The best time to set yourself on the path to financial freedom is right now. Of course, that is easier said than done, but an excellent first step is to make choices that facilitate your money management and ultimately save some dollars. The right checking account makes all the difference. Remember that banks want your business and are usually willing to compete to get it. That means offering special promotions, bonuses, gifts, or free cash. Now, there is always a catch, usually in regard to keeping a minimum balance or being willing to have your paychecks direct deposited.
But with proper research, you should absolutely be able to find the right checking account for your needs – something with low fees, nice rewards, and all the features you need, as well as requirements you can live with. We can get you started with four great options. The following checking accounts are ideal for people who don’t have a ton of cash but still want their money to work for them.
Online banking has become a big deal in the internet age, so unless you never foresee yourself using a smart phone, you want to choose a bank with a robust app that allows you to deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer money right from your phone.
An online bill pay system that allows you to set up recurring payments is also very helpful in terms of managing money. When your bills are automatically paid by the due date, you never need to pay cumbersome late fees.
For security purposes, you want your debit card to have chip technology. A bank that hasn’t upgraded to this technology yet may not be very liquid. Each of the checking accounts we cover meets these standards.
$200 Sign Up Bonus at Chase Total Checking
Chase is one of the major banking players and therefore offers a huge range of financial products, including checking, savings, and investment accounts, as well as credit cards. Customers get all of the basics plus access to person-to-person payments, credit score monitoring, and JP Morgan’s You Invest program through the bank’s app.
Right now, Chase is also offering new customers $200 in bonus money when they open a Chase Total Checking account. The catch is that you must deposit at least $25 to get started. Then, in order to avoid a $12 monthly fee, you must meet just one of the following requirements: have at least $500 direct deposited every month; maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500; or keep at least $5,000 total with Chase, spread out among various banking products.
$100 from Bank of America for New Checking Customers
Bank of America is offering $100 to new checking customers who take advantage of one of three products. The deal is valid until December 31, 2019. The products are as follows:
Advantage SafeBalance BankingTM
- $25 minimum opening deposit
- No paper checks
- No overdraft fees
- Monthly fee of $4.95 unless you are a currently enrolled student under age 24 or a Preferred Rewards client
Advantage Plus Banking
- $100 minimum opening deposit
- Option to add overdraft protection
- $12 monthly fee unless you make at least one direct deposit per month of no less than $250, are a currently enrolled student under age 24, or are a Preferred Rewards client
Advantage Relationship Banking
- $100 minimum opening deposit
- Option to add overdraft protection
- No fees on select services and additional accounts
- Earn interest
- $25 monthly fee unless you can keep at least $10,000 with Bank of America through a combination of products, including checking, savings, and investment accounts
$250 Bonus from Bank of the West
Bank of the West has one of the easiest checking accounts to open and use, and new customers get $250 extra just for doing it. There is no required opening balance…actually, to be more accurate, you need only deposit one penny to get started. There is no minimum balance to maintain or any requirements to sign up for direct deposit.
There is a $10 monthly fee on the account, but it is waived for any month during which you make any kind of deposit (direct, via ATM, via the app, or in a branch) of any amount. You’ll need to make at least one deposit per month for four months in order to receive the $250 bonus. Note that the bonus only applies to new customers and only one customer per address is eligible. Better get there quick, before your roommate does!
Bank of the West makes banking easy through their app, which allows you to pay bills simply by scanning them with your phone. You can also send and receive money easily through the payment feature.
You have until October 30, 2019 to open your account and receive the bonus, but you shouldn’t need that long. You can head into a branch to get it done, or get set up online in about 10 minutes. You must either visit a branch or give Bank of the West your email address in order to receive a promotional code that unlocks the $250 bonus offer.
$400 Welcome Bonus from Wells Fargo
If you are able to have at least $3,000 direct deposited into your new Wells Fargo checking account every month, you could get $400 extra dollars to pad that account. Qualifying direct deposits include those made by your employer, Social Security, or another authorized external source.
There is a $25 minimum deposit to open the account. There is also a $10 monthly fee, but this is easily avoided in a few ways. Though you need at least $3,000 per month in qualifying direct deposits to receive the bonus, you need just $500 per month in direct deposits to avoid the monthly fee. You can also skip the fee if you keep a minimum balance of $1,500 or make at least 10 debit card purchases per month.
To take advantage of this offer, open an Everyday Checking account online, or with a bonus offer code a participating Wells Fargo branch, by November 27, 2019.
These are just four options that can snag you some extra money when you open a new checking account. There are likely hundreds of other options out there, so it pays to do your research. Your specific needs and financial position make a big difference in what you can get. And remember, the bonus money is nice, but may not be worth it in the end if the bank enforces onerous deposit or balance requirements.
Another thing to remember is that available banking products vary from state to state. The four banks we have covered are large and will honor these promotions in most major markets, but you may also find great local deals with smaller banks or credit unions that don’t have a ton of branches but can offer you competent money management and reliable service all the same.
The bottom line is that banks need your money, and you shouldn’t have to bend over backwards to give it to them. Take the time to find a bank that recognizes your value is willing to pay you for your business!
1. nerdwallet.com, How to Choose a Bank Account: Seek Low Fees, High Rates
2. nerdwallet.com, Online Bill Pay: What It Is and Why to Use It
3. accounts.chase.com, As a new Chase customer, choose which offer is right for you
4. promo.bankofamerica.com, $100 offer for new checking customers
5. bonusoffer.wf.com, Get a $400* welcome bonusfor new Wells Fargo checking customers
6. gobankingrates.com, Here Is the Biggest Bank in Every State