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Reviews

Best checking account bonuses of October 2020

CNBC Select reviewed dozens of checking accounts from online banks, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions to find the best ones with new account holder bonus offers.

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If you’re looking for some extra cash right now, you may be able to open a checking account and benefit from a new account holder bonus worth $100 or more.

In order to qualify for these bonuses, you typically need to jump through a few hoops, but it can be worthwhile for the extra cash. Banks often limit these bonus offers to new customers, require you to set up direct deposit and transfer a certain amount of cash into the account within 30 to 90 days from account opening. Once you meet the requirements, you can expect to receive your bonus.

While bonus offers can range from $100 to $750, the higher the reward, the more money you’ll need to deposit. Before you take advantage of one of these offers, figure out how much money you have available to transfer to a new account, then select the bonus that fits your budget.

CNBC Select analyzed and compared dozens of checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions that have bonus offers for new account holders.

When ranking the best checking account bonuses, we focused on the following criteria:

  • Reasonable bonus requirements
  • Available nationwide
  • Physical branch locations and/or online accessibility
  • Large ATM network
  • FDIC or NCUA insured up to $250,000

The accounts on our list had to meet all of the requirements above to be considered one of the best. In addition, all checking accounts mentioned below provide access to thousands of free ATMs and offer mobile check deposits. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best checking accounts.)

Best checking account bonuses

PNC Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select

PNC Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select
Information about the PNC Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. PNC Bank is a Member FDIC.
  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $25, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $25

  • Minimum balance

    $5,000 average monthly balance in Spend and Reserve in order to avoid monthly maintenance fee

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    For current interest rates, call 1-888-PNC-BANK (1-888-762-2265)

  • Free ATM network

    9,000+ PNC ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    2 per statement period

  • Overdraft fee

    $36, option to enroll in overdraft protection at no charge

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • New account holders can earn a welcome bonus of up to $300, valid until 10/29/20
  • Earn cash or points through PNC Purchase Payback® program
  • Reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees
  • Options to waive monthly maintenance fee

Cons

  • $25 monthly maintenance fee
  • Have to call PNC Bank to find out the APY offered in your area

Bonus: $300

Expiration: October 29, 2020

How to earn the bonus: Establish qualifying direct deposits of $5,000 or more to your new Spend account within 60 days from account opening. Qualifying direct deposits include recurring electronic deposits made by an employer or an outside agency. The bonus will be credited to the eligible account within 60-90 days after all the requirements have been met.

Who's eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you don't currently have signing authority on an existing PNC Bank consumer checking account, haven't closed an account within the past 90 days and haven't received a promotional premium in the past 12 months.

Monthly fee: $25, waived with one of the following:

  • Direct deposits of $5,000 or more to your Spend each statement period
  • An average monthly balance of $5,000 in Spend and Reserve
  • A combined average monthly balance of $25,000 in PNC consumer deposits and/or investments

Chase Total Checking®

Chase Total Checking®
On Chase's secure site
  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $12, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    $1,500 daily balance to avoid monthly maintenance fee

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    16,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    $34

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • New account holders can earn a $200 bonus, valid until 1/20/2021
  • No. 2 on J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study

Cons

  • $34 overdraft fee
  • No APY
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Bonus: $200

Expiration: January 20, 2021

How to earn the bonus: Set up direct deposit within 90 days of account opening. After you've completed the requirements, Chase will deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. If your account is closed within six months after opening, Chase will deduct the bonus amount at closing.

Who's eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you don't have an existing Chase checking account, you haven't received a Chase account-opening related bonus in the past two years, and you haven't closed an account within 90 days or closed an account with a negative balance. You can receive only one bonus per account.

Monthly fee: $12, waived with one of the following:

  • Monthly direct deposits of $500 or more
  • A minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more
  • An average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in this account and qualifying linked Chase bank accounts

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®
On Bank of America's secure site
  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $12, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $100

  • Minimum balance

    $1,500 daily balance to avoid monthly maintenance fee

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    16,900 Bank of America ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    $35

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply. Bank of America is a Member FDIC.

Pros

  • New account holders can earn a $100 bonus
  • Earn up to 15% cash back on select deals at stores, restaurants and more through BankAmeriDeals®
  • Make saving easier with the Bank of America's Keep the Change® program
  • Four ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee
  • Bank of America has a vast network of ATMs

Cons

  • $12 monthly maintenance fee
  • $100 minimum deposit to open an account
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Bonus: $100 bonus offer

Expiration: December 31, 2020

How to earn the bonus: Receive two qualifying direct deposits of $250 or more within 90 days of account opening. After you meet the requirements, Bank of America will deposit the earned bonus directly into your checking account within 60 days. Your account must be open and in good standing in order to receive the bonus.

Who's eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you don't have an existing Bank of America personal checking account and haven't had one in the past six months. This is an online-only offer. Use code PSR100CIS to enroll in this offer.

Monthly fee: $12, waived with one of the following:

  • At least one qualifying direct deposit of $250 per month
  • A minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more
  • Students under the age 24 who are enrolled in high school, college, university or a vocational program
  • Active enrollment in Preferred Rewards (which requires an active Bank of America checking account and a three-month combined average daily balance of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts)

Chase College Checking℠

Chase College Checking℠
Information about the Chase College Checking℠ Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Chase is a Member FDIC.
  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $6, with options to waive, including being a college student 17 to 24

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    $5,000 average beginning day balance unless you're a student 17 to 24

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Free ATM network

    16,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    $34

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • New account holders can earn a $100 bonus, valid until 1/14/2021
  • No. 2 on J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study

Cons

  • $34 overdraft fee
  • No APY
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Bonus: $100

Expiration: January 14, 2021

How to earn the bonus: Complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening. Qualifying transactions include:

  • Debit card purchases
  • Online bill payments
  • Checks paid
  • Chase QuickDeposit
  • Chase QuickPay with Zelle
  • Direct deposits

Once you've met these requirements, Chase will deposit the bonus into your new account within 10 business days.

Who's eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you don't have an existing Chase checking account, you haven't received a Chase account-opening related bonus in the past two years, and you haven't closed an account within 90 days or closed an account with a negative balance. You can receive only one bonus per account.

Monthly fee: $6, waived with one of the following:

  • College students age 17 to 24, who show proof of student status at account opening, waived up to five years
  • One direct deposit each month
  • An average beginning day balance of at least $5,000

Capital One 360 Checking®

Capital One 360 Checking®
Information about the Capital One 360 Checking® Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Capital One is a Member FDIC.
  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.10%

  • Free ATM network

    39,000+ Capital One® and Allpoint® ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    $35 if you opt-in to Next Day Grace

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • 0.10% APY on all account balances
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free savings transfer for overdrafts after opt-in

Cons

  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees
  • $35 overdraft fee if you opt-in to Next Day Grace

Bonus: $100

Expiration: October 20, 2020

How to earn the bonus: Spend at least $300 with your debit card within 90 days of opening an account. ATM and Zelle transactions, as well as bill payments, don't count toward this total. Once you meet these requirements, Capital One will deposit the $100 in your new account within 60 days after your 90-day spend period ends. 

Who's eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you aren't currently a primary or secondary account holder on a 360 Checking account, or if you haven't been a primary or secondary account holder since January 1, 2018. Use offer code CHECK100 to enroll in this offer.

Monthly fee: None

Our methodology

To determine which checking accounts provide the best place to deposit your money and earn a bonus, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including major credit unions. We narrowed down our rankings by only considering checking accounts that have bonuses available to new applicants.

While the accounts we chose in this article all have bonus offers, we also compared each checking account on a range of features, including:

  • Reasonable bonus requirements
  • Available nationwide
  • Physical branch locations and/or online accessibility
  • Large ATM network
  • FDIC or NCUA insured up to $250,000

All of the accounts included on this list are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insured up to $250,000. This insurance protects and reimburses you up to your balance and the legal limit in the event your bank or credit union fails.

The rates and fee structures for checking accounts are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the prime rate.

Your earnings depend on any associated fees and the balance you have in your checking account. To open an account, some banks and institutions may require a deposit of new money, meaning you can’t transfer money you already had in an account at that bank.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.