Huntington Bank has again come out with a sign-up bonus for its Asterisk-Free Checking. This is one of the rare free checking accounts that still exists at big banks. It has no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement.
It’s a $150 bonus. Here’s the link to the bank’s promotion page. It’s scheduled to end on 3/14/2014. The bonus is now easier to qualify for. Unlike last year, there’s no debit card usage requirement. This one only requires the following two steps:
- Open a new personal checking account using the apply link in the promo page before March 14, 2014.
- Set up direct deposit into your new checking account within 60 days of account opening and be sure at least one single direct deposit is made in the amount of $500 or more.
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:
Set up your direct deposit into your new checking account within 60 days of account opening and be sure at least one single direct deposit is made in the amount of $500 or more. Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit such as your paycheck or pension from your employer or government benefits (such as Social Security) from the Government. Your $150 bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 90 days of account opening as long as the above requirement is met. For tax purposes, you’ll receive a Form 1099-IN from us for your bonus. New account must remain open to receive the bonus deposit and for a minimum of six months to avoid an Early Account Closing Fee. This offer is available on new Huntington checking accounts in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. Offer is not available to existing Huntington checking customers including fiduciaries or those with checking accounts closed within the last six months. Bank reserves the right to limit each customer to one new account related gift per calendar year.
Last year 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 2011 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 last year 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 last year, 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 large regional bank with $56 billion in assets. The bank has an overall health grade at DepositAccounts.com of an A with a Texas Ratio of 7.63% (excellent) based on September 2013 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).