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 Offer may not be combined with any other offer and may be withdrawn without notice.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.
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.