Banks and brokers want your money, and they're willing to pay you for it.
Once the exclusive province of credit cards, many financial institutions are jumping on the rewards bandwagon. Unlike most credit card programs, however, several banks and brokers are willing to give you cash upfront just for opening an account.
Other deals require a larger commitment from customers. Netbank
In addition, not all bank deals are open to the general public. Especially with smaller banks, you may have to be a resident of the state or community that the bank serves. For instance, the South Carolina Federal Credit Union offers $250 for opening certain new accounts, but you have to live in certain counties inside South Carolina to be eligible for membership.
Brokers get in on the action
Banks aren't the only ones paying for new customers. E*Trade Financial
So if you're already considering opening a new bank or brokerage account, it can pay to check out potential bonuses. You may get a reward for doing what you would have done anyway. There's no better incentive to start saving and investing than free money.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has just about as many accounts as he needs. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. Bank of America is an Income Investor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy is always rewarding.