Update 4/26/2014: The promotion period has been extended to 6/14/2014.
First Niagara Bank has a nice checking account promotion in which you can earn up to $250. The account can be opened online, and I was told by the bank CSR that the promotion is available nationwide. Full details are listed at this First Niagara Bank promotions page. The offer is scheduled to run through 3/29/2014. Below is a summary of the requirements:
To qualify for the cash bonus, a new Choice, Pinnacle or PinnaclePlus checking account must be opened online through FirstNiagara.com. You can earn the $250 when you complete all three of the following within the first 60 days of opening your account. Complete any one for $50 or complete any two for $100:
- Make a direct deposit totaling $250 or more
- Make ten debit card purchases
- Make five bill payments using Online/Mobile Banking
Below is a copy of the offer’s small print:
To qualify for a cash bonus, a new Choice, Pinnacle or PinnaclePlus checking account must be opened online through FirstNiagara.com. Criteria: Within 60 days of account opening you must complete at least one of the following with your new First Niagara account: direct deposits totaling $250 or more, or five (5) bill payments using Online/Mobile Banking, or ten (10) debit card purchases. Payment: $50 cash bonus for 1st completed criteria, additional $50 cash bonus for 2nd completed criteria, additional $150 cash bonus for 3rd completed criteria. Total cash bonus is up to $250. Timing: Applicable cash bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 30 days from end of the month in which you satisfy offer criteria. Applicable bonus payments may be paid as one lump sum or as individual payments. Checking account must be open and maintain a positive balance in order to obtain the applicable cash bonus. Account must remain open for 180 days to avoid a $25 Early Account Closing fee.
Cannot be combined with any other promotional rate or reward/bonus programs. Primary owner on the account cannot be primary owner on another First Niagara checking account. Not available to Trust or Estate accounts. All accounts subject to approval and applicable fees. Bank employees and members of their household are not eligible for this promotion. Bonus is considered interest income and may be reported on IRS 1099-INT. Promotion runs through 3/29/2014 and can be withdrawn at any time.
Minimum opening deposit is $50 for Choice and Pinnacle checking and $500 for PinnaclePlus. Pinnacle checking is an interest-bearing account. Interest-bearing accounts are variable rate accounts, which means we may change rates at any time. Interest Rates will not be tied to any index but will be set by us at our discretion. There is no limitation on the amount by which Interest Rates may change. As of 2/1/14, Pinnacle and PinnaclePlus accounts earn an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.01% for all balances. Fees may reduce earnings on interest-bearing accounts.
Credit for this find goes to FW member Sashinator00 who mentioned it in this FW thread.
Beware of Monthly Fees
As is typical of a large bank, these checking accounts have potential monthly service fees. The account in which fees can most easily be waived is the Choice Checking. The $9.95 monthly service fee can be waived if you either maintain a daily minimum balance of at least $300, maintain direct deposit, complete 10 debit card purchases or maintain at least $5,000 combined balances in deposits or loans.
First Niagara is a large regional bank with hundreds of branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. Its headquarters is located in Buffalo, New York.
The bank has an overall health grade at DepositAccounts.com of a B+ with a Texas ratio of 5.69% (excellent) based on December 2013 data. Please refer to our financial overview of First Niagara Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1943 (FDIC Certificate # 16004).