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$240 Checking Account Promotion at Citizens Bank in Some States

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Update: Promotion is back. New expiration date is 10/28/2011. Small print now says "offer available in branch and by phone and excludes select Philadelphia area branches."

Citizens Bank has a checking account promotion in which you can earn $240. It does require some work and it'll take at least 6 months. The offer is listed on the bank's front page, and they have a special page at www.citizensbank.com/240. The new personal checking account must be opened by May 6, 2011. Once you open the account, you'll be paid $40 a month for up to 6 months if you make at least 5 qualifying online bill payment transactions of $50 or more. Here's the small print of the offer:

To qualify for this offer you must open your first Citizens Bank personal checking account between 4/9/11 and 5/6/11. All signers on the account may not be or have been signers on a personal checking account within the past six months. You must enroll in our Online Banking service and use our Bill Payment feature to make at least five qualified bill payments transactions per calendar month. Must be a U.S. resident to enroll in Online Bill Pay. Payments must be made to five different payees and be at least $50 each. Internal transfers or payments to other accounts at the Bank do not qualify. Each month when these conditions are met between May and October 2011, your account will be credited $40, paid within 90 days of qualifying and labeled as a "Balance Builder Bonus". Bonus will be reported to the IRS. Your account must be open and in good standing to receive bonus. Accounts that close within six months of opening will have any paid bonuses debited from the account. Offer may not be combined with any other offer and may be withdrawn without notice. Limit one bonus per month per customer.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this promotion.

Checking Accounts are Not Free

The promotions page lists three checking accounts. There are no free checking accounts. The best one appears to be the Green Checking. They describe how you can avoid monthly fees:

$4.99 monthly service charge waived when you make 5 qualifying online bill payment transactions per month OR maintain an average balance of $1,500

Extra $120 Per Year With Lots of Work

One plus with this Green Checking is that you can get paid up to $120 per year with the Green$ense Program. Earning the full $120 would require 100 debit card purchases, online bill payments or automatic payments per month for 12 months. For each of these non-paper transactions, Citizens Bank pays you 10 cents. Citizens may have trouble keeping this program if the interchange regulation takes effect in July.

Availability

There's an online application at the bank's promotion page. However, it only accepts zip codes in their market area. Their market area includes Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. You can find branches near where you live using our Citizens Bank branch location tool.

Citizens Bank Overview

Citizens Bank is part of the $130 billion bank holding company, Citizens Financial Group, which is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. These banks operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in the Northeast and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

RBS Citizens, N.A. has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 10.30% (above average) based on December 2010 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Citizens Bank for more details.

Other Bank Bonuses

To find other bonus deals at other banks, please refer to the bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus blog posts. There are also additional bonuses listed in the checking account deals forum.


  Tags: New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, RBS Citizens, National Association

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Comments
21 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They are crooked bank, still waiting for the last year promo to be paid to me.

Looks like, I will not get it. They say I have missed a payment or purchase in July 2010 and don't qualify for the bonus, total lie.

11
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Total joke of a promotion!

3
Comment #3 by dbl118 posted on
dbl118
It doesn't look so bad.  You don't have to worry about minimum balance/fees since the 5 online bill payments you need to make for the promotion cover it (but you do have to worry in time between the end of promotion and you get your bonus).  All you got to do is monthly transfer a few hundred into  the account and have 5 different bills to pay.  The problem for me is 5 different bills of $50 plus.  That could just be 5 credit cards which could be used for amazon payments to quickly get to the $50 if necessary.  For me it's a bit tedious, but for those with time on their hands or a job where they have free time at the computer, there is nothing inherently difficult about this bonus.

As with many of these deals, I wish I could transport back in time to when I was a kid, and getting $240 essentially for free would have been awesome...certainly compared to the minimum wage jobs I had then.

2
Comment #4 by mariafalter posted on
mariafalter
I wonder if paying 5 different people every month would satisfy the bill payment requirement here.  I've been paying bills this way for bonuses at other banks, and it worked so far.

1
Comment #6 by dbl118 posted on
dbl118
maria,

Looks like that should work fine.  Congrats on having 5 other people that are also interested in this stuff! 

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
According to a CSR the bill payment must be to a company you have account with. Sorry Maria, this is a no go.

8
Comment #8 by mariafalter posted on
mariafalter
to anon#7: Thanks for the info.

And to dbl118: Well, they are family, so they have no choice, I guess.

1
Comment #9 by dbl118 posted on
dbl118
Well the CSR isn't going to "sure you can make payments to 5 friends".  What does it mean that you have to have an account with them?  How do they know that?  Their terms just say "payees".  I bet it would work. 

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To dbl118 - #9, you are wrong, I'm still a customer for 2 years now, the payee(s) must be a company with real account number. You are mixing pay anyone with bill pay, two totally different things.

4
Comment #11 by DRLiv (anonymous) posted on
DRLiv
dbl118 -  I wasn't familiar with Amazon payments but when I looked at their site they said you can't add funds with a credit card.  Is there something I'm missing?

1
Comment #12 by dbl118 posted on
dbl118
DRLiv,

I don't know if you can technically add funds with a credit card, but you can pay somebody with your credit card.  You can send up to $1000 each month.  It can be very helpful in meeting requirements for new credit card rewards, as well as a few bucks in reward points too. 

1
Comment #13 by dbl118 posted on
dbl118
by the way, everything I read suggests I was right.  Other people have confirmed you can pay 5 people in their discussions with CSR.  I guess we'll find out more in a few weeks.

I changed my mind and decided to go with this deal.  My method will be to send 50 bucks on amazon payment to one person using 5 different credit cards, then pay off those cards for this offer.  Combines nicely with the many credit cards I have from other deals. 

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened the green checking in July. I have made the minimum 5 payments of $50 or more. I was under the impression that the $40 was given montly, but in reading what was posted above....this could take up to 90 days to receive your $40/month. Is that correct? TIA

1
Comment #15 by mariafalter posted on
mariafalter
I opened my account on 7/30, and I just received my second $40 bonus.  The first one was posted right after the opening of the account.

2
Comment #16 by larkin posted on
larkin
This promotion is back.  Account must be opened by October 28.  I was told by the CSR that it is a soft pull.  I am in NJ and was also told that I am not eligible.  Account must be opened in person or over the phone even though there is a link to open on-line.  Sounds like a major YMMV.

2
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Maria: I opened mine like a few days earlier than you, 07/26 or earlier. But I have not seen the second $40 yet.

1
Comment #18 by mariafalter posted on
mariafalter
I already received another $40 in the middle of October (total of $120).  I would call their main number or send a secure message to verify that everything has been done properly by the branch.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Thx Maria. But I still got nothing!!!! I called their main number, they turned me to the branch. So I went to the branch where I opened the account. And guess what the branch said I gotta call the main number!!!!! Citizens Bank really sucks! If I do not receive anything by the end of this month, I am gonna BBB them! 

Go the hell, CItizens Bank!

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Total SCAM!!!!  opened acct paid the bills online 3 1/2 Months later still no $40.00.   after 2 calls & them saying it would be 6 weeks, NOW they say if a second person on acct has any other accts at CITIZENS then they arent't eligible for promotion. Bank rep knew we were opening my 17 year old up her 1st acct(since she'll be heading to college) & led us to believe we qualified, so he would get bonus!   TERRIBLE bank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1
Comment #21 by ohreally posted on
ohreally
#20:  Sorry that this didn't go like you hoped.    Ken was very clear in describing the small print of the offer.  "To qualify for this offer you must open your first Citizens Bank personal checking account between 4/9/11 and 5/6/11. All signers on the account may not be or have been signers on a personal checking account within the past six months. "  If whoever was the second person on your daughter's account already (or had within the previous six months) had a personal checking account with Citizens that would have disqualified your daughter from receiving the account promotion. 

1
Comment #22 by larkin (anonymous) posted on
larkin
I opened an account on October 17.  Have been using it as my main bill payer so meeting the requirements has not been a problem.  Received my first $40 on January 12, two more January 31 and a fourth yesterday (February 14).  If I'm caculating right, I've been paid through January, certainly quicker than what it says in the fine print (that never happens).

 

1