Which banks have the best bonuses?

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Banks know how to play for your money, and love to throw their own money in your face to entice you to open an account. Which one is the best for your situation? If you play the game right, you’ll learn something that banks know all too well: moving money around can get you more money. So, twist your metaphorical white bushy mustache, and take a look at what those Rich Uncle Pennybagses are willing to give you just for opening an account. 


For the Race Car (banker on the go)
Chase Bank
Signing Bonus: $100 with coupon
Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
Terms: Chase offers no monthly service fee when you set it up with a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more. If you don’t have access to a direct deposit, you have to maintain an average balance of $1,500. If you are a 1099er (aka freelancer), this is not the best option. With a near monopoly on the ATM locations in our area, this could work for you. They also will take their Benjamin back if you close your account within six months.

For the Locomotive (old-school traveler)
Banco Popular
Signing Bonus: Up to $125
Minimum Opening Deposit: $25 in NY ($50 otherwise)
Terms: There is no minimum balance, and no service fee with a minimum of five transactions per month; which is not too hard. With 187 branches, and more than 605 ATMs in Puerto Rico, it’s a great option if you travel there quite a bit. They will also bestow upon you an extra $25 if you hand over your old bank’s checks and debit card; which we assume they will then destroy and laugh maniacally into the flames.

For the Thimble (simple saver)
Capital One
Signing Bonus: Reward Miles up to $156 first year, up to $106 a year after that
Minimum Opening Deposit: $50
Terms: With no minimum balance, and no service fee, Capital One has a pretty sweet deal going on. On one hand, it will take you a year to earn the maximum amount of reward miles to redeem for cash, airline tickets, or merchandise. On the other hand, an extra $100 bucks every year ain’t bad.

For the Top Hat (fancy baller)
Bonus: $50-$100 minimum
Opening Deposit: $500
Terms: If you can already promise that $500 deposit, and $6,000 minimum balance, you might already be making a profit off of your investment portfolio. However, if you loooooove collecting chump change, this would work out for you.

For the Sack of Money: Mix and match
To ultimately maximize your bonus-moneymaking power, split your direct deposit or your checks into to two or more accounts (depending on how much you have to meet the minimum terms). For example, if you have bi-weekly check of $700 and have access to direct deposit, you can split it $500 into Chase, $100 into Banco Popular, and $100 in Capital One. By the end of the year, you will have an extra $381 in bonuses! This is best for those with some serious organizational skills.

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  1. When I first moved to BK, Bank of America was offering some promotion that they gave you $10 back for every $100 you spent on public transit. They had subway ads featuring hip, young urbanites too. But then the money never showed up after I spent $100. I called BOA and they referred me back to local banks; the local bank referred me back to BOA. All in all, it seemed like no one knew what the hell was going on, or that maybe BOA regretted the promotion. Either way: beware bank deals!

  2. The $50 metrocard I got from Wachovia five year ago was tops! And they reimbursed my ATM fees. But know they’re being gobbled up by Wells Fargo. Boo.

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