Wells Fargo has extended its $50 checking account bonus. The new expiration date is 10/17/08. I received a flyer in the mail yesterday, and it listed this Wells Fargo website: www.wellsfargo.com/fabulous50. The Free Checking should qualify, and there is no direct deposit requirement for the bonus.
A minimum initial deposit is $100. There's a limit of one offer per household. The small print does state "This offer is only available to consumers in the household that received the special mailing from Wells Fargo Bank." However, there doesn't seem to be any unique code. You might want to call the bank and confirm eligibility if you're interested in applying and you didn't receive the mailing.
When I posted on this last month, the CSR said they do pull your credit report so this may be a hard credit inquiry.
Even though Wells Fargo's Free Checking has no monthly service fees, the online bill pay is not free with this checking account. Also, there are no free checks, not even the first order. You can get free online bill pay and free checks with other Wells Fargo checking accounts, but you'll have to watch out for monthly fees.
Wells Fargo has branches mostly in the western states. Some of the states include Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California. Note, the online application that's available at the promotional page makes it appear people in any state can apply online.
Wells Fargo is FDIC insured (Certificate # 3511).