Opening a new bank account can land you a cash bonus

  • More banks are offering bonuses for opening a new checking and savings account.
  • "To score a bonus of a few hundred bucks on a modest deposit is a pretty great return," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
  • You'll want to read the fine print, and keep interest rates in mind.
Antara Foto | Hafidz Mubarak via Reuters

Looking for some generosity from banks? Forget interest rates, and open your mailbox.

Some banks are offering sweet bonuses for opening new checking and savings accounts these days.

Yes, there are strings attached. And you'll want to examine them. "The smaller the print, the more important the words," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

Some of the handouts require hefty minimum deposits and if you don't maintain certain balances, you'll be dinged with fees. You'll get slapped with a $25 fee from HSBC, for example, if your account dips below a certain amount.

And all bonuses, of course, are taxable.

Still, it's worth shopping around to see if merely opening a new account and shifting some of your money around can bestow you with some extra cash. "To score a bonus of a few hundred bucks on a modest deposit is a pretty great return," McBride said.

As interest rates rise, more depositors are looking to keep their money in more profitable places than low-yield checking and saving accounts.

Larger banks are also facing pressure from online banks, which can offer higher returns because they don't have the expenses of maintaining a physical presence.

As a result, McBride said, "the competition for deposits is going to be picking up."

"These bonus offers are a tool that can be used to bring in new accounts without having to pass along higher interest rates. " -Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com

Chase is offering $200 for new customers. You'll have to visit a branch to open the new checking account and deposit at least $25 — and then have a direct deposit made within 60 days.

And if you close the account before six months, they'll claw back your bonus.

If you deposit $1,500 into a new checking account with HSBC by June 29, you can score $200.

Have $100,000 lying around? HSBC will give you $750 for handing it over in a new checking account. You'll have to maintain that balance for at least 90 days, but part of it can go into a savings or investment account.

SunTrust, an Atlanta-headquartered bank, will give you $500 if you open an online checking account with it by July 31. Though to qualify you have to have an address in one of these locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

And within 60 days, you'll need to have deposited $2,000 (and $100 within two weeks). You'll also have to put the account to use, making at least 10 debt purchases within 60 days.

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Personal finance websites NerdWallet and Bankrate have come up with what they believe are the best deals on the table right now. You should also check out the offers at your local banks.

Don't let the temptation of a one-time bonus cause you to leave too much of your money tied up in a low-yielding account for long though, warned McBride.

"It's easier to dole out a couple of bucks to a new customer than it is to increase payouts across your entire existing portfolio," he said. "You might be better off moving your money to an online account."