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By Gabriella Cruz-Martínez
February 10, 2021

Bank bonuses are exclusive promotions that offer new customers a cash reward when they sign up for a checking, savings, business, or credit account.

To cash-in a bonus offer, you’ll have to make a qualifying direct deposit and maintain a minimum daily balance for a predetermined statement cycle, usually between 30 to 90 days of opening an account.

Here are Money’s top picks for the best bank bonuses for which you can apply before Spring 2021.

Bank of America:
Best Cash Rewards Credit Card
• Bonus: $200
• Conditions: Spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
• Expires: Not specified*
Citi Bank:
Best for Checking and Saving
• Bonus: $300–$700
• Minimum Deposit: $10,000
• Conditions: Deposit within 30 days of account opening
• Expires: April 1, 2021
HSBC Bank USA:
Best for Foreign Transaction
• Bonus: $200–$450
• Minimum Deposit: $500
• Conditions: Make three consecutive deposits within the first three statement cycles
• Expires: March 31, 2021
Chase:
Best for Everyday Banking
• Bonus: $200–$300
• Minimum Deposit: $500
• Conditions: Maintain balance for 60 days after account opening
• Expires: April 15, 2021
TD Bank:
Best for Young Adults
• Bonus: $150–$300
• Minimum Deposit: $500
• Conditions: Deposit within 60 days of account opening
• Expires: Not specified*
PNC Bank:
Best for Business Checking Accounts
• Bonus: $200–$500
• Minimum Deposit: $5,000
• Conditions: Maintain average balance for first three statement cycles
• Expires: March 31, 2021
Ally Bank:
Best for Investment Accounts
• Bonus: $50–$3,500
• Minimum Deposit: $10,000
• Conditions: Not specified*
• Expires: March 31, 2021
PenFed Credit Union:
Best for Credit Cards
• Bonus: $100 or 50,000 Bonus Points
• Conditions: Spend $1,500 90 days of account opening
• Expires: Not specified*
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Best Bank Bonuses of 2021

Bank of America

Best Credit Card for Cash Rewards

With Bank of America’s Cash Rewards Credit Card, you have the option to change your category of cash rewards once each calendar month, with choice categories including online shopping, gas, travel, drug stores, home improvements/furnishings, and dining.

If you sign up as a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn up to 75% more cashback on every purchase. The introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles is 0%, once the year is over the Variable APR will change from 13.99% to 23.99%.

Who is eligible?

  • Must open a new Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card account online to be eligible.
  • This one-time cash bonus offer does not apply to customers that want to convert existing accounts

How to earn it:

  • Open a new Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card account
  • Use your new credit card account to spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days

When you’ll receive it:

  • Within 8-12 weeks if you meet all requirements
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card $200 Make at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening Not specified No annual fee Not specified

CitiBank

Best for Checking and Savings

If you’re interested in opening a new checking and savings account, CitiBank offers bonuses up to $700.

Both their CitiBank Account Package and Citi Priority Account Package provide no-fee unlimited check writing and the opportunity to earn Citi ThankYou Points when linked to your checking account.

Customers can also earn interest on their checking account balance and competitive interest on new Citi Savings Accounts.

Priority Package members get additional perks like on-demand financial guidance from Citi Priority Advisors as well as financial planning tools.

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a new customer and apply through the offer page
  • Has not been the owner or signer of a Citibank consumer checking account within the last 180 calendar days
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Living trust and custodial accounts are eligible
  • Private bank customers and International Personal Bank customers are not eligible
  • Fiduciary, estate, trust, and Citibank Retirement accounts are not eligible

How to earn it:

  • Open your new eligible checking and savings account online
  • Within 30 days of opening, deposit the minimum balance required between your checking and savings accounts
  • Must be new money deposits
  • Maintain the minimum balance requirement for 60 consecutive days to redeem your bonus
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When you’ll receive it:

  • 90 business days after completing requirements
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Citibank Account Package $300 None $10,000 $25 April 1, 2021
Citi Priority Account Package $700 None $50,000 $30 April 1, 2021

HSBC Bank USA

Best for Foreign Transactions

HSBC Bank USA is an American subsidiary of a UK-based HSBC. Their checking accounts offer access to HSBC ATMs worldwide and zero foreign transaction fees on debit and credit cards.

As part of their package, you get access to Global View and Global Transfers where you can transfer up to $200,000 per day.

Should your wallet be lost or stolen, you can also get up to $10,000 in local currency at any HSBC branch worldwide.

While HSBC USA has local branches available in select states, such as New York, Florida, and California–you can use ATMs nationwide.

Who is eligible?

  • Only for applications completed through the checking offers webpage
  • Must be at least 18 years of age, have a Social Security Number, currently have a U.S. residential address, and have had U.S. residency for the past two years

How to earn it:

  • Make Qualifying Direct Deposits for 3 consecutive months from the second month of opening a new HSBC Premier Checking account or new HSBC Advance Checking account
  • Qualifying direct deposits must total the minimum balance
  • Qualifying direct deposits include electronic new money deposits of scheduled payments (such as salary, pension, or government benefits) made by third parties at least once per calendar month
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When you’ll receive it:

  • Eight weeks after meeting requirements
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Premier Checking $450 None $5,000 $50 March 31, 2021
Advance Checking $200 None $500 $25 March 31, 2021

Chase Bank

Best for Everyday Banking

With Chase Banking, there’s no opening deposit and you only need to set up and make a direct deposit within 90 days of opening your account to receive your bonus.

Chase’s savings and checking accounts offer standard tools for everyday banking including access to 16,000 ATMs nationwide, more than 4,700 branches, and an online app for mobile banking.

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a new customer and request a coupon online to apply
  • The coupon promo code can be emailed to you for you to show at a local branch
  • Not available for existing Chase business checking customers, local, state or federal agencies
  • Not-for-profit organizations, political action committees, campaign accounts, or customers whose accounts have been closed within the last 90 days or with a negative balance for the last 3 years are not eligible for this offer

How to earn the Checking account bonus:

  • Open a new Chase Total Checking account online or at a branch using a coupon (promo code).
  • Set up direct deposits and make a direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment
  • Qualifying transactions include debit card purchases, Chase QuickAccept deposits, Chase QuickDeposit, ACH, and wire transfers
  • Keep the account open for 6 months

How to earn the College Checking account bonus:

  • To receive Chase College Checking’s sign-up bonus you must open a new Chase College Checking account online or at a branch with the promo code
  • Set up direct deposit
  • Complete at least 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of coupon enrollment.
  • Must be 17 – 24 years of age to apply and provide a valid student ID, proof of enrollment in school or college
  • Keep the account open for 6 months

When you’ll receive it:

  • Within 15 business days after requirements are met
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Premier Checking $200 None Avoid maintenance fee with $1,500 daily balance or link qualifying Chase checking or savings account for a combined balance of $5,000 $12 April 14, 2021
Advance Checking $100 None No minimum* $0-6 after graduation, maintain a combined balance of $5,000 to avoid it April 14, 2021

TD Bank

Best for Young Adults

TD Bank is one of many banks that offer checking accounts geared toward students and young adults.

TD Bank’s Convenience Checking account allows students and young adults aged 17 to 23 to open a checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees.

Those over the age of 23 are required to have a minimum balance of $100 to avoid monthly service fees.

Overdraft transfer fees are waived for customers under 23 years of age, and customers can also link their checking account to a Simple Savings account free of charge.

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a new customer and open an account online using TD Bank’s promo code
  • Existing customers or those that have had a prior personal checking account at TD Bank within the preceding 12 months aren’t eligible

How to earn it:

  • Make cumulative deposits totaling the minimum balance within 60 days of account opening
  • Qualifying deposits include electronic deposits of your paycheck, pension, or government benefits
  • Person-to-person transfers into your account do not qualify
  • Deposits must be new money
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When you’ll receive it:

  • 140 business days after account opening once requirements are met
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
TD Bank Beyond Checking Account $300 None $2,500 $0–25 Limited time, not specified
TD Bank Convenience Checking Account $150 None $500 $0–15 Limited time, not specified
TD Simple Savings Account $200 None Maintain $20,000 in new funds for 90 days $0–5 Limited time, not specified
TD Beyond Savings Account $200 None Maintain $20,000 in new funds for 90 days $0–15 Limited time, not specified

PNC Bank

Best for Business Checking Accounts

If you have a small business, PNC regularly offers deals to new small-business customers. The bank requires a $100 minimum deposit fee to open an account and has 18,000 ATMs across the U.S.

PNC Bank doesn’t charge for using ATMs (even from other banks) or online banking.

For an additional $10 a month, their Business Banking account also features a Cash Flow Insight tool, which provides Spend Analysis, Timeline, Trend, and Cash-In and Cash-Out details so you can manage your business finances efficiently.

Monthly fees are waived for the first three statement cycles under this offer.

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a new customer to qualify for this offer
  • Apply online or request a coupon and apply at a local branch
  • If you have an existing PNC business checking account or closed an account within the past 90 days, you are not eligible for the offer
  • Only business checking accounts with statements that cycle monthly are eligible for this offer

How to earn it:

  • Open a new checking account through the coupon link
  • To earn a $200 bonus, you must maintain an average cycle balance of $5,000 for each of the first three statement cycles
  • To earn a $500 bonus, you must maintain an average cycle balance of $30,000 or more for each of the first three statement cycles
  • Make at last 20 qualifying PNC Visa Business Debit Card transactions within the first three statement cycles; deposits must be new money

When you’ll receive it:

  • Within 90 business days after all conditions are met
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Business Checking Account $200 $100 $500 $10 March 31, 2021
Business Checking Plus $200 $100 $5,000 $20 March 31, 2021
Treasury Enterprise or Business Analysis Checking $500 $100 $30,000 $20-50 March 31, 2021

Ally Bank

Best for Investment Accounts

Ally Invest offers competitive rates for beginner and experienced investors. It has low trade commissions and sign-up promotions that span from $50 to $3,500 that are sure to sweeten the deal for new customers.

Ally is mobile-friendly, which sets it apart from most brokerage firms.

The Ally app allows you to have all of your accounts under one roof from checking and savings accounts to credit cards, CDs, and brokerage accounts. The app also allows you to check your portfolio and trade stocks whenever you want.

Who is eligible?

  • Must be a new customer and apply online

How to earn it:

  • Open an Ally Invest Self-Directed account
  • Make a minimum qualifying deposit of $10,000
  • Maintain a minimum balance for 60 days after opening the account

When you’ll receive it:

  • Within 10 business days
  • Once your cash bonus is credited to your account, the cash bonus and qualifying deposit will not be available for withdrawal for 300 days
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $50 None $10k–24.9K $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $200 None $25k–99.9K $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $300 None $100K– 249.9K $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $600 None $250k-499.9k $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $1,200 None $500k-999.9k $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $2,500 None $1M-1.99M $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified
Ally Invest Self-Directed Account Account $3,500 None $2M $0 commissions, $0.50 per option trades contract Limited time, not specified

PenFed Credit Union

Best for Credit Cards

PenFed’s Cash Rewards Credit Cards are a nice option for new customers that have good to excellent credit. PenFed’s credit card accounts provide low APR on purchases and 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. Depending on the card you choose, you can get up to 2% cashback on all purchases and 5x points on gas. You can also purchase variable APR from 14.99% to 17.99%.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be a new customer and apply online
  • To be eligible for an account you must have good to excellent credit

How to earn it:

  • Spend and repay a minimum balance of $1,500 to $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account
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When you’ll receive it:

  • Not specified
Eligible Packages Cash Bonus Opening Deposit Minimum Balance Monthly Maintenance Fee Offer Period
Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card $100 Spend $1,000 within the first 90 days $0 annual fee $0–$4.95 June 30, 2021
Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card $100 Spend $1,000 within the first 90 days $0 annual fee $0–$12 June 30, 2021
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card 5,000 points Spend $3,000 within the first 90 days $95 annual fee $0–$25 June 30, 2021

FAQs About Bank Bonuses

Are bank bonuses worth it?

Bank bonuses are worth it if you’ll gain more account benefits, pay fewer monthly banking fees, and it doesn’t take too long to earn the account bonus.

Before signing up for a new account, you should make sure you can complete all of the qualifying activities required to obtain the reward.

To qualify for bank promotions, customers often have to meet a minimum balance requirement and maintain it for several statement cycles.

In some cases, clients may also be required to make a predetermined number of qualifying monthly direct deposits to be eligible.

When are bank account bonuses available?

Bank bonuses are time-limited promotions banks offer throughout the year.

Bank offers are typically rolled out at the beginning of the year to encourage new customers to sign up for a checking or savings account with a bonus offer.

Occasionally, banks extend targeted offers to loyal customers that meet certain criteria.

It’s important to keep in mind that promotions are usually only available for a few months, so if you’re interested, you should sign up right away.

Keep in mind that some account offers are only available online or require an online coupon to redeem the offer at the branch.

Should I switch banks for a bonus?

Switching banks for an account bonus could be worth it if you’ll gain more account benefits, pay less monthly banking fees, and have more access to your bank through physical locations or mobile apps.

Remember that while earning a $100 bonus can be an encouraging short-term reward when signing up for a new checking account, if your banking fees are too high, that small amount may just be a drop in the bucket in the long term.

Also pay attention to minimum balance requirements and deposit requirements, as these could be deal-breakers depending on your income and financial situation.

You shouldn’t switch banks for a bonus if you’ll lose valuable account features, if the bonus requirements are financially unattainable, or if you’ll lose more money than you currently do on monthly banking expenses. Make sure to read the fine print before deciding to switch banks.

Do you have to pay taxes on bank bonuses?

That $100 bonus offer may look sweet now, but there’s one caveat — it may be taxable. Some bank bonuses, such as sign up or referral promos, count as taxable income to the Internal Revenue Service.

“If you read the fine print for bank sign-up bonuses for a checking and savings account, you’ll see that they often state that the bonus will be taxable income. When I have received these bonuses in the past, banks include the amount I receive as interest income on Form 1099-INT,” said Lance Cothern, CPA and founder of MoneyManifesto.com.

A 1099-INT form reports and instances in which you’ve earned interest from a bank or other entity.

According to Cothern, the bank should issue the 1099-INT for the year you received the interest. “The threshold for issuing a 1099-INT is just $10. Most bonuses exceed this amount.”

“That interest will be included on your tax return for that year, filed early in the following year,” added Cothern.

However, if you get discounts or points from a credit card in exchange for spending with the card, the IRS doesn’t consider that as taxable income. Instead, those bonus rewards are considered a rebate.

How are bank bonuses taxed?

If you were paid $10 or more in interest by your financial institution, your account bonus will be taxed and reported to you and the IRS via a 1099-INT form.

“Let’s say I earned a bonus that was deposited in my new bank account in July 2020. That will be reported on the 1099-INT for 2020 that should be issued by January 31, 2021. I’ll then include that as income on my 2020 tax return which is due no later than April 15, 2021,” said Cothern.

But when it comes to credit card bonuses, that may work a little differently, warns Cothern.

“Credit card sign-up bonuses are generally viewed as rebates and aren’t reported as taxable income. Credit card companies haven’t ever issued me a 1099 [form] for my credit card sign up bonuses. However, they have issued me 1099s for credit card referral bonuses. The threshold for this income is $600. This is when I refer a friend to the card and the bank pays me for that referral,” said Cothern.

What’s a good APY for checking and savings accounts?

Most banks won’t pay a high-interest annual percentage yield rate on checking and savings accounts. While APY is relatively low at the national level, you should always look at the fine print when opening a new checking or savings account.

As per the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the national interest rate and rate cap for checking accounts are 0.04% and 0.79%, respectively.

As for savings accounts, the national rate and rate cap are 0.05% and 0.80% for non-jumbo and jumbo deposits.

Methodology

To make our selection of the best bank bonuses available in 2021, we considered top industry players as well as local banks, online banks, fin-tech companies, and credit unions.

All of our top picks offer a variety of products from checking and savings accounts for everyday banking to business and investment banking options.

To meet our requirements, companies must have less than 10 NMLS regulatory actions, be insured by the FDIC, and be available nationwide.

They also have to offer a minimum bonus of $100 or more, available to new customers 18 years or older.

All the bank bonuses reviewed here apply to checking, savings, and credit accounts. Readers looking to earn a higher return on their savings as opposed to a one-time bonus should also consider looking into high-yield savings accounts.

8 Best Bank Bonuses of 2021

Resources Download Money’s 21 Smartest Money Moves for 2021

Fine tune your financial life this year with Money’s expert advice on investing, retirement, building credit, and more. It even comes with a handy checklist. Best of all? It costs you nothing.

Download Money’s 21 Smartest Money Moves for 2021
Fine tune your financial life this year with Money’s expert advice on investing, retirement, building credit, and more. It even comes with a handy checklist. Best of all? It costs you nothing.
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