In today's environment with very low interest rates (which we may learn from the Fed today that it'll last longer), bank bonuses can provide a better way to make some money from the banks. This is most useful for those who don't have much savings. If you only have a $10,000 balance in an account that pays 1%, you'll only receive $100 in one year. You can earn more than that with many bank bonuses.
The problem with bank bonuses is that they require you to open an account that is rarely a good deal over the long run. Many are checking accounts that have many fees. The banks hope that you are the typical type of customer who won't close the account and will keep using the account. For the bank, the bonus is just a loss leader.
If you don't mind the downsides, and you want a little extra money, these bank bonuses can be good deals. I thought it would be useful to list some of the best promotions that are scheduled to expire in the next few weeks. Some are from banks that have a history of extending the promotions or coming out with new ones. So for those, I wouldn't worry about missing out.
- $200 checking account bonus at Northwest FCU. Scheduled to expire on 9/19/2012. NWFCU has a free checking account, and they often have good CD deals. One can qualify for membership via an association (NWFCU bonus review).
- $200 checking account bonus at Chase Bank. Scheduled to expire on 10/6/2012. Chase has long been offering this type of bonus, so I'm sure we'll see new ones after this expires. However, the $200 bonus hasn't been as common online as the $100 and $150 bonuses. As with any large bank, you'll have to watch out for fees (Chase bonus review).
- $150 checking account bonus at PNC Bank. Scheduled to expire on 9/30/2012. PNC has long been offering this type of bonus, so I'm sure we'll see new ones after this expires. Even though PNC's Virtual Wallet is a free checking account, the version that qualifies for this bonus does have potential monthly fees. The offer is only available in certain states (PNC bonus review).
- $150 checking account bonus at US Bank. Scheduled to expire on 9/30/2012. This is a "Your Miles May Vary" bonus since it may be targeted. US Bank's checking accounts have potential monthly fees (US Bank bonus review).
- $150 checking account bonus at North Shore Bank. Scheduled to expire on 9/19/2012. This is limited to Wisconsin and Northern Illinois (North Shore Bank bonus review).
- $125 checking account bonus at Sovereign Bank. Scheduled to expire on 9/30/2012. This is another promotion that has often been extended. This requires a Premier Checking Package which has high monthly fees that can't easily be avoided. A $50 bonus is available for a less costly checking account (Sovereign Bank bonus review).
- $100 checking account bonus at Bank of America. Scheduled to expire on 10/01/2012. The bonus is $200 for 3 states, but it's only $75 for 26 states. Bank of America doesn't offer bonuses quite as often as Chase, so it may take a while before we see another one like this (Bank of America bonus review).
- $100 checking account bonus at BBVA Compass. Scheduled to expire on 9/30/2012. Compass used to offer free checking accounts, but now you'll have to meet certain requirements to avoid a monthly fee. Compass only offers accounts in their market area which is located in a handful of states (Compass bonus review). This promo might be worthwhile if you also open a Compass CD (Compass still offers a 2% CD).
- $100 checking account bonus at Western FCU. Scheduled to expire on 10/15/2012. This is another "Your Miles May Vary" bonus since it may be targeted. Western FCU has a free checking account. One can qualify for membership via an association (Western FCU bonus review.
Other Bank and Credit Union 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.