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.
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.