Best Bank Bonuses

Maximize your income with the best new-account offers of 2021

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The banking industry is very competitive, and financial institutions are all vying to hold your hard-earned dollars. Some banks offer customers a bonus for opening or adding to an account. So if you're thinking about moving around your money, you may want to take advantage of bank bonuses that sweeten the deal.

Some banks will give you a cash bonus after opening a new account if you meet certain conditions, often a minimum balance requirement or direct deposit requirement. Some will even give existing customers a bonus for bringing more dollars into their accounts. Either way, it's important to research the most attractive options before shifting your money because interest rates are so low that the bonus needs to make the effort worthwhile.

When multiple banks offered similar bonuses, we chose the bank with the best account features for the typical user. Here are some of the best bank bonuses available today that could offer you lucrative rewards while keeping your money safe.

Best Bank Bonuses of 2021

Best for a Large Checking Account Bonus : Citi – Up to $1, 500

Courtesy of Citi

Citibank's offer is active until January 4, 2022.

Citibank has a current offer for a bonus worth up to $1,500 for opening and funding a new checking account. Here are the bonus structures depending on the deposited amount:

  • $15,000 to $49,999: $300 bonus
  • $50,000 to $199,99: $700 bonus
  • $200,000 or more: $1,500 bonus

You must deposit the cash within 20 days and maintain the balance for at least 60 days to receive the bonus.

It’s important to note that these accounts are not no-fee accounts. Monthly service fees apply if you don’t maintain the required minimum balance or activity requirements. Citi accounts also may charge fees for using non-Citi ATMs, among other charges. But if you can meet those requirements, it’s nice to walk away at least a couple of hundred dollars richer.

What We Like
  • Earn up to $1,500 for opening and funding a new checking account

  • No direct deposit requirement

What We Don't Like
  • Must deposit at least $200,000 to earn the top bonus

  • Accounts have monthly service charges (though they can be avoided)

Best Direct Deposit Bonus : Chase – $225

Chase logo

Chase is offering a bonus of $225 for opening a new Chase Total Checking® account, but you'll need to set up and receive a direct deposit within 90 days of enrollment to qualify. Once your direct deposit is set up, you'll receive your bonus within 15 days.

Outside of the bonus, Chase is great for its huge network of branch locations and ATMs. Chase Total Checking has a $12 monthly fee that you can avoid with direct deposit or minimum balance requirements. If you can avoid the monthly fee, this bonus may be a good deal for you.

What We Like
  • $225 bonus

  • No specific dollar requirement to qualify for the direct deposit bonus

What We Don't Like
  • Accounts charge monthly fees unless you meet fee-waiver requirements

Best for Low-Fee Account : PNC – Up to $400

Courtesy of PNC

PNC's bonus ends on October 31, 2021.

PNC’s checking account, called Virtual Wallet, comes with several bonuses, depending on which account type you open. You must make a qualifying direct deposit to receive the offer, and there are three types of Virtual Wallet accounts: Performance Select, Performance Spend, and Virtual Wallet. Here is the bonus structure:

 Account Type  Bonus Direct Deposit Requirement
 Virtual Wallet  $100 $500
 Performance Spend  $250 $2,000
 Performance Select  $400 $5,000

You must receive the direct deposit into the account within 60 days of opening to receive the bonus. The bonus will be credited to the account with 60–90 days of qualifying.

The best part about PNC compared with others on this list is no or low account fees. This checking account has no minimum balance requirements, no monthly service charges, and automatically reimburses up to $20 in ATM fees charged by other banks. While the bonuses are likely to lure you in, the low fees may be what keep you around.

What We Like
  • Earn up to $400 with a new checking account

  • Accounts with very low fees, including no recurring monthly charges

What We Don't Like
  • $5,000 direct deposit requirement to earn the highest bonus


What Is a Bank Bonus?

A bank bonus is a type of reward given to customers for meeting certain activity requirements, often tied to opening a new checking or savings account. Most bank bonuses require you to meet certain minimum direct deposit requirements for a checking account or minimum balance requirements for a savings account, although this isn’t always the case.

In some cases, you’ll earn a modest bonus that’s a nice perk for opening an account. In others, you could earn hundreds of dollars or more. If you are looking for a new bank anyway, a bonus could be a good motivator for where to move your money next. But remember, in a low-interest-rate environment, you’re not likely to gain on return in the longer term by shifting.

Is the Bonus Worth It? 

Not all bank bonuses are easy to earn. As you can see above, two of the most common hoops you may have to jump through are direct deposit or minimum balance requirements. In some cases, these could be easy for you to satisfy. But in others, it may not be worth it.

For example, a bonus that requires a $50,000 cash deposit for two months is not viable for most people. But other bonuses are much easier to earn. It’s up to you to decide if pursuing a bonus is worth the effort and realistic for your financial situation.

How to Find Bank Bonuses

Bank account bonuses come and go regularly. Some banks are working to attract more cash on hand to make loans, which could inspire them to offer sizable savings account bonuses. Others want more active customers and to boost debit card activity, so they will seek this by promoting bonuses for checking accounts.

You can often find bank account bonuses listed on bank websites. Beyond that, you can peruse researched and fact-checked lists like this one to understand what bonuses are available and could be right for your needs.

How We Chose the Best Bank Bonuses

This list of the best bank bonuses is based on the highest bonuses we could find at the time of writing and publication. When multiple banks offered similar bonuses, we opted for the bank that had the best account features for the typical user. The bonus size was the biggest factor considered, but bank fees, notably ongoing monthly charges, also carried weight when picking winners for this list.