Monday, November 12, 2012

Citizens Bank Checking Account - $125 Free!

Update 1: I was unable to sign up over the internet so I signed up in my local branch for a checking account.  You need to add $250 to start the checking account and get the bonus, but you can then take out the majority of it.  The process took about 45 mins, which is a lot longer than I wanted, but I was able to get a new patient to the dental school out of it!

I am excited to go monthly and continually take $20 at a time out of their ATM's to qualify for the bonus and free checking account and then deposit the money right back into my account.

The teller confirmed that the account needs to be open for 6 months to keep your bonus and not have an early termination fee.

I am always on the lookout for relatively easy and free money.  Some might call it an addiction and while that may be true, at least I'm addicted to something that won't get me into big trouble - although who knows where this wild ride will take us ;)

Around 5 years ago, Chase (and other banks as well) were consistently running promotions that gave you between $100-$200 for opening up a new checking account and keeping it open for six months to a year.  Therefore, I would open and close Chase Checking accounts every 6 months to a year.

Those wonderful days are unfortunately done.  Banks realized that people were opening and closing accounts just for the bonus and they created a system that was more difficult to collect the bonus.  One could only qualify for the bonus (or a free checking account) if you linked a monthly direct deposit.  This meant that if you kept opening and closing, you had to keep asking your employer to change your direct deposit status.  It was just plain annoying - especially for people like me who don't have jobs or direct deposits.

Enter Citizens Banks!

Last week, I was at the grocery store which has a Citizens bank branch inside and I noticed a brochure that said $225 free.  Of course, I looked at it and I found out that Citizens Bank is offering a nice bonus for opening up a checking account with no Direct Deposit required.

If you open up a new checking account, they will give you $125 for free (minimum return of 8.33% on your investment and as high as 250% - as I will explain)

Here is how to do it:

  1. Open a new Citizens Bank Checking account by 11/30/2012 - make sure you open a "Green Checking Account" which has the easiest requirements to have no monthly feels
  2. Deposit $50 or $1,500 (I will explain) into the account
  3. Make 20 qualifying electronic payments which include ATM withdrawals, debit card purchases and online, automatic, check or in-branch payments that post and clear your account by 1/31/13
  4. $125 is added to your account by 4/30/2012
You can take money out of their ATM twenty times and deposit it right back at the teller or ATM and qualify for the bonus!

Important information about the checking account:
There is a $9.99 monthly fee  unless you keep a $1,500 average daily balance ($125 bonus/$1500 = 8.33%) or you can make five qualifying payments per statement period.  

From the brochure:

Qualifying payments from your account include ATM withdrawals, withdrawals and payments made in our branches, debit card purchases, checks paid,  and automatics checks paid to third party.

In other words, if you make 5 ATM withdrawals per month (or debit card purchases with no minimums) until the end of Apri and deposit the money right back in your account all you need is to put in $50 and you will end up with a $125 bonus or 250% return on your investment!

They are also offering another $100 to open up a CD or money market account with $10,000 in it.  The problem is that you will only get a 1% return on your $10,000 so it is not nearly as lucrative as the checking account deal.