by Lyle Daly | April 5, 2019
If you want to make hundreds of dollars just by opening a new bank account, here's what you need to know first.
It's a tempting offer -- open a new bank account and get $100, $300, or sometimes even more than $500. No matter how successful you are, we all like free money.
Bank account bonuses can be a little more complicated than just free money, though, so you shouldn't rush into one without fully understanding it. To make sure a bonus offer is a good deal and to keep your hands on that bonus after you get it, there are a few important rules you'll need to follow.
The terms of these bonus offers can vary significantly, and if you don't fulfill all the requirements, you'll miss out on the cash. Offers typically include one or more of the following types of requirements:
Many banks keep it simple and just require you to make and maintain a minimum deposit in your account or have at least one direct deposit. Others require a combination of these, which can get complicated and will give you more to keep track of.
Quite a few banks charge monthly maintenance fees for their accounts. You can often avoid fees by fulfilling certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum daily balance in the account or having a minimum amount in direct deposits per month.
Before you pull the trigger on opening a new bank account, see what kind of fees there will be and whether you'll be able to get them waived. If you're not paying fees for your current bank account but you will for a new account, then those fees will eventually cost you more than you make through the bonus.
The whole reason banks offer bonuses is to acquire and keep customers, so they almost always include language in the terms and conditions stating that you must have the account open for at least a certain amount of time to keep your bonus.
If you try to close the account before that time has elapsed, then the bank can claw back your bonus. A "claw back" is when the bank deducts the bonus amount from your balance when you close the account, essentially meaning you tied up your money in the account for no good reason.
Although some consumers try churning through bank accounts to collect as many bonuses as possible, this isn't a good strategy for the typical consumer.
Many of the best bank account bonuses require you to make and maintain a minimum deposit of over $10,000, with some even requiring $50,000 to $100,000. You can make over $500 with bonuses like that, but tying up $50,000 just so you can make $500 is a waste.
A bank account bonus is a nice extra, but it's only worth your time to open a bank account if you actually like its features and plan to make the most of it.
In the market for a new bank account? Fortunately, many of the best banks offer bonuses as incentives to convince you to sign up. Just make sure you follow the rules above so you can be confident that you're getting the best deal -- and that you won't lose out on that bonus because of a simple mistake.
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