WaMu's $100 Checking Account Bonus and WaMu News

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WaMu has been sending out a lot of mailers and emails with a $100 checking account bonus. Several readers have mentioned this promo. It's also mentioned in this FW thread. Unfortunately, the bonus seems to require a unique promo code. Details about this promo are described at this special WaMu page free.wamu.com. The small print describes how this is a targeted offer:
  • For accounts opened in person, you must present the original letter sent to you
  • For accounts opened by calling toll-free 1-800-685-1644, you must refer to the promotion code in the letter mailed to you
  • For accounts opened by visiting free.wamu.com, you must submit your promotion code from the letter mailed to you
I called to see if they would provide the code, but I had no luck. For those who receive the mailer or email, it seems like an easy $100. Here are few of the details about promotion:
  • Open the WaMu Free Checking account with a $100 minimum opening deposit of new money
  • Bonus will be deposited into your account within 12 weeks after account opening
  • Bonus is subject to IRS and other tax reporting
It appears Chase has no immediate plans to end WaMu's free checking account. Unlike Chase's free checking, WaMu's Free Checking doesn't require direct deposit to avoid monthly fees. Also, WaMu gives you free checks for life and allows free outgoing wire transfers worldwide. This account is required if you want WaMu's Online Savings Account to be free of monthly fees. However, the savings account APY is now only 2%, so there's no longer much incentive to open this. If you're considering closing the savings account, this blog post provides some warnings and tips. And here's a FW thread with another example of problems that can occur.

Thanks to the readers who have emailed and commented about this offer.

WaMu News

For WaMu's depositors, the closure of WaMu by the Feds didn't cause any problems (except that deposit rates have fallen a lot). Also, the seizure resulted in no cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund. However, WaMu shareholders were wiped out, and as this Seattle news article describes, there are 3 class-action lawsuits related to this issue. There have been accusations that the Feds' justification for the closure, the bank run, was more a walk than a run, and it shouldn't have resulted in the seizure. This essay on the WaMu seizure makes an interesting case on how the shareholders were unfairly treated by the Feds.
Comments
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
The letters were targeted, but can they really say that the flyers that came with the newspaper was targeted? A little silly.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
I received the letter today and the code is: WC100.

A friend of mine got code: WC88D

It seams it is unique to the letter and name spelled in the letter.

I also called a CSR and was told of the unique code that applies to every letter. However, I was under impression that if this promo does not work as planed, a universal code may be issued in future.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
actually closing an account in wamu is not so difficult. I can even do this through bank mail and they finished it in two days even helping me move the balance to the other account. The only catch as mention in the url, is the order. You need to close saving account first to avoid monthly fee, and then checking account.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
I tried to open an account in person today, but this promo seems to come with so many restrictions! I closed my WaMu account in 2005 and the rep told me this was too close to be eligible for the bonus. He said it might have been OK if I closed the account more like five years ago. Then, he added, it doesn't matter anyway because other members of my family currently have open WaMu accounts. It seems you are also not eligible if anyone living at the same address as you has an open account with them.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
Letter received last Monday and opened a checking + savings, verified the two small deposits and Wamu is still showing pending on the account. Should it take over two weeks to get the account open?
Sadie
Sadie (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #6
My mom just opened this account at her local wamu. She got the flyer in the mail. It was easy. You have to use the ATM card at least 3 times during the period. You get free checking and free money orders.

The wamu lady also said the code can only be used once. How do they do that? As all the flyers look like they are mass printed. Hmmm...
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
WAMU has a computer database of all the addresses and names that a flayer was sent to. If your name is not on the list, no bonus is paid.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
There's lots of codes floating around; they're based on regional markets (most in CA, WA, NV). 1707-ADBA-1209, 1349-ADBA-2164, 0766-ADBA-2361, 0748-ADBA-7768, and 0015-ADBA-5962 (LV,NV) doesnt work at free.wamu.com; Plus, I've heard that even if you enter valid code online, you do not see any mentions about the promotional $100 bonus after the first main webpage. Whatever it's worth, I' can imagine JPM-Chase will be converting all WaMu accounts sometime in 2009 to their un-favorable checking accounts. My local bank did the same thing; had bonus for new checking accounts even though a merger with PNC was approved; took several months before the account conversions into unfavorable PNC accounts.
DataIsGold
DataIsGold (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #9
There's a new offer that's pretty much the same except it requires Direct Deposit.
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