Taking advantage of welcome bonuses for gain is not limited to credit cards. Many banks offer an easy and churnable way to get bonuses for opening checking, savings, and money market accounts. Payouts for each bonus range between $50 and $500.
The basic structure is the same as credit card bonuses. You apply to open an account, get approved, wait for a debit card, activate it, carry out a list of requirements and then wait for the bonus to post. Many of these bonuses require a more detailed set of actions to receive the bonus than the simple credit card minimum spending thresholds. Getting started in this system is fairly easy, but can also require a higher level of liquid capital than credit card churning.
- The first step in the process is finding a bank account bonus offer that you can complete. Doctor of Credit has an extensive list of the current best offers here. When selecting an offer, important things to consider are:
- Region – Do you live in the region specified by the offer?
- Hard Pull – Does this offer require a hard credit pull and can you afford to have one on your report?
- Direct Deposit Requirements – Can you fulfill the requirements through your employer, or does the bank recognize other methods as direct deposit like PayPal or ACH from another bank?
- Credit Card Funding/Cash Advance – Can the account be funded from a credit card, and if so does it code as a purchase or cash advance?
- Offer Level – Is this the best or near-best historical offer available?
- Capital – Do I have enough free cash to satisfy the requirements of the bonus and not otherwise impact my financial position
- Apply. Once you have found a suitable offer, go ahead and apply. Most banks will offer instant approval and ship a debit card to you as a default. Always check that this is the default, though.
- Keep a record of the exact terms of your bank account bonus offer. Many require a great amount of detail to get right. Follow the offer terms exactly.
- After you have satisfied all account bonus requirements, wait for it to post. Some banks my have it post after one day, others may take the full time listed in the offer, sometimes up to two months. Look at your individual terms to determine the time frame.
- After receiving the bonus, it is best to leave it open for a few more months if it is fee free (if not fee free, try and downgrade it to one without fees). After waiting, transfer all the money out, close the account, and take note of the date. In a year, you can often start the process over again.
Always remember that bonus income from bank accounts is taxable as interest income. You will receive a 1099-INT form from each bank you make interest income from around February of the following year the bonus was received in.