With inflation still high, every dollar counts and banks are taking advantage of the moment by offering sizable new account bonuses to customers. If you’re in the market for a new bank account, a bonus incentive can be tempting. Some banks pay big cash bonuses to attract new customers -- ranging from a few hundred dollars to $500.
That said, a bank account bonus shouldn’t be your primary reason for opening a new account. Choosing a bank account is a consequential decision for your finances and there are many factors to consider, including monthly fees and branch access. Finding the best fit will require research and consideration.
Furthermore, new account bonuses may be enticing, but you’ll likely have to jump through several hoops before you actually receive the bonus. Banks generally require a direct deposit to fund the account over several months before a bonus is released. There may also be minimum balance requirements to maintain before any bonus will be paid out. New accounts could even have a monthly fee assessed that can eat into the value of the bonus incentive. Also, if you’re willing to meet all the requirements just for a temporary period (in which you just receive the bonus and plan on closing the account, aka bank account churning), keep in mind that some banks will charge an early termination fee that further dilutes the benefit of opening a new account.
However, if you’ve narrowed down the choices and a bonus incentive can help you make this decision, then consider it as the cherry on top. Here’s our list of banks with attractive account bonuses and reasonable requirements, ranked in order of the highest bonus available.
Best bank account bonuses
|Bank||Bonus offer||Required deposits|
|TD Bank||$200 to $500||$500 to $2,500|
|PNC Bank||Up to $400||$500 to $5,000|
|BMO Harris||$200 to $350||$4,000 to $7,500|
|SoFi||$250||$1,000 to $5,000|
|Alliant Credit Union||$100||$100 for 12 consecutive months|
|Axos Bank||Up to $100||$1,500|
Note: Bank bonuses shown are as of March 14, 2023. CNET’s editorial team updates this information regularly. Bonuses may have changed since they were last updated and may vary by region for some products.
TD Bank is the only bank on this list that offers separate bonuses for both its checking and savings accounts. In total, you could score a $500 bonus if you open two accounts.
You can earn a $300 bonus if you open a TD Beyond Checking or $200 for opening a TD Convenience Checking account. Bonuses apply when you make $2,500 or $500, respectively, in qualifying direct deposits within 60 days. Both of these accounts charge a monthly fee, but there are steps available to waive the fees.
Opening either a TD Signature or TD Simple Savings account will add another $200 to your bonus haul. You will need to deposit $10,000 in either account to qualify for the bonus within 20 days of opening either account. These accounts can also charge monthly fees, so keep an eye on the details to make sure you can avoid costly fees
This offer expires March 31, 2023.
Cash bonus: $50 to $400
PNC Bank will deposit either $50, $200 or $400 in your account when you establish a direct deposit into your virtual wallet of $500, $2,000 or $4,000, respectively. There’s no minimum required to open a checking account. The direct deposit must be received within the first 60 days of opening the account. But, you can’t rush this bonus. PNC will make you wait between 60 and 90 days before receiving the cash.
This offer expires March 31, 2023.
Cash bonus: $200 to $350
BMO Harris Bank provides three ways to earn a decent bonus when you open a new checking account -- but you’ll need to exercise patience. This bank requires you to open a checking account and deposit $4,000 in direct deposits for a Smart Advantage or Smart Money checking account within 90 days to receive a $200 bonus. You can earn $350 with direct deposit of at least $7,500 into the Premier account within the first 90 days. The checking accounts all charge monthly fees -- in some cases the fees can be waived. If you’re willing to make the adjustments to avoid fees, the bank bonus is a nice feature.
This offer expires May 12, 2023.
Cash bonus: $50 to $250 for checking
SoFi (short for “Social Finance”) is an online bank that offers a range of bonuses. To qualify, you must open a checking account and receive a direct deposit from your employer, payroll or benefits provider. How much you earn depends on the amount deposited within 30 days:
- $1,000 to $4,999 in direct deposit: $50 cash bonus
- $5,000 or more in direct deposit: $250 cash bonus
This offer expires March 31, 2023.
Cash bonus: Up to $450 for MyChoice Premium Checking
M&T Bank also offers a $350 bonus for opening a new checking account -- but it could take a long time to get it. This bank requires you to open a checking account and maintain an average daily balance of $10,000 in March and April. But you need to wait until May 31, to receive the bonus. You can receive an additional $100 bonus by opening a money market account and maintaining an average daily balance of $10,000 in March in April as well. That’s a hefty sum to maintain in order to qualify for the new account bonus. The upside is that M&T Bank offers a base checking account without pesky monthly maintenance fees.
This offer expires April 24, 2023.
Cash bonus: $200 for checking
Chase is a national bank that has branches in just about every state in the country. Though its certificates of deposit and savings accounts aren’t particularly attractive in the market today, Chase is offering a good bonus deal for opening a new checking account. You can get $200 when you open an account and receive a deposit of any amount within 90 days from your employer, a pension or a government benefit (including Social Security). The only catch is that you must keep the account open for more than six months to keep the bonus.
Chase will charge a $12 monthly fee unless you set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or maintain an average daily balance of $5,000.
This offer expires April 19, 2023.
Alliant Credit Union
Cash bonus: $100
Alliant will add to your savings account through its Ultimate Opportunity Savings Account promotion. When you open an Ultimate Savings Account and make 12 consecutive deposits of at least $100, Alliant will automatically deposit $100 in your account. Set up a recurring deposit or transfer because if you miss a month, you’ll have to start again. You must maintain a balance of $1,200 to receive the one-time bonus. This offer is only available to new Alliant members.
This offer expires December 31, 2023.
Cash bonus: $100
Open an All Around Checking account and earn $100. All you need is $1,500 in direct deposit transfers within one calendar month in the first three months after the account is opened to receive the bonus. Use the code RC100 when applying for a new account. Keep in mind, Axos Bank charges $100 for accounts closed within 180 days.
This offer expires March 31, 2023.
How do bank account bonuses work?
Banks offer an account bonus to attract new customers. A bank will generally pay a cash bonus that can be as much as $500 when you open a new account. However, that bonus will be tied to one or more conditions that must be satisfied before you receive it.
Conditions can include the length of time the account must remain open, a minimum daily account balance or a minimum number of transactions required within a specific period. Bank account bonuses can be lucrative, so take note of the requirements to ensure you don’t skip a step and miss out on the bonus.
Are bank account bonuses worth it?
If you’re already shopping for a new checking or savings account, it’s worth taking the time to review bonus offers as they can help you earn extra cash. But be mindful of the monthly fees associated with any account you’re considering as it can wipe out your gains. If, for example, you get a $200 bonus for an account that charges a $25 monthly fee, and you’re unable to waive the fee, you’ll wipe out your bonus gains in eight months.
Moreover, a bonus offer shouldn’t override accounts with better perks. It might be better, in the long run, to go with a savings account with a high annual percentage yield, or APY, and a lower bonus than one with a low APY and higher bonus, especially as there are stark differences in the market right now.
Factors to consider when choosing a new bank
As you begin your search, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be more comfortable with the option to speak with someone in person?
- Are there reasons for me to visit a branch in person or can I handle my transactions online?
- How important is having the latest technological innovations available in a bank?
- How much do I travel and what type of banking tools do I need to access when I’m traveling?
- How can a financial institution best help me reach both my short- and long-term financial goals?
Answering the above questions should help you narrow the choice of whether a traditional bank, a fintech app or something in between could be the best financial fit overall. Once you have your shortlist, the next step is to compare the services each institution offers and make note of the fees you may be charged. Services to look for include:
- Free checking account
- Savings accounts, money market accounts, and/or certificates of deposit
- Ability to interface with peer-to-peer transaction services such as Zelle
- Overdraft protection
- Loan products
- Wealth management and/or professional advisory services
Yes. Our list here is by no means exhaustive, and we based our picks on the bonus amount and its accessibility. Some banks didn’t make this list because the bonus amount was too low or too cumbersome to obtain.
For example, Aspiration -- a FinTech company, not a bank -- offers a $200 bonus for opening an account, but you have to spend $1,000 or more within 60 days. Likewise, Alliant Credit Union offers a $100 bonus for opening an account, but you have to wait a year before receiving the bonus.
But there are other banks you may consider, too, depending on your particular situation. If you want to have a checking account, savings account and a line of credit all under one roof, you’ll want to check out banks that offer all three of these products.
Generally, in the long run, it’s better to go with a higher APY than a higher bonus. Especially as interest rates rise for savings accounts and certificates of deposit, there are some good high-yield offers out there right now, and they are continuously trending upwards these days. Ideally, you want to combine a stellar bonus offer with a high APY (anything above 1% is considered robust). SoFi, for example, is offering a bonus of up to $300 and offers a checking and savings account at 2.00% APY once you set up a direct deposit account.
You can, but it’s not a strategy we recommend for earning passive income. Criteria for obtaining a bonus can be cumbersome, requiring you to keep the account open for a certain length of time, make qualifying direct deposits (sometimes in the thousands) and maintain daily balance amounts, not to mention the monthly maintenance fees associated with many checking and savings accounts.
Also, some banks will disqualify you from a bonus offer if you’ve reached a negative balance in the past. So, that’s something else you want to keep an eye on. Chase disqualifies customers from bonus offers if they’ve reached a negative balance within the last three years.
If you do decide to try your luck scoring welcome bonuses by opening multiple accounts, it’s important to know that you’ll owe taxes on any money earned through these signup bonuses.
You should consider a bank account bonus as an extra perk for signing up with a bank, but it’s probably not a good idea to go bonus hunting.
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