Three Checking Account Bonuses That Won't Pay Off For The Little Guy

January 31, 2012 No Comments »

Big banks got hammered in the media throughout much of the final quarter of 2011 due to their – albeit immediately reversed – threat of adding new fees. However, depending on your own individual financial circumstances, you may still get slammed by fee’s from some of the nation’s leading banks.

In light of this little tidbit, we put together a list of the top 3 new checking account bonuses that won’t end up paying off if you’re not considered a ‘high value account’ to them.

However, before we hop into the 3 account promotions, let’s analyze what makes up a high value client for the likes of Citibank, Bank of America, Chase or any other large national powerhouse.

1) Someone who has or will open multiple accounts with the bank (ie. credit cards, mortgage or home loan, auto loan, etc.)

2) Someone who regularly holds a high balance in their checking account. In fact, these are the would-be customers hit by the new fees that were so badly brutalized in the media. Anyone who regularly keeps under $500 in their checking account can consider themselves a ‘low value client’ to a big bank and should probably look into a credit union or online bank. Conversely, check out how one can earn 2% cash back on their checking account by keeping more than $5k as a balance.

3) Someone who plans on keeping their retirement account(s) with the bank’s investment arm. Obviously the larger your nest egg, the more valuable of a client you are.

So…for the littler guys just looking for a no fee’s checking account with a lucrative sign-up bonus, STAY AWAY from these tempting offers, which, by the way, will immediately pop up in Google when searching for “checking account bonuses.” Don’t believe me? Give it a try!

Stay Away From…

1) Key Bank’s Checking Account Bonus. Get $150 by opening one of their many checking account packages.

What they tell you: Get $150 when you switch to Key Bank.

What you’ll also need to know: You’ll need to open one of their various checking accounts and make 60 payments and or purchases within 3 months, plus, make 3 separate $500 deposits in 3 months. However, the most important thing to notice is that ALL of their checking account packages come with “maintenance fee’s” (besides one) unless you can keep a rather hefty $10 – $100k in them. Their most basic checking package is the “Key Express Checking Account” and you’ll still need to deposit at least $500 or initiate five account transfers per statement cycle to avoid fees.

2) Citibank’s Checking Account Bonus Offer. Open one of two checking accounts and earn between $50 and $100 in bonuses.

What they tell you: Get $100 after opening a Citi Gold Checking Account or $50 from their traditional Citi Checking Account.

What you’ll also need to know: There’s no monthly service fee if you maintain a $15,000 combined average monthly balance requirement in eligible products; otherwise $20.00 monthly service fee is applied. Eligible products are linked deposits, loans, mortgages, and investment accounts.

3) Chase Checking Account. Get $125 for opening a new account by using a promo code or getting one emailed to you. Google “Chase Checking Promotion” to find the promo code.

What they tell you: Get $125 for opening a new Chase Checking Account and making one direct deposit. As a quick disclaimer, we did mention this on our list of top checking account offers in 2012, however, we provided the disclaimer that this account bonus will only be worth it if you plan on making Chase your primary bank and moving larger sums over to their bank.

What you’ll also need to know: Chase’s checking account has no monthly service fee’s for those who can either make a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more or keep a daily average balance of $1,500. If you can’t you’ll get dinged with a $12 fee. So as you can see it’s the best of the three big bank checking account promotions, but still likely not worth it for the little guy.

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