While some banks raise their rates to attract new customers, others compete for your dollars by offering new account bonuses. If you’re in the market for a new bank account, some banks and credit unions pay attractive cash bonuses — ranging from a few hundred dollars to $500 or more.
While free money is a welcome perk, a bank account bonus shouldn’t be your primary reason for opening a new account. However, if you’ve narrowed down the choices and a bonus incentive makes sense, it can be the cherry on top. Here’s our list of banks with attractive account bonuses and reasonable requirements, ranked in order of the highest bonus available.
Best bank account bonuses
|Bank||Bonus offer||Required deposits|
|BMO||$400 to $4,100||$4,000 to $500,000|
|Huntington Bank||$400 to $600||Up to $25,000|
|TD Bank||$200 to $500||$500 to $10,000|
|PNC Bank||$100 to $400||$500 to $4,000|
|Axos Bank||$300||$5,000 for 7 consecutive months|
|SoFi||$50 to $250||$1,000 to $5,000|
|Alliant Credit Union||$100||$100 for 12 consecutive months|
How do bank account bonuses work?
Banks usually offer an account bonus to attract new customers. A bank will generally pay a cash bonus as high as $500 or more when you open a new account.
You may have to jump through several hoops to receive the bonus. Conditions can include funding your account immediately, keeping your account open for a set time period, meeting a minimum daily account balance or receiving a set amount and number of monthly direct deposits within a specific period.
Bank account bonuses can be lucrative, so take note of the requirements to ensure you don’t skip a step and miss out on the bonus.
Are bank account bonuses worth it?
If you’re already shopping for a new checking or savings account, it’s worth taking the time to review bonus offers as they can help you earn extra cash. But be mindful of the monthly fees associated with any account you’re considering as it can wipe out your gains. If, for example, you get a $200 bonus for an account that charges a $25 monthly fee, and you’re unable to waive the fee, you’ll wipe out your bonus gains in eight months.
Moreover, a bonus offer shouldn’t override accounts with better perks. It might be better, in the long run, to go with a savings account with a high annual percentage yield, or APY, and a lower bonus than one with a low APY and higher bonus, especially as there are stark differences in the market right now.
If you’re willing to meet the requirements just for a temporary period and close the account after receiving the bonus (also known as bank account churning), you may be charged an early termination fee. And bank bonuses are considered taxable income, so if you earn a handful of bonuses, you might find yourself with a tax bill at the end of the year.
Factors to consider when choosing a new bank
As you begin your search, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I be more comfortable with the option to speak with someone in person?
- Are there reasons for me to visit a branch in person or can I handle my transactions online?
- How important is having the latest technological innovations available in a bank?
- How much do I travel and what type of banking tools do I need to access when I’m traveling?
- How can a financial institution best help me reach both my short- and long-term financial goals?
- Do you have enough steady income to meet minimum deposit or balance requirements?
- Can you go without the money that would be needed to maintain that minimum deposit?
Answering the above questions should help you narrow the choice of whether a traditional bank, a fintech app or something in between could be the best financial fit overall. Once you have your shortlist, the next step is to compare the services each institution offers and make note of the fees you may be charged. Services to look for include:
- Free checking account.
- Savings accounts, money market accounts and/or certificates of deposit.
- Ability to interface with peer-to-peer transaction services such as Zelle.
- Overdraft protection.
- Loan products.
- Wealth management and/or professional advisory services.
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