Checking account promotions are still common at large banks, but one thing that’s not common are free checking accounts. Huntington Bank is one large bank that’s still has a free checking account. It’s called Asterisk-Free Checking. It has no monthly checking maintenance fee, no minimum balance, and no required number of debit transactions.
Huntington Bank’s promotion for its Asterisk-Free Checking offers a $150 bonus. This promo does have direct deposit and debit transaction requirements which are common for checking account bonuses. At least you don’t have to worry about these requirements to keep the account free.
Here’s the link to Huntington’s checking promotion page.
The promotion is scheduled to end on 4/30/2013. Only new checking account customers are eligible. To receive $150, the following steps are required:
- open a new checking account by 4/30/2013 with at least $100
- set up an automatic direct deposit of at least $200 (a single deposit amount)
- make 20 debit card purchases within the first 60 days
After meeting the above requirements, the $150 bonus will be deposited into your new account within 90 days of account opening. Below is the small print of the promotion. Note, the offer is only available in six states. I’ve highlighted these in bold:
For tax purposes, you'll receive a Form 1099-INT from us for your bonus. New account must remain open for a minimum of six months or an Early Account Closing Fee will apply. This offer is available on new Huntington checking accounts in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Offer limited to one per household, and existing checking customers are not eligible.
I did a chat session with the Huntington CSR, and I asked if an alternative to direct deposit can be done to qualify for the bonus. According to the CSR:
It doesn't have to be a Direct Deposit from your employer. However, it cannot be an ACH Transaction alone. This would need to be submitted to Huntington as a Direct Deposit.
In my last review of a Huntington checking promo, some readers reported that they were denied the bonus due a claim by the bank that a promo code was not entered. So I asked the CSR if a promo code was necessary. According to the CSR the promotional code would be applied automatically in the application. The CSR said she would be happy to stay on the line during the application to help with any questions or troubles along the way. It’s often a good idea to take a snapshot of your correspondence with a CSR in case there are any issues with the bank not honoring the promo.
In 2010, one reader mentioned he was rejected by Huntington due to too many ChexSystem inquiries. So if you have recently opened accounts at other banks, you might have trouble qualifying.
Also, readers have mentioned receiving a hard pull in the application. Hard credit pulls can temporarily ding your credit score. However, I asked the CSR about this today, and she suggested that there was no hard pull. I would take this with a grain of salt since CSRs are often wrong about this.
Even though there are possible gotchas, readers have reported success for previous promotions. One reader who applied in 2010 received the $100 credit after Huntington debited her funding account for the initial deposit. This ACH deposit into the Huntington account apparently counted as a direct deposit.
Huntington still offers an online savings account which it calls the Anywhere Savings Account. I first reported on this in February 2007 when it had a 5.30% APY. I think this online savings account takes the record for the largest rate drop. The rate is now only 0.02%. Believe it or not, the Anywhere Savings page still says “High Returns”.
Huntington Bank is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. It's a sizable regional bank with $56 billion in assets. The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 9.68% (above average) based on December 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Huntington Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6560).
Other Bank Bonuses
We have a bank promotions page with a table of all of the active bank and credit union promotions. You can filter the table based on the type of promotion and based on your state. I have more details about how to use this page in this blog post.