With inflation on the rise, every dollar counts and banks are taking advantage of the moment by offering sizable new account bonuses to customers. If you’re in the market for a new bank account, a bonus incentive can be tempting. Some banks pay big cash bonuses to attract new customers — ranging from a few hundred dollars to $500.
That said, a bank account bonus shouldn’t be your primary reason for opening a new account. Choosing a bank account is a consequential decision for your finances and there are many factors to consider, including monthly fees and branch access. Finding the best fit will require research and consideration.
Furthermore, new account bonuses may be enticing, but you’ll likely have to jump through several hoops before you actually receive the bonus. Banks generally require a direct deposit to fund the account over several months before a bonus is released. There may also be minimum balance requirements to maintain before any bonus will be paid out. New accounts could even have a monthly fee assessed that can eat into the value of the bonus incentive. Also, if you’re willing to meet all the requirements just for a temporary period (in which you just receive the bonus and plan on closing the account, aka bank account churning), keep in mind that some banks will charge an early termination fee that furthers dilute the benefit of opening a new account.
However, if you’ve narrowed down the choices and a bonus incentive can help you make this decision, then consider it the cherry on top. Here’s our list of banks with attractive account bonuses and reasonable requirements, ranked in order of the highest bonus available.
Highest bonus paid
Cash bonus: $300 or $500 for premier checking
BMO Harris has three checking accounts that come with bonuses when you first sign up. If you open a Smart Advantage account — Harris’s base checking account — you can earn a $300 cash bonus if you receive $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 90 days. The same goes for Harris’s Smart Money account, which offers more premium checking account features for $5 per month, including no overdraft fees.
If you go with Harris’s Premier checking account, though, you can get a $500 cash bonus if you make $7,500 in deposits within the first 90 days. This account comes with even more perks but comes with a hefty $25 monthly fee (but that can be waived).
This offer expires Sept. 30, 2022.
Fifth Third Bank
Easiest account to qualify
Cash bonus: Checking account bonus for $375
Fifth Third Bank offers bank accounts with no monthly fees, which is great because you can get a $375 bonus if you open a checking account. With Fifth Third Bank, it’s quick and easy to score this bonus (at least, compared to the hoops other banks require). All you need to do is open a new checking account and receive at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening the account. Fifth Third Bank will then deposit your bonus 10 business days later.
This offer expires Sept. 30, 2022.
Earn a bonus for opening both a checking and savings account
Cash bonus: $200 for checking; $300 for savings
TD Bank is the only bank on this list that offers bonuses for both its checking and savings accounts. In total, you could score a $500 bonus if you open two accounts.
You can get a $200 bonus if you open a Convenience Checking account and receive $500 or more in qualifying deposits within 60 days. This account has a $15 monthly fee, but you can waive that if you maintain a $100 minimum daily balance, or if you’re a student or young adult ages 17 to 23. With TD Beyond Checking — which has a $25 fee that can be waived — you can earn a $300 bonus if you receive $2,500 in deposits within 60 days of opening this account.
And with either TD Beyond Savings ($15 monthly fee) or TD Simple Savings ($5 monthly fee), you can get a $200 bonus after you deposit $20,000 or more within 20 days and maintain that balance for 90 days thereafter.
This offer expires Oct. 31, 2022.
A wide range of bonuses
Cash bonus: $50 to $300 for checking
SoFi (short for “Social Finance”) is an online bank that offers a range of bonuses. To qualify, you must open a checking account and receive a direct deposit from your employer, payroll or benefits provider. How much you earn depends on the amount deposited within 30 days:
- $1,000 to $1,999 in direct deposit: $50 cash bonus
- $2,000 to 4,999 in direct deposit: $100 cash bonus
- $5,000 or more in direct deposit: $300 cash bonus
This offer ends Sept. 30, 2022.
Flexible deposit amounts
Cash bonus: $200 for checking
Chase is a national bank that has branches in just about every state in the country. Though its certificates of deposit and savings accounts aren’t particularly attractive in the market today, Chase is offering a good bonus deal for opening a new checking account. You can get $200 when you open an account and receive a deposit of any amount within 90 days from your employer, a pension or a government benefit (including Social Security). The only catch is that you must keep the account open for more than six months to keep the bonus.
This offer expires Oct. 19, 2022.
A solid bonus that might take a while to collect
Cash bonus: $200 for checking
M&T Bank also offers a bonus for opening a new checking account — but it could take a long time to get it. This bank requires you to open a checking account and receive $500 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 90 days. But you need to wait up to 90 additional days to receive the bonus. In total, that could be half a year before you get your money. The upside is that M&T Bank offers a base checking account without pesky monthly maintenance fees.
This offer expires Sept. 30, 2022.
Best Bank Account Bonuses
|Bank||Bonus offer||Required deposits|
|BMO Harris||$300 to $500||$4,000 to $7,500|
|Fifth Third Bank||$375||$500|
|TD Bank||$200 to $300||$500 to $20,000|
|SoFi||$50 to $300||$1,000 to $5,000|
Are there other banks with new account bonuses?
Yes. Our list here is by no means exhaustive, and we based our picks on the bonus amount and its accessibility. Some banks didn’t make this list because the bonus amount was too low or too cumbersome to obtain.
For example, Aspiration — a FinTech company, not a bank — offers a $200 bonus for opening an account, but you have to spend $1,000 or more within 60 days. Likewise, Alliant Credit Union offers a $100 bonus for opening an account, but you have to wait a year before receiving the bonus.
But there are other banks you may consider, too, depending on your particular situation. If you want to have a checking, savings and a line of credit all under one roof, you’ll want to check out banks that offer all three of these products.
Are account bonuses worthwhile?
If you’re already shopping around for a new checking or savings account, taking a look at bonus offers isn’t a bad idea, as it can help you earn some extra cash. But you’ll want to mind the monthly fees associated with any account you’re investigating.
Those monthly fees can wipe out your gains, too: If you get a $200 bonus for an account that charges a $25 monthly fee but aren’t able to waive the fee, you’ll wipe out your bonus gains in eight months.
Moreover, a bonus offer shouldn’t override accounts with better perks. For example, in the long run, it might be better to go with a savings account with a high annual percentage yield and a lower bonus than one with a low APY and higher bonus, especially as there are stark differences in the market right now.
What factors should you consider when choosing a new bank?
As you begin your search, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be more comfortable with the option to speak with someone in person?
- Are there reasons for me to visit a branch in person or can I handle my transactions online?
- How important is having the latest technological innovations available in a bank?
- How much do I travel and what type of banking tools do I need to access when I’m traveling?
- How can a financial institution best help me reach both my near- and longer-term financial goals?
Answering the above questions should help you narrow the choice of whether a traditional bank, a fintech app, or something in between could be the best financial fit overall. Once you have your short list, the next step is to compare the services each institution offers and make note of the fees you may be charged. Services to look for include:
- Free checking account
- Savings accounts, money market accounts, and/or certificates of deposit
- Ability to interface with peer-to-peer transaction services such as Zelle
- Overdraft protection
- Loan products
- Wealth management and/or professional advisory services
What’s better, a bank with a high APY or a bank with an account bonus?
Generally, in the long run, it’s better to go with a higher APY than a higher bonus. Especially as interest rates rise for savings accounts and certificates of deposit, there are some good high-yield offers out there right now, and they are continuously trending upwards these days. Ideally, you want to combine a stellar bonus offer with a high APY (anything above 1% is considered robust). SoFi, for example, is offering a bonus of up to $300 and offers a checking and savings account at 2.00% APY once you set up a direct deposit account.
Should I sign up for checking and savings accounts with multiple banks to earn bonuses?
You can, but it’s not a strategy we recommend for earning passive income. Criteria for obtaining a bonus can be cumbersome, requiring you to keep the account open for a certain length of time, make qualifying direct deposits (sometimes in the thousands) and maintain daily balance amounts, not to mention the monthly maintenance fees associated with many checking and savings accounts.
Also, some banks will disqualify you from a bonus offer if you’ve reached a negative balance in the past. So, that’s something else you want to keep an eye on. Chase disqualifies customers from bonus offers if they’ve reached a negative balance within the last three years.
If you do decide to try your luck scoring welcome bonuses by opening multiple accounts, it’s important to know that you’ll owe taxes on any money earned through these signup bonuses.
You should consider a bank account bonus as an extra perk for signing up with a bank, but it’s probably not a good idea to go bonus hunting.