Best brokerage account bonuses in January 2021

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Brokerages are aggressively competing for your money. One way they do so is by offering competitive bonuses that you can add right to your brokerage account. It’s important to know the best offers so that you can decide whether it’s a good time to open a brokerage account and take advantage of what is often risk-free cash.

Here Bankrate tracks the best brokerage account bonuses to help you compare active offers.

Best brokerage account bonuses in January 2021

  • Ally Invest: $50 to $3,500
  • Merrill Edge: $150 to $900
  • Charles Schwab: $100 to $500 (personally referred friend offer)
  • E-Trade: $50 to $2,500

Ally Invest: $50, $200, $300, $600, $1,200, $2,500 or $3,500 bonus

New Ally Invest clients can earn up to a $3,500 cash bonus if they open a new account by March 31, 2021. The qualifying deposit must contain funds from outside of Ally Financial, and a person can only get the offer on one new Ally Invest Securities LLC account. As an extra incentive, Ally will credit your transfer fees from another brokerage, up to $150 as long as you bring at least $2,500 over to the new account.

Ally Invest checks your deposit 60 days after your account is opened to determine the total qualifying deposit. You’ll receive your cash bonus within 10 business days after this review.

To receive a cash bonus, you must:

  • Deposit at least $10,000 in a new Ally Invest account.
  • Be a U.S. resident.
  • Not be an existing Ally Invest account holder or a former Ally Invest account holder (which includes former TradeKing Securities LLC account holders). You’re not eligible to receive the cash bonus if you closed one of these Ally Invest accounts within the past 90 days.

You must use the “Open Account” button associated with this offer on Ally Invest’s site for opening your account to be eligible for this offer.

Here are the bonus tiers for this offer: 

  • To receive the $50 bonus, deposit or transfer $10,000-$24,999.
  • To receive the $200 bonus, deposit or transfer $25,000-$99,999.
  • To receive the $300 bonus, deposit or transfer $100,000-$249.999.
  • To receive the $600 bonus, deposit or transfer $250,000-$499,999.
  • To receive the $1,200 bonus, deposit or transfer $500,000-$999,999.
  • To receive the $2,500 bonus, deposit or transfer $1 million -$1,999,999.
  • To receive the $3,500 bonus, deposit or transfer $2 million or more.

Once you receive your bonus, both the cash bonus and your qualifying deposit (minus any trading losses that are incurred) can’t be withdrawn for 300 days. A withdrawal may cause Ally Invest to revoke your bonus.

Read Bankrate’s Ally Invest review to learn more.

Merrill Edge: $150, $225, $375 or $900 bonus

When you open a Merrill Edge IRA or cash management account and make a qualifying deposit within 45 days of opening you can earn up to a $900 bonus. You need to use offer code 900ME during the account opening. This can be done while applying online or using it when speaking to a Merrill Edge financial adviser on the phone or at select Bank of America branches. This offer expires April 15, 2021.

To receive a cash reward, you must:

  • Enroll for the offer at the time of account opening.
  • Deposit net new assets of at least $20,000 into your Merrill Edge account within 45 days of opening the account.
  • You must be enrolled in the Preferred Rewards program within 90 days of making the deposit.
  • Maintain that balance for at least 90 days.

The offer limits you to one IRA — rollover, traditional, Roth and sole-proprietor SEP only — and one cash management account. Each account holder can’t have more than two enrolled accounts.

Assets from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), U.S. Trust, or 401(k) accounts administered by MLPF&S aren’t qualifying net new assets.

You’ll receive your cash reward two weeks after the initial 90-day period, assuming you meet eligibility requirements.

Business/corporate accounts, investment club accounts, partnership accounts and certain types of fiduciary accounts held at Merrill Edge aren’t eligible for this offer. The offer also doesn’t apply to accounts, which include IRAs or CMAs, held with other business units of MLPF&S.

Here are the bonus tiers:

  • To receive the $150 cash reward, deposit $20,000 to $49,999.99.
  • To receive the $225 cash reward, deposit $50,000 to $99,999.99.
  • To receive the $375 cash reward, deposit $100,000 to $199,999.99.
  • To receive the $900 cash reward, deposit $200,000 or more.

Read Bankrate’s Merrill Edge review to learn more.

Charles Schwab: $100, $200, $300 or $500 (if you’re referred by a friend)

Schwab is offering personally referred friends the opportunity to earn up to $500 when they use a referral code, given to you by a current Schwab customer, and open an eligible account at Schwab.

To receive the bonus award, you must:

  • Receive a referral code from a friend or family member.
  • Be a new Schwab client and make a qualifying net deposit within 45 days of both becoming a Schwab customer and opening an eligible retail brokerage account.

You’re limited to one per account and only one account per client when you receive a referral.

Schwab retail brokerage accounts and IRAs are eligible for this offer. This includes accounts that are enrolled in Schwab-sponsored investment advisery programs, such as Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Schwab Managed Portfolios, Schwab Managed Account Select and Connection and Schwab Private Client.

You’ll receive your bonus approximately a week or two after the 45-day period ends if you made a qualifying deposit when becoming a new Schwab customer and enrolling in the referral offer.

Schwab may charge back its bonus award if taxable accounts aren’t kept at Schwab for at least one year.

Here are the bonus tiers for this offer:

  • To receive a $100 bonus, deposit $1,000-$24,999.
  • To receive a $200 bonus, deposit $25,000-$49,999.
  • To receive a $300 bonus, deposit $50,000-$99,999.
  • To receive a $500 bonus, deposit $100,000 or more.

Read Bankrate’s Charles Schwab review to learn more.

E-Trade: $50, $100, $150, $200, $300, $600, $1,200 or $2,500 bonus

You can earn a cash bonus if you open a retirement or brokerage account and fund it with $5,000 or more within 60 days of account opening.  Your account must be opened by Jan. 31, 2021.

To receive a cash bonus, you must:

  • Use promo code WINTER21 when opening the account.
  • Open your new account with funds or securities from accounts outside of E-Trade. You need to also keep the new account (minus any trading losses) for at least 12 months to keep the cash bonus.

Here are the cash bonus tiers for this offer:

  • To receive a $50 bonus, deposit or transfer $5,000-$9,999.
  • To receive a $100 bonus, deposit or transfer $10,000-$19,999.
  • To receive a $150 bonus, deposit or transfer $20,000-$24,999.
  • To receive a $200 bonus, deposit or transfer $25,000-$99,999.
  • To receive a $300 bonus, deposit or transfer $100,000-$249,999.
  • To receive a $600 bonus, deposit or transfer $250,000-$499,999.
  • To receive a $1,200 bonus, deposit or transfer $500,000-$999,999.
  • To receive a $2,500 bonus, deposit or transfer $1 million or more.

Read Bankrate’s E-Trade review to learn more.

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