve listed some of the best checking account bonuses below.

Checking Account Promotions For July 2020

The following checking account promotions from FDIC-insured banks are in order from the highest bonus to the lowest. That said, the highest offers may not be the best fit for you. Check what you need to do to meet the bonus offer and compare them to your existing banking needs before signing up.

Citibank (Up To $700 Cash Bonus) 

Citibank offers a one-time bonus of $200, $400 or $700 depending on the type of account you open. If you opt for a basic checking account and deposit $5,000 within 30 days of account opening and maintain that balance for 60 consecutive calendar days, you’ll earn $200. If you open a checking and savings account (Account Package) you can earn $400 if you deposit $15,000 or earn $700 if you open a Priority Account and deposit $50,000 — both of these accounts require you to deposit this amount within 30 days of opening and maintaining the respective balances for 60 consecutive calendar days.

Eligibility requirements: New Citibank account holders only — you can’t have had a Citibank checking account for the past 180 days to be eligible for the offer. Your account also needs to be in good standing to receive the bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once you meet the requirements, you’ll receive the bonus within 90 days.

Account fees: Monthly service fee for basic checking account is $12 unless you make one qualifying bill payment and one qualifying direct deposit per statement period or have at least $1,500 in combined monthly balances across all your eligible linked accounts. The Account Package charges a $25 monthly fee unless you have at least a $10,000 average balance across all eligible linked accounts. For the Priority Account, you’ll be charged $30 unless you have a monthly average balance of at least $50,000 across linked eligible accounts.

Restrictions: You need to be a resident of NY, NJ, IL, CA, CT, DC, FL, VA, MD, or NV to open the Citibank Priority Account package. Offer available until January 5, 2021.

How to apply: You’ll need to open an account online through their promotional page.

Citizens Bank (Bonus Up To $600)

Citizens Bank offers a unique bonus earnings opportunity — complete qualifying activities in two parts and can earn you $600 total.  How it works is that you’ll need to open a qualifying Citizens Bank account (more details available on their website’s promotional page) and receive a minimum $500 direct deposit to the new account within 60 days of account opening — this will earn you $300.

You can earn an additional $200 if you open both a personal checking and savings account and deposit a minimum of $15,000 within 60 days of opening the account — it needs to be new funds, meaning the money is not already on deposit with Citizens Bank. This amount needs to be in the new accounts for the remainder of the month and an additional 3 calendar months from whenever you made the initial deposit.

For the final $100, you’ll need to complete both the above activities all within 5 months. That’s it!

Eligibility requirements: You need to be a new account holder and complete the above-mentioned activities. That means you can’t have held a Citizens Bank account for at least 6 months, including being a co-signer or joint account holder.

Timeline to receive bonus: You receive bonuses within 5 months after completing required activities.

Account fees: Citizens Bank has four checking account options — Student Checking, One Deposit Checking, Platinum Checking and Platinum Plus Checking. Monthly maintenance fees are free, $9.99 or $25 per month. To waive fees, you'll need to meet specific requirements such as making a certain amount of deposits each month, maintaining a minimum average daily balance or have combined monthly balances.

Restrictions: Offer available until October 1, 2020. Customers who don’t reside in MA, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MI, CT, NH, RI, DE or VT aren’t eligible.

How to apply: Open an account online through their promotional page.

Associated Bank Checking (Bonus up to $500)

Associated Bank offers a few different bonuses totaling up to $500 depending on the type of checking account you open.

Here are your choices:

  • Associated Access Checking account – Open this account with a minimum of $25 and have a minimum of one direct deposit of at least $300 or make at least three online bill pay payments within 45 days of account opening. You’ll then receive $50. Get an additional $25 if you open and use your Visa Real Rewards credit card.

  • Associated Balanced Checking account – Earn $175 when you open this account with a minimum of $100 and have a minimum of one $300 direct deposit or make at least three online bill pay payments within 45 days of account opening. Get an additional $25 once you open and use a Visa Real Rewards credit card.

  • Associated Choice Checking account – Get a $400 bonus after opening an account with a $100 minimum, then making at least one $300 direct deposit or a minimum of three payments with online bill pay within 45 days of account opening. Plus, you’ll need to open an Associated Relationship Savings account and maintain a minimum $25,000 balance for 90 days. You can get an additional $100 if you open an American Express Premier Rewards credit card and use it to spend at least $1,000 within the first 3 months.

 

Eligibility requirements: Primary account holder needs to be at least 18 years old and can’t have or have had an Associated Bank checking account with the last 6 months. Your new checking account needs to be open when the bonus is paid to you and for another 12 months. Otherwise, Associated Bank may deduct the bonus during closing.

Timeline to receive bonus: Your bonus will be deposited to your new checking account within 120 days of account opening.

Account fees: Monthly maintenance fees can be $0 – $25 depending on the account you open. The fee can be waived though criteria to do so will differ based on the checking account — check the fine print for details.

Restrictions: Account offers expire December 31, 2020. Associated Bank employees aren’t eligible.

How to apply: Head to Associated Bank’s promotional page and apply online.  

HSBC Premier Checking ($450 Bonus)

Opening an HSBC Premier Checking account online can net you $450. Once you open an account, you’ll need to keep it open in order to receive the bonus. After 2 months from opening the account, you need to make qualifying deposits equal to a minimum of $5,000 to the account for 3 consecutive months.

Account holders can also choose to earn 3% cash back for the first six months of account opening (up to $100 each month for and $600 total) for opening a Premier Checking account and making qualifying direct deposits. There are no restrictions for changing it to a different account like the first option.

Eligibility requirements: You can’t receive another new customer offer from HSBC. You also need to be a U.S. resident for the past 2 years and not hold an HSB consumer investment or deposit account from June 29, 2017 to June 29, 2019.

Timeline to receive bonus: Within 8 weeks after you’ve met all requirements — it’ll be deposited into your HSBC checking account.

Account fees: You’ll be charged a $50 monthly service fee unless you keep a $75,000 minimum balance across your eligible personal deposit and investment accounts. That, or having a HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan that has a minimum $500,000 origination amount or having recurring $5,000 minimum third-party direct deposits each calendar month.

Restrictions: Offer available until September 30, 2020.

How to apply: Fill out an application form through their promotional page.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking ($400 Bonus)   

Open a Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking or Everyday Checking account to earn the opportunity to get a $400 bonus. To do so, you’ll need to make a $25 minimum deposit to open the account then have qualifying direct deposits — minimum $4,000 — within 90 days of account opening.

Eligibility requirements: Bonus for new customers — you can’t have received a bonus for opening a new checking account within 12 months, or currently have an account open. Your account also needs to be open with a balance that’s more than $0 by the time you receive the bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once you complete the requirements within the 90-day window, you’ll receive the bonus within 30 days.

Account fees: There’s a $10 monthly maintenance fee, but that can be waived if you have at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits, a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or at least 10 debit transactions each month.

Restrictions: Offer available until July 31, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online through their promotional page or in person once you have a coupon mailed to you (sign up from the online promotional page).

SunTrust Bank (Truist) Advantage Checking ($400 Bonus) 

If you open a SunTrust Bank (Truist) Advantage Checking account and meet the qualifying requirements, you can earn a $400 signup bonus. All you need to do is to use the promo code (see below) and complete a minimum of $3,000 in qualifying direct deposits for two consecutive statement cycles per statement cycle within the first 3 months of account opening.

You may also qualify for up to a 50% loyalty bonus, but that depends on your total relationship balance with the bank — check with a customer representative to see how this works.

Eligibility requirements: Bonus is for new customers only — you can’t have an existing account or have closed one within the past 180 days. You also need to keep the account open for at least 180 days or else the bank has the right to deduct our bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once all qualifying requirements are met, you’ll receive the bonus within 8 weeks in your account.

Account fees: There’s a $20 monthly maintenance fee but you can get that waived — you’ll need to have at least $3,000 in qualifying direct deposits each month or have a minimum of $10,000 across all eligible deposit and investment accounts. You can also get the fee waived if you link a qualifying SunTrust credit card, loan, mortgage or small business checking account.

Restrictions: Offer eligible until September 30, 2020. Account holders who don’t have an address in AL, AR, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, DC or WV won’t qualify.

How to apply: Complete an application form online and use code Q320ADVANTAGE.

Chase Premier Plus Checking ($300 Bonus)

Earn a $300 bonus if you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and have a qualifying direct deposit into the new account within 90 days of opening. You’ll also need to have the account open for at least 6 months or else it’ll be deducted from your total account balance during closing.

Eligibility requirements: You can only get a new checking and savings account bonus every 2 years from your last enrollment date. Plus, you can only receive one bonus per account and can’t have a closed account with a negative balance within the past 90 days.

Timeline to receive bonus: Your bonus will be deposited into your account within 10 business days once you meet the requirements.

Account fees: Account holders are subject to a $25 monthly fee unless they’re making automatic payments from this particular account on a qualifying Chase mortgage or have a $15,000 minimum daily balance between all linked Chase accounts.

Restrictions: Offer available until October 14, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online through their promotional page or by having a coupon emailed to you and going in person.

TD Bank Beyond Checking ($300 Bonus)

Receive a $300 bonus if you open a new TD Bank Beyond Checking account online and receive a minimum of $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days of account opening.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants need to be a U.S resident and apply for the promotional offer online. Bonus available to new account holders and those who don’t have a prior or existing TD Bank checking account.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once you meet all the eligibility requirements, you’ll receive your bonus within 95 days of account opening.

Account fees: Account holders are subject to a $25 monthly fee unless they maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance, receive at least $5,000 in monthly direct deposits or maintain a $25,000 minimum combined account balance across qualifying TD Bank accounts.

Restrictions: Ongoing promotion until further notice. Residents who don’t reside in CT, DE, DC, FL, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, SC, VT or VA aren’t eligible.

How to apply: Apply online at TD Bank’s website.

Santander Simply Right Checking ($225 Bonus)

If you grab the promotion code after entering your email address on Santander’s website, you can use that to earn a $225 bonus when opening a new Simply Right Checking account. Within the first 90 days of account opening, you’ll need to have direct deposits of at least $1,000 and keep the account open for at least 90 days. To receive the bonus, the account must be open.

Eligibility requirements: Only available for new checking accounts: you can’t have a current checking account with Santander or had one 12 months before opening a current account. You need to enter a promotional code when opening a new qualifying account or within 14 days of account opening.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once you meet the requirements, your bonus will be sent to your account within 30 days.

Account fees: There is a $10 monthly fee, but you can get that waived if you use the account each month. That means any type of transaction posted to your account such as a transfer, payment, deposit or withdrawal.

Restrictions: Promotion ends September 30, 2020. Only residents of NH, MA, RI, CT, DE, NY, NJ or PA can qualify.

How to apply: Apply online on Santander’s website once you receive a promotional code via email after requesting one. 

Chase Total Checking ($200 Bonus) 

Open a Chase Total Checking account and grab yourself a $200 bonus if you can make a qualifying direct deposit within 90 days of account opening. You need to keep the account open for at least 6 months or else when you close your account, the bonus amount will be deducted.

Eligibility requirements: Like the other Chase offer above, you can only get a new checking and savings account bonus every 2 years from your last enrollment date. Plus, you can only receive one bonus per account and can’t have a closed account with a negative balance or one within the past 90 days.

Timeline to receive bonus: Your bonus will be deposited into your account within 10 business days once you meet the requirements.

Account fees: Account holders are subject to a $12 monthly fee unless they have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits, a $1,500 minimum daily balance or have a $5,000 minimum daily balance between all linked Chase accounts.

Restrictions: Offer valid until October 14, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online through their promotional page or by having a coupon emailed to you and going in person. 

Fulton Bank Simply Checking ($200 Bonus) 

Earning a $200 cash bonus from Fulton Bank means fulfilling some simple requirements. All you need to do is to open an account with $25 and either make 15 debit card purchases within 60 days of account opening or set up a $250 minimum recurring deposit.

Eligibility requirements: Only available for new checking account customers who haven’t had a Fulton Bank (or any of its affiliates) checking account within the past 12 months. Eligible account holders can only receive one bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once requirements have been met, you’ll receive your bonus within 4 – 6 weeks.

Account fees: Fulton Bank’s checking account has no monthly maintenance fee or minimum daily balance requirements.

Restrictions: Ongoing promotion until further notice. Only available to DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA and DC residents. Fulton Bank’s employees or immediate family members in the same household aren’t eligible.

How to apply: Head to Fulton Bank’s website and apply through their promotional page.

TD Bank Convenience Checking ($150 Bonus)

If you prefer an account with a lower minimum balance requirement, the TD Bank Convenience Checking account will over you a $150 bonus. You’ll need to receive at least $500 in direct deposits within 60 days of account opening.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants need to be a U.S resident and apply for the promotional offer online. Bonus available to new account holders and who don’t have a prior or existing TD Bank checking account.  

Timeline to receive bonus: You’ll receive your bonus within 95 days of account opening once you meet all the eligibility requirements.

Account fees: Account holders are subject to a $15 monthly fee unless they maintain a $100 minimum daily balance. Those between 17 – 23 years old or are qualifying students won’t be required to have a minimum balance or pay a monthly fee.

Restrictions: Ongoing promotion until further notice. Residents who don’t reside in CT, DE, DC, FL, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, SC, VT or VA aren’t eligible.

How to apply: Apply online at TD Bank’s website.

SunTrust Bank (Truist) Essential Checking ($200 Cash Bonus)

You can earn $200 if you open an Essential Checking account with Truist — account needs to be open and have at least $0.01 in order to receive it. Within the first three statement cycles, account holders also need to have at least $500 in direct deposits for two consecutive statement cycles to qualify.

Eligibility requirements: In addition to the requirements mentioned above, you need to keep the account open for at least 180 days. If you close it within 180 days, then the bank has the right to deduct our bonus. Plus, this bonus is for new customers only — you can’t have an existing account or have closed one within the past 180 days.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once all qualifying requirements are met, you’ll receive the bonus within eight weeks in your account.

Account fees: There’s a $7 monthly maintenance fee but you can get that waived — you’ll need to have at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits each month, have a minimum daily balance of $500, at least 10 transactions each month, or qualify for their student account waiver.

Restrictions: Offer eligible until September 30, 2020. Account holders who don’t have an address in AL, AR, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, DC or WV won’t qualify.

How to apply: Complete an application form online and use code Q320ESSENTIAL.

HSBC Advance Checking ($200 Bonus)

You can earn a $200 bonus if you open an HSBC Advance Checking account and after the second full calendar month, make qualifying recurring direct deposit payments for 3 consecutive months — it needs to be at least $500. To receive the bonus, this exact checking account needs to be open at that time.

Alternatively, you can receive 3% cash back for the first 6 months of account opening (up to $40 each month with a maximum of $240 in total) if you open an account and have qualifying direct deposits. Contact a customer representative if for more information.

Eligibility requirements: You need to be a U.S. resident for the past 2 years in order to apply for an account. Applicants can’t receive any additional new customer offers from HSBC to qualify for this one. Plus, you can’t have had an HSBC deposit or investment account from June 29, 2017 to June 29, 2020.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once all requirements are met, you’ll receive your bonus in your account within 8 weeks.

Account fees: There’s a $25 monthly fee, though you can get that waived if you have a HSBC U.S. residential mortgage, have a minimum of $5,000 in across qualifying U.S. personal and commercial HSBC deposit and investment accounts, or if you receive recurring third-party direct deposits each month.

Restrictions: Offer available until September 30, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online at HSBC’s website through their promotional page.

Bank Of America Advantage Banking ($100 Bonus)

You can receive a $100 bonus if you open a Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance, Plus or Relationship Banking checking account. You’ll need a $25 minimum deposit to open the account and then within 90 days of account opening, receive at least two $250 qualifying direct deposits.

Eligibility requirements: Unless it’s a fiduciary account, you can’t have had a Bank of American personal checking account either an owner or co-owner within the last 6 months.   Your checking account also needs to be in good standing before receiving the bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: Once all requirements are met, you’ll receive your bonus in your account within 60 days.

Account fees: For the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking checking account, there’s a $4.95 monthly fee unless you’re under 24 years old and enrolled in school or you’re enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program. For the Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking checking account, it’s a $12 monthly unless you’re under 24, have a $1,500 minimum daily balance or have a $250 qualifying direct deposit. The Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking checking has a $25 monthly fee unless you have a minimum of $10,000 in balances combined across all qualifying linked accounts, including Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. For the latter two checking accounts, those who are Preferred Rewards clients are also exempt from the monthly fee.

Restrictions: Offer available until December 31, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online at Bank of America’s through their promotional page and use the code PSR100CIS.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account ($100 Bonus) Best Fit 

The Aspiration Spend & Save account is offering a $100 bonus for new account holders who make a minimum of $1,000 in cumulative purchases during the first 60 days with their debit card. The $1,000 minimum is net purchases, meaning that it’s purchases you make minus any returns or credits.

Eligibility requirements: New accounts only — secondary owner who signs up as a joint owner won’t qualify. Accounts also need to be in good standing in order to receive bonus.

Timeline to receive bonus: You’ll receive your $100 bonus in up to 120 calendar days.

Account fees: There are two account tiers: Pay What is Fair or Aspiration Plus. The Pay What is Fair account can be as low as $0 or you can indicate another monthly service fee. Otherwise the Aspiration Plus account is $3.99 a month (or $45 annually) and you receive more perks like 10% cash back on purchases with your debit card and up to 1.00% APY on savings.

Restrictions: Offer available until December 31, 2020.

How to apply: Apply online through their promotional page.

Why Do Banks Offer Signup Bonuses?

Cash bonuses that banks offer help them stand out among competitors — offering checking account bonuses help these institutions attract new customers and with them, new deposits. Sure, banks can attract new customers with higher rates, but a one-time bonus is easier for people to quantify. If you think about it, offering a $400 bonus is easier to imagine than earning $400 over the course of a few years through a higher interest rate.

Banks may also offer more than one sign-up bonus, but it’s typically rare you can qualify for more than one at the same time.

What To Look Out For Before Signing Up For That Checking Account Bonus

Signing up for checking account promotions might seem like a great deal, but that’s not always the case. That’s why it’s important to read the fine print beforehand. In other words, you’ll want to scrutinize the terms and conditions of the checking account itself — are there monthly fees or minimum balance requirements that could make your initial earnings not worth it?

Aside from fees, think carefully about whether the bank or checking account will suit your needs. For example, if you prefer patronizing brick-and-mortar locations, double check to see if there are enough branches in your area. Same with ATMs if you like to take out cash every once in a while. For those who like the convenience of online banking, see if the bank’s website, app or other digital tools are sufficient enough for you.

In some cases, the bank suits your needs, but the interest rate isn’t great. Sometimes it might be best to forego the bonus and sign up for an account that offers a higher rate instead.

Other things you’ll want to watch out for before signing up for a new bank account:

  • Understand what you need to do to earn the bonus – Banks will have some requirements for you in order to qualify for their checking account bonuses so it’s crucial you meet them. Read the fine print to see what it is you need to do and contact customer service if you’re unsure. The downside to not meeting the requirements is that you won’t get the bonus, which means you wasted your time.

  • Meet the requirements – Seems simple, but once you open the account and understand the requirements, make sure you meet them as soon as you can. For example, if one of the requirements is for you to deposit $1,000 within 60 days, make a bank transfer well within that time.

  • Make sure the promotion is still active – While we take great strides to update and confirm information for accuracy, promotions can expire without warning. Make sure you check the bank’s official website or contact their customer service department to ensure that the offer as well as the requirements to earn the bonus is still accurate.

  • You could be subject to a credit check – Most times, when you open a new account, the bank will conduct a soft credit pull which doesn’t affect your credit score. However, some conduct hard credit pulls which could. Before signing up, check with the bank to see what type of credit check it conducts — a hard credit pull could lower your credit score temporarily. While this doesn’t need to be a big deal, it’s still something to be aware of.

  • Consider using the new bank as your primary bank – If you use your new checking account as your primary one, the chances of you meeting the requirements to earn that bonus will be much higher. For example, some banks might need you to set up direct deposit as one of their requirements, so head to your employer to start directing your paychecks there.

  • Understand what happens if you want to close the account – In some cases, a bank requires you to keep an account open for a specific amount of time. If you’re planning to use your new account for the long term, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if your plan is to close the account as soon as you get the bonus, see whether there’s anything in the fine print that indicate a fee for closing it. While banks don’t typically try and take back a bonus, the account closing fee charged may not make your efforts worth it.

  • You’ll need to pay taxes – Yes, the bonus money you earn counts as taxable income. The bank will issue you a tax form (1099-INT or 1099-MISC) and you’ll need to report that income on your tax return.

  • Keep a hard copy of the terms and conditions – It’s not a bad idea to keep a copy on hand to ensure you were eligible for the bonus after signing up. That way, you can refer to it since banks can often delete or update their websites, making it hard to reference what you need to do.

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Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a freelance personal finance, credit and real estate writer who works with Fintech startups and Fortune 500 financial services companies to educate consumers through her writing. She’s also a candidate for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation and the host of Beyond The Dollar, where she and her guests have deep and honest conversations on how money affects our well-being.