HSBC is offering a $75 cash bonus for opening its Interest Checking Account. Here's the promotional page. The minimum to open this account is only $1. However, there is an $8/month fee unless you either have direct deposit or if you have a combined balance of $3,000. The $3,000 combined balance should include the balance in your Online Savings Account. To keep the bonus, the account must remain open for 180 days. The offer expires on 4/10/2007. Cash bonus is considered interest income and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.
There's also a $25 cash bonus for opening a Free Checking Account with an HSBC Debit MasterCard with PayPass. This can be done instead of the $75 bonus. The Free Checking Account doesn't have any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. One important note regarding the Free Checking account is that if the account is inactive for 3 consecutive months, the account will be converted to Basic Banking which has a $3/month maintenance fee regardless of balance.
The terms and charges documentation for these accounts are available at this HSBC page.
Last year I signed up for the Smart Package for a $50 cash bonus. One nice perk of this Interest Checking Account is that your first box of checks is free. The Interest Checking Account has come in handy for linking other accounts that require a checking account (like ING Direct). Regarding hard credit inquiries, I did not receive any for opening the checking or savings accounts. Please refer to my last year's post for details of opening an HSBC checking account.
For more information on HSBC Direct's 6% New Money Promotion, please refer to this post.
Thanks to the reader who emailed me the info on this new bonus.