Bank Account Bonuses are so hot right now! Not quite as hot as the melting 105-degree heat I’m currently enjoying in Las Vegas, but pretty close. In the past four days, Mary and I have made $1000 in bank account bonuses and generated $4000 of free “manufactured spend” to knock out the minimum spending requirement on one of our new credit cards. And…it was really, really easy.
Today I’m going to tell you about two very easy bank account bonuses, and one of them you can even fund with a credit card to give you $2000 in free manufactured spend! SCORE! Sometimes banks allow you to “fund” your account with a credit card (instead of transferring from another bank or depositing cash) so you can have access to your money faster. Since this codes as a “purchase” on your credit card, it’s a great way to knock out $1000-$2000 of minimum spend on your credit cards at the same time without having to actually spend money. Doctor of Credit keeps a whole page on what accounts can be funded with a credit card (including WHICH credit cards work) here.
I wanted to get these out to you guys ASAP because lots of people are starting their summer trips and those costs can add up quickly. So, book that excursion, buy that new swimsuit – because you’ve got $1000 in free travel money coming your way. If you like these bank account bonuses and want to read more about them, head on over to Doctor Of Credit, the undisputed expert on all bank account bonuses. He is also the only other blogger I follow. I highly recommend bookmarking his page!
Also, if you haven’t seen it before, here is an example spreadsheet that Mary and I use to track all of our credit cards and bank account bonuses. It’s really important to keep track of opening/closing dates for these things! Feel free to save a copy to your own Google Drive and change it however you want – it’s just one that’s worked for me.
Account #1: Chase Total Checking ($300 bonus) – expires June 15
You can read Doctor of Credit’s full post on the account here or just read my thoughts below.
How do I earn it? To get the bonus, you have to send one direct deposit (of any amount) into your account within 90 days. Obviously this is easiest if you can just talk to your work and change your direct deposit info, but if you don’t want to do that, there are lots of ways to “simulate” a direct deposit using a bank-to-bank transfer. This means you can transfer $50 or so from a Wells Fargo checking account (or many others) and that will “code” as a direct deposit to trigger your $300 bonus. Doctor of Credit keeps an updated list of what counts as direct deposit for each bank. There is also a $200 savings coupon but that requires tying up $15k (!!!) in a savings account, which I don’t think is the smartest idea.
Are there any fees? If you keep $1500 in the account or have monthly direct deposits of $500+, it’s completely fee-free, otherwise the account is $10/month. If you don’t have $1500 to leave in the account, I think this bonus still is a good deal since it would effectively just be a $240 bonus ($300 minus 6 months of $10 fees).
How long do I have to keep this open? 6 months. If you close the account before 6 months, you forfeit the bonus. After 6 months, you can close it and withdraw all the money back to your normal bank…and then open it again 3 months later for an additional $300 bonus. Then repeat forever.
Can I use a credit card to fund it? No.
How do I open it? First go to this website where you will email yourself a code. Take that code into a Chase branch and tell them you want to open up a Chase checking account. Make sure to do this before June 15 or this won’t work! This account can not be opened online for the bonus, so make sure to do it there. To save time, go in with your spouse/SO and each open up your own personal accounts for $600 total in bonuses.
Account #2: BMO Harris Checking Account ($200 bonus) – expires June 30
You can read Doctor of Credit’s full review of this account here or just read my thoughts below!
How do I earn it? Open up a valid BMO Harris account, and have two direct deposits of $300+ each within 90 days. You can either change your work direct deposit, or use one of the other methods to “simulate” a direct deposit (like a bank-to-bank transfer). Doctor of Credit keeps an updated list of what methods counts as direct deposits for each bank.
Are there any fees? Nope! I would open up the “Smart Advantage Account” since it is valid for the bonus and has no fees or minimum balance requirements as long as you sign up for e-statements instead of paper statements.
How long do I have to keep this open? 6 months. If you close the account before 6 months, you forfeit the bonus. After 6 months, you can close it and withdraw all the money back to your normal bank.
Can I use a credit card to fund it? Yes! You can fund up to $1000 per account. I did a checking/savings combo so I could fund $2000 ($1000 in each). If you want a list of which credit cards are currently working (by working I mean posting as a “purchase”) you can go to this page on Doctor of Credit. In the next few days, I’ll just transfer all the money back out (leaving maybe $50 or $100 in each to avoid making BMO too mad!) to my main bank and then pay off my credit card bill with that money. If you have a spouse, you can both do this for $400 in bonuses and $4000 of credit card spend.
How do I open it? Go to this website and open up the middle one – the “Smart Advantage Account”. The first page is where you can add the “statement savings” if you want to knock out an extra $1000 in credit card spend. You’ll enter your card information on the fourth tab – “funding information.”
Bet you didn’t think you could make an extra $1000 today, did you? Pretty cool.
As a side note, remember 3 things:
- Funding bank accounts with a credit card can sometimes be coded as a “cash advance” instead of a purchase. A cash advance is like when you try to pull money out of an ATM with a credit card. Bad idea – usually 20% interest or higher (and doesn’t count towards your minimum spend or earn you points since it isn’t a purchase). To avoid this, I always call my bank and have them lower my cash advance limit to $0 (or whatever the lowest amount is) so that if anything tried to code as a cash advance, it would be declined by my credit card. Additionally, ONLY USE CARDS THAT ARE VERIFIED ON DOCTOR OF CREDIT. If it isn’t verified there as having coded as a purchase for someone else, I would be very hesitant to try it myself. Do so at your own risk! Also, never use a credit card if you are opening a checking account in a physical branch – it will ALWAYS code as a cash advance in a physical branch.
- Bank account bonuses ARE considered taxable earnings, so you will be taxed on them at the same rate as your normal taxes. The bank will send you form 1099 at the end of the year, and you just add it to your taxes. It’s really easy to do.
- Bank accounts do NOT affect your credit report. They use a report called “ChexSystems” which is totally different from your credit score, and is only used for opening checking/savings accounts. I advise opening less than 10 new ones per year. I usually do 8-10 and I’ve never been denied, so I feel like that’s a reasonable number. There aren’t THAT many worth doing anyway. Read my full description on these here.
Best of luck, and happy spending!