Sovereign Bank has two checking account promotions. The first offers $150 when you open a Premier Checking account with a free Visa CheckCard. The main issue with this one is that it requires a minimum combined balance of $15,000 on the 60th day after you open your account to receive the bonus. The highest yield on the checking is only 0.45% for balances over $5K. The Premier Money Market Savings has a yield of 2.75% APY on balances over $10K for new accounts. I was told that you could open both accounts and use the money market balance to satisfy the $15K minimum. The Premier Checking also a $25 monthly fee if your combined balance falls below $15,000. If you could use this money market to hold most of the $15,000, it would help to mitigate the loss of interest that could have been earned in a higher interest account.
The second promotion offers $75 for opening a new Free Interest Checking Account and making a direct deposit into the account within 60 days of account opening. This free checking has no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements, but it does require direct deposit of any recurring payment you receive (not just paycheck).
Both of the promotions require a $100 minimum deposit, and the accounts must be opened by May 30, 2008. I was told that there's no account closure fee if an account is closed after 90 days. Otherwise, it's $25. The CSR also said they don't perform a hard credit inquiry. They just use ChexSystem in the application.
Sovereign Bank also has a credit card promotion in which you can earn $50 for applying online for a credit card and making a qualifying purchase of at least $75 within 90 days.
Branch Visit is Required
I was told a branch visit is required for the checking account promotions. You can apply for these accounts online, but you would not receive the bonus. A reader in my last Sovereign Bank post mentioned that the banking reps were very unhelpful when he mentioned that he was outside their footprint.
Branches are located in the Northeast in the states of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 29950).
Thanks to the reader who mentioned this promotion in the finding-the-best-deals post.