Update 2/17/2014: This promotion has come back. It's now scheduled to last until 2/28/2014.
Dollar Bank has brought back its checking account promotion in which you can earn up to $150. To get the full $150 requires debit card purchases, direct deposit and waiting for one year. The full details are listed in the bank's promotions page. The offer is scheduled to end on 9/30/2013.
The first $50 is paid as a rebate on your signature-based debit card purchases. The second $50 is a credit for receiving cumulative direct deposits of $250 or more. The third $50 credit will be paid within 2 months of the 1-year anniversary of account opening. Below is a copy of the offer's small print:
$50 minimum to open. Offer for new checking customers only and also applies for Rewards Checking. FreeMONEY Checking and Rewards Checking require six qualifying payments made per month. FreeMONEY Checking requires electronic statements. For more information, see account information schedule. 0.00% Annual Percentage Yield on FreeMONEY Checking and Rewards Checking. Offers subject to change or termination without notice and cannot be combined with other offers. Up to $150 is available in one $50 rebate and two $50 credits. To receive the $50 debit card rebate, checking account must be opened by 9/30/13; rebate will be credited for Dollar Bank Debit MasterCard purchases made via signature (not PIN). Rebate will be added within 7 days of account opening and must be used within 3 months. To receive the first $50 credit, account must receive cumulative direct deposits of $250 or more within 60 days of account opening, and account must be in good standing; $50 credit will be added to the new checking account within 45 days of the qualifying cumulative direct deposits. Additional $50 credit will be applied within 2 months of the 1-year anniversary of account opening provided account qualified for the offer, is active, in good standing and in a qualifying plan. Maximum amount is $150 per account and one per household. Subject to 1099 reporting.
The bank's FreeMONEY Checking Account and Rewards Checking Account qualify for the bonus. The Reward checking account isn't a high-yield reward checking. In fact, it doesn't pay any interest. The rewards are based on using your debit card or online bill pay. You earn 10 cents for each debit card purchase of $10 or more and 5 cents for each online bill pay of $10 or more for up to $150 per year. The FreeMoney Checking has the same rewards and features. The only difference between the two is that the FreeMoney Checking requires that you make 6 electronic payment transactions (including Online Banking or Telephone Banking bill payments, ACH Debit or Point of Sale transactions) per month. The Reward Checking doesn't have this requirement, but you need a minimum average monthly balance of $2,500 to avoid a monthly fee. The FreeMONEY Checking has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement.
High-Yield Savings Account
Another reason why you might want to open this checking account is to take advantage of Dollar Bank's FreeMoney Savings Account. I last reviewed it in 2011 when it was paying 2.00%. The yield is now 1.20% on balances up to $20,000 (as of 9/10/2013). It has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement. It does require that you maintain a FreeMONEY Checking or Reward Checking account.
This is like a reward checking account, but it has the advantage that you can get the high rate without debit card usage.
There's an online application, but the bank only accepts applications from residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Ohio (in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland metro areas.)
Dollar Bank Overview
Dollar Bank branches are located in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland metro areas.
It's a sizable bank with $6.62 billion in assets. The bank continues to have solid financial ratings. Its overall health score at DepositAccounts.com is 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 6.54% (excellent) based on March 2013 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Dollar Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1984 (FDIC Certificate # 32245).