Switching bank accounts can be a time-consuming process, but many of the best banks and credit unions make the process more appealing to new customers by offering introductory bonuses. These bonuses typically come in the form of cold hard cash and may have some additional requirements you need to fulfill before you can earn them.
Those requirements can vary if you’re opening a checking vs. savings account. For instance, if you want to earn a bonus for opening a new checking account, you may need to set up direct deposit, make a certain number of debit card purchases or deposit a predetermined amount of cash and then maintain a minimum balance for a few months.
It can be challenging to find financial institutions that are running checking offers if you don’t know where to look. To help you with your search, here are some of the top personal checking account bonus offers currently available.
Top checking account bonus offers for December 2020
As you shop around and compare checking accounts, the ongoing services a bank or credit union provides are a top priority. However, if you’re trying to decide between two similar options and one financial institution offers an upfront bonus, that could be the tie-breaker to help you make your decision.
Chase Total Checking - $200 bonus
Chase is ready to pay you to give their Chase Total Checking account a try.
You can enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit. You'll also get access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. All you'll need is your phone to manage all your accounts — deposit checks, transfer money, and more — all in the Chase Mobile app.
Aspiration Spend & Save - $100 bonus
The Aspiration Spend & Save account offers the chance to earn cash back when you use your debit card, as well as an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 1% (as of Jun. 17, 2020), though that’s subject to change.
What’s more, if you open a Spend & Save account and make $1,000 in purchases with your debit card in the first 60 calendar days of account opening, you’ll receive a $100 cash bonus.
To get the bonus, you must fund your account with at least $10 when you open it. And your account must be open and in good standing when the bonus posts, which can take up to 120 days after account opening. You’re not eligible for the bonus if you already have an Aspiration account or if you’re joining someone else’s account as a joint bank account holder.
- Earn cash back rewards - up to 10% - when you spend with your debit card
- Get $100 bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 60 days
- Up to 1.00% APY interest (up to 25 times higher than Big Banks)
- Unlimited fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ ATMs
- Deposits are FDIC insured
With Aspiration Spend, you can receive up to 10% cash back when you use your debit card to pay with select merchants that belong to the bank’s Conscience Coalition. Examples of retailers in the coalition include Toms, Warby Parker, Blue Apron, Arcadia, Inc., and more.
Other valuable features of an Aspiration Spend & Save account include:
- You get unlimited fee-free ATM withdrawals at more than 55,000 ATMs.
- Your deposits aren’t used to fund fossil fuel exploration or production.
- You’ll get a personal impact score to help you match your shopping to your values.
- You can opt to plant a tree every time you swipe your debit card.
- Aspiration Plus customers will get one out-of-network ATM fee reimbursed each month.
- You can manage your account from the Aspiration mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android.
- Your first set of paper checks is free.
Sign up here to make sure you qualify for the bonus offer.
TD Bank Beyond Checking - $300 bonus
New TD Bank customers can earn a $300 bonus if you have $2,500 or more put into your account through direct deposit in the first 60 days after opening your TD Beyond Checking account.
You can also get the monthly maintenance fee waived if you get $5,000 or more in direct deposits each month, or if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500. That minimum balance will also get your ATM fees waived, and the TD Bank Beyond Checking also gives you an instant debit card.
Citibank - up to $700 bonus
Citibank actually has three different bonuses currently on offer. Depending on which banking package you choose to open, you could earn $200, $400, or $700. All three offers have requirements for deposits and minimum balance amounts.
For example, to earn the $200 bonus, you need to deposit $5,000 in funds into the new checking account within 30 days of opening the accounts and also maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 for 60 consecutive days.
Bank of America Advantage Banking - $100 bonus
Bank of America offers a versatile banking solution with the Advantage Banking account. This account actually has three different account settings: SafeBalance Banking, Plus Banking, and Relationship Banking.
SafeBalance Banking requires only a $25 opening deposit and charges no overdraft fees, but you also won't get paper checks. On the orher end of the spectrum, Relationship Banking requires a $100 opening deposit but also earns interest.
Whichever account you choose, you need to open the account by December 31, 2020, and make two qualifying direct deposits of $250 or more in the first 90 days of account opening.
How to pick which checking account bonus offer is for you
There’s no single best checking account out there, and these are far from the only banks that provide checking bonus offers. You’ll want to also consider monthly maintenance fees, interest rates, balance requirements, FDIC insurance, and other factors before you decide on a particular consumer checking account.
To determine which account is the best for you, think about the steps you need to take to earn the bonus:
- If you think you might have a hard time meeting a spending requirement or deposit requirement, that could make it challenging to earn some bonuses. Compare the requirements to what you can easily make happen.
- Think about what you want out of a checking account beyond the initial bonus. If one account can give you more long-term value based on your spending habits, it could be a better fit.
- Also consider if you prefer online banking or if you want to do in-person banking on occasion. Online banks can offer a great deal if you don't feel a need to access a physical branch of your bank.
Additionally, some of these banks only operate in certain states, so make sure to read their terms and conditions to see if the account your interested in is available to you.
Lastly, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one account. Depending on your spending habits and goals, you may be able to maximize your rewards by using multiple accounts to take advantage of their unique features.
Checking account bonuses aren’t exactly rare, but it’s not always easy to find them. If you’re looking for both upfront and long-term value, the checking accounts from the financial institutions listed above offer some incredible opportunities. However, it’s important to take your time to shop around and compare multiple options based on their sign-up bonuses and other features that could add value to your banking experience.