Sunday, April 12, 2015

Santander Bank Extra20 - $20 a Month For Free of Pajama Money

I've thought about signing up for the Santander Bank Extra20 checking and savings account since October 2013, but I never did because I didn't to switch my Direct Deposit at work.  I was inspired by Doctor of Credit's post to finally go for it since almost any ACH transfer will work to trigger the Direct Deposit requirement for Santander.

The Basics

Sign up for an Extra20 Checking account (savings account will come with it) and fulfill the requirements and you will get $20 for free every month.  $40 a month if you do it for a spouse as well.  The best part is that everything can be set up at home in your PJs!


  • 2 bill pays of $10 or more per month.
  • $1,500 direct deposit every month.

The account is a pain in the butt to set up, but you can eventually set it up to be entirely automatic.   Once you put in some hard work, you will have to do literally nothing at all.  In addition, you can fund the initial funding with a credit card, up to $500 which is a nice way to hit a minimum spending requirement or just get some extra miles.

I will show you how to do it with a Charles Schwab Checking account because that's what I use.   There is no way to pull money from another institution via Santander so the process will be different with every bank.


None if you set up the "direct deposit" of $1,500.  There is a $10 monthly fee if you don't.  Monthly fee begins after the second month.

The Process

As I already said, this is a long and arduous journey, but the payoff is significant.

  • Sign up for an Extra20 Checking Account
    • I recommend signing up for checks and a debit card.  It isn't necessary for the bonus, but they ask for that information as verification to send money from one account to another even if you didn't sign up for a debit card to begin with.

They send you a lot of paperwork.  Keep it all until everything is set up, you might not realize you need something until you threw it out.

  • Here is what is absolutely essential from the initial paperwork
    • Signature - fill out your signature and mail it back
    • Checks - has your routing and account number
    • Initial username is your social security number
    • Initial password is random and comes in the paperwork
    • Debit card and 4 digit pin which come separately

  • Sign in
    • Username is your SSN.  They send you an initial password which can be changed

2 Automatic Bill Pays
  • There is a tab at the top that says "Bill Pay".  From there you can set up a bill pay to a utility, phone, cable company or credit card.  
    • I chose two credit cards I use on a regular basis.  All you need is the credit card company name and account number on the front of the card.
  • Once you add the information for the bill, you can click on "Manage My Bills" on the left side and you can set up the bills to be sent automatically every month.
  • I recommend both bills to be exactly $10 ($20 total).  Since the bonus is $20, you can use that bonus to pay your bills and never have any extra or less money.  $1,500 goes in, $1,500 goes out.  $20 bonus goes in and it is used to pay your bills.  No wasted moves.
Transfer from Savings to Checking Account

  • For some reason, the $20 bonus is deposited into your savings account.  The bill pays come from your checking account.  This means that you need to set up an automatic transfer from your savings account to your checking account.
    • Monthly transfer has to be after the bonus comes in and before the bill pays go out.

$1,500 Transfer into Santander from Schwab Checking Account

  • Under "accounts" click on Transfers and Payments
  • Click on Manage External Transfers
  • Click on "Add External Account"
  • Click on Enroll Online
  • Add your routing number and account number from Santander Bank.  Click continue.  Click verify.
  • You will receive an email in a few days from Schwab asking you to verify the trial deposits which were sent to Santander. Click on the link in that email to add the amounts added to Santander.   You are verified.
  • Go back through the process to your external accounts.  It should be listed there separately for in and out.  On the right side there is a button to click that allows you to set up a monthly transfer.  Set up one for in and out, each $1,500.  Set the one for out first and then the one for in to come in about a week later just to be sure.

By this point I was exhausted, but done.  This promotion better last because I put way too much into for it to die in a couple of months.