Sovereign Bank is again offering two checking account promotions that I first reported on in April. These new ones are scheduled to last through October 24, 2008.
The first promotion offers up to $150 when you open a Premier Checking account. The first $100 is awarded if you reach a combined balance of $15,000 in 90 days. Another $50 is awarded when you make 6 qualifying Visa CheckCard purchases within those same 90 days.
The main issue with this one is that it requires a minimum combined balance of $15,000 in 90 days after you open your account to receive the bonus. The yield on this checking account is only 0.10%. The Premier Money Market Savings has a yield of 2.75% APY on balances over $10K for new accounts. In April I was told that you could open both accounts and use the money market balance to satisfy the $15K minimum. The Premier Checking has 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 has a potential reward of $100: $50 for opening an Interest Checking Account with at least $10 and making a direct deposit into the account within 90 days of account opening. Another $50 is awarded for making 6 qualifying Visa CheckCard purchases within those same 90 days. The Interest Checking does require direct deposit to avoid a $5 fee. There are no minimum balance requirements.
When I called in April, 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.
In April I received conflicting reports about if a branch visit was required to receive the bonus. I recommend checking with Sovereign Bank if you're considering this offer. 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).