Metropolitan National Bank continues to offer a $200 bonus for opening its free checking account and activating direct deposit. The $200 bonus is listed on the home page and in the Free Personal Checking page as of 1/22/2009.
My last post on this promotion was in February 2008. There's an online application, and when I last checked with the bank, people from any state can apply online and qualify for the bonus. You'll likely need to mail in a copy of your driver's license and a copy of a current utility bill or other evidence of your name and address. Another important detail mentioned by readers is that the bank has asked customers to fax their paystubs to verify the direct deposits were from their full pay.
The terms of the bonus appear very similar to the terms from last year. Here is the small print of the promotion:
Free checking $200 bonus offer is subject to change without notice, limited to one account per customer. Free checking $200 bonus requires activating full, direct deposit ($500 minimum) of recurring payroll, government benefits or pension disbursements. $200 bonus will be credited to the account (approximately 30 days) after first full, qualifying direct deposit posts to your account. We require that qualifying, full direct deposits be made continually for no less than six months from the date of the initial qualifying direct deposit. Should these deposits be terminated or the account closed prior to six months, any paid bonus will be charged from your account or shall be otherwise due to us. The bonus is considered interest and will be reported to the IRS with form 1099-int.
Besides the full direct deposit requirement, another downside is a hard credit pull. Readers have reported that the bank does a hard credit inquiry and ChexSystem in the application
One notable perk of the free checking is the rebates of foreign ATM fees. Like the typical free checking there are no monthly service fees, no minimum balance requirements and online bill pay is free.
Metropolitan National Bank is based in New York City. It has been FDIC insured since 1999 (FDIC Certificate # 34699).
If you've tried this promotion last year, please leave a comment about your experience and if you've received the bonus.