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Insights into Banks' Checking Account Bonuses


As we all know, banks don't give sign-up bonuses to be charitable. They hope they'll get a return on that investment. This SmartMoney article has some insights in how banks use cash bonuses to win customers. One thing that complicates bonuses, especially the best ones, is that they are often narrowly targeted. One example of this is a new $200 bonus at Capital One. According to the article:
[Capital One] targeted its $200 offer to current credit-card holders who live in one of the four states (New York, New Jersey, Texas and Louisiana) where its Rewards Checking account is available.

This is similar to the one they had last year. More details on this new one is available at this SlickDeals thread (which lists a $300 bonus). If you didn't get the mailer from Capital One, it appears to be a Your-Miles-May-Vary (YMMV) deal.

There is a bit of good news in the article. There have been worries that the new credit card legislation and overdraft regulation will make it harder on savers. However, the article suggests it could be good news for those willing to open new checking accounts:
And thanks to new credit-card legislation coming into effect next month and new regulations limiting banks’ ability to charge overdraft fees, banks are likely to make such offers even sweeter. "Banks are wondering how they’ll recoup some of their lost revenue, so they’re focusing on generating revenue through checking accounts and debit-card activity," says Ron Shevlin, a senior analyst with market research firm Aite Group.

More focus on checking accounts and debit card usage may also encourage banks to open high-yield reward checking accounts. Note, the Capital One reward checking account isn't a high-yield type.

Other bank bonuses mentioned in the article include those from Chase (my Chase bonus review) and Bank of America (my BofA bonus review). To find bonuses from other banks, please refer to my recent bank bonus posts.

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sg   |     |   Comment #1
My comment is somewhat relevant to this post. I recently attempted to
open an account with Thrivent in order to receive a bonus. They refused to open it because I have opened too many bank accounts in the past year (perhaps 15). I knew that banks have an information sharing network similar to credit cards, but this was the first case I was denied opening an account. Maybe I'll only go for the good bonuses in the future!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Yea Thrivent also denied me because the chexsystems report said "High number of previous inquiries." I was also denied opening the Perk Street Financial for the same reason. Apparently some banks are picky about how many accounts you can open. It shouldn't matter reallly as long as they are in good standing. With the way savings rates have been dropping smart people will have atleast open a few banks to stay with the highest interest rate even without going for bank bonuses.

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