How I Made Hundreds of Dollars in One Week By Opening a New Bank Account

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KEY POINTS

  • Many banks offer new account bonuses when you open a new checking, savings, or investment account.
  • Most bonuses will require you to meet certain conditions, including setting up direct deposits and/or maintaining a minimum balance.


The easiest money I've ever made…

I love a good credit card sign-up bonus. (Some may even say I love them too much, given the size of my card collection.) Unfortunately, there's only so many sign-up bonuses you can get in any given year. Not only do issuers put limits on these things, but opening more than a few credit cards a year simply isn't practical.

That's when I turn to bank accounts.

Most major banks -- and even a good number of lesser-known ones -- offer fairly valuable new account bonuses for their checking accounts. Some also offer them for savings and investment accounts.

Depending on your age, the idea of a bank account bonus may conjure images of shiny new toasters. But we're not talking about anything so old-fashioned. No, modern bonuses hand out cold hard cash (alright, it's deposited into your account -- but the sentiment is the same).

How to earn a new account bonus

The rules for earning a new account bonus vary a lot between banks, and even account types. It's very rare to earn a bonus solely for opening an account. At the very least, you'll need to fund the account to meet a minimum balance threshold.

My latest bonus was about as simple as they come. All I needed to do was open the account and receive a direct deposit of $500 or more. A few days after the deposit cleared, the $375 bonus hit my account.

Most bank bonuses are a bit more complicated. The most common requirement is a series of direct deposits, usually with minimum amounts for each deposit. You'll also need to reach a set balance minimum; this can vary a lot, but $2,000 to $5,000 isn't uncommon.

Another frequent requirement is that you maintain a minimum balance for a certain period of time. One bonus I earned last year required me to maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 for 60 days to earn the bonus.

In some cases, you may need to make a certain number of debit card transactions in the first 30 or 60 days. If you're working toward the bonus for a business bank account, you may also need to make a certain number of ACH transactions.

Whatever the case, be sure to read all of the requirements and fine print before signing up for the account. This will ensure you don't miss out on a big bonus on a technicality.

What to do with your new account

Once you've earned the bonus, what do you do with your new account? Well, the simple answer is to keep it. I have a handful of bank accounts across different banks, each with its own specific purpose. This includes personal and business checking accounts, as well as a few savings accounts.

I particularly like having separate interest-bearing accounts for different savings goals. For example, my emergency fund is kept at a different bank from the account I use for my daily expenses. This makes it less likely that I dip into the emergency fund for anything other than a true emergency.

If you don't need another bank account, you can also just close the account. This can usually be done online or by phone, but you may need to head into a branch to do it in person. Just be sure to read the fine print on your bonus to ensure you don't need to keep the account open a certain amount of time to keep the bonus.

Depending on the rules of the bonus, closing the account may even allow you to earn the bonus again in the future. You may be eligible for a new account bonus from the same bank once a year, or every few years.

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APY: up to 4.60%

APY: 4.35%

Min. to earn APY: $0

Min. to earn APY: $1

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