If you’re anything like I was, you don’t spend time thinking about banking. Maybe you only ever deal with one bank and are convinced that it’s good enough. All banks are basically the same, right? Wrong. Did you know that some banks will actually pay you to bank with them? I’m not talking about earning interest. Some banks will actually give you a cash bonus just for opening an account. I never knew this. I suppose you’re thinking that it’s too much trouble to open another bank account. I disagree. In this digital age, it has never been easier. Most banks allow you to open an account online or through a simple phone call. You don’t even have to leave your home. Of course, if you’d rather open an account in person, you can certainly do that. I’d rather do it online, but not everyone is comfortable with that. The only major drawbacks are that you are limited by how far you are willing to travel and some banks are only online. Either way, there are hundreds of dollars in bonuses to be had and you may want to start looking for them. You may even find a bank that you prefer over your existing one. You are allowed to bank at more than one place. You can have several accounts at different institutions. As long as you are a good banking customer with a decent credit history, you should be able to open another account. Here are my suggestions.
- Begin with an online search. There are some great websites that are dedicated to listing current bank promotions. You can also search on the websites of the banks in your area or on those of online banks to find promotions.
- Once you’ve identified a promotion that looks good, read the terms carefully. Make sure you read the terms on the bank’s own website or the literature they give you carefully and don’t just rely on the information given on the site that listed the bonus. Many bonuses only apply to new customers. Some require direct deposits or have balance minimums. Some require that you keep the account open for a certain number of months. Make sure that you not only know the terms of the bonus, but the terms of that specific type of account. Are there any monthly fees or requirements? If an account requires a large minimum balance to avoid fees and you can not meet that minimum, then the bonus is probably not worth it. Similarly, if it is a relatively small bonus and you have to keep a large amount of money in the account for six months earning little interest, then the bonus may not be worth it.
- Read reviews. Some banks are easier to deal with than others. You may want to ask friends or family if they are customers. You can get their opinion of the bank and possibly even help them out since many banks offer incentives to existing customers for referring new customers. I currently have referral links for Capital One and Santander if you’d like to use them. Both banks offer bonuses, but please do your research to make sure that they are a good fit for you.
- Apply for the account. Always keep a screen shot or printout of the terms of the bonus and terms of the account. You may want to refer to it later. Fund the account and set up direct deposit, if it is required. If you apply in person, the bank representative will explain what needs to be done. If you apply online, you will receive communications by email and regular mail. Some banks also require a phone call. Keep in mind that not all banks allow for automatic account opening. It make take several days to get your new account opened.
- Stay organized. Keep track of the date that you opened the account, the number of deposits and their amounts, and your balance. You want to make sure that you are fulfilling the terms of the bonus and of the account.
- Get paid. Bank bonuses take time. Some bonuses will pay out soon after you meet the terms, but many do not. The terms will tell you when to expect your bonus. It will show up as a deposit in your account within the specified time-frame. Once your bonus shows up, do not close your account. You agreed to keep your account open for a set period of time. The bank has the right to revoke the bonus if you violate the terms. Personally, I like to keep accounts open unless there is a good reason to close them.
One last thing, don’t go crazy with this. Some banks don’t like it if you open too many accounts and will deny you. It can also become difficult to keep track of multiple accounts. Bank bonuses are a great way to earn some extra cash and experience different banking relationships. I have found some great banks that I would never had known about had there not been an incentive to open an account. Now, go find that bank bonus!