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Update on Bank of the West Checking Account Bonus, Free ATMs and Online Savings Account

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Bank of the West

Bank of the West has extended its $100 checking account bonus. According to the bank's promotions page, the new checking account must be opened by 4/16/2010. You can receive a $100 when you open a checking account with funds new to Bank of the West and set up direct deposit of at least $250 OR pay 10 bills online. I reviewed the small print in this January post.

Update: It appears Bank of the West has changed the availability of the promotion since January. According to the CSR, online account opening is limited to states which have Bank of the West branches. These states include AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI and WY.

When I contacted the bank in January, I was told this bonus was available to people in any state, and you didn't need to come into a branch. Readers seemed to confirm this in the comments in January. Here's one of the comments:

We did this offer in late 2009 as well. We did NOT visit a local branch. We filled out the application online. We used direct deposit to fulfill the requirement. $100 bonus was paid eventually.

If you have participated in similar promotions in the past, please leave a comment about your experience.

Also from my January call, I was told they don't do a hard credit inquiry in the application (only a soft pull). So you shouldn't have to worry about a ding to your credit score. It should be noted that I've often received wrong info on this issue from CSRs so please leave a comment if you have personal experience on this issue.

Checking Account with no ATM Fees for One Year

Bank of the West's free checking account qualifies for the bonus. In addition, they have a new checking account called Choice ATM checking which offers one year of free ATM use within the USA. This allows you to withdraw cash from any financial institution's ATM free of charge for one year. Surcharges assessed by other banks will be automatically refunded. One thing to note about this Choice ATM Checking is that you have to worry about a $10 monthly fee unless you meet certain balance or activity requirements. Also, Choice ATM checking is only offered in the following states: CA, CO, MN, NV, OK and OR.

Online Savings Account

Bank of the West continues to offer an online savings account with a competitive yield. It has gone down from 1.50% APY in January to 1.25% APY as of today (3/10/10). Unfortunately, 1.25% APY is a decent savings account rate these days. This rate requires a $10,000 minimum balance. The low tier rate has also gone down by 0.25%. It's now 0.25% APY for balances under $10,000. In August I was told by the CSR that there's a $2/month fee if the balance falls below $300. Another downside is that their ACH bank-to-bank transfer service has a transfer limit of $2,000 per day.

Bank Overview

Branches are located throughout the Western and Midwestern states including Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and California.

Bank of the West is one of the large regional banks with $60 billion in assets and $40.2 billion in deposits. Its ratings for safety and soundness are a little weak: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/09 data) and 1 star (lowest) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/09 data). The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 3514).

Other Bank Bonuses

To find other bonus deals, please refer to my bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus posts.


  Tags: Bank of the West, savings account, checking account, California, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska

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Comments
12 comments.
Comment #1 by DAVE (anonymous) posted on
DAVE
I opened an account with this bank. I received the bonus. After a few months the bank decided

to close my account for no good reason. The bank sent me a check for the balance in my account. Very strange. I know of another person this happened to.

2
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They closed my account without any prior notice and mailed me the check for the balance.

2
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They closed my account, I did not get the bonus.

3
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Few days before the bonus was due, the account was closed and cashier's check was mailed to me for the balance and I did not receive any info attached to it or reason for it.

2
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I started an application online. When it came to entering my address, only a handful of states were in the drop down list. Only states in which there are branches? I do not live in one of those states. I tried to continue with just my town and zip code but an error message came up stating the state was required. Anyone else have this problem?

2
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To the previous poster: I got the same problem. I guess now they are restricting the availability.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I called and was told that all accounts out of their area are being closed and on some the bonus is not being paid if already not received.

1
Comment #8 by DataIsGold (anonymous) posted on
DataIsGold
I signed up in December, I got my bonus this month.  I just setup a recurring deposit of $250 and had auto bill pay for 3 accounts each month. After my bill pays I end up with an ending balance of $5 each month.

2
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened my account in Nov 2009 in person and did the 10 on-line bill pays in Nov. Got my $100 bonus by mid-Dec. Closed my account after 90 days in Feb of this year without any problem. There were two issues with the promotion. 1) When I went to the branch to open the account, the CSR tried to talk me into open a saving account as well. 2) I never received the 1099 for the $100 bonus.

 

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened online but funded in person. I just got my bonus at the begining of this month.

While I was in the bank making my initial deposit the teller looked at something on the screen and gave me a brochure to open a credit card. Not sure what she saw but I'm not in a position to open another card. Anyone else have a similiar experience?

1
Comment #11 by DAVE (anonymous) posted on
DAVE
Save time and money. Don't open an account with them.

2
Comment #12 by mschoenf posted on
mschoenf
Just got bonus posted and ACH from online bank to yourself for over the necessary amount DOES count as a DD and only needed to be done 1 time.

1