One bank is promising depositors $25,000 just for opening an investment account — and a handful of others are offering sign-up bonuses in the $2,000-to-$5,000 range. But, as you can imagine, there are some high hurdles you’ll likely have to clear in order to qualify for these kinds of bonuses.
Experts say weighing those various restrictions can either make or break the deal.
Here are the best bank-account sign-up bonuses for September 2023, an explanation of what’s driving new-account bonuses and how bank bonuses work, as well as whether they are worth it for you.
Why are we seeing such big sign-up bonuses??
After more than a year of elevated levels of inflation, the Federal Reserve has responded to heightened consumer prices by raising interest rates. As the benchmark funds rate continues to go up and the cost to pay off a bank’s own debt increases in the process, many financial institutions have taken up some strong measures to raise cash.?
While some have boosted interest rates for various savings products to attract new customers — like high-yield savings accounts (see some of the best rates here), checking accounts, money-market funds and CDs, to name a few — others have added hefty sign-up bonuses.?
Are bank bonuses worth it?
Indeed, sign-up bonuses can be great incentives to open an account, says NerdWallet personal-finance expert Elizabeth Ayoola. However, she adds, it’s critical to look closely at the fees: “Some accounts have impressive sign-up bonuses, but their high fees can end up eating away at your bonus.”
And although these high-dollar offers can certainly be eye-catching, Katie Catlender, chief customer officer at Cambridge Savings Bank, says they should not be the deciding factor in a consumer’s?search for a new banking partner. “A quality bank will be focused on all aspects of the consumer experience, including convenience, reliability, ease of use, and personalized support,” she says. “Focusing on the?customer means so much more than just providing attractive deals.”
Another thing to consider: “Often, sign-up bonuses come with stipulations that are geared toward the adoption of products and services that drive transactional behavior,” Catlender says. “In most cases, these offers are legitimate; however, consumers need to pay attention to the nuances of each offer to see if the account requirements align with their usual banking habits. In addition, they should take into consideration the potential for an ongoing, long-term relationship with a new bank, regardless of the initial incentive.”
Top 10 sign-up bonuses for September 2023
If you’re in the market for a new bank account and you have some liquid cash available to make the move, here are some of the best bank account sign-up bonuses available today to help add to your bankroll. Just be sure to read the fine print and ensure you meet all of the requirements.?
Tastytrade: Up to $25,000
New Tastytrade customers who fund their investment accounts with at least $5,000 by March 31, 2024, will qualify for a cash bonus. For accounts with more than $5 million, however, those accounts are eligible for a maximum bonus of $25,000. Like with all account bonuses, though, it’s important to read the details before opening. Be sure to use the referral code “MYNEWBONUS” when applying.?
M1 retirement account: Up to $5,000
If you currently have a large retirement savings and you’re interested in moving your money over to open a new account, this offer from M1 may be a quick way to earn some extra cash and effectively boost your balance. Just roll over a minimum of $50,000 of retirement assets in your 401(k), 403(b) or another employer-sponsored retirement plan within 14 days of opening an account, and you may be eligible for at least some promotional cash. If you add more than $1 million of eligible assets, M1 will sweeten the pot by adding $5,000 to your balance.?
Citi Personal Wealth Management account: Up to $5,000
Open a Citi Personal Wealth Management account before Sep. 30 with at least $50,000 in new-to-bank funds, and you stand to earn a relatively high bonus of $500 cash boost. For new accounts with at least $2 million in new money to the bank, Citi will add $5,000.?
Chase Private Client checking account: Up to $3,000
Open a new checking account by Oct. 18 and transfer $500,000 or more within the first 45 days in new-to-bank money or securities, and a $3,000 bonus will appear in your account within 40 days. Deposits exclude business checking and savings accounts, any J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing & Automated Investing accounts, J.P. Morgan Wealth Management retirement accounts and CDs.
Wells Fargo Premier Checking: Up to $2,500
Open a Wells Fargo Premier Checking account by Oct. 10 with a minimum deposit of $25, add $250,000 in new money by the 45th day of opening the account, maintain your balance for at least 90 days, and you can indeed qualify for a hefty $2,500 bonus. You’ll also have to bring a bonus offer code to a banker at the time of account opening at a physical branch location to activate the offer, so it’s critical to follow the fine print.?
Checking accounts opened prior to Jan. 9, 2024 can earn a cash bonus of up to $2,000 for making a minimum $300,000 deposit within the first 20 days. If you’re able to maintain that balance for 60 days from the 21st day of account opening, this cash bonus is all yours. It should be noted that living trusts, fiduciary, estate, business or retirement accounts — IRAs, SEPs, CESAs, or money purchase pension plans and profit-sharing plans — do not quality. International Personal Bank, Citi Private Bank and Citi Alliance accounts also do not qualify for this offer.?
Citi Priority Checking Account: Up to $2,000
Much like the Citigold account offering, enrolling in a Citi Priority Checking account can also qualify you for a sizable sign-up bonus. Just be sure to enroll before Jan. 9, 2024 and you can also earn a cash bonus of up to $2,000, depending on your asset level. Balances from $10,000 to $29,999 earn a cash bonus of $200, while bank accounts with $300,000 or more qualify for a cash bonus of $2,000.?
You’ll need to ensure your money is new to the bank in a newly opened account, and that on the 20th day of date from when you opened your account that your deposit balance meets one of the various thresholds, all of which are over $10,000. These accounts must be set up for enhanced direct deposit, or an electronic deposit via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network of payroll, pension, Social Security, government benefits and other payments to your checking, savings, or MMA account. Read the terms and conditions for more.?
You’ll need to open two separate bank accounts here, but you can indeed qualify for a $1,000 cash bonus for your efforts. Just open a U.S. Bank Smartly? Checking account with $10,000 or more and you can earn a $500 bonus. Then, open a U.S. Bank Standard Savings account with more than $50,000 in new-to-bank money by Sept. 30, maintain your balance until March 31, 2024, and you can earn an additional $400 in cash. If you’ve completed both steps, U.S. Bank will add an additional $100 to your bonus pot, rounding it out to $1,000.??
Transfer or roll over more than $250,000 of new-to-bank funds in your J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account by the Oct. 12 deadline and you can earn as much as $700. Just be sure to add your cash, securities, or roll over existing retirement assets from another institution within 45 days of opening the account and maintain your balance for at least 90 days to qualify.?
Open one of two checking accounts for consumers and business owners before Oct. 7 and you can qualify for as much as $600. You’ll just need to make a minimum of $25,000 in deposits within 90 days in your Platinum Perks Checking account and you’re set. That said, this offer is only valid for those living in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.