My primary focus on this blog is miles and points, but as we all know, there are elements of our travels that require some good ‘ol fashioned cash. I’ve written about checking account bonuses before and how they are an easy and effective way to generate some extra money to supplement points. In the first part of this series on How to Make Extra Money, we’ll be looking at some of the best bonuses and how to find more.
The great thing about checking accounts is that, in most cases, they don’t require a hard pull on your credit. My wife and I have been using this method for the past year and I’ve found it to be a relatively reliable source of semi-passive income and even manufactured spending. It’s even more lucrative with two people.
Most banks pull a ChexSystems report rather than a traditional report, like Equifax, to determine your eligibility. So before we get too far, let me warn you that you will most likely stop being approved for new accounts once you reach 10 new accounts over a rolling 12 month period. Every offer is different. Some banks require you to leave the account open for a certain amount of time, or else they will claw back the bonus. While others, like Wells Fargo, allow you to close the account shortly after receiving your bonus (Though I recommend paying at least one monthly fee before closing). A general rule I try to stick to is to only signup for bonuses giving you $200 or more. These offers come and go every month, so don’t feel like you’re losing out if you don’t jump on a $100 bonus.
Here are some of the bonuses that I have signed up for recently and some others that you may want to get in on. You don’t have to have thousands of dollars lying around to do this, all you need is some patience and know where to find answers to your questions.
Wells Fargo – $250
This offer expired at the end of March, but my wife and I just got our bonuses the other day totaling $500 for simply opening a checking account online, adding funds with our credit cards (easy way to MS) and making 10, $1 transactions on our debit cards at the grocery store (tip: use self checkout). No direct deposit was required for this promotion, though some banks do require it. We closed the accounts through the Wells Fargo online message center and that was it. Money made.
Bank of Colorado – $200
Some offers are state specific, for example, we recently opened two accounts with Bank of Colorado which will net us $376 after keeping our accounts open for 3 months and paying the unavoidable $4 monthly fee. You can also load this account with a credit card up to $1,000 (Visa or MC) and it will code a purchase (I personally did this with a Chase Ink and a Sapphire Preferred). The offer is still available to residents of CO, NM, NE and WY.
BMO Harris – $200
This is a current offer from Bank of Montreal Harris which will pay out a $200 bonus after receiving two direct deposits of $300 or more. These direct deposits can take various forms, including transfers from a personal Schwab Brokerage Account. The Doctor of Credit did a great write-up on this promo, so I’ll let you refer there for details.
Chase Premier Checking – $300
Chase is offering $300 for opening an account and receiving one direct deposit (no minimum). The account must remain open for 6 months and comes with a $25 monthly fee, however the account can be downgraded immediately after receiving the bonus (generally within 30 days of the requirements being met). Also, note that Chase checking account loads from a credit card code as a cash advance in most cases. I already have a Chase checking account, otherwise, I’d be all over this. The Doctor of Credit did a great review of this one as well.
My advice is to follow the Doctor of Credit and have a look at his Best Bank Account Bonuses page frequently. The DoC breaks down the process very well and has a lot of great resources and data points on his page. As long as you don’t close accounts with negative balances or overdraft them regularly, getting 10, $200 – $400 bonuses per year, per person is a piece of cake. If you have experience with these bonus and want to add some advice for fellow readers, sound off below.
Note – Majored in Miles has no affiliation with any of the banks mentioned in this post and will not receive any compensation if you sign up.