Best Bank Referral Programs [2024]: Refer Friends and Earn Money

BANKING - CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Using a bank referral program is an excellent way to make extra money by simply sharing products you use and love with your friends.
Updated April 5, 2024
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A woman referring her friend to her bank

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Bank referral programs should be easy to use and provide a decent reward if you successfully refer someone.

That’s why we like referral programs from Chime®1 and SoFi. All you have to do is invite friends to sign up for their products with a convenient online referral link. Then it’s up to your friends to fulfill the simple referral requirements so you can both receive a bank referral bonus.

Let’s explore the best bank referral programs to see which one is right for you.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • We recommend Chime® and SoFi for their excellent referral programs, which offer simple, straightforward, and generous bonuses. Both programs have low referral bonus requirements and provide bonuses to both you and your referral.
  • The best bank referral programs typically offer at least $50 as a referral bonus. Note that some programs offer at least $50 while also offering a bonus for your family or friends.
  • Common requirements for earning a bank referral bonus include using a customized link and then opening and funding an applicable bank account within a certain period of time.

5 of the best bank referral programs

  1. Chime®
  2. SoFi
  3. Chase
  4. Axos
  5. TD Bank

Compare the best bank referral programs

Bank Bonus per referral Required activity
Chime® $100 for you, $100 for your referral Your referral must enroll and complete a single direct deposit of $200 or more within 45 days of opening their new account.
SoFi $75 for you, $25 for your referral Your referral must be a new SoFi member and use your link to open and fund a new SoFi Checking and Savings2 account within 14 days of receiving the referral link.
Chase $50 for you and your referral might be eligible to earn a welcome offer Your referral must be a new Chase customer and open a qualifying Chase checking account with qualifying activities using the corresponding offer.
Axos $50 for you, $50 for your referral Your referral must use your link to open a new Essential Checking or Rewards Checking account and receive at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposit funding within 90 days of account opening.
TD Bank $50 for you, $50 for your referral You must complete a referral form and give it to your friend or family member. Your referral must bring the completed form to a TD Bank location and open a personal checking account.

Once a qualifying account has been opened in branch, your referral needs to have at least $250 in qualifying direct deposits or make 15 qualifying Visa debit card purchases within 60 days of account opening.

Chime®

Pros
  • Simple and generous referral program
  • No monthly service fees3
  • Paychecks available up to two days early with direct deposit45
Cons
  • No in-person branches
  • Low APY rates

Chime®’s referral program

  • Bonus: You receive $100 and your referral receives $100.
  • Requirements: Your referral must enroll and complete a single direct deposit of $200 or more within 45 days of opening their new account.

Why we like Chime®

Sending a customized referral link to a friend or family member is one of our favorite ways to try and earn referral bonuses. It’s so easy, and it takes little to no time to simply share a link.

And we like how small the direct deposit requirement is for referrals who open a new account. Not everyone can manage a $1,000 or higher direct deposit amount, so $200 is much more reasonable.

It also helps that Chime has products with appealing features and benefits. With Chime, you don’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees, you can receive your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit, and eligible members with SpotMe®6 can receive fee-free overdrafts up to $200.

What we don’t like about Chime®

As an online-only company, Chime doesn’t have any in-person branches. And its APY rates aren’t the most competitive available. For example, the Chime High-Yield Savings7 account offers 2.00% (as of Oct. 25, 2023) APY89, which is lower than the APY rates available from some of the best neobanks.

Learn more in our Chime review.

SoFi

Pros
  • Simple referral program
  • No monthly service fees
  • Up to 4.60% APY10 with direct deposit11
Cons
  • No in-person branches
  • Higher APY requires direct deposit

SoFi’s referral program

  • Bonus: You receive $75 and your referral receives $25.
  • Requirements: Your referral must be a new SoFi member and use your link to open and fund a new SoFi Checking and Savings account within 14 days of receiving the referral link.

Why we like SoFi

The referral offer is easy to understand and use, only requiring you to share a unique link with your friends. Your friend then has to open and fund a new SoFi Checking and Savings account, and there’s no specific requirement on how much they have to deposit.

We think SoFi is one of the best online banks because you don’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees, you can access highly-rated mobile apps, and you get up to 4.60% APY with direct deposit.

What we don’t like about SoFi

As an online-only bank, SoFi doesn’t have branch locations for in-person customer support. Additionally, you need to set up direct deposit to earn its top APY rate on your funds.

Visit SoFi

… Or learn more in our SoFi review.

SoFi Checking & Savings - Earn Up to $300 When You Set Up Direct Deposit

Earn 4.60% APY2 and collect up to a $300 cash bonus with direct deposit or $5,000 or more in qualifying deposits.10 FDIC Insured.

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Chase

Pros
  • Simple referral program
  • In-person branches
  • Nationwide presence
Cons
  • Low APY rates on savings accounts
  • Monthly maintenance fees unless you meet specific criteria

Chase’s referral program

  • Bonus: You receive $50 and your referral may be eligible to earn a welcome offer.
  • Requirements: Your referral must be a new Chase customer and open a qualifying Chase checking account with qualifying activities using the corresponding offer.

Why we like Chase

Chase makes it easy to invite friends to open accounts by providing a unique referral link you can share. Unfortunately, referrals don’t tend to earn anything from the referral offer. However, depending on available offers, they may still earn a welcome offer for opening a new account.

There are plenty of reasons to bank with Chase. It’s the largest bank in the U.S. by assets, and it has over 4,700 branches nationwide. As a full-service bank, you can apply for your pick of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, certificates of deposit (CDs), loans, and more.

What we don’t like about Chase

You only earn an APY rate of 0.01% (as of Oct. 6, 2023) with a Chase Savings account. And Chase bank accounts generally have monthly service fees unless you meet certain criteria.

Visit Chase

… Or learn more in our Chase review.

Enjoy $300 as a new Chase checking customer

When you open a new Chase Total Checking® account with qualifying activities.12FDIC Insured. Offer valid through July 24, 2024.

Open Account

Axos

Pros
  • Up to 3.30% APY13 with a Rewards Checking account
  • No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees
  • Domestic ATM fee reimbursements
Cons
  • No in-person branches
  • High referral deposit requirement

Axos’s referral program

  • Bonus: You receive $50 and your referral receives $50.
  • Requirements: Your referral must use your link to open a new Essential Checking account or Rewards Checking account and receive at least $1,000 in direct deposit funding within 90 days of account opening.

Why we like Axos

The Axos referral program makes it easy to share your unique referral link with friends and family. And, unlike some programs, there’s no limit on how many referral bonuses you can earn.

It helps that Axos is an appealing online bank with plenty of products and services to choose from. We like that the Axos Rewards Checking account provides up to 3.30% APY, which is rare for checking accounts. This account has no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees either.

We also like how the Essential, Rewards, and CashBack Checking accounts all receive unlimited reimbursements for all domestic ATM fees. That’s a unique benefit you won’t find on many checking accounts.

What we don’t like about Axos

Each person you refer has to receive at least $1,000 in direct deposit funding within 90 days of account opening to earn the referral bonus. That’s a high deposit requirement that might not work for some people.

Additionally, as an online-only bank, there’s no option to visit an in-person branch with Axos.

Visit Axos

… Or learn more in our Axos Bank review.

Earn Up to 3.30% APY

Learn More

TD Bank

Pros
  • In-person branches
  • No minimum opening deposit for checking and savings accounts
  • Opportunity for ATM fee reimbursements with certain accounts
Cons
  • Inconvenient referral program
  • Only available on the East Coast

TD Bank’s referral program

  • Bonus: You receive $50 and your referral receives $50.
  • Requirements: You must complete a referral form and give it to your friend. They must take the completed form to a TD Bank location and open a personal checking account. Once a qualifying account has been opened in the branch, your referral needs to have at least $250 in qualifying direct deposits or make 15 qualifying Visa debit card purchases within 60 days of account opening.

Why we like TD Bank

Receiving $50 for you and another $50 for your referral is a decent referral bonus. We also like that TD Bank has in-person branches.

There are no minimum opening deposit requirements for TD Bank checking and savings accounts. Even better, certain accounts, including TD Signature Savings and TD Beyond Checking, reimburse ATM fees if you maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance.

What we don’t like about TD Bank

Most online referral programs provide members with convenient referral links they can share with their friends. With TD Bank, there is a form to fill out that your referral has to take to a TD Bank location and then open an account. Compared to using referral links, this method is inconvenient.

It’s also worth noting that TD Bank mainly operates on the East Coast, so you’re out of luck if you live elsewhere.

Visit TD Bank.

How to choose the best bank referral programs

1. Consider the referral program

The point of a referral program is to earn extra cash or rewards for referring friends or family to products that you know and recommend. When researching bank referral programs, consider these factors.

  • Bonus: It’s common for referral programs to offer at least $50 per bank referral, but some financial institutions may provide more or run limited-time offers for higher amounts.
  • Requirements: Our favorite referral programs make it easy to refer people. That typically means generating a unique referral link that you can easily share with friends via text, email, or message.
  • Limits: Many referral programs place a limit on how many referrals you can make per year. However, it’s possible to find programs that allow a high or an unlimited number of referrals.

2. Assess your needs and preferences

Referral programs are an important consideration, but they likely shouldn’t be your primary motivation behind choosing a bank. Make sure you figure out what your financial goals are and how different banking products and services could help you reach those goals.

For example, it might make sense to find a high-yield savings account if you plan to start storing funds that you know you won’t be touching for a while. That way your money can earn interest while you work toward a savings goal.

If the bank that offers this account also has a referral program, you could take advantage of this by referring your family or friends to an account you personally like using.

3. Review different banks

There are plenty of banks out there to choose from. As you research and compare them, ask yourself a few questions.

  • Are you interested in online banks or brick-and-mortar banks? Online banks typically have a robust online experience that eliminates much of the need to visit a branch. However, you may still prefer having an in-person banking experience.
  • Do you only want to open a checking or savings account, or do you have other products, such as credit cards and loans, in mind as well? Make sure that the bank you choose has the products you’d like to use.
  • Are you looking for specific perks and benefits? That could include ATM fee reimbursements, high APY rates, free wire transfers, and more.

At FinanceBuzz, we conducted a banking behavior survey of 1,000 U.S. adults and asked those who work with online-only banks about the reasons behind their choices.

A chart showing various reasons people gave for choosing an online-only bank.

4. Look into other financial institutions

During your research, keep in mind that financial institutions come in more forms than traditional banks. These include credit unions and financial technology companies.

Credit unions typically provide many of the same services as banks, but they might have special membership requirements. They’re worth a look because the requirements aren’t always strict, and many credit union products can be quite competitive.

Check out our list of the best credit unions.

On the other hand, financial technology companies typically offer an online-only banking experience via a partnership with a bank or a network of banks. Many fintech companies offer checking or savings accounts with $0 or low monthly maintenance fees. We surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to find out their banking preferences.

A chart showing what kinds of banks people use for their primary account.

Bank referral programs FAQ

Does Bank of America allow referrals?

Bank of America doesn’t have a referral program for its bank accounts or credit cards. However, certain Bank of America credit cards frequently have welcome offers that new users can earn if they’re approved and meet certain criteria such as a spending requirement.

Does Chase do a referral program?

Yes, Chase offers referral bonuses for some of its bank accounts and credit cards. For example, you can receive $50 (up to $500 per calendar year) for each friend who opens a qualifying Chase checking account. You can visit the Chase Refer-A-Friend page to see if you qualify for referral promotions with your Chase credit cards.

Does Wells Fargo have a referral program?

No, Wells Fargo doesn’t have a referral program for its bank accounts or credit cards. However, Wells Fargo often provides welcome offers to qualifying customers upon opening certain products, including many Wells Fargo credit cards. Note that you typically have to meet a spending requirement to earn these offers.

Best bank referral programs: bottom line

Our favorite bank referral programs are easy to use and provide a decent referral bonus with low bonus requirements.

That’s why we like Chime and SoFi. The requirements for their referral programs aren’t hard to fulfill and the bonuses are generous. It’s also nice that the person being referred receives a bonus as well with both of these programs.

Keep in mind that not every bank has a referral program. However, even without a referral program, it’s worth checking out the best banks to see if they make the most sense for you.

Methodology

To identify the best bank referral programs, we compiled a list of both well-known online and traditional brick-and-mortar banks. We reviewed each bank to determine if it offers a referral program.

From the banks that offer referral programs, we picked those with the most lucrative payouts per referral. We also gathered further details about each bank’s referral program requirements, the range of products they offer, and more. Keep in mind that our list is not exhaustive of all available referral programs. Rather, it is curated to serve as a resource for someone who is looking for the best bank referral programs.

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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