Citizens Bank has another checking account promotion, and unlike the last one, it's a little easier to qualify for the bonus. In this new one, a new personal checking account must be opened by June 30, 2011. Once you open the account, make 5 qualifying online bill payments of at least $50 each before July 29, 2011. The bonus amount is $100. The promotion is listed at www.citizensbank.com/100cash1. It's also available at Citizen's subsidiary, Charter One (www.charterone.com/100cash1). Here's the small print of the offer:
To qualify for this offer you must open your first Citizens Bank personal checking account between 5/14/11 and 6/30/11. 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 payment transactions by 7/29/11. 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. Bonuses will be paid by 9/30/11 into the checking account and will be 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 Offer may not be combined with any other offer and may be withdrawn without notice.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 customer.
During the last promotion, a reader described his plans for meeting the $50 bill pay requirements:
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.
Checking Accounts are Not Free
Citizens Bank has 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 when the new interchange regulation takes effect this year.
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 9.43% (above average) based on March 2011 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.