Late last year, I wrote a post about low-hanging fruit you should be picking — checking account bonuses and other easy bank bonuses can be well worth some time investment and should not be ignored. There are often opportunities to generate bonuses on par with new credit card welcome offers with what may be much easier requirements. At the halfway point in 2020, I wanted to take stock of where I am with similar low-hanging fruit this year and why I think it is well worth looking beyond signup bonuses and bonus categories to make other money moves that supplement our points and miles.
Checking, savings, and investment account bonuses earned in 2020
I wrote last year about how bank account bonuses can be well worth a little time and effort. They can be particularly worthwhile for those of us playing the game in multi-player mode. Here are the bonuses earned in my household so far this year:
Wells Fargo: $400 Everyday Checking account bonus
I had signed up for this account last year and mentioned it in the low-hanging fruit post. At the time, the account required direct deposits of at least $3,000 per month for 3 consecutive months to trigger the $400 checking account bonus (the current $400 bonus requires a cumulative total of $4,000 in direct deposits over the first 90 days).
While I did set up my official direct deposit to trigger this bonus, I had also moved money from an external checking account via ACH push in the third and final month. My $400 bonus posted after that ACH push and before my direct deposit for the month, signaling that I probably could have triggered this bonus without the hassle of changing direct deposit. At any rate, this bonus posted early in 2020.
M&T Bank: $250 Checking account bonus
This is another bank noted in last year’s post. While I had opened this account and earned its bonus last year, my wife didn’t get around to opening an account with them until more recently. Once again, a withdrawal pushed from SoFi Investing triggered the bonus the day after it credited to M&T. This is a regional bank that will only be available to those in the northeast and the offer amount may vary by region (you can read more about this offer at Doctor of Credit). Since the account bonus here only requires a single direct deposit of $500 or more, it’s pretty easy to pick this one up. Note that to keep the account fee-free, you can either keep $2500 in it or set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more. The account earns such little interest that it’s kind of a waste to keep $2500 in it, though it certainly is a simple way to keep it fee-free. This bank has a fee if you close your account within 180 days, so I set a reminder to evaluate whether to keep it or cancel it. Given some recent minor annoyances with this account, we’ll probably cancel.
BBVA: $0 (expected $250, got nada)
We opened a checking/savings combo with BBVA in 2019 that had relatively low requirements (had to fund the savings account with a few hundred bucks and have one direct deposit of $500 or more by the end of December – similar to this expired promo). I tried a couple of potential direct deposit methods that apparently didn’t work because I never got the bonus. Since I had stretched the definition of a direct deposit, I didn’t raise any complaint. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.
Webull: 20 shares for depositing $10K ($180.40)
We wrote about a targeted bonus offer from Webull in January (and republished that post with a similar offer in February). My January offer was to get 20 free shares of stock worth $9-$1,000 per share for depositing $10K in my Webull brokerage account (note that the money did not need to be invested but rather just deposited). I had the savings on hand to do this, so I made the deposit expecting the bare minimum and that’s exactly what I got. I received 20 shares of Vonage, which was trading at $9.02 per share at the time for a total value of $180.40. An effective deposit bonus of 1.8% that only required leaving the money for a couple of weeks seemed more than fair (subsequent Webull deposit bonuses have required leaving the money for a month or more). I withdrew the $10K a few weeks later and have kept the stocks.
Keeping those shares makes the deal at least a hair better: As of the closing bell yesterday, my 20 shares of Vonage were at a total value of $194.80 (they had been over $200 for a brief period, but I won’t complain).
Still coming / expected in 2020
In addition to bonuses earned thus far, we have several bank account bonuses in progress.
HSBC Premier Checking account bonus: $700 x 2 player mode = $1,400 (hopefully)
HSBC changes their checking account bonus promotion every couple of months and sometimes offers different promotions at the same time. When my wife and I each signed up for our accounts a couple of months ago, the bonus for an HSBC Premier Checking account was 3% of your monthly direct deposits up…
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