In September I posted on Comerica's Office Perks Program which offers a $200 bonus for opening a business checking account. That promotion also included a $100 bonus for employees of that business who open a personal checking account. I learned last week that this $100 bonus is not just available to employees. According to a Comerica CSR, anyone can open a personal checking account and qualify. Here's Comerica's promotion page for this $100 bonus. One thing nice about this bonus is that it doesn't require direct deposit. They state that you can substitute a recurring ACH payment. Here are the requirement details:
- Open a new Comerica personal checking account by November 30, 2010
- Establish and use qualifying products and/or services within 90 days of checking account opening, which include:
- Establish a direct deposit of at least $150 per statement cycle OR establish recurring ACH payments with a monthly total of at least $150
- Sign up for a Comerica Check Card OR Comerica Web Bill Pay, and make at least 10 transactions totaling $250
- Register online for the program by November 30, 2010 (Enter your account number to register for the Office Perks program)
Here's some of the important small print:
Offer available to new checking account customers only.
Your participation will begin the first full calendar month after you have registered for this offer. New checking account must remain open and active (5 or more transactions per statement cycle) and be in good standing at the time the bonus is paid.
Comerica will verify that you have met the offer terms during the tracking period of Oct 2010 - Feb 2011 and qualifying bonus payments will be credited to your Comerica checking account by Apr 15, 2011, provided your account and service(s) qualify.
The maximum bonus any consumer may receive is $100. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.
Potential Monthly Fees
The main issue with Comerica's checking accounts is that they all have potential monthly fees. The checking account that is easiest to have the fees waived is the Access Checking. Fees can be waived if you maintain a $800 minimum balance, or have direct deposit, or own a house or are a full time college student. There's also a quarterly inactivity fee that you have to watch out for.
No Branch Visit Required
According to a Comerica CSR, if you don't live near a branch, you can open the checking account and qualify for the bonus by applying by phone. When Comerica was offering a $300 bonus last April I received more info from Comerica about their account application process. I was told that people in any state can qualify. If you don't live near a branch, they'll mail you the account opening kit. The CSR wasn't sure if they do a hard credit inquiry. She could only confirm that they do use ChexSystem. Last year I was told by a CSR that their credit inquiry is soft and not a hard pull.
Readers' Comerica Bonus Experiences
Readers who applied for that $300 promotion left some useful comments in my April post. One provided more details about how to have Access Checking fees waived if you're a homeowner:
You can also have maintenance fees waived if you are a homeowner. When I questioned the CSR during phone application about how to substantiate this, I was told to include a copy of property tax statement along with signature card and other ID documentation requirements, which you receive in a mailing after applying for account. Signature card, documentation and funding check are to be returned in postage paid envelope.
For those who have recently opened accounts at other banks, they might find out about that via ChexSystems and close your account. Here's what one reader described about his experience:
I am a California resident and I opened a Comerica checking account in mid-May at a California branch. Two days later I opened three other online checking accounts at other institutions (I was bonus chasing). Six days after I opened the Comerica account the branch's manager called me and said the bank's fraud unit in Michigan had detected my opening of the other accounts and they wanted to close my Comerica account. We went round and round for a couple of weeks-but in the end they insisted on closing my account and not allowing me to earn the $225 in bonuses.
Comerica Bank Overview
Comerica is a large bank with most of its branches in Michigan, California and Texas. There are only a few branches in Arizona and Florida. Comerica is a member FDIC (FDIC Certificate # 983).