Now that we’ve rung in the new year, you’re likely refreshed and ready to start achieving all of the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2020. If one of your goals is to get on top of your finances, it’s a good idea to consider opening a new savings or checking account. There are banks willing to hand out free money to new customers, which could be a plus after an expensive holiday season.
In exchange for opening a new checking or savings account, you could easily wind up with an extra $200 or $300 dollars (or more). Shopping around for a new bank account isn’t exactly exciting, but it could be worth your while.
Why banks have sign-up bonuses
Banks use sign-up bonuses to distinguish themselves from others in the industry. Cash bonuses also help financial institutions bring in new customers and new deposits.
While they could pay account holders a higher yield, for some banks, offering a bonus is preferable.
“It’s much easier to quantify the bonus than it is to raise the rate on what you’re paying out on deposits,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst.
Some banks, like TD Bank, offer more than one sign-up bonus. But qualifying for multiple bonuses at the same time at the same bank usually isn’t possible. Bank account bonuses are typically available only to new checking or savings account holders.
What to watch out for
Every bank account bonus isn’t a good deal. Before you sign up, read the fine print.
Watch out for sky-high minimum balance requirements and monthly fees that could eat into your earnings. If earning a bonus seems to require too much effort, you might want to look for another one.
If you’re applying for a checking account, make sure it’s a good match that meets your needs. For example, if you need them, double-check that there are plenty of branches and ATMs in your area. That way, you’re not driving miles to meet with a banker or wasting money on out-of-network ATM fees.
If you’re looking for a new savings account, consider whether you’re better off finding another bank that pays more interest.
“Those types of bonuses are only on accounts that really pay minimal, meaning that you’re not going to get that 1.55 percent, right,” says Deacon Hayes, founder of the website Well Kept Wallet. “You’re probably going to get less than a percent. So you’re kind of getting that bonus, but you’re sacrificing the long-term return. So you just want to weigh those options.”
Here are some of the best bank account bonuses in January. Compare these offers along with CDs and other savings accounts that pay more interest. And check out other types of bonuses, too, like the best brokerage account bonuses.
Summary of the best bank account bonuses
Best savings and money market account bonuses
Best checking account bonuses
- SunTrust Bank: $300 bonus
- TD Bank: $150 or $300 bonus
- Chase Bank: $200, $300 or $1,000 bonus
- Huntington National Bank: $200 bonus
Best checking and savings bonuses
Best savings and money market account bonuses
Discover Bank: $150 or $200 bonus
If you open a Discover online savings account by Jan. 6, you could earn up to $200. New Discover savings customers who meet certain requirements by Jan. 20 can qualify for one of the following bonuses:
- $150 bonus for depositing $15,000.
- $200 bonus for depositing $25,000.
There’s no minimum deposit to open the account, but you must enter an offer code (OBE1119) when you apply online. The Discover online savings account pays 1.7 percent APY.
Discover Bank is based in Greenwood, Delaware. In Bankrate’s review of Discover’s products and services, the bank earned 4.4 out of five stars.
Chase Bank: $150 bonus
Through a deal that expires Jan. 21, you’ll earn $150 for depositing $10,000 within 20 business days into a new Chase savings account and maintaining that balance for 90 days. By meeting the requirements for earning the savings and checking bonuses, you could earn a total of $350.
The downside? Chase’s savings account pays just 0.01 percent APY. (Check out the best high-yield savings accounts.)
Our review of Chase’s financial health gave the bank 3.8 out of five stars. Chase is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
Best checking account offers
SunTrust Bank: $300 bonus
Open a SunTrust Advantage checking account online or at a branch by Jan. 2 and earn $300 by having direct deposits of at least $3,000 made per statement cycle for two consecutive cycles (within the first three months of opening the account).
The offer is valid for residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and nine southern states. In Bankrate’s review of SunTrust’s financial health, the bank earned four out of five stars. The bank is in the process of closing a merger with BB&T.
TD Bank: $150 or $300 bonus
A $300 bonus is available for TD Bank customers who:
- Open a Beyond Checking account online.
- Have never had a TD Bank personal checking account.
- Have at least $2,500 worth of direct deposit funds within 60 days of opening the account.
There’s also a $150 cash bonus if you’d prefer a Convenience Checking account (requires direct deposits of $500 within 60 days of opening the account).
Bonuses are available to residents in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and every state on the east coast except Georgia.
TD Bank is based in Wilmington, Delaware. In Bankrate’s review of TD Bank’s services and product offerings, it earned 3.5 out of five stars.
Chase Bank: $200, $300 or $1,000 bonus
Through Jan. 21, you could earn $300 by opening a Premier Plus checking account. Or earn $200 by opening a Total Checking account.
You’re eligible for a bonus if you:
- Don’t have an existing Chase fiduciary or checking account (or had one closed with a negative balance or within the last 90 days).
- Have a direct deposit made within 90 days of opening the account.
There’s also a $1,000 bonus available for customers who open or upgrade to a Chase Sapphire account by Jan. 17. To qualify, you must transfer a total of $75,000 to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts within 45 calendar days. Then, you must maintain that balance for at least 90 days.
Accounts can be opened online or in a branch. The bank has branches in 26 states including Georgia and Florida and in the western, southwestern, midwestern and northern parts of the country. See how Chase’s offers stack up against other checking account deals.
Huntington National Bank: $200 bonus
Through Jan. 7, earn $200 by opening a Huntington 5 checking account online or in a branch. To earn a bonus you must:
- Be a new Huntington checking customer who hasn’t closed a checking account within the past six months.
- Deposit $1,000 within 60 days of opening your new checking account and maintain that balance for 90 days.
- Present the coupon code you email yourself from the bank’s website (if you’re applying in a branch).
You’re eligible for the bonus if you live in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Wisconsin.
Huntington is based in Columbus, Ohio. In the full review of its products and offerings, the bank earned 3.6 out of five stars.
Best checking and savings bonuses
HSBC Bank: $350 or $750 bonus
HSBC has a couple of checking account bonuses available online. Through Jan. 6, earn:
- $350 for opening an HSBC Advance checking account and depositing $5,000 in checking and savings accounts.
- $750 for opening an HSBC Premier checking account and receiving monthly deposits of $5,000 for three consecutive months from the second full month after opening the account.
To qualify for the $350 bonus, you’ll have to deposit new money within 30 calendar days and maintain the qualifying balance for 90 days. You’ll also need to have recurring deposits made into the account monthly for at least three consecutive months after the account opening month.
HSBC is based in McLean, Virginia. It earned 3.9 out of five stars in Bankrate’s full review of its products and offerings.
U.S. Bank: Earn $200 or $400 bonus
Through Jan. 10, customers in the market for a new checking and savings account can open both through U.S. Bank and potentially earn a bonus. You’ll need to use a promo code (FREND19) to qualify.
You must complete the following steps to earn $200:
- Open a new Platinum, Gold or Easy checking account.
- Have at least two direct deposits totaling $2,000.
- Sign up for U.S. Bank online banking or the U.S. Bank app within 60 days of opening your account.
Customers with the Platinum checking account package can earn an additional $200 (for a total of $400) for completing these steps:
- Open a new Platinum Select money market savings account or Elite money market account.
- Have deposits of at least $10,000 transferred into the account by Jan. 10.
- Maintain the $10,000 balance through Mar. 10.
U.S. Bank is a large commercial bank that offers consumers who value the big bank experience an alternative to the biggest operators in the space. The bank, which is based in Minneapolis, earned 4.1 out of 5 stars in Bankrate’s full review of its products and offerings.