The best bank bonuses of 2021 are easy to earn, and help you get something in return when opening a new account. If you plan on opening a checking account anyway, you might as well open an account with a bank that awards you a bonus just for meeting a few simple requirements.
This guide highlights the top bank bonuses available today, and the type of customer that each sign-up bonuses is best for.
Speed is essential since the status of the best bank sign-up bonuses and promotions can easily change from one month to the next. Choose the one that works best for you and sign up today.
Top Pick for Best Bank Sign-Up Bonus
Our top pick among the best bank sign-up bonuses is the Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account. Not only is it the best bonus offer for college students, but qualifying for it is also easy with a minimum opening deposit of $25 and $2,000 or more in direct deposits within 90 days of account opening.
The $10 monthly service fee can easily be avoided, with no less than four ways to make it disappear. Inquire at your local branch for more information on this offer or keep an eye out for the bank’s mailers.
The Four Best Bank Promotions and Bonuses of 2021
|Bank/Category||Bonus Amount||Qualification||Sign Up Period|
|HSBC Premier Checking||3% cash bonus up to $600|
$450 welcome bonus offer
|In the first 6 months of opening the account, earn 3% back on any direct deposit amount of up to $100 per month.|
Starting the second month after opening, direct deposit a minimum $5,000 for three consecutive months to get $450 welcome bonus.
|Expires on June 30, 2021||Visit|
|Radius Bank||Unlimited 1+% cash back on qualified debit card purchases||Maintain a minimum account balance of $2,500, or receive direct deposits of at least $2,500 per month||No time limit||Visit|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking||$200||Make minimum $25 opening deposit and receive a total of $2,000 in direct deposits within 90 days of account opening||Through July 31, 2021||Visit|
|Chase Total Checking||$225||Open an account and make an eligible direct deposit within 90 days of account opening||Through July 20, 2021||Visit|
HSBC Premier Checking Review
What you’ll get: A 3% cash bonus on direct deposits from third parties. The maximum bonus is $100 per month over six months of activity. New customers can earn up to a maximum total bonus of $600. The bonus will be paid on a monthly basis, approximately eight weeks after completing each qualifying month.
What you need to do to get it: The cash bonus is payable only on new accounts. To qualify for the maximum bonus of $600, you must receive qualifying direct deposits each month for six calendar months after opening the account.
Direct deposits must come in the form of salary, pensions, government benefits, or other monthly income sources.
To qualify for a Premier Checking Account – and to have the $50 monthly maintenance fee waived – you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Have $75,000 in combined US consumer and qualified commercial dollar deposit and investment accounts, or
- Monthly recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 from a third party into your checking account, or
- An HSBC US residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000 (this doesn’t include home equity products).
Where to sign up: Sign up online to be eligible for the bonus offer.
HSBC Premier Checking works best for higher income/net worth consumers who can meet at least one of the three financial requirements to get the sign-up bonus while having the monthly maintenance fee waived.
If you qualify, this account’s packed with benefits. Apart from the monthly maintenance fee, there are no fees for transactions, wire transfers, foreign transactions, or ATM usage. HSBC even provides unlimited rebates on third-party ATM fees in the US. The checking account also pays 0.01% APY on balances of $5 or more.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking Review
What you’ll get: Radius Bank’s Rewards Checking doesn’t pay a sign-up bonus, but it provides unlimited 1% cash back on online and in-store signature-based purchases using the Radius debit card.
What you need to do to get it: To be eligible, your account must be opened for a minimum of 30 days, and either receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits from an employer or another source of income, or have an average balance of at least $2,500 in the account. The direct deposits can come from an employer, pension, or government agency.
Where to sign up: Radius Bank is an all-online bank, requiring you to apply online as well. Unlike limited-time welcome bonuses, this offer has no time limit.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking is best for those who prefer the ongoing rewards earned from unlimited 1% cash back on debit card purchases. It’s also an excellent choice if you want free checking. There are no monthly maintenance fees, no ATM fees, and unlimited rebates for ATM fees charged by other banks.
And if that isn’t enough, the account pays interest of 0.10% APY on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99, then 0.15% APY on balances of $100,000 or more (no interest is paid on account balances under $2,500). You can open an account with just $100 with no minimum balance requirement afterward. The account offers an unrivaled mix of ongoing rewards and interest earnings, as well as plenty of valuable services.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Review
What you’ll get: A $200 sign-up bonus, payable within 30 days after the 90-day qualification period has been met.
What you need to do to get it: Inquire at your local branch for more information regarding this offer. You must open the account with a minimum opening deposit of $25.
You must then receive a total of $2,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of account opening. Deposits must come from your salary, pension, Social Security, or other regular monthly income via ACH deposit.
Where to sign up: Customers can access this offer between now and June 30, 2021. The bonus is intended for new Wells Fargo checking customers, but you can qualify if you have other Wells Fargo accounts provided you haven’t received a Wells Fargo consumer checking account bonus within the past 12 months.
The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account’s an excellent checking account option for anyone since it pays a very generous bonus that’s easy to qualify for.
There are several ways to eliminate the monthly service fee. This account’s especially beneficial to college students, since the monthly fees are automatically waived for primary account owners between the ages of 17 and 24 years old.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking has a $10 monthly service fee, but there are four ways to make it disappear:
- $500 minimum daily balance, or
- Direct deposits totaling $500 or more, or
- The account is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card, or
- The primary account owner between 17 and 24 years old
Chase Total Checking Review
What you’ll get: Chase is paying a sign-up bonus of $225 when you open a Chase Total Checking account. The bonus is paid within 15 business days of making your initial direct deposit into your account.
What you need to do to get it: Inquire at your local branch for more information about this offer. Open the account and set up direct deposits. You’ll need to make your first direct deposit into the account within 90 days of opening.
The deposit must be a paycheck, pension or government benefit. You must be a new Chase customer, since the offer isn’t available for existing clients.
Where to sign up: You’ll need to sign up no later than July 14, 2021
The sign-up bonus offered with a Chase Total Checking account works well for anyone who’s looking for a quick bonus. That’s because you can receive the bonus just 15 days after opening your account and making a qualified direct deposit. And that’s something that can happen within a couple of weeks of opening your account.
Chase Total Checking lets you access more than 4,700 bank branches and more than 16,000 ATMs nationwide. You also get access to perks like online bill-pay and mobile check deposit.
The account has a $12 monthly service fee, yet this fee can be waived by keeping an average beginning-of-the-day balance of $1,500 or more in this account, or by maintaining a balance of $5,000 or more across eligible Chase accounts. You can also enjoy $0 in monthly fees if you set up electronic deposits of $500 or more into this account each month.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Bank Bonuses
We love bonuses – everyone does! But there are some conditions involved that aren’t always obvious. That doesn’t mean the bonuses aren’t worth getting, only that we don’t want you dealing with any unexpected surprises.
Here are some things to know:
The bonus may be taxable. If the amount of your bank bonus reaches at least $600, the bank may issue IRS form 1099-MISC or 1099-INT. If so, the bonus earned will need to be reported as taxable income on your individual income tax return.
There’s often a minimum deposit required to get the bonus. The offer may require you to make a minimum deposit within a certain number of days of opening your account. Meanwhile, you might also need to maintain a specific minimum account balance to qualify. It may need to be maintained for several months or even as long as a full year.
Qualification might require specific account activity. Based on our research, many banks offering bonuses require either a minimum number of deposits or a minimum dollar amount of deposits each month. Most commonly, the deposits need to be direct deposits. It’s likely the banks want to know your account will be funded on a regular basis.
Bonuses can be offset by bank fees. Some of the most generous bonuses are being paid on checking accounts that have monthly maintenance fees. A monthly maintenance fee of $15 can wipe out a $200 sign-up bonus in a little over one year.
But most banks will allow you to avoid monthly fees either by having a minimum monthly balance with a specified number or amount of direct deposits. Be sure you can meet those requirements, or your bonus will be eaten up by monthly fees.
Keep an eye out for bonus offers in the mail and online. You’ll find mailers with unique bonuses and instructions as well as links online from various bank partners. By searching and doing your research, you can find the best bonuses available to you.
How We Found the Best Bank Promotions and Bonuses of 2021
There are plenty of banks offering bonuses to open new accounts. But with many offering no more than $100 per $150 – or having complicated qualification requirements – we decided to set specific criteria to narrow the list down to the very best bank bonuses based on five different factors.
The Amount of the Promotion or Bonus
This was certainly the starting point of our analysis. We set a threshold of $200 as a minimum bonus, or the likelihood of earning at least that much in cash back over the course of a full year.
It would be easy to simply list the banks offering the best sign-up bonuses and leave it at that. But additional criteria do factor into the mix since they can affect your ability to a) qualify for the bonus, and b) determine the value of maintaining the account after the bonus has been paid.
Put another way, the amount of the bonus is certainly a compelling factor — but it’s only one of several.
What You’ll Need to Qualify for the Promotion or Bonus
Each bank sets its own requirements to qualify for their sign-up bonuses or promotions. As you can see from our reviews of those individual banks, they range from fairly easy to fairly difficult. But more difficult requirements won’t necessarily exclude a sign-up bonus.
For example, HSBC Premier Checking has the most difficult sign-up bonus to qualify for. But if you do meet the criteria — which is easier for consumers who either have high income or high net worth — the bonus is also the most generous in the industry at $600.
In this list, we’ve attempted to balance out the amount of the sign-up bonus or promotion with the ease or difficulty in qualifying for it.
The Timing of the Promotion or Bonus Offer
Obviously, the promotion or bonus needs to be currently available. Bank sign-up bonus offers are added and withdrawn at the discretion of the issuing bank. We’ve focused on the best bank bonuses available at least through the middle of 2021.
Other Features and Benefits Provided by the Offering Bank
Where the information was available, we’ve presented features and benefits offered by the issuing banks apart from the promotions or bonuses. This might include interest paid on your balance, the absence of common incidental bank fees, and other perks.
After all, when you open a checking account, you’re looking for more than just a bonus. You’re also looking for the long-term benefits the account will provide, long after the bonus has been paid.
Ongoing Costs or Conditions to Maintain the Account
There are two parts to this criterion. The first is the qualifications needed to earn the sign-up bonus or promotion. That may include making and maintaining a certain minimum balance or meeting a certain minimum number or dollar amount of direct deposits.
The second has to do with monthly maintenance fees. These are typical on checking accounts, though as you can see from our reviews they can vary substantially. While acknowledging that monthly maintenance fees are common with checking accounts – especially those paying generous promotions or bonuses – our focus is primarily on the opportunities each bank offers to avoid the fee.
We’re happy to report that Radius bank charges no monthly maintenance fees at all, while each of the other four banks provide multiple ways to avoid their fee.
Summary: Best Bank Promotions and Bonuses of 2021
|HSBC Premier Checking||High income/net worth consumers seeking a large bonus||Visit|
|Radius Bank||Unlimited 1% cash back on qualified debit card purchases||Visit|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking||Students||Visit|
|Chase Premier Plus Checking||Earning a quick bonus||Visit|