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$125 Checking Account Bonus at Wachovia California Branches

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Wachovia Bank
[Update: Bonus has been extended to 8/31/07.]

Wachovia is offering California customers up to a $125 checking account bonus. Here's Wachovia's promotional page. $75 is availble for opening a Free Checking account with a minimum deposit of $500 by June 24, 2007. An additional $50 bonus is available when you set up Direct Deposit within 90 days. You must be a new checking account customer. The credit in your account will appear within 150 days of the offer expiration. Value of the bonus will be reported to the IRS.

This offer is only available in California. You can apply by phone at (800) 801-0717 or at one of Wachovia's Southern California branches.

Wachovia's free checking account has the basic components of free checking: no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, etc. A reader in the previous post mentioned that Wachovia does a hard credit pull (via Experian). I called for some additional information. According to the banking representative, checks are not free, however, they are optional. You can just use the free debit card and free online BillPay. The cost of checks varies by state. There is a $25 fee if the account is closed before 6 months. In addition to the hard pull, Wachovia also does a ChexSystem verification.

For those outside California, you can still get a $50 bonus for the free checking account or for the free student checking (see post).

Wachovia's Expansion into California

With this bonus Wachovia seems to be heavily targeting California, and as this article indicates, Wachovia is having success. These Southern Wachovia branches use to be Western Financial. Later this year, Wachovia plans to open its first Bay Area branch in San Francisco. It plans to end the year with 170 locations in California operating under the Wachovia name. The article also mentions the merging of World Savings into Wachovia. The new free checking at World Savings is one Wachovia induced change, but the executives are careful not to change World's CD strategy of offering promotional rate CDs. I found this quote from the article interesting:
"In essence, we'll follow the same pricing strategy as World has," McGee said, adding that World often pulled in a customer with a promotional rate and then rolled over the CD to a lower rate upon renewal. "Our intent is for them to have a similar experience at Wachovia as they had at World."
  Tags: Wachovia Bank, checking account

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Comments
7 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The quote from the article is indeed interesting. I am surprised someone made that comment in public.

1
Comment #2 by rate freak (anonymous) posted on
rate freak
"The quote from the article is indeed interesting. I am surprised someone made that comment in public."

I agree. That is why World's best CD promos are require new money.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
what do they mean when they say "Account must remain in good standing to remain eligible for the offer"?
Do I have to keep $500 in the account or just $100 or can I withdraw all of the money?

also, wants up with the notice that they report the bonus to the IRS? Don't all of the banks do that? Do they send me something in the mail for me records so that I can report the bonus to the IRS when doing my taxes next year?

1
Comment #4 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
The "good standing" probably means your balance hasn't gone negative due to overdrafts. There may be some other things like this that could cause the account not to be in good standing. This good standing disclaimer is pretty common for these checking account bonuses.

I think the $500 is only an opening deposit requirement. You can withdraw this after it's opened. Since it's a free checking account, there aren't any minimum balance requirements. I would recommend maintaining at least $1.

The IRS reporting note is also common. The bonuses are often included as interest for IRS purposes. So you'll likely receive a 1099 next year and the bonus amount will need to be reported with your taxes.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I complained about the $25 and they credited back the $25. All you need to do is complaint and they are really strive for customer satisfaction. Just tell them that you are not aware of that. Just my 2 cents.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
for the post above:

$25 check fee

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Thank you Banking Guy for this post. I received my $125 yesterday !!

1