For any adult looking to take charge of their personal finances, owning both a savings and checking account is essential. Of course, there’s the basic reason that you need an account for depositing checks and paying bills. But, also, these accounts show banks how reliable you are when you fill out credit applications. The one question every single loan application has is “Do you own a savings account, checking account, or both?”
Unfortunately, over the last ten years, owning these accounts has become more expensive. Banks have been kind enough to pass their additional fees along to you. If you’re not careful, you could be losing $100 to $300 a year simply for the privilege of owning a checking or savings account. Lucky for you, there are ways to avoid these fees. Perhaps even luckier for you, some banks are willing to pay up to $500 simply to get your business.
Below is a list of the best online savings and checking promos and bonuses we could find. They include a variety of big banks and one smaller bank, so nearly all of the offers you see below are nationwide. All fifty states are eligible for each offer, and the more money you have to deposit, the more money you’re likely to earn in the form of a cash bonus.
Keep an eye out for the requirements to avoid the monthly maintenance fees, and feel free to contact us if you think you’ve found an offer as good as or better than the ones below.
Best Checking Accounts Overview
|Citi Priority Account||Overall|
|Aspiration Checking||Helping the environment|
|Bank of America Checking||No overdraft fees|
|HSBC Premier Checking||Cash bonus|
|Fifth Third Bank||Free checking|
|Chase Total Checking℠||Convenient features|
|Chase Business Complete Banking℠||Business bonus|
Best Checking Accounts Promotions and Deals
1. Citi Priority Account – Up to $2,000 Cash Bonus
The very first checking account I opened after graduating college was with Citi®. Partly because they had a great online bonus, and mostly because their branch was half a block from my apartment. Citi is currently offering up to $2,000 bonus on their priority account if you meet the following criteria:
- Open a new Citi Priority Account by 1/09/2023
- Within 20 days of account opening, make the minimum deposit of new-to-Citi funds into the new account, and maintain the required Minimum Balance in your eligible account for an additional 60 days from the 21st day. If your Balance falls into a lower Balance Tier for even one day during the Maintenance Period, your Maximum Bonus will change.
The $30 monthly service fee for this account is waived for average daily balances of $30,000 or more. Any non-Citi ATM fees you incur while owning this account are waived so long as you meet that average daily balance above.
Aspiration does good things for the world while you reap the rewards. With access to a high-interest spend and save accounts and cash back on spending, it’s ideal for users that want to get a little more for their money. But the company goes one step further and supports you in investing in eco-friendly ventures as well as pledging to give a percentage of account fees to charity.
There are no fees included in opening and maintaining a standard account with Aspiration and, once set up, you’ll unlock competitive cashback features at top-name brands. Get up to 3-5% back from brands like Warby Parker and Blue Apron, and up to 0.5% at stores like Target, Walmart, and CVS.
Read More: Aspiration Review
3. Bank of America Checking – $100 Cash Bonus
Bank of America is offering a $100 cash bonus to new customers who open an eligible online checking account. Terms of the bonus are as follows:
- Open a checking account through the link above before June 30, 2021.
- Set up and receive qualifying direct deposits of $1000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
The caveat here is that Bank of America will charge a $12 monthly fee on the Advantage Plus Banking and a $25 monthly fee on the Interest Checking. You can offset these fees through a variety of ways for the Core Checking product (see below). For the interest checking account, the only way to have the fee waived is to maintain a combined balance of $10,000 or more through a variety of BOA products. To have the Advantage Plus Banking fee waived, you must meet one of these requirements:
- Be a student under the age of 24;
- Have a preferred rewards account;
- Maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more; or,
- Have at least one qualifying $250 recurring direct deposit.
4. HSBC Premier Checking – Up to a $500 Cash Bonus
HSBC shook things up a little bit to kick-off 2022, and has changed the way in which account holders can earn up to a $500 bonus. Here are the details:
- Open a new Premier checking account by June 30, 2022.
- Set up a recurring direct deposit totaling at least $10,000 per month for three consecutive months.
You’ll automatically receive the welcome bonus roughly 8 weeks after you’ve made the qualifying direct deposits each month.
The HSBC Premier Checking account does have a hefty $50 monthly maintenance fee, but that fee can be waived by meeting one of three criteria:
- Maintain a combined monthly average balance of $75,000 across your deposit and investment accounts
- Make direct deposits of at least $10,000 or more (in total) each month into your account
- Have a mortgage w/ HSBC in the original amount of $500,000 or more
The easiest one to hit for qualified applicants is the $10,000 per month of direct deposits. That will also guarantee you max out on the $500 cash bonus.
HSBC Welcome Deposit Disclaimer - Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
5. Fifth Third Bank Checking – $300 Cash Bonus
In order to receive the $300 bonus from Fifth Third, you must meet two simple conditions.
- Open a new Checking account by March 31, 2022.
- Deposit at least $500 within the first 60 days of opening the account.
Fifth Third Bank Momentum Checking offers mobile banking, unlimited check writing, fast and secure person-to-person payments with Zelle, and access to more than 50,000 fee-free partner ATMs nationwide. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance required.
Fifth Third Preferred Checking is an interest-bearing account with a 0.01% APY and allows you access to discounts, benefits and services. There is a $25 monthly fee, but you can get it waived if you keep a combined total of at least $100,000 in your deposit and investment accounts.
6. Chase Total Checking℠ – $200 bonus
New Chase Total Checking℠ account customers can earn a $200 bonus when they open an account and set up direct deposit within 90 days (offer expires 4/19/2023). The monthly fee is $12, but you can get it waived if you maintain a $1,500 balance, maintain $5,000 between any linked qualifiying Chase checking, savings or other accounts, or receive direct deposits of $500 or more a month.
7. Axos Bank Basic Business Checking – $200 Bonus for New Businesses, $100 Bonus for New Axos Business Accounts (Nationwide)
Axos Bank is an online bank that focuses on small businesses. It’s offering new business owners a $200 bonus when they open an account at the bank.
The Basic Business Checking account has no monthly fee but does have a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement, which means you’ll need some savings to be able to open the account.
To get the $200 bonus, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your business must have incorporated after June 1st, 2020.
- You must maintain an average daily balance of at least $2,500 for the two statement periods after opening the account.
- Businesses incorporated before June 1st, 2020 are eligible for a $100 bonus.
8. Chase Business Complete Banking℠ –$300 Offer
Chase is one of the largest banks in the United States, offering a variety of financial services including personal and business banking.
If you own a small business, you can take advantage of its $300 sign up bonus for its Complete Banking service. The account comes with a monthly fee, but you can avoid it by meeting any of these requirements (offer expires 5/18/23):
- Maintain a $2,000 deposit minimum daily balance.
- Spend at least $2,000 on purchases with a Chase Ink® Business Credit Card
- Receive $2,000 in deposits from QuickAccept transactions or other merchant services solutions
- Link a Chase Private Client Checking account
- Provide valid proof of qualifying military status
To earn the $300 bonus, you must meet these requirements:
- Deposit $2,000 of new funds to the account within twenty days of opening.
- Maintain a minimum balance of $2,000 for sixty days from the date of deposit.
- Complete five qualifying transactions (debit card purchases, check deposits, ACH credits, or wires) within sixty days of opening the account
Best Savings Accounts Promotions and Deals
Best Savings Accounts Overview
|American Express® High-Yield Savings Account||High APY|
|CIT Savings Builder||No fees|
|TD Bank Beyond Savings or Simple Savings||Cash bonus|
American Express® High Yield Savings Account - MEMBER FDIC
American Express National Bank Member FDIC is currently the bank where I keep a lot of my savings. The interest rate comes in at a very competitive 3.30% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) and the user interface is very straight-forward and clean. Rates current as of 12/22/22. American Express is most known for their line of credit cards (for both consumers and businesses) but they entered the savings game a few years ago and have always had strong interest rates. You can connect both your savings and credit card accounts behind one login so you can keep track of all your accounts in one online portal.
CIT Bank Savings Builder is a pure savings account that pays up to 1.00% APY. And there are no account opening fees or maintenance fees.
To qualify for the advertised rate, you must either maintain a minimum balance of $25,000, or make monthly deposits of $100, beginning with a minimum $100 opening deposit. If you have less than $25,000, and don’t make monthly deposits, the annual percentage yield drops to a lower rate.
Unfortunately, you are limited to no more than six transactions per statement cycle, however, you may deposit checks into your Savings Builder account remotely, as well as make transfers with the CIT Bank mobile app.
TD Bank – $300 Bonus with TD Beyond Checking or Simple Savings
TD Bank is currently offering a $300 bonus if you open either a Beyond Checking account or a $200 bonus if you open a Simple Savings account. The Beyond Savings does have a $15 monthly fee, but you can avoid it by linking your account to a TD Beyond Checking account, or by maintaining $5,000 in direct deposits per statement cycle or $2,500 minimum daily balance or $25,000 combined balance across eligible TD accounts.
Simple Savings has a $5 monthly fee, but it’s waived if:
- you maintain an average daily balance of $300
- are 18 or younger or 62 or older
- complete a monthly recurring transfer of $25 from an eligible linked checking account
- Link to Student Checking, Beyond Checking, or Relationship Checking
To qualify, all you have to do is receive direct deposits totaling $5,000 per statement cycle or maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance or maintain a combined balance of $25,000 across eligible TD accounts.
New customers who apply online for a TD Beyond Checking account can earn a $300 cash bonus after receiving direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days. To qualify for this offer, you must be a U.S. resident and apply for the offer online. Offer is available in these states: CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, ME, MA, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA
How Does a Checking Account Work?
A checking account is the ultimate form of demand deposit account. A demand deposit account is one that gives you regular access to your funds. It also takes in savings accounts and money markets. But checking accounts have the advantage of giving you greater access to your money than virtually any other type of account.
The very term “checking account” is fast becoming something of a dated term. Checking accounts were so named because of the ability to access your funds through checks. And there was a time when checks were the only way to access your account, short of going to the bank and withdrawing funds directly (which itself may have required writing a check!).
But today’s checking accounts offer multiple ways to access your funds. And an increasing number of checking accounts no longer offer paper checks at all. This shouldn’t be surprising at all, given that fewer merchants are accepting paper checks.
Today, it’s more common to make payments online. And with the widespread development of ATM machines, you can now get cash without having to go to a bank branch. Meanwhile, checking accounts now offer online bill payment capabilities, as well as person-to-person transfer methods.
Checking accounts are the preferred destination for direct deposits from paychecks, pensions, and government benefits. But you can also move money into a checking account by transferring it from a savings account or money market at the same bank, or from another bank.
How Do I Check My Checking Account?
The old-fashioned way – 20 years ago – was to maintain an updated check register, and reconcile it against the bank statement that was mailed to you each month. While a few people still use this method, it’s easier and much more convenient to check your account electronically. Virtually every bank today offers online banking. That gives you the ability to check your account on your home or work computer at any time. You have access to all accounts you have with a particular bank, including your checking account. You also have the ability to transfer funds between accounts, transfer funds to outside accounts, and make payments online.
Read more: Best Online Banks of 2022
But nearly all banks also have mobile banking. Many provide all the functionality of the online version, though some banks may limit certain activities. However, you can check your account balance, run transactions, make payments from your phone, and even transfer money directly to and from individuals using various payment services.
Related: Mobile Banking Apps
Another major advantage of mobile banking is mobile deposits. The feature enables you to accept checks through your smartphone. You simply take a photo of both the front and back of the check, then download it to your account through the mobile banking app. The clearing process isn’t as quick as making a deposit in person, but it will enable you to make the deposit immediately while saving you a trip to the branch.
Is There a Limit on Transactions Within a Checking Accounts?
Generally speaking, there are no limits on the number of transactions made within a checking account. This is because a checking account is specifically designed to be a high activity account. You’ll typically have an unlimited number of transfers outside the account, checks written, and debit card transactions. However, a bank may impose certain limits on one or more of its checking account offerings. While it may offer unlimited activity, it might impose an activity fee tied to a certain number of transactions. For example, it may permit up to ten outgoing transactions per month. But if you exceed that number, an activity fee will be applied to the excess transactions. It’s one of those “fine print” fees that every depositor needs to be aware of in choosing the right checking account.
If there are any transaction limits on checking accounts, it isn’t due to any type of federal law. For example, Federal Regulation D limits the number of outgoing transactions from either a savings account or a money market. The limit is no more than six “convenient” transfers or withdrawals per month per account. Convenient transfers include preauthorized, automatic transfers, transfers and withdrawals initiated by phone, fax, or online, as well as those made by check, debit card, or other methods payable to third parties.
Again, those limitations apply only to savings accounts and money markets, and not checking accounts. In most cases, there’ll be no limit on the number of transactions you can run through your checking account.
Do Checking Accounts Earn Interest?
In most cases, checking accounts don’t earn interest. And where they do, rates are downright microscopic. In fact, according to the FDIC’s Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps – Weekly Update, interest-bearing checking accounts currently pay just 0.06% APY on average. That’s the rate level you’ll typically see with local banks and credit unions. In fact, some interest-bearing checking accounts pay a rate of just 0.01%. In the grand scheme of things, that’s just dust! But you don’t have to maintain a checking account with a bank that pays such low rates. There are banks available, primarily online banks, that pay much higher interest.
For example, Ally Bank pays up to 0.25% on its Interest Checking Account.
Checking accounts that pay little or no interest isn’t an attempt by banks to mistreat their customers. Since checking accounts are essentially in-and-out accounts, interest isn’t usually a significant factor. When most banks do pay interest on checking, it’s just a token amount, probably mostly to make their checking account offers look more attractive than the competition.
However, if you’re looking to add high interest to your bank savings, there are several online banks offering high interest on savings, money markets, and certificates of deposit. You can maintain a checking account with a minimal balance, and move any excess funds into a high-yield account to get the benefit of high interest.
How Many Checking Accounts Can I Have?
Though there may be certain banks that limit the number of checking accounts you can have, most won’t. You can have several accounts for yourself, as well as one or more for each member of your household – including your children. For example, you might maintain one checking account to pay general expenses, and another dedicated to paying house-related expenses – it’s your choice. Banks also offer business checking accounts. If you have a business, you can maintain both a business checking account and a personal checking account.
Each checking account offered by a bank generates fee income for the bank. This can come in the form of a monthly service fee, ATM access fees at non-network ATMs, and service fees charged to merchants for debit card usage. It’s usually in the bank’s best interest to allow you to have as many checking accounts as you want.
Of course, there are a number of reasons why you’ll want to limit the number of checking accounts you have:
- Having several accounts can be a bookkeeping nightmare, as you try to keep track of the activity in each account.
- Multiple checking accounts can be confusing. You might mistakenly assume a payment made from one account was actually made from another.
- Generally speaking, the more checking accounts you have, the more bank fees you’re paying.
Related: Have a business? Check out the Best Business Checking Accounts
How Does a Savings Account Work?
Much like a checking account, a savings account is also considered to be a demand deposit account. It’s so-called because you have the ability to access funds at will. This is different from a certificate of deposit, which is referred to as a time deposit, and ties up your money for the duration of the term of the certificate. Savings accounts at most banks typically require very little money to open a new account. Most also impose no minimum on the amount you must keep in your account. That said, interest rates paid on savings accounts are frequently based on your account balance.
Most will pay higher interest rates on larger account balances, which is sometimes referred to as tiered interest rates. While you do have access to the funds held in a savings account, it’s usually more restricted than it is with a checking account. For example, a checking account typically comes with check writing, an ATM card, online bill pay, and even direct person-to-person transfer apps. Most savings accounts will offer only one of those access options, usually an ATM card. But many banks won’t offer any direct access capability at all. Instead, you’ll need to transfer money into your checking account for payment purposes.
Though it’s not as common with savings accounts as it is with checking accounts, you can also have money from paychecks, pensions and government benefits direct deposited into your savings account. In most cases, people will deposit a small amount from those payments into savings, as a regular savings plan, with the rest going into checking. It’s also possible to have your income tax refund deposited into a savings account.
How Do I Check My Savings Account?
Since a savings account is usually a low activity account–few withdrawals, and even fewer deposits–it’s never been common for depositors to keep written records of their savings account balances. With online banking, the best way to check your account is to do so on your computer or mobile device. This has become common with checking accounts, largely because of the greater number of transactions running through the account. Regularly checking a savings account balance may not be seen as a priority. However, it should never be ignored.
Even if you have very few transactions, you should check your savings account balance on a daily basis. This is necessary if only to check for unauthorized transactions. A thief could gain access to your bank account, and totally ignore your checking account because your savings account has a much larger balance. Since a savings account is usually a much richer target than a checking account, monitoring it on a daily basis is at least as important as staying on top of your checking account balance.
In addition, if your bank limits account withdrawals to electronic transfers into your checking account or an external account, you’ll need to always be aware of your savings account balance for budgeting purposes. And at a minimum, you should check your savings account balance every time you have a transaction in the account. You’ll be looking for a) that the transaction took place, and b) that there weren’t any errors.
Even with electronic transfers, there can still be errors. The sooner you correct them, or the sooner you identify unauthorized activity, the faster and easier the remedy will be.
If you regularly check your checking account online, you should take an extra 30 seconds to also view your savings account balance.
Is There a Limit on Transactions Within a Savings Accounts?
Transaction limits are one of the major differences between savings and checking accounts. While checking accounts usually have something close to unlimited transactions, savings accounts are more restricted. There are usually no limits to the number of deposits you can make into a savings account. But once again, savings accounts are limited to a specific number of outgoing transactions. Under Federal Regulation D, you’re limited to no more than six “convenient” transfers or withdrawals per 30-day account cycle.
Convenient transfers include preauthorized, automatic transfers, transfers and withdrawals initiated by phone, fax, or online, as well as those made by check, debit card, or other methods payable to third parties. However, a bank may impose no limit on the number of transfers you make into your checking account, or funds withdrawn at the teller window. You need to check with your bank to determine what their specific policies are on these limits.
What is the Interest Rate Range for Savings Accounts
According to the FDIC’s Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps – Weekly Update, interest paid on savings accounts is averaging just 0.10% nationwide.
It makes little sense to hold savings in a bank paying such low rates. However, people frequently do it because they like the idea of a local brick-and-mortar branch. But if you keep your money in such a low interest-paying account, you’re paying a heavy price for physical access.
What’s more, despite lacking local branches, online banks can give you just as much access to your funds as a bank with local branches. The vast majority of financial transactions now take place online. You can just as easily transfer funds from an online bank as you can between accounts at your local branch, though there may be a one or two-day wait on the completion of the transfer.
A good savings strategy, that will earn you higher interest and still give you quick access to transfers into your checking account is to maintain just enough money in a local bank savings account to make necessary transfers in the checking account. Any excess funds–which should be the bulk of your savings–can be invested in a high-interest online savings account.
How Many Savings Accounts Can I Have?
Just as is the case with checking accounts, you can usually have as many savings accounts as you want. However, you’ll have many of the same disadvantages that you will with multiple checking accounts. This can include bookkeeping complications and the general confusion that comes with having several of the same type of account. But there is one important issue that’s more significant with savings accounts than it is with checking accounts. Because savings accounts normally have higher balances than checking accounts, you could bump up against the FDIC limit.
FDIC insures funds held at banks for a maximum of $250,000 per depositor. If you have that kind savings, you’ll want to make sure your combined accounts at any single bank don’t exceed that amount. If so, you should transfer the excess funds to another bank. Fortunately, you can get an additional $250,000 of FDIC coverage at each bank where you have deposits.
How we came up with this list
We came up with this list using a few metrics.
Obviously, one of the most important things about bank bonuses is the size of the bonus. You want to earn a good amount of money for your efforts. Jumping through hoops to earn a bonus of $10 isn’t really worth the effort.
We also considered how easy it is to earn the bonus. Simple bonuses, like ones that only require a direct deposit or a few debit card purchases, are best. More complicated bonuses need to be more rewarding to be worth doing.
Finally, we looked at the fees charged by the bank and how easy it is to avoid the fee. The lower the fee and the easier it is to avoid, the better.
These are some frequently asked questions about bank account bonuses.
What Are Bank Account Bonuses?
Bank account bonuses are cash bonuses that banks give to customers who open a new checking or savings account. Typically, you have to open a new account and meet certain requirements within a period of time. If you meet all the requirements, the bank will deposit a cash reward to your checking or savings account.
Why do banks have sign-up bonuses?
Banks use sign-up bonuses as a form of advertising. Banks want to draw in more customers because more customers means more potential to earn money from them. One good way to convince someone to open a checking or savings account is to offer a reward for doing so. Banks hope that they can recoup and money spent on bonuses from the customers that their bonus offers attract.
Will Opening a Bank Account Hurt Your Credit Score?
No, opening a bank account will not hurt your credit score. Banks don’t check your credit when you open a checking or savings account and those accounts won’t appear on your credit report. Banks do use a different system, called ChexSystems, to see if you’ve opened lots of bank accounts, have a history of overdrafting, or closed accounts with a negative balance. If they see negative information on your ChexSystems report, they may deny you an account. However, your ChexSystems report is separate from your credit history, so negative information on your ChexSystems report won’t hurt your credit.
Do I have to pay taxes on bank account bonuses?
Yes, bank account bonuses are treated as interest paid by the bank, so you have to pay normal income taxes on the bonus at the end of the year. The bank does not withhold money from the bonuses, so be ready to pay the tax bill when you file your tax return.
Final Thoughts on the Best Checking and Savings Account Promotions, Deals, and Offers
There are all types of checking and savings accounts available. You’ll certainly want to go with the one that will work best for your personal situation. But if you’re shopping for a new account, you’ll want to favor those that pay generous account opening bonuses, like those listed in this guide. And since each account has a certain minimum time limit to qualify, you can simply wait until it expires, then apply for a cash bonus at a different bank.
It’s a way to earn a few hundred dollars extra each year.