Summer has come and gone and the temperature is starting to drop. But the bonuses banks are offering only seem to be getting hotter.
Many banks are giving out stacks of free cash. To get your piece of the pie, you’ll need to open a new checking or savings account.
Shopping around for a bank account is never fun. But if you could walk away with an extra $200 or $300, it could be worth your while. With interest rates on the rise, this is a great time to look for banks and credit unions paying higher yields.
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’s 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 October. 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
- $150, $200, $225 or $300 Bonus: Chase Bank
- $200 or $500 Bonus: Capital One Bank
- $150 or $200 Bonus: Discover Bank
Best checking account bonuses
- $200 or $300 Bonus: Chase Bank
- $200 Bonus: Huntington National Bank
- $150 or $300 Bonus: SunTrust Bank
- $150 or $300 Bonus: TD Bank
- $200 or $300 Bonus: KeyBank
- $200 Bonus: Elements Financial
- $200, $350 or $750 Bonus: HSBC Bank
Best checking and savings account bonus
- $200 to $1,500 Bonus: First Tech Federal Credit Union
Best savings and money market account bonuses
Chase Bank: $150, $200, $225 or $300 bonus
If you open a savings account in a Chase branch by Nov. 20 (and present a printed email with a code), you can earn $300. You must deposit $25,000 within 20 business days and maintain that balance for 90 days. Another deal offers $225 to new Chase savings customers who deposit $15,000. One that expires Oct. 13 offers $200 for depositing and maintaining a $15,000 balance.
If you have at least $10,000 to stick into a savings account, you can earn $150 for maintaining that balance for 90 days. When combined with the $200 Total Checking account bonus, you’ll earn $350 total. This offer expires Oct. 15.
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 four out of five stars. Chase is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
Capital One Bank: $200 or $500 bonus
Through Dec. 14, if you open a 360 Money Market account and make a deposit, you can earn $200 if you:
- Haven’t opened a Capital One savings account since January 2016.
- Deposit at least $10,000.
To qualify for the bonus, you must use a promo code (OFFER200). There’s also a $500 bonus for new customers open to depositing $500 by Oct. 31.
The 360 Money Market account currently pays 1.85 percent APY to savers with at least $10,000 in their accounts.
Capital One is based in McLean, Virginia. The bank earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s latest review of its financial health.
Discover Bank: $150 or $200 bonus
If you open a Discover online savings account by Oct. 8, you could earn up to $200. New Discover savings customers who meet certain requirements by Oct. 22 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 (NW918) when you apply online. The Discover online savings account pays 1.8 percent APY.
Discover Bank is based in Greenwood, Delaware. In Bankrate’s review of its financial health, the bank earned five out of five stars.
Best checking account offers
Chase Bank: $200 or $300 bonus
Through Oct. 15, you could earn $300 by opening a Premier Plus checking account. Or earn $200 by opening a Total Checking account. Through another promotion that ends Oct. 13, you can earn $300 for opening a Total Checking account.
Both promotions require you to visit a branch and present an email with a coupon code. You’re eligible for a bonus if you:
- Don’t have an existing Chase fiduciary or checking account (or closed one with a negative balance or within the last 90 days).
- Deposit $25.
- Have a direct deposit made within 60 days of opening the account.
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 accounts deals.
Huntington National Bank: $200 bonus
Through Dec. 31, 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.
- 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, which is based in Columbus, Ohio earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
SunTrust Bank: $150 or $300 bonus
If you open a SunTrust checking account online by Oct. 15, you’ll have the chance to earn either a $150 or $300 bonus by:
- Depositing $100 within 14 days.
- Having a $1,000 direct deposit made into a Select Checking account within 60 days (or a $2,000 direct deposit made into a Signature Advantage account).
- Making 10 debit card purchases within 60 days.
You can earn $150 for opening a Select Checking account or $300 for opening a Signature Advantage account. The deals are for new personal checking account holders. Apply online or at a branch and use the promo code (Q318CHECKINGOL).
The offers are valid for residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and 10 southern states. In Bankrate’s review of SunTrust’s financial health, the bank earned four out of five stars. It’s headquartered in Atlanta.
TD Bank: $150 or $300 bonus
A $300 bonus is available for TD Bank customers who:
- Open a Premier 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.
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 financial health, it earned four out of five stars.
KeyBank: $200 or $300 bonus
KeyBank is giving new customers an opportunity to earn $200. You’ll need to open a qualifying checking account and use an offer code (ONAS0618). You’ll also need to make a $500 deposit within 60 days.
The bonus is available through Nov. 2 in certain areas (Alaska, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio, Idaho, Indiana (Central and Northern), Maine, Michigan, Philadelphia, Utah, Vermont and Portland, Oregon. KeyBank, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio, earned five out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
There’s also a $300 bonus that expires on Dec. 28. Use the offer code EDGT0718.
Elements Financial: $200 bonus
An Indiana-based credit union is offering a $200 bonus to new members who open a high interest checking account and enter a promotional code (CHECK200). To qualify for the bonus you must:
- Join the credit union.
- Set up a recurring direct deposit of at least $500 within 60 days.
If you meet additional requirements, the high interest checking account pays 2 percent APY on balances of up to $20,000. The checking accounts with the best rates available nationwide pay as much as 5 percent APY.
Anyone nationwide can join the Elements Financial by becoming a member of Tru Direction and paying a $5 membership fee. The credit union earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health.
HSBC Bank: $200, $350 or $750 bonus
HSBC has several checking account bonuses available online. Through Nov. 2, earn:
- $200 for opening a Choice Checking account and depositing $1,500.
- $350 for opening an HSBC Advance checking account and depositing $10,000.
- $750 for opening an HSBC Premier checking account and depositing $100,000.
To qualify for a bonus, deposit new money within 30 calendar days and maintain the qualifying balance for 90 days. Don’t want your entire deposit to go into a checking account? You can still earn the bonus if part of it goes into a new savings account (or for the $750 bonus, an eligible investment account).
HSBC is based in McLean, Virginia. It earned four out of five stars in Bankrate’s review of its financial health.
Best checking and savings account bonus
First Tech Federal Credit Union: $200 to $1,500 bonus
Through Oct. 31, you could earn a bonus from First Tech by putting money into a CD, savings or checking account. Bonus amounts vary depending on the size of your deposit. You can earn $200 by depositing between $25,000 and $49,000. High rollers can earn up to $1,500.
First Tech earned four out of five stars in the latest review of its financial health. Membership is open to anyone who joins the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum.