Banks will do all they can to snap up new accounts. Checking accounts, being gateway-accounts for the banks, tend to command the most in terms of rewards and bonuses. While the checking account themselves rarely make the banks any money, the prospect of signing you up for a mortgage, credit card, and/or jumbo CD sometime in the future is what makes banks so giddy about starting a relationship.
Although we only originally featured the best 5 checking bonuses available, this list has since evolved into the best 8 (with a runner-up award). So without further ado, here are the top 8 checking account promotions available in 2013 (updated monthly).
If you know of a checking bonus that you think we’ve missed please share by leaving a comment. Any associated coupon code for the account would be helpful too!
#1 Capital One “360 Checking” with $50 Sign-up Bonus + Interest Rate
Here’s our favorite checking bonus available in 2013. It’s the only checking account that comes with a cash bonus for signing up AND an interest rate. I know interest rates are low right now, but this is a variable rate that will rise as interest rates rise! We also like Capital One’s checking account for three additional reasons – A) the widespread availability of this account. Capital One’s 360 checking account is available throughout the country and can be opened online. B) It’s a straight forward checking account with no fees, no minimum balance requirements and no ATM surcharges. C) Despite the horrible savings environment this account still offers an interest rate and is FDIC insured. With many of the country’s most well known banks (BofA, Wells Fargo and, most recently, CitiBank) imposing fees on checking accounts and debit card usage, it’s nice to see one account still offering no fee checking accounts with interest AND a sweet $50 bonus for signing up!
#2 PNC Bank Checking Account – $150 Bonus
Taking the number 2 spot is a solid promotion being held by PNC Bank from now until the end of July 2013. For new customers depositing at least $2000 into a PNC checking account within 60 days of opening the account are entitled to $150 from PNC bank as a thank you for signing up. Use this link to open an account online or have them mail you a coupon which you can bring into a physical location. PNC’s checking account bonus is eligible for residents in the following states - AL, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, OH, PA, SC, VA and WI.
#3 Chase Bank Checking Account Bonus – Between $100-$200
[Available with direct mail coupon code only] Here is another checking account promotion that almost always seems to be available in some shape or form. The bonus associated with Chase Bank’s checking account usually varies between $100 and $200. Basically you just need to set up a direct deposit with their “Chase Total Checking Account” either by stopping into a local branch or by having the coupon emailed to you. Their latest promo is dated to expire at the end of 2013. Visit Chase.com to view most updated terms. You can also purchase a coupon code for the $200 bonus on E-Bay for $15…so your bounty amounts to just $185. Be sure to see the fee structure associated with the total checking account. It can get pretty pricey for someone without much cash in it!
#4 Perkstreet Checking Account – 2% Cash Back
Some Perkstreet account holders are seeing up to $1,000 cash back from their debit card each year. Perkstreet Financial came on the scene a while back with a unique approach to checking. They created an online checking account with a cash back rewards structure that rivaled some of the top cash back credit card offers. Today, upon opening the account, you’ll get 2% cash back on your shopping and bills along with 5% cash back on purchases from select merchants. You’ll also get free checking at 37,000 ATMs nationwide and the account is FDIC insured.
#5 US Bank Checking/Savings Account – $100
Here’s another bonus that requires opening two accounts. Open a US Bank checking account and make a monthly recurring payment to your US Bank money market or savings account and earn a total of $100 over the course of a year. They’ll give you a rewards card worth $50 just for signing up for the accounts and depositing $1,000. If you then keep your average balance above $1,000 for 365 days, they’ll give you another $50 rewards card. Visit USBank.com for more information.
Local Checking Deals Only
#6 First Trade Union Bank Bonus – $100 – Northeast
First Trade Union Bank has a “Virtual Checking Account” featuring a bonus of up to $100. The bonus is good on any new accounts opened before June 30, 2013, although there’s a good chance this date may be extended. Like a couple of the other checking bonuses mentioned here, the $100 is broken down into two payments that are dependent on you making a few qualifying actions. To earn the first $50 you must set up at least one direct deposit of $50 or more. To earn the second $50 you’ll have to set up an automatic bill pay. While these actions may seem simple they are essentially demanding that this be used as your primary checking account. To see other accounts offering rewards based on similar criteria, check out our coverage of “rewards checking accounts.” You may find a better deal based on above average interest rates rather than one-time cash bonuses.
#7 Citizens Bank Checking Bonus – $150 – EastCoast
To much is given, much is expected. That’s the case for this $150 bonus associated with Citizens Bank. They break this bonus into three segments – each worth $50. The first $50 comes after you make your initial direct deposit of at least $500. The second comes after enrolling in online bill pay and making 3 online bill payments. The third $50 comes as a final bonus for meeting the first two step requirements by 4/30/2013. Note – although it is past the date, their promotional page (link below) is still active so we are assuming they will still honor the deal.
Go to Citizens Bank’s $150 checking promotional page here for further information.
#8 HomeStreet Bank – $300 – Pacific Northwest/Hawaii
Here’s a pretty significant bonus that requires several actions on your part to earn the full $300 bounty. In a nut shell they have basically 3 different account types all with different features and a different set of potential fees (pay attention to minimum balance requirements). You can earn the bonus with any of the 3 checking account offers. The breakdown is as follows – earn $100 or the initial direct deposit, earn $80 in $2 increments for each purchase with your debit card. $15 per online bill payment (up to $75), $25 for your old check book, and $20 when you sign up for e-statements. Whew…think you can handle all that?
#9 CiT Bank Online Savings Account – 0.90% to 1.00% APY
Ok ok, so it’s not technically a checking account, however, we really like CiT bank’s new online savings account because of it’s low minimum balance requirement and it’s generous interest rate. If you want to compare it to a checking account with a bonus then look at it this way – if you keep on average, say $10,000 in the account throughout the year – then that’s equivalent to a $90 bonus each and every year. Compare that to a one-off $100 bonus for signing-up and you see why we chose it for the number 2 spot. That being said, if you have just a smaller amount to stick in the account, then the rewards are obviously much less. There are zero fees with the account and the minimum opening balance requirement is just $100. One negative aspect of the account (and the primary factor separating it from a traditional checking account) is that you are allowed just 6 withdrawals per month. You’ll earn 0.90% APY on balances under $25k and 1.00% on balances above that amount. Additional perks – Free online transfers, Free incoming wire transfers, Free outgoing wire transfers, and zero account closure fees. Visit BankonCit.com for more information.
Runner-up Award: Sovereign Bank -Three checking account promotions available. Promotions consist of $125, $75 and $50 cash bonuses for account holders. Their “premier checking package” provides the $125 bounty but you’ll have to pay close attention to the fee structure to avoid getting dinged. All of Sovereign Bank’s checking packages come with minimum balance requirements to avoid fees – which is why it didn’t quite make the cut this year.