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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Checking Account Promotion Continues at Flagstar Direct - Available Nationwide


Flagstar Bank

Flagstar Direct continues to offer a nice promotion on its free interest Checking Account. First, it's offering an intro rate of 1.50% APY for the first 4 months. Second, it's offering an additional $100 bonus for establishing direct deposit within the first four months. Only one promotional account is allowed per household. This promo is listed at Flagstar Direct's Express Checking Account page as of 12/21/2010.

The Express Checking Account has some nice features:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • $1 minimum opening deposit
  • Free checks
  • Fee-free access to ATMs in the Allpoint and Presto! networks in all 50 states

The standard interest rate isn't the best, but it's competitive for regular checking accounts (non-reward). As of 12/21/2010, the rate is 0.85% APY on all balances.

I last reported on this promotion in this September blot post. One reader already has reported receiving the $100 bonus. Today I used the online chat to ask the Flagstar customer service rep some questions. Below is what I was told regarding the direct deposit requirement for the bonus. It appears you can substitute debit card purchases and/or online bill payment. You may want to double check. CSRs are not always correct.

you: What is defined as a direct deposit?

CSR: Direct deposit is defined as a minimum of $250 in ACH activity per month, or perform at least 15 transactions monthly via debit card or online bill payment.

you: thanks. do you mean that one could qualify for the $100 bonus by making at least 15 debit card purchases or online bill payments?

CSR: That is correct Ken. In order to receive the $100 bonus, you must perform 15 debit card or online bill payment transactions per month.

I also asked about hard credit pulls and ChexSystem.

CSR: Flagstar Bank does a soft credit check to verify your credit history. We use Chexsystems to verify this information.

you: thanks. In the ChexSystem verification, do you reject applicants with too many recent inquiries (account openings).

CSR: That information does not apply to our credit check.

The use of ChexSystem to reject applicants who have too many recent inquiries appears to be more common these days. Readers have also commented that they did not receive a hard pull when they opened accounts.

Other Accounts

Flagstar Direct used to offer some good deals on its CDs, but its CD rates are now under 1.00%.

Its Express Money Market account has a yield of 1.06% APY (1.20% APY for $100K+) as of 12/21/2010. Like the checking account, the money market account is free with no minimum balance requirement and checks are free. A reader mentioned that they have an ACH bank-to-bank transfer service via Cashedge. It allows up to 5 links to external banks, and transfers take 3 business days.

Bank Overview

Flagstar Bank currently operates around 165 branches in Michigan, Indiana and Georgia. The bank has been hit hard by mortgage problems that started during the financial crisis. It has made some improvements this year with an increase in its Tier 1 Capital Ratio.

Flagstar Bank has an overall health score of 2 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 85.27% (poor) based on September 2010 data. The Texas Ratio has become worse since it was based on June data when it was 70.87%. It is also operating under an OTS supervisory agreement which was issued last January. Please refer to our financial overview of Flagstar Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1987 (FDIC Certificate # 32541).

Other Bank Bonuses

To find other bonus deals, please refer to my bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus blog posts. Additional bonuses are listed in the checking discussion forum

  Tags: Flagstar Bank, CD rates, checking account

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Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
"This promo is listed at Flagstar Direct's Express Checking Account page as of 12/21/2010."

I don't see it.  wrong link?

Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Oh, never mind.  I found it.

Comment #3 by eric2 posted on
I got this bonus earlier in the year. Flagstar was very fast about posting the bonus. I had a direct deposit and the bonus was credited the same day the direct deposit hit!

The customer service has been helpful. One issue was that after the account had been open for several months, I got a letter in the mail demanding that I provide employment information or the account would be closed by X date.

If I needed a regular internet checking account, this would certainly be one worth considering.

Comment #4 by SamL posted on
I too, like Eric, had a positive experience with this bank/bonus and am actually still using the account. The customer service reps have been both friendly and helpful. 

Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
I was denied from Flagstar because I had too many ChexSystems inquiries on 8/2/10. Maybe they've changed their policies since then, but that's the only possible negative information they could've obtained from ChexSystems.

Comment #7 by Pondus (anonymous) posted on
There is another Flagstar promo link for Express Checking under different terms, some might say better, at For zipcodes outside the bank's physical footprint, all you need is put in and keep in $50 for 6 months (="primary checking relationship").

Also, when I successfully did this exact promo in June 2010, Flagstar pulled Chex that had three inquiries less than 12 months old (one of which was 2 months old). 

Comment #8 by pearlbrown posted on
If you use the second promo link described by Pondus#7, be sure to use the promo code B2.  The place to enter it, if it is not already populated, is at the very beginning of the application. 

If you miss entering the promo code, Email your name and application number and ask that they make sure you are set up for that promotion. 


Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
I did open the express checking. When I put in my zip code it said invalid token several times yesterday. Assumed it was because the site was busy. Did the same today. I called and they opened it over the phone. When I go out today I will stop at a branch and give them a copy of our ID's. A nice place to keep some liquid money we have for purchasing a home. Have been with Flagstar for many years and also have a loyalty checking which will give you higher rates on CD's. (though they are very low at this time). I also have a express Money Market that pays well. The CSR that opened this account is changing all of our accounts and CD's to POD's after my name and my husband's name and mailing us the new signature cards. She was very helpful and knew the answers to my questions. I do remember a 10% CD there for 10 years and some for 7.76%. Those days are long gone. Their branch personnel are very helpful also. They were very good with inherited IRA's.

Comment #10 by tami lawless (anonymous) posted on
tami lawless
i use this bank as my main hub one of the best

Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Regarding Chex limits:  I've had at least 10 Chex inquiries in the past 3 months and I still got approved at Flagstar.  Just FYI.

Comment #12 by Bob (anonymous) posted on
I noticed that on my December bank statement that my Flagstar savings had dropped from 1.5% to 0.95% - obviously the 4 month promo rate had ended.  I went online and opened the Express Checking and was able to fund it with the entire amount in my savings.  the following day I logged into my Flagstar account and all my money was sitting in the checking at 1.5% and my savings had a zero balance.  piece of cake.

Comment #13 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
The 4 month promo rate has dropped to 1.25%

Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
now it dropped to 1.00! Outrageously, the so-called guaranteed APY changed, because I opened the account before it dropping!! And the second promotion which has promotion code B2 to get 100 bonus is gone... Probably something is wrong with the bank now ! Be aware!

Comment #15 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
To anonymous #14: Within the last month Flasgstar also has discontinued it's rewards program. I agree with you; maybe they're in dire straits.

Comment #16 by Donald (anonymous) posted on
My first direct deposit hit on March 1st.  $100 bonus posted to my account on the next day.  No hard pull conducted.

Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
ACH push from Alliant CU count as direct deposit?  Early account closure fee?